Are you tired of lagging behind your competitors in the search results? Are you sick of spending hours creating content only to find out that nobody bothers to read it? How would you like to find secret high-value keywords that your competition doesn’t even know about?

Ahrefs + Surfer = SEO dream team

Listen to Rodney gush about his love for both Surfer SEO and Ahrefs.

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Rodney Warner

@connectivewebdesign If you could only use two pieces of software for SEO what would they be? #seo #searchengineoptimization #smallbusinessowner #copywritingtips ♬ Lo-Fi – Lo-Fi Beats

If you answered “Yes!” to any of those questions, I’m here to help with this guide to Surfer SEO vs. Ahrefs. If you’re planning the content strategy for your website, these are the two tools you can’t do without. They can answer some important SEO questions, such as:

  • Is that keyword trending or just another fad?
  • Why is my competitor outranking me?
  • Where did those new backlinks come from?
  • Is my SEO strategy working?

It’s kind of like having your own team of SEO experts advising you every step of the way.

Ready to learn more about Ahrefs and Surfer SEO? Let’s jump right in.

Is Surfer SEO or Ahrefs Better?

I know you’re asking, “Surfer SEO vs. Ahrefs: Which one do I pick?”

Surfer SEO and Ahrefs both come packed with features that make planning your SEO content strategy a breeze. That’s why choosing one over the other can be so difficult.

Both of these tools are awesome in their own way. Surfer SEO boasts a sleek, user-friendly platform and implements more than 500 ranking factors to help you optimize your content. Ahrefs is excellent at uncovering keywords and offers an impressive collection of learning material for anyone new to the SEO game.

My recommendation is to get both of them if you can. Sure, you’ll be fine with just one or the other, but if you really want to take your strategy to the next level, you can’t go wrong with both Surfer SEO and Ahrefs as part of your toolkit.

Without further ado, here are the key features of Surfer SEO:

  • Keyword Research
  • Content Planner
  • Content Editor
  • SERP Analyzer
  • Audit

And in the other corner, we have Ahrefs, which offers:

  • Keyword Explorer
  • Site Explorer
  • Content Explorer
  • Rank Tracker
  • Site Audit

They’re both fairly similar at first glance, but they’re different. If you want to create new SEO-optimized content for your website or blog, Surfer SEO is your best bet. On the other hand, if analyzing existing website content and backlink authority is your number-one goal, go with Ahrefs.

But honestly, you should use both. You’ll cover all your bases that way.

Is Surfer SEO or Ahrefs Better

Surfer SEO Overview

Surfer SEO’s main claim to fame is its on-page optimization functionality. It’s easy to use, too, even if you have no prior experience working with tools like these. Everything is broken down into plain English, so you’re never confused about how to structure your content or what keywords to use.

Let’s take a look at some of the best features of Surfer SEO.

Keyword Research

Coming up with your own keywords can be tough. Trust me; I’ve been there.

With Surfer SEO, all you need to do is enter your main keyword, and you’ll get a list of related keywords and their monthly search volume.

For instance, let’s say your main keyword is “electric scooters.” Surfer SEO might give you keywords such as “electric scooter reviews,” “best electric scooter for riding to work,” and so on.

This tool gives you the monthly search volume for each keyword, so there’s no risk of creating content for a term that’s going to do badly because no one’s searching for it.

Surfer SEO also has a free Chrome extension that lets you see a keyword’s search volume on Google. It’s a handy way to do keyword research without needing to leave your browser.

Content Planner

Just enter any keyword into the Content Planner, and Surfer SEO will spit out clusters of related terms that you can build your content strategy around.

But that’s not all it does. Connect your domain to Surfer SEO, and the Content Planner will show you missing keywords and the difficulty you’ll have ranking for them. This can help you find areas of your website that need improvement.

Content Editor

The Content Editor helps you plan articles based on groups of keywords. Start with your focus keyword, and you’ll get related keywords that can improve your content’s ability to rank well in search results.

Surfer SEO will even give you Natural Language Processing (NLP) keywords. These keywords recognize the intent and sentiment of users and sound as if an actual human wrote them.

This tool checks your content for missing keywords and provides suggestions as you write. The more suggested keywords you add, the higher your Content Score will be.

Surfer SEO also provides you with an outline to follow, questions to answer in your content, headings to include, a suggested word count based on the topic, and more.

SERP Analyzer

The Surfer SEO SERP Analyzer is your ticket to in-depth competitor research. Surfer SEO will show you which competitors are at the top of the search results for your chosen keyword.

You’ll be able to see your competitors’ backlink analysis and how their sites are optimized. Once you know that, you can craft content that’s even better and more likely to outrank the competition in the search results.


Website audits take a ton of time, and almost no one looks forward to doing them. Still, if your content isn’t ranking the way you think it should, performing an audit will help you figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it.

