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Surfer SEO vs. Ahrefs – Detailed Comparison (2024)

Last Updated Dec 21, 2023

Alekh Shah
Written By Alekh Shah

In the highly competitive world of digital marketing, having the right SEO tool can make all the difference in the marketing success of your online ventures.

Surfer SEO and Ahrefs are two leading SEO tools competing for supremacy in the digital marketing arena. 

We’ll explore their features, strengths, and weaknesses, focusing on keyword research, competitor analysis, on-page optimization, and backlink audit insights. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or new to SEO, this concise analysis will provide the clarity you need.

Surfer SEO’s keyword research capabilities might not be as robust as Ahrefs, while Ahrefs may not offer the same level of on-page optimization insights as Surfer SEO.

By the end, you’ll have a better grasp of whether Surfer SEO or Ahrefs aligns with your goals and enables you to optimize your online presence effectively.

Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO is a comprehensive search engine optimization tool designed to help website owners and digital marketers improve their on-page SEO efforts. It offers data-driven insights and recommendations to optimize content for specific keywords and ranks higher in search engine results. 

The platform provides detailed analysis of top-ranking pages for a given keyword, helping users understand the elements and structure needed for their content to perform well.

Here are some of the tools and features of Surfer SEO:

  • SERP Analyzer: Analyzes the top 100 search results for a keyword, offering insights into high-ranking content’s word count, keyword density, and on-page factors.
  • Content Editor: Optimizes your content for SEO with suggestions on improving word count, keyword density, and readability.
  • Keyword Research: Find the best keywords to target by providing data on search volume, competition, and other key factors.
  • SEO Audit: Identifies SEO issues on your website and offers solutions like fixing broken links, optimizing title tags, and adding alt text to images.
  • Content Planner: Helps plan your content strategy by providing information on trending topics, popular keywords, and high-performing content.
  • White Labeling: Allows rebranding of Surfer SEO to match your brand, ideal for SEO agencies and personal branding.
  • SEO Checker: Assesses your website’s SEO health, offering a scorecard and improvement recommendations.

The Process

Here is the complete process of using Surfer SEO to improve your website’s SEO performance for the keyword “digital marketing,” including staying updated on the latest digital marketing trends:

  • Sign up for a Surfer SEO account. 
  • In the Surfer SEO dashboard, enter the keyword “benefits of playing golf” in the Keyword Research tool.
  • Click Create Keyword Research.
  • Further on click on the keyword tab below.
  • Surfer SEO will analyze the top-ranking pages for the keyword “benefits of playing golf” and create a topical cluster of related keywords.
  • You can sort and filter your search results on various grounds like “most relevant”, “search volume”, and “difficulty”.
  • You can easily check the keyword difficulty and monthly search volume for the keywords.
  • The topical cluster will include the main keyword, “benefits of playing golf”, as well as secondary keywords that are closely related, such as “playing golf benefits”.
  • Considering the range of keywords you want to use on your website, you can select the required keywords and move to the Content Creator Tool.
  • The Surfer SEO’s Content Editor Page can be used to create a content outline for each keyword. 
  • With the “Insert Outline” button, you can get outlines based on all the keywords you selected.
  • The Content Planner tool will provide recommendations for the length, structure, images, and keyword density of your content.
  • From the “Setting” option, you can see a list of your top organic competitors. 
  • Check the details of their content structure and pattern.
  • Use the “topics and questions” section to get ideas about the content you want to write.
  • Write and publish your content. You can also use the Content AI tool to do so.

Use Surfer SEO’s Audit tool to track your progress and make sure that your content is still optimized for search engines


Ahrefs is a powerful all-in-one SEO toolset that covers a wide range of functionalities for digital marketers and SEO professionals. It primarily focuses on backlink analysis, providing comprehensive data on websites’ link profiles, including the number of backlinks, referring domains, and their quality. This data helps users identify potential link-building opportunities and monitor the backlink health of their own websites.

