Apr 17, 2023

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Comparing the Pros and Cons of Two Popular SEO Tools

Priya Jamba, Content Marketer
Priya Jamba
Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Comparing the Pros and Cons of Two Popular SEO Tools
Priya Jamba, Content Marketer
Priya Jamba
Apr 17, 2023

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Comparing the Pros and Cons of Two Popular SEO Tools

Wondering which SEO tool to use for your website optimization? Read our comprehensive comparison of Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs to find out which one is the best fit for your needs.
Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Comparing the Pros and Cons of Two Popular SEO Tools

Table of contents

In today's digital age, it is not enough just to have a website. In order to drive traffic and generate business, a website must be optimized for search engines through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Without SEO, even the most informative and well-designed website will fail to attract visitors.

Fortunately, with the advent of SEO tools, businesses of any size can improve their online presence and remain competitive. Among the plethora of SEO tools available, two stand out as the most popular and effective: Surfer SEO and Ahrefs. 

These tools offer essential features that can enhance your SEO campaigns and take your website to new heights. In this article, we will compare these popular SEO tools to help you choose between the two. 

Surfer SEO: Complete Overview 

Surfer SEO Home

Surfer SEO is an on-page SEO optimization tool that can help you with keyword clusters, site content audits, SERP analysis, and AI writing.  

Surfer is popularly known for its content editor, popularly known as optimizer. It recommends accurate NLP (natural language processing) terms and heading suggestions that can increase the ranking potential of your content. 

The tool analyses the top-ranking pages of the target keyword to find similarities and provide suggestions like average word count, headings, paragraphs, and images.  

Surfer sources content suggestions like key terms and content structure from the top-ranking pages. Hence, it allows you to customize the competitors lists. You can add and remove pages according to your preference to outcompete specific competitors. 

As for the content creation part, Surfer integrates with Jasper AI to generate AI content. If you already have a Jasper subscription, you can access the Surfer editor from there. However, if you don’t, Surfer charges extra for AI articles and has not included this function in their standard plans. 

Besides surfer's content editor, it also helps you with keyword planning. The auto-clustering feature gives you access to multiple sets of keyword clusters in a few minutes as soon as you enter the seed keywords. Moreover, it only provides individual keyword research insights with the Chrome Extension; you cannot access it within the tool. So, it is best to pair up Surfer SEO with keyword research tools. 

Key Features of Surfer 

  • Keyword cluster creator¬†
  • Real-time content optimizer¬†
  • Content audit tool¬†
  • SERP analysis¬†
  • Keyword research tool (Chrome extension)

Pros of Using Surfer 

  • Powerful content editor that provides accurate suggestions.¬†¬†
  • Competitor customization is beneficial for users who are aiming to outcompete particular top-ranking pages.¬†
  • Auto-keyword cluster saves the manual time spent on grouping keywords.¬†
  • SERP Analyzer summarizes similarities and differences between top-ranking pages.¬†
  • Content audit helps optimize old content for better performance.¬†
  • Intuitive interface that both novice and seasoned professionals can use.¬†
  • Integrates with Jasper AI to create content¬†
  • The Chrome Extension helps in finding individual keyword insights.¬†

Cons of Using Surfer

  • Does not have auto-optimization features.
  • Doesn‚Äôt provide you insights about where competitors are using the NLP or key terms in their content.¬†¬†
  • Limited keyword insights as it does not provide extensive keyword data.¬†
  • Wears a higher price tag; hence, individuals and small content teams may find it unaffordable.¬†¬†
  • Add-ons quickly increase the overall price you pay every month to access the full potential of the tool.¬†¬†
  • AI articles are expensive and charged separately.
  • Overlapping features that provide the same information as others.¬†


Plan Monthly Monthly charge if paid Yearly
Essential $89 $69
Advanced $179 $149
Max $299 $249
Enterprise Custom Custom

What do users think about SurferSEO?

  • G2 ratings - 4.8 / 5 stars¬†
  • Product Hunt ratings - 4.8 / 5 stars
  • Capterra ratings - 4.9 / 5 stars

Ahrefs: Complete Overview

Ahrefs HP

Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool that offers a range of services to help seo experts improve their website's ranking. With Ahrefs, you can conduct competitor research to understand why they rank higher than you. 

This SEO tool has an index of over 40 trillion links and 500 million keyword suggestions, making it easy to related keywords. Additionally, Ahrefs's backlink analytics provides valuable information about your website's link profile and can help you identify areas for improvement. 

One of its features includes on-page optimization. The On-Page Optimization tool provides actionable insights to improve your website's on-page SEO. This SEO software also comes with an audit tool.  

Key Features: 

  • Keyword Research¬†
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Site Audit
  • Rank Tracker¬†
  • Content Explorer

Pros of Ahrefs 

  • Rich with extensive features - providing all SEO solutions in one place¬†
  • It is a highly extensive web crawler.¬†
  • It comes with comprehensive social sharing information from various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.
  • It has one of the largest backlink databases.¬†
  • It offers a user experience that balances loads of information with a clean, well-designed interface.

