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Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: One Clear Winner | May, 2024

As a digital marketer, I use a lot of tools to make my life easier. Whilst Surfer and Ahrefs are both amazing tools, only one of the two tools gets my money each month. Why you say? Well, let’s do a deep dive so I can show you what each tool does and why theres only one clear winner.

Our Pick

Surfer SEO is my top pick

5.0

Whilst Ahrefs is amazing, Surfer SEO’s included tool suite can help you optimize any piece of content to help it rank much higher in the SERPs, which results in more $$$, more clients and a higher Domain Ranking.

Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Direct implementation with Ahrefs/SemRUSH
  • Works inside Google Docs

Cons:

  • New AI writer is pretty exxy
surfer seo vs ahrefs

Disclaimer: If you choose to purchase via my link, I may receive a small commission which helps me keep this blog running.

An Overview of Surfer SEO and Ahrefs

Surfer SEO is mainly focused on on-page SEO analysis, which helps you to use the best keywords, headings, and NLP for your post or page.

surfer seo vs ahrefs

Ahrefs, on the other hand, provides a more comprehensive suite of SEO tools, including backlink analysis, SEO site audits, keyword research, and rank tracking. Ahrefs has long been the pinnacle of SEO research tools because it helps you to do deep keyword research with just a few clicks.

ahrefs vs surfer seo

While Surfer SEO is a great tool for on-page SEO analysis, Ahrefs is a more comprehensive SEO tool that offers a range of features to dramatically improve website rankings and traffic.

Surfer SEO Pricing vs. Ahrefs Pricing

Wondering what it costs for each piece of software? Here’s a breakdown of each pricing tier from Surfer and Ahrefs:

Surfer SEO Pricing

TierPricingInclusions
➡️ LITE$29 USD per month3 Content Editor credits included
$8 per each additional Content Editor credit
ESSENTIAL$89 USD per month (best value)7 Content Editor credits included
$5 per each additional Content Editor credit
2 organization seats
All features included
➡️ADVANCED$179 USD per month25 Content Editor credits included
$3 per each additional Content Editor credit
5 organization seats
All features included
MAX$299 USD per month50 Content Editor credits included
$3 per each additional Content Editor credit
10 organization seats
All features included
All add-ons included
All the pricing options for Surfer SEO

Ahrefs Pricing

TierPricingInclusions
LiteStarts at $99SEO Dashboard
Site Explorer
Keywords Explorer
SERP comparison
Site Audit
Rank Tracker
Alerts
StandardStarts at $199Everything from the Lite plan
6 months of history
Position history chart
SERP updates
Site Explorer:
Content gap
Broken backlinks
Broken links
Outgoing links
Link intersect
Domain & country comparison
Calendar view
Content Explorer
Competitive Analysis
Alerts:
Mentions
Batch Analysis
Reports sharing
Advanced$399Everything from the Standard plan
2 years of history
Site Explorer:
Site Structure
HTML source
Site Audit:
HTTP authentication
Google Data Studio
Dashboard folders
Web Explore
Enterprise$999Everything from the Advanced plan
Unlimited history
Access management
Pay by invoice
Directory listing
Audit log
API
SSO

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Which SEO Tool Should You Choose?

Choosing between Surfer SEO and Ahrefs is really dependent on what you’re trying to achieve with your site.

Surfer SEO is great for optimizing existing content, helping you to improve your content structure, headlines, copy, and keywords based on what’s already ranking in the SERPs.

Ahrefs, on the other hand, is the better option if you’re searching for keywords to build your content around. If you’re looking to build topical authority on a certain niche (dogs, or vegan recipes for example), Ahrefs has all the tools you’ll need to check your competitors.

Luke

Ahrefs, on the other hand, is the better option if you’re searching for keywords to build your content around. If you’re looking to build topical authority on a certain niche (dogs, or vegan recipes for example), Ahrefs has all the tools you’ll need to check your competitors.

Surfer SEO offers a more affordable pricing model (that was recently updated in May 2023) and is more focused on ‘on-page optimization’, but Ahrefs provides a more comprehensive suite of SEO tools, including backlink analysis, SEO site audits, and rank tracking.

The real power comes from using the two tools together. Doing your keyword research with Ahrefs, creating a cluster of keywords, finding a topic you want to write about, and then optimizing that content using Surfer SEO.

Here’s a 5 step simple strategy to use the two together:

  1. Jump into Ahrefs, enter your seed keyword
  2. Drop the competition score to something you can rank for (for new sites use below 20 difficult scores)
  3. Download the list, and pick ONE keyword to write your article on
  4. Create the article inside Surfer SEO and aim for a 75-85 ranking
  5. Upload to WordPress and spend time improving the layout and article layout.

