Product Review

Is Surfer SEO The Right Wave to Ride?

Rebecca Adams
September 29, 2020

At one point in time, Google was a simple search engine.

The one-size-fits-all SEO approach yielded a plethora of search results on its front pages.

It was a dream for any SEO expert.

But as time went on, Google’s SERP began to see many of the same types of content, and its algorithm got smarter. It began to prefer different types of content, depending on the search query.

To make things more confusing, Google can tell which topics do better with certain queries thanks to the advent of user metric collection.

Unfortunately, this leaves the average SEO professional sad and confused asking, “How, oh, how can we rank!?”

Enter the Surfer SEO tool.

This is Surfer SEO's homepage.

Surfer SEO lets content marketers know how their pages stack up against their competitors by comparing and analyzing top ranking pages on SERPS.

But does it work?

Find out if our SEO optimization saves the day in our exciting Surfer SEO review.

Our Verdict

Surfer SEO tool may just be the hero you are looking for if you are looking to optimize your brand’s content.

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Pros of the Surfer SEO Tool

First, let’s chat a bit about a thing called correlation SEO. You’ll see why this is important in just a bit.

Correlation SEO analyzes various ranking factors to decide which ones have the biggest impact on Google ranking.

This goes back to the different data that Google likes to look at.

Here’s an example of a query that we put into Google about the benefits of sleep.

SERPs

As you can see, Google’s SERP definitely likes list posts.

Surfer SEO uses the correlation SEO tactic, which takes your keyword and holds it up against hundreds of search factors that may impact how Google ranks you.

Instead of telling you some vague advice like “add more keywords,” Surfer SEO gives you recommendations based on what is already proven to be working on Google.

The tools

Since there are a lot of pros to Surfer SEO, let’s break them down by the individual tools.

SERP Analyzer — Analyzes specific search results of your choosing. You can see what keywords, images, tags, etc. are ranking in those terms and use that info to improve your on-page SEO.

  • Pro: You may find data that you would have never thought about testing, had it not been for the recommendations.
  • Pro: You can use this data to optimize existing content like social media or blog posts, or to plan your SEO strategy for future content creation.

It also offers a website auditor feature that gives you the top errors and warnings to look at, and gives information on:

  • Keyword usage
  • Alt tags
  • Images
  • Meta description
  • # of subheadings
  • Page speed

Pro: The website auditor feature gives you five of the top-ranking competitor pages for each area. It displays them in a visually pleasing graph.

Content Editor — Allows you to create a one-page content brief, using data from your keyword search, that you can quickly share with your copywriters.

Surfer SEO analyzes your top 10 competitors to offer suggestions based on the following:

  • Questions and answers
  • Important keywords, terms, and phrases
  • Utilization of bold
  • The number of headings, paragraphs, words, and images to use.

Pro: This, basically, provides your content marketers with a cheat sheet with keywords that will help strengthen your page’s performance.

Keyword Research — This keyword analyzer provides similar keywords to the keywords you put in. The tool also provides localized and global search volumes.

Pro: The ability to see how you rank locally and globally is a bit plus for international companies.

Great interface

One of the most pleasant surprises about the Surfer SEO tool was its visual aesthetic.

A sample of a report from Surfer SEO where it shows visual aesthetic.

It’s colorful and fun — an area where many of its competitors are sorely lacking.

The dashboard is streamlined and features a query bar, Desktop/Mobile toggle, and the ability to do a full analysis or quick analysis. It also allows you to input your region so that your results are localized.

Throughout the site, the designers use emoji’s and icons to add flair and direction.

This makes navigating the site a much more intuitive and more engaging experience.

Webinar and tutorials

The first webinar, hosted by Surfer SEO Co-Creator Michael Suski, is a 2-hour walk-through on how to use Surfer SEO.

surfer seo masterclass

The video was extremely informative and went over everything that you could want to know about the product.

The team follows up with many other webinars and content videos that teach you how to get top quality suggestions, duplicate winning results, how top SEOs use NLP, and more.

They also host on-page roasts that take a look at non-optimized pages and how Surfer SEO could help.

A Young Team

One of the nice things about Surfer SEO is how young the team is.

Surfer SEO's young team brings a fun and vibrant approach to their content.

I know, weird thing to comment on, but hear me out.

This is certainly the catalyst behind the fun and engaging voice the site portrays.

The small, Poland-based team takes a vibrant approach to all of its content.

$1 for 7-Day trial

This is most definitely a pro.

For only $1, you get seven days to check out all the offerings the Basic Package has.

The best part is that it clearly states it won’t automatically charge you at the end of the trial.

How often have you started a trial only to completely forget to cancel before your time runs out?

Surfer SEO shows it won't automatically charge you at the end of the trial.

Kudos to the young team for understanding this problem and coming up with a great solution.

Cons of the Surfer SEO Analysis Tool

While there are many great things about the Surfer SEO tool, we did discover a few places that could be improved.

The team at Surfer SEO has a history of listening to feedback and carrying out changes often.

So there is a possibility that all of these drawbacks could change by the time you refresh your feed.

With that being said, here are a few annoying things.

Suggestions can hinder readability

One of the biggest challenges is that Surfer SEO may give you keyword difficulty.

This comes into play when you are working with content optimization.