Cons of Ahrefs 

  • Falls under the high-price category, alienating growing bloggers and small business owners.¬†
  • New users may find the features to be overwhelming.¬†
  • Demands a steep learning curve to use the tool to the fullest optimally.¬†
  • While some users can afford the basic pricing plan, the plan only contains limited features and caps on functions such as projects, portfolio, data, rank tracker, etc.¬†

Ahrefs Cost 

Ahrefs offers four different pricing options, ranging from $99 to $999. Take a closer look at each Ahrefs pricing plan to determine which plan best fits your needs below. 

Plan Monthly Yearly
Lite $99 $83
Standard $199 $166
Advanced $399 $333
Enterprise $999 $833

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: In-depth Feature Comparison 

Read on to know for an in-depth comparison of key Ahrefs features Surfer SEO features. 

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Keyword Research 

Surfer's tool for conducting keyword research generates a comprehensive list of keywords related to a given search term. The tool also presents valuable insights, such as the monthly search volume for given keyword and how closely related each keyword is to the initial search term. 

Conversely, Ahref's keyword research tool allows you to uncover lucrative keywords that your rivals may have overlooked. This functionality empowers you to gain a competitive edge and leverage an untapped source of traffic within your industry.

Winner: Ahrefs is rich with more data and provides a comprehensive solution.  

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Languages Supported 

In terms of language support, Surfer provides coverage for a limited set of 20 languages, whereas Ahrefs boasts an extensive language database that spans over 100 different languages. 

This feature enables Ahrefs to cater to a broader range of users and makes it a versatile option for conducting keyword research across diverse geographic regions.

Winner: Ahrefs 

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Competition Research 

The Ahrefs Site Explorer tool offers a trio of SEO tools that can help you gain a competitive edge. These three tools make the Ahrefs Site Explorer an all-in-one research tool, including organic traffic research, backlink analysis, and paid traffic research. Surfer's SERP analyzer also allows you to track your competition to get keyword suggestions and backlinks. 

Winner: While it's a close call, Ahrefs wins this round. That is because it offers more features in this category. 

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: AI Writing

With Surfer's Content Editor, you can write and enhance your website content directly within the editor. The tool offers a middle column that presents you with rational recommendations to improve your copy and overall content. Ahrefs doesn't provide any such features. 

Winner: Surfer SEO 

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Performance Analyzes 

The Ahrefs Rank Tracker tool is an invaluable resource for evaluating the effectiveness of your SEO tactics. This powerful tool allows you to track and monitor your progress over time and compare your performance with that of your rivals. You can do the same with the SERP Analyzer tool by Surfer SEO. 

Winner: Ahrefs, as it helps you bulk-analyse your content.  

Ahrefs vs Surfer SEO: Which is Better? 

Ahrefs stands out as one of the most widely-used SEO tools worldwide. Ahrefs' URL analyzer tool is an exceptional resource for collecting website data, measuring DR, and tracking website traffic over time.

While Ahrefs' keyword and website explorer features, along with rank tracking, are beneficial for analyzing existing content, if your goal is to generate new optimised content for your blog, you might find Surfer SEO a more suitable option.

For novice SEOs, the abundance of data in Ahrefs can be overwhelming, whereas Surfer SEO offers a more streamlined and easy to navigate user interface. In that sense, choosing between Ahrefs and Surfer really depends on your end goal. 

However, both Surfer and Scalenut fall under the high-price category. If you’re looking for an affordable alternative, check out Scalenut. Read on to learn more about Scalenut’s speciality. 

Scalenut: A Better Alternative

Scalenut is an AI-powered content optimization platform designed to streamline your content creation process and improve your search engine rankings. 

With real-time content analysis, optimization recommendations and keyword research features, Scalenut offers advanced functions to enhance your content's performance. 

Here’s how Scalenut helped a leading Pharmaceutical brand add 100K traffic to their website. 

Scalenut offers 

  • Keyword Planner and Cluster Creator¬†
  • Outline Generator¬†
  • Cruise Mode (Article Writer)¬†
  • Content Optimizer¬†
  • SEO Content Editor

Keyword Planner

The Scalenut Keyword Planner helps you achieve topical authority in your industry and specific niche. You can insert your niche topic in Scalenut’s Keyword Planner to generate a report that groups relevant keywords together. 

Scalenut Keyword Planner  

This report lets you view metrics like relevance, CPC, and search volume under one tab. You do not need to juggle between multiple columns or tabs as you do in SEO tools like Ahrefs or Ubersuggest to find relevant metrics that matter to you.