This will give you the absolute best shot at ranking #1 in the search engines.

Surfer SEO Main Features

There’s a heap of functionality built into Surfer SEO, but I thought I’d provide you with the 3 main features I use most days:

  1. Content Editor: This feature analyzes the content of a page and provides recommendations for improving its on-page optimization. This includes suggestions for optimizing the title tag, meta description, and headings, as well as recommendations for adding or removing content to improve the page’s relevance and authority.
  2. SERP Analyzer: This feature analyzes the top-ranking pages for a given keyword and provides insights into their on-page optimization. This includes data on average word count, keyword density, and use of partial match keywords, as well as insights into backlink profiles and other ranking factors. A great way to see what organic traffic a site is getting.
  3. Keyword Research: Surfer SEO provides a suite of keyword research tools to help users identify the best keywords to target for your website. This includes a keyword research tool, a content planner, and a tool for analyzing search intent to ensure that the content created is relevant and valuable to users. 

    Although the keyword research tool is built in, I still recommend sticking with lowfruits.io or ahrefs as they provide far more detail and opportunities to help you plan your SEO strategies.
keyword research in surfer seo

Ahrefs For Keyword Research

Understanding the best method of finding keywords for your site is an integral part of the growth and success of your site. Here’s my method for finding the best low-competition keywords with Ahrefs:

  • Start by logging into your Ahrefs account and navigating to the Keywords Explorer tool.
  • Enter a seed keyword or phrase related to your niche or topic into the search box. (“best Bluetooth speaker”) This will generate a list of keyword ideas that you can use to optimize your content.
  • Review the list of keyword ideas generated by Ahrefs. The tool will provide you with a range of data, including search volume, keyword difficulty, and other metrics that can help you determine which keywords are worth targeting.
  • Use the filters in Ahrefs to refine your keyword list. You can filter by search volume, keyword difficulty, and other factors to find the best keywords for your content. I generally start with keyword difficulty, because I can filter down to 0-10 DA/DR.
  • Once you have identified the best keywords for your content, you can use them to optimize your website, blog posts, and other content. It’s a good idea to include your target keywords in your page titles, meta descriptions, and throughout the body of your content. (Something like websitename.com/blog/best-bluetooth-speaker)
  • Monitor your keyword rankings using Ahrefs to track your progress over time. This will help you identify areas where you need to improve your content and optimize your keyword strategy.

Remember to keep an eye on the keywords you’re ranking for, you’ll often find new little gems that are bringing traffic to your site. When that happens, update your posts with new headings/copy to make them rank even higher.

Surfer SEO Content Editor

The Surfer SEO Content Editor is where you’ll spend most of your time a tool once you get started with the tool. Here’s how I use it:

  1. Enter the target keyword: To use the Content Editor, start by entering the target keyword for the page you want to optimize.
  2. Analyze the content: The tool will then analyze the content of the page and compare it to the top-ranking pages for the target keyword. It will look at factors such as word count, keyword density, and use of partial match keywords.
  3. Review the recommendations: Based on the analysis, the tool will provide recommendations for improving the page’s on-page optimization. This may include suggestions for optimizing the title tag, meta description, and headings, as well as recommendations for adding or removing content to improve the page’s relevance and authority.
  4. Implement the changes: Once you have reviewed the recommendations, you can implement the changes to your page to improve its on-page optimization and increase its chances of ranking higher in search results.
surfer seo content score

Most of the time, you’ll want to aim for a 60-70% score. Although it’s tempting to go for that 90-100%, often this can result in keyword stuffing. I typically don’t aim for perfection with my content.

Just enough to make Google happy and make the content feel natural. Be sure to check your competitor’s content ranking – if they have a 60% score, go that little bit extra to try and rank higher.

SERP Analyzer

When someone refers to the SERPs, what they’re actually referring to is the search engine ranking positions. Or, put simply, where someone’s website shows up on Google/Bing.

By checking a website’s search engine rankings for your chosen keyword you can get valuable insights into what Google expects to see in your article.

Here’s the best way to use Surfer SEO’s SERP Analyzer tool:

  1. Log in to your Surfer SEO account and navigate to the SERP Analyzer tool.
  2. Enter the keyword you want to analyze and select the location you want to analyze the results for. You can also choose to analyze the results for mobile or desktop devices.
  3. Click on “Analyze” to generate the results.
  4. Review the results to see how the top-ranking pages for your target keyword are optimized. You can see data on factors such as average word count, keyword density, and use of partial match keywords.
  5. Use the insights from the SERP Analyzer to optimize your own content for the target keyword. For example, if the top-ranking pages have a high average word count, you may want to add more content to your own page to improve its relevance and authority.
  6. Repeat the process for other target keywords to ensure that your content is optimized for a range of relevant search terms.