The Audit tool automates all of those boring tasks for you. The tool checks your internal links, looks for missing backlinks, and gives you a content score with actionable steps you can take for improvement.

The Audit tool also:

  • Analyzes on-page ranking factors and content structure
  • Lets you compare your content with that of your competitors
  • Find keywords your pages are missing
  • Shows you linking opportunities you may not have considered

Analyzing the data

Ahrefs Overview

If you love sifting through piles of data to help you put together the best possible content strategy, Ahrefs is for you. This software gives you all the info you could ever want when it comes to keywords, links, content optimization, and more.

Keyword Explorer

While Surfer SEO does an admirable job at finding new keywords, Ahrefs is even more powerful. It allows you to find keywords in more than 100 languages—very helpful if you’re making content for different geographic markets.

You can use this tool to see how many users are clicking on keywords broken down by paid and organic search. On top of that, you’ll see the cost per click, which is useful if you’re planning a PPC ad campaign.

Keyword Explorer also gives you suggestions from ten different search engines, including Amazon, Bing, Google, YouTube, and Baidu.

Site Explorer

The Ahrefs Site Explorer is fairly similar to Surfer SEO’s SERP Analyzer tool. It lets you see which topics your users are searching for and how well competitors are ranking for your desired keywords.

Site Explorer also has a backlink checker that shows you whether you have high-quality backlinks coming from high-authority sources or not. Why is this important? Because when it comes to backlinks, Google favors quality, not quantity.

If you’ve been buying backlinks from a link farm because you think it’ll help you rank faster, think again. Google hates low-quality links like these.

In the best-case scenario, Google will simply ignore your backlinks, which means they’ll have no effect on your ranking. But if Google wants to, it can also slap your site with a manual penalty that lowers its position in the search results.

That’s why Site Explorer is so useful. It tells you at a glance which backlinks are worth keeping and which you ought to replace.

Rank Tracker

This handy tool lets you compare your site’s performance with your competitor’s rankings over time. It’s also great for checking organic traffic because it tells you where your visitors are coming from. You can get performance results in 170 countries for both desktop and mobile websites.

All you need to do is enter a few keywords, your competitor’s URLs, and the geographic location you want to check performance for. You can set the tool to send you SEO reports daily, weekly, or monthly, whichever suits your content strategy best.

Content Explorer

Content Explorer enables you to find new content for your website or marketing campaign. Think of it as a search engine for internet marketers. It pulls data from 11 billion web pages and discovers 40 million new pages every 24 hours, which makes it one of the most comprehensive information sources out of any SEO tool on the market.

Just enter the keywords you’re interested in, and Content Explorer gives you a list of related sites, their page traffic, traffic value, referring domains, and domain rating.

You’ll also see social shares or the number of times a page was shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media channels. If you find a page that users shared hundreds of times on social media, pay attention to the site’s content strategy and try emulating it yourself.

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How to Use Surfer SEO and Ahrefs as Part of Your Content Strategy

Now that I’ve talked about how Surfer SEO and Ahrefs work, you’re likely wondering, “How can I use these tools to find my own high-value keywords, create awesome content, and beat my competition in the search results?”

Well, the truth is that it’s not Surfer SEO vs. Ahrefs… it’s Surfer SEO and Ahrefs.

1. What Are Your Competitors Up To?

Before you start creating any content, it’s important to know what your competitors are doing first. You don’t want to make a bunch of content, only to find out later that your competition is doing it better. There are many ways to keep track of and get ahead of your competitors, but Surfer SEO and Ahrefs together make one of the best teams out there.

You can use Surfer SEO’s SERP Analyzer for this, but I suggest Ahref’s Content Explorer for the sheer amount of data it gives you.

First, find a competitor website that you want to explore further. Select it, and you’ll see the following:

  • Backlink profiles
  • Pages with the most social shares
  • Organic traffic and keyword rankings
  • PPC keywords that your competitor is bidding on

You can use this information to:

2. How Healthy is Your Website?

Ahrefs and Surfer SEO come with auditing tools that check your website for SEO issues and give recommendations on how to fix them. Both tools are excellent, so you can use either for this job.

Make sure not to skip this part. If your site is committing deadly SEO sins, there’s no point in making new content until you figure out what’s wrong.

These audit tools will tell you if you’ve got broken links, image problems, error codes, and other problems with your content which are perfect for letting you know when to update your existing content or if your website is in need of maintenance. Surfer SEO also lets you compare your site’s performance with competitors if you’re curious how you stack up against them.

3. Find Keywords to Target

For this step, you can use Surfer SEO’s Keyword Research tool or Ahref’s Keyword Explorer. Surfer SEO is fine if you need quick keyword ideas. If you’d like to do even more in-depth research, try Ahrefs. Each tool gives you different suggestions, so it’s smart to use both.