For example, if you are looking up Surfer SEO, it might suggest that you use exact keyword terms like ranking factor, SEO factors, title tag, blog post, target keyword, search result, and keyword density – three times each.

These might not even be close to the primary keyword you are analyzing.

Trying to stuff all of these in could make your piece fluffy.

But not using them may hinder your score.

See the conundrum?

Many users feel that the suggestions help with optimization but can sometimes confuse the content structure.

Keyword tool is not fully developed

Along these same lines, the keyword suggestions seem to not be fully developed.

Many users have claimed that keywords that have been suggested don’t even come close to the exact keyword that was originally searched.

This could be based on specific topics or industries and may not be a broad stroke of the brush, though it is worth mentioning.

There have been others who have stated that US localizations may also have some issues. The team is based in Europe, it could be that there’s a knowledge gap with dealing with other countries’ data.  

The correlation argument

This is where the question between correlation SEO and analytical (math-driven) SEO comes into play.

You could, and some SEOs do, see correlation SEO — itself — as a con.  

But, there’s physical evidence that it does help improve ranking, so the verdict is still out on that topic.

A limited number of queries

In the lower level packages, there’s a very limited amount of queries per day.

If you are an SEO agency, or a company that provides a wider range of SEO content, it’s necessary to look into the more expensive packages to get the required quantity of queries.

No Grammarly integration

This is something that may be changing in an upcoming update.  

But, with the uptick in Grammarly users — especially Content Marketers — I feel as though it is a big miss to not have integration with Grammarly.

Having to copy-paste, change in program, and then change in Grammarly is a bit of a hassle.

Especially if you’re working on multiple content pieces.

Again, this may be something that’s in the works.

While this app won’t allow you to export to WordPress in 1-click, Wordable will allow you to export from Google Docs to WordPress seamlessly. It will not only clean and properly format your HTML, but also compress images, open links in a new tab, automatically set featured images, or create a table of contents, and lots more.

Surfer SEO Plans and Pricing

Surfer SEO provides a robust level of plans and pricing — far more than many of its competitors.

While you can choose from the three starter packages, you also have the opportunity to customize a bit more based on what your needs are.

Let’s take a look at the whole menu of options.

These are the plans Surfer SEO offers.

Hobby

The hobby package is priced at $29mo/$290yr.

It comes with:

  •  5 SERP Analyzer queries per day, with 250+ factors analyzed
  • The True Density keyword tool, which lets you see the saturation of each important word and phrase in the context of an analyzed keyword
  • 5 Content Editor queries per month, as well as shareable links for external writers
  • 5 Backlink and Visibility Reports queries per day
  • Live chat support

Basic

The Basic Package is priced at $59mo/$590yr

It comes with:

  • 15 SERP Analyzer queries per day with 500+ factors analyzed
  • True Density
  • Google Bot screenshots and page screen metrics
  • 25 Content Editor queries per month as well as shareable links for external writers
  • 25 Backlink and Visibility Reports queries per day
  • Live chat support
  • Personal walkthroughs, on-demand

Pro

The Pro Package is priced at $99mo/$990yr

It comes with:

  • 50 NLP Analysis per month
  • 50 SERP Analyzer queries per day with 500+ factors analyzed
  • True Density
  • Google Bot screenshots and page screen metrics
  • 100 Content Editor queries per month as well as shareable links for external writers
  • 100 Backlink and Visibility Reports queries per day
  • Live chat support
  • Personal walkthroughs, on-demand.

Business

The Business Package is priced at $199mo/$1990yr

It comes with:

  • 150 NLP Analysis per month
  • 100 SERP Analyzer queries per day with 500+ factors analyzed
  • True Density
  • Google Bot screenshots and page screen metrics
  • 300 Content Editor queries per month as well as shareable links for external writers
  • 300 Backlink and Visibility Reports queries per day
  • Live chat support
  • Personal walkthroughs, on-demand.

Business+

The Business+ Package is priced at $650mo/$6500yr

It comes with:

  • 500 NLP Analysis per month and 300 SERP Analyzer queries per day with 500+ factors analyzed
  • True Density
  • Google Bot screenshots and page screen metrics
  • 1,000 Content Editor queries per month as well as shareable links for external writers
  • 600 Backlink and Visibility Reports queries per day
  • Live chat support
  • Personal walkthroughs, on-demand.

Enterprise

The Enterprise choice is entirely customized to suit each business. If the above packages aren’t right for you, we recommend contacting Surfer SEO to talk about the custom choice.

Conclusion

Do I Recommend Surfer SEO?

Yes. 

The smart, engaging, and visually pleasing interface makes deciphering otherwise tedious content a breeze for both beginners and the most seasoned SEO experts.

The fun voice of the young team breathes life into stagnant data. This is something that many competitors fall short on and it’s appreciated.

It goes above and beyond by scrubbing over 40 competitors, giving you more data and keywords to work with.

There are so many pricing options that you can start small and scale up as you scale your content and your business.

While there are a few challenges with keyword difficulty, the platform will help with other factors of technical SEO to get around those issues.

Finally, for a $1 seven-day trial of the basic package (which again, doesn’t auto-charge), what do you have to lose?

Surfer SEO tool may just be the hero you are looking for if you are looking to optimize your brand’s content.