Can I use Surfer SEO and Ahrefs Together?

If it’s within your budget, use both Ahrefs (or SemRUSH) together with Surfer SEO to find low hanging keywords with well optimized content. This strategy has worked for years and continues to work well.

Yes! In fact, if you have the budget for both tools, I highly recommend it! The best strategy to use Ahrefs and SurferSEO together is to combine the strengths of each tool to create a comprehensive SEO strategy. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Use Ahrefs to identify keywords and backlink opportunities: Ahrefs is a powerful tool for keyword research and backlink analysis. Use it to identify keywords that are relevant to your business and have high search volume, and to find opportunities to build high-quality backlinks to your website.
  2. Use SurferSEO to optimize your content: SurferSEO is focused on on-page optimization and can help you improve your content to better match the user’s intent, as well as the search engine’s algorithm. Use it to analyze your content and compare it to the top-ranking pages to identify areas for improvement.
  3. Combine data from both tools to make data-driven decisions: By using data from both Ahrefs and SurferSEO, you can make more informed decisions about your SEO strategy. For example, you can use Ahrefs to identify high-volume keywords and then use SurferSEO to optimize your content for those keywords.
  4. Use both tools to monitor your website’s performance: Both Ahrefs and SurferSEO provide tools for monitoring your website’s search engine rankings and performance. Use them to track your progress over time and make adjustments to your strategy as needed. If you notice a cluster of keywords doing well, adjust your content to answer that query.

By combining the strengths of each tool, you can improve your website’s search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your site.

TIP: Connect SurferSEO with Google Search Console to get accurate data about your site’s keyword rankings and Click Through Rates.

surfer seo with ahrefs
Some healthy grow from using Ahrefs & Surfer SEO together

Ahrefs Site Explorer

Ahrefs Site Explorer is an awesome tool. I use it regularly to find what keywords my competitors are ranking for and new potential low-hanging keyword opportunities. It also allows me to analyze a website’s backlink profile and organic search traffic.

It works by crawling the web and collecting data on websites and their backlinks. The tool then analyzes the data and provides users with information on a website’s organic search traffic, including the keywords it ranks for and the pages that bring the most traffic.

ahrefs site explorer
How Domain Rankings Work for Ahrefs

Ahrefs vs Surfer SEO: Comparison with Other Search Engine Optimization Tools (Semrush, Moz, Mangools)

Ahrefs, Mangools, Moz, and SEMrush are all popular SEO tools that offer a range of features to improve website rankings. It’s not uncommon for digital marketing agencies to use 2 or 3 of these tools for their SEO research.

While there is some overlap, each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Ahrefs is probably best known for its comprehensive backlink analysis tools, while Mangools is more affordable and a little bit easier to use. Moz is a great tool for keyword research and on-page optimization, and SEMrush is known for its comprehensive suite of SEO tools, including keyword research, site audits, and rank tracking.

semrush vs ahrefs

SEMrush is the closest option to Ahrefs and it offers very similar tools. Personally, I still think Ahrefs has a slight edge in terms of usability and I find it rolls out helpful new updates more regularly.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

This is where the magic happens! ✨

Keywords are the fuel that drives the SERPs, and finding the right keywords makes all the difference when it comes to blog growth and revenue.

To use the Keyword Explorer effectively, you need to start by entering a seed keyword or phrase related to your chosen topic. For example, you might enter “best iPhone cover”.

The tool will then generate a list of related keywords along with important metrics such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and click-through rate. You then have the option to refine results by using filters such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and the number of words in the keyword phrase.

ahrefs keyword explorer
Check Ahrefs Organic Keywords for hidden gems you can rank for.

It’s also important to analyze the competition for each keyword and look for opportunities to target less competitive keywords.

Additionally, the Content Gap feature identifies keywords your competitors are ranking for but are not, and identifies opportunities to create new content. If you’re going after topical authority and you have direct competitors, this is a good one to pay attention to.

It’s worth keeping an eye on the trends and search volume of your ideal target keywords over time to ensure they continue to be relevant and effective. (This is for large growing blogs).

Ahrefs Rank Tracker

Alrighttttyyyy. The rank tracker in Ahrefs is sweet. Basically, it allows you to monitor their website’s Google rankings across desktop and mobile devices. It is a great way to see if the optimizations you’ve made to your on-page SEO are actually working.

To use the tool, users manually input or import a list of keywords and add multiple countries per keyword, as well as the URLs of their competitors.