Scalenut Keyword Optimizer 

If you are a content writer, sometimes you might just have one seed keyword to target. In that case, you will need a list of relevant keywords to target. That’s why the Scalenut content editor suggests relevant key terms that your competitors’ content is currently ranking. This allows you to easily outcompete your competitors without doing hours of manual research. 

Content Outline Generator

In Scalenut, you can create an AI-generated outline automatically or build a custom version by comparing top-ranking web pages under a single tab. With this information in one place, you can easily find content gaps, add frequently asked questions, and restructure your outline with the drag-and-drop option within minutes.  

Scalenut Outline Analyser 

Moreover, Scalenut provides additional features like writing points and social listening tools to generate questions from forums like Quora, Reddit, and search results. This ultimately reduces the time taken to search and create an outline manually.  

Cruise mode

Scalenut has an in-built AI writer to help you create quality long-form content at scale. The cruise mode function allows users to generate the first draft of their outline in less than 5 minutes. Once you have the first draft, compare it with your competitor's content. This helps you see what points and subheadings you have missed. Instead of juggling multiple tabs, you can find all your competitor's content under the research tab. 

Scalenut Competitor Content Research tool   

Moreover, you can fine-tune the AI-generated copy in Cruise mode using the rephrase, shorten, or expand options. You can generate additional information for each section using the write and instruct tools in the editor tab. Altogether, this gives you complete control over AI and allows you to generate brand-relevant content within minutes. 

Content Optimizer

One of the biggest obstacles for content writers and bloggers is producing rank-ready content. You might be spending hours and hours ensuring every piece of content you publish is optimized to rank on Google or other search engines. 

Scalenut Content Optimizer

However, manually checking the keyword density and finding relevant keywords to target can be a hassle. In situations like this, a reliable content report can boost your confidence that a piece of content is optimized for search. That's why Scalenut's Content Optimizer grades your content to generate a score and necessary suggestions to help you find a place at the top of the SERP. 

Moreover, you can use the fix-it button to auto-optimize your content based on the suggestion list. This eliminates manual editing time and acts as a supporting tool to fine-tune your content. 

SEO Content Editor 

Scalenut has advanced NLP and machine learning technologies to help you create content that ranks on the first page of the SERP for target keywords. You can see real-time NLP scores and custom SEO suggestions to improve your content. 

Scalenut Content Optimizer

Scalenut's SEO editor evaluates your content from different angles, like keyword density, links, content depth, key terms, and more. 

Pros Cons
Provides automatic AI suggestions to write titles, outlines, and content briefs in seconds. The existing features can be quite overwhelming for first-time users.
The custom tone of voice allows you to adapt quickly to different niches and brand voices.
Easily view all the top-ranking blogs for your target keywords under one tab. This allows you to find the content gaps and manually add them to the outline with a click.
AI-generated writing points for each blog subhead allow you to preview and customize the prompts based on your content goals.
Additional features like NLP terms, competitor content analysis, questions, and statistics can help you drastically improve the first draft without manually conducting basic-level research.
You can create supporting social media copy and short-form content using the AIDA, PAS, BAB, and other 45+ ready-to-use templates.


Plan Monthly Yearly
Essential Plan $39 $20
Growth Plan $79 $40
Pro Plan $149 $75

Who can benefit from Scalenut?

  • SEO strategists are managing a team of writers.¬†
  • Content heads who are responsible for creating content briefs¬†
  • Writers who run a small team¬†
  • Writers who create SEO-based long-form blogs and articles¬†
  • Marketers who manage social media channels and content editing activities¬†

What do users think about Scalenut? 

  • G2 review - 4.7/5 stars
  • Product hunt review - 5/5 stars¬†
  • Capterra review - 4.8/5 stars

Which is the Best Tool? 

By now, you will have an idea of the features of each SEO tool. This gives you more clarity about your requirements and what each tool offers.  

If your core priority lies in seo strategies and site management, Ahrefs might be your ideal choice.

Surfer is an ideal option if you’re looking for a cluster creator and content optimization tool.

However, if you’re looking for a comprehensive AI SEO tool with content creation and planning capabilities within an affordable price range, Scalenut is your best bet.  

Scalenut offers all the features and functionalities that Surfer SEO and Ahrefs have for just $79 per month. Even Scalenut’s Pro plan only costs $149 per month.  

If you want to know how Scalenut can help you streamline your content efforts and drive traffic to your website, feel free to hop on this 7-day free trial to play around with the tool. This will give you an idea if Scalenut can meet your demands.

Priya Jamba
Content Marketer
ABout the AUTHOR
Priya Jamba
Content Marketer

Priya Jamba is a Content Marketer at Scalenut. She loves marketing technologies and believes that with the right combination of tools and creativity, every organization can build sustainable brands. She is on a mission to help marketing teams across the globe produce tangible results from their marketing campaigns. Currently, she is working along with the Product team to enhance the AI content quality through prompt engineering.

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