Whichever you choose, start by entering the main topic of your website (or a competitor’s keyword, if you prefer). This can be just one or two words, such as “basketball shoes” or “cooking.” You’ll get a list of related keywords and phrases. Select the ones you like best to research further.

Let’s take the basketball shoes example. Your tool might give you ideas such as “basketball shoes on sale” or “best basketball shoes for school.”

Choose a keyword, and you’ll see:

  • How hard it is to rank for
  • Monthly search volume
  • How many users clicked on the term
  • Organic vs. paid traffic
  • Cost per click

Now you can decide if a keyword is worth pursuing or not. Choose keywords with a healthy search volume and a low-to-medium keyword difficulty score for best results.

4. Create Your Content

You’ve got your keywords; now it’s time to start writing. For this step, I recommend Surfer SEO’s Content Editor. It allows you to optimize content for up to 20 keywords of your choice, but how many keywords you should optimize for is often up to your own discretion.

Pay attention to the Outline Builder on the right side of the dashboard. Here, you’ll see suggested titles and headings that you can use to structure your article.

Content Editor also tells you how many words, paragraphs, and images you should aim for. Your content score will go up or down as you write. Aim for a score between 70 and 100 to have the best chance of ranking highly for your keywords.

When you’re done writing, all that’s left to do is publish. Easy, right?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Surfer SEO Any Good?

Surfer SEO is highly regarded for its in-depth on-page optimization capabilities, user-friendly interface, and comprehensive keyword research tools. It’s particularly useful for content creators and SEO professionals looking to optimize their web content effectively and efficiently.

How Does Surfer SEO Compare with Ahrefs in Keyword Research?

While Surfer SEO offers robust keyword research and content planning tools, Ahrefs is known for its extensive database and deeper insights into keyword analytics and backlink profiles. Surfer SEO excels in user experience and simplicity, whereas Ahrefs provides more detailed data analysis.

What Makes Surfer SEO Unique in On-Page Optimization?

Surfer SEO stands out for its comprehensive analysis of over 500 ranking factors, providing actionable suggestions for content optimization. Its Content Editor tool is particularly innovative, offering real-time guidance on keyword usage, content structure, and overall SEO friendliness.

Is Surfer SEO Better Than Semrush?

Surfer SEO and Semrush cater to different aspects of SEO. Surfer SEO focuses more on on-page content optimization, while Semrush offers a broader range of features, including keyword research, site audit, and competitive analysis. The choice depends on your specific SEO needs.

What Are the Pros of Surfer SEO?

Surfer SEO’s advantages include a user-friendly interface, detailed content analysis with actionable recommendations, and efficient keyword research tools. It’s particularly beneficial for optimizing content structure and on-page SEO elements.

Can Surfer SEO Help Identify High-Value Keywords?

Yes, Surfer SEO is effective in identifying high-value keywords. It provides insights into search volume and related terms, helping users discover keywords that are not only relevant but also have the potential to drive significant traffic.

How Effective is Ahrefs in Backlink Analysis Compared to Surfer SEO?

Ahrefs is renowned for its comprehensive backlink analysis, offering extensive data on backlink profiles, link quality, and referring domains. While providing some backlink insights, Surfer SEO focuses more on content optimization, making Ahrefs the preferred choice for in-depth backlink analysis.

What Are the Key Differences in the Audit Features of Ahrefs and Surfer SEO?

Ahrefs’ Site Audit feature is more comprehensive, covering many SEO factors, including on-page elements, backlinks, and technical SEO. Surfer SEO’s Audit tool focuses more on content-related aspects, providing detailed suggestions for on-page optimization.

How Do Surfer SEO and Ahrefs Complement Each Other in SEO Strategy?

Surfer SEO and Ahrefs complement each other well; Surfer SEO excels in on-page content optimization, while Ahrefs provides extensive keyword, backlink, and competitive analysis. Using both tools together offers a well-rounded approach to SEO, covering both content and technical aspects.

Which Tool is Better for Beginners in SEO: Surfer SEO or Ahrefs?

Surfer SEO might be more approachable for beginners due to its user-friendly interface and focus on content optimization. Ahrefs, while extremely powerful, has a steeper learning curve but offers more comprehensive features for an all-around SEO strategy.

Make Ahrefs and Surfer SEO a Key Part of Your Content Strategy Today

Now that I’ve given you a detailed breakdown on Surfer SEO vs. Ahrefs, I hope you’ve got a better idea of how to use both to revamp the way you do keyword research and content creation.

If you’re really serious about keyword research and content optimization, give both a shot. You’ll see your pages outranking your competitors in no time!

Rodney Warner

Founder & CEO

As the Founder and CEO, he is the driving force behind the company’s vision, spearheading all sales and overseeing the marketing direction. His role encompasses generating big ideas, managing key accounts, and leading a dedicated team. His journey from a small town in Upstate New York to establishing a successful 7-figure marketing agency exemplifies his commitment to growth and excellence.

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