Ahrefs will then start tracking data and send regular updates.

The Rank Tracker also provides information on the number of keywords that have improved or declined in rankings since the last update, as well as the search volume for the top keyword in the target country.

I often use this to see what hidden gem keywords I’m ranking for so I can go back and update my post with new headings/content.

Hot tip: Check your rankings in Ahrefs regularly. If you find some keywords that you’re ranking for, go back and update your post with improved content to answer that query. You’ll see a nice boost by doing so!

You can also automate their ranking reports and receive regular email updates. I’ve used SerpFox and other keyword tools to track rankings, but Ahrefs is the best option if you run an agency or manage multiple websites.

Ahrefs Chrome Extension (Toolbar)

The Ahrefs Chrome extension is a free tool that allows users to access valuable SEO data about the pages and websites they visit directly from their browsers.

ahrefs seo tool bar from chrome

Here’s how it works:

  1. Install the extension: To use the Ahrefs Chrome extension, start by installing it from the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Visit a web page: Once the extension is installed, you can visit any web page in your browser.
  3. Click on the extension icon: While on the web page, click on the Ahrefs extension icon in your browser toolbar.
  4. View the data: The extension will then provide you with a range of SEO data about the page, including information on the number and quality of backlinks, organic search traffic, and top-performing pages.

    You can also view data on the page’s on-page optimization, including the title tag, meta description, and headings.

A Great Chrome Replacement

P.S. I’m currently using ARC as my Chrome replacement browser if you want to check my review. (You can still install both the Ahrefs & Surfer SEO Chrome plugins in ARC)

Surfer SEO WordPress Chrome Extension

The Surfer SEO WordPress plugin allows you to export content directly from the Surfer Content Editor directly to WordPress posts.

surfer seo chrome extension

Here’s how it works:

Surfer SEO provides a suite of keyword research tools to help users identify the best keywords to target for your website. This includes a keyword research tool, a content planner, and a tool for analyzing search intent to ensure that the content created is relevant and valuable to users. 

  1. Install the plugin: To use the Surfer SEO WordPress plugin, start by installing it from the WordPress plugin repository.
  2. Open the Content Editor: Once the plugin is installed, open the Surfer Content Editor and create or edit a piece of content that you want to export to WordPress.
  3. Export the content: In the Content Editor, click on the “Export” button and select “WordPress” from the dropdown menu. You can then choose to export the content to an existing WordPress post or create a new draft.
  4. Edit the content in WordPress: Once the content is exported, you can edit it further in the WordPress editor and publish it to your website.

The Surfer SEO WordPress plugin also allows users to add images in the Content Editor and have them move seamlessly to the WordPress media folder and be attached in the correct place in the article you are working on. 

Any headings, lists, quotes or HTML code will seamlessly migrate to WordPress too. Big time saver!

Ahrefs Vs Surfer SEO: Which one is right for you?

Personally, I think most bloggers and niche sites will benefit more from improving their on-page SEO. Yes, of course – finding keywords to write about is paramount to any blog’s success, and if you have the budget, I’d strongly suggest you use both Surfer SEO and Ahrefs.

However, the reality is, new bloggers wanting to grow their sites don’t have $160+ to spend on tools each month.

If that’s you, I’d recommend you consider picking up Surfer SEO and something like LowFruits as or SemRUSH/SE Ranking an alternative to Ahrefs.

LowFruits can also help you find hidden keyword opportunities to help you grow your site and it has more affordable options available.

I’ve personally seen the most blog growth by focusing on improving my on page SEO and making my content more engaging. I hope you found this guide helpful!

Our Pick
surfer seo vs ahrefs

Surfer SEO Delivers!

5.0

Optimized content ranks higher in Google. Surfer SEO helps you find LSI semantic keywords. If your content isn’t ranking high in the SERPS, Surfer SEO can help you fix that problem.

Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Best On Page SEO tool
  • Built in AI
  • Works with Google Docs
  • Boost Google rankings

Cons:

  • AI Content Writer is exxy

FAQs

Is Ahrefs worth it?

Yes! Ahrefs is the gold standard for keyword research, rank tracking and competitor research. If climbing the SERPs is your main priority, Ahrefs is worth the asking price.

SE Ranking vs Ahrefs – Which is better?

Great question! SE Ranking is a new and emerging keyword research tool that offers a lot of the tools built into Ahrefs. It also offers a cheaper entry price at $49 a month, making it more affordable. However, Ahref has a long track record for being the gold standard for keyword research.

What is a good Ahrefs rank?

Your Ahrefs rank is made up of many factors, but a website with a domain ranking of 30+ is considered good by many website authorities.

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