Ahrefs equips you with the tools you need to excel in the ever-competitive world of search engine optimization.

  • Keyword Explorer: Find the best keywords for your content with accurate search volume data and keyword difficulty scores, utilizing options from Top Free Keyword Research Tools. Discover related keyword ideas and analyze their potential traffic and competition.
  • Content Explorer: Create Content That Resonates. Explore content gaps and trending topics to stay ahead of your competitors.
  • Rank Tracker: Track your keyword rankings over time and measure your progress in search engine results. Receive alerts for any significant changes in your rankings to stay on top of your SEO game.
  • Site Audit: Identify and fix technical SEO issues that may be hindering your website’s performance. Improve your website’s crawl ability, indexability, and overall search engine visibility.
  • Backlink Analysis: Analyze your backlink profile to assess the quality and authority of linking domains. Identify and disavow toxic backlinks that may negatively impact your website’s rankings.
  • Competitor Analysis: Compare your website’s performance with competitors and identify areas for improvement. Learn from your competitors’ strategies and uncover valuable opportunities for growth.
  • SEO Toolbar: Get instant SEO metrics for any web page you visit, including domain authority, backlinks, and organic search traffic. Access essential SEO data while browsing the internet to make informed decisions.

The Process

Here is the complete process of using Ahrefs to improve your website’s SEO performance for the keyword “digital marketing”:

Sign up for an Ahrefs account. In the Ahrefs dashboard, enter the keyword “digital marketing” in the Keyword Explorer tool.

Defensive Driving Techniques

  • Click Search
  • Ahrefs will show you a list of keywords related to “digital marketing”, along with their search volume, difficulty, and other metrics.
  • Review the list of keywords and identify the ones that you want to target for your website.
  • Use Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for that you are not. Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool will show you a list of keywords that your competitors are ranking for that you are not. This can help you to identify new opportunities to improve your SEO performance.
  • Enter Your Competitor URL and Clink on the Show Keywords. After that, you will get a Keywords List.
  • Use Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool to identify any SEO issues on your website that could be affecting your rankings. Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool will scan your website for any SEO issues affecting your rankings. This includes issues with your on-page SEO, your off-page SEO, and your technical SEO.
  • Use Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker tool to track your progress and make sure that your content is ranking for the keywords that you are targeting.

Which One Is Better?

It depends on your specific SEO goals and budget. If you’re looking for a tool that can help you with on-page optimization, Surfer SEO is a great option. It’s easy to use and provides actionable insights that can help you improve your content and boost your rankings. 

However, if you need a more comprehensive SEO tool with features like backlink analysis and competitor analysis, then Ahrefs is a better choice. 

It’s more expensive than Surfer SEO, but it offers a wider range of features to help you with all aspects of your SEO strategy.

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between Surfer SEO and Ahrefs:

Feature Surfer SEO Ahrefs
Keyword research Provides data-driven insights on search volume, keyword difficulty, and related keyword suggestions Offers comprehensive keyword research with accurate search volume data, keyword difficulty scores, and advanced filtering options for targeted keyword discovery
Content analysis Analyzes top-ranking pages for specific keywords and provides data-backed recommendations on content length, keyword usage, and semantically related terms Does not provide content analysis to the same extent as Surfer SEO, but does offer insights into top-performing pages and keyword usage to guide content creation
Backlink analysis Limited focus on backlink analysis, primarily emphasizing on-page SEO optimization rather than comprehensive backlink insights Renowned for its extensive backlink database, providing detailed information on referring domains, anchor text distribution, and competitor backlink profiles
Competitor analysis Offers competitor analysis with insights into top-performing pages and their on-page optimization strategies Excels in competitor analysis, offering a comprehensive view of competitor backlink profiles, top-ranking pages, and organic/paid search keywords
User interface User-friendly interface that is accessible to users of all skill levels Intuitive interface that provides easy navigation and quick access to valuable SEO data
Rank tracking Does not offer built-in rank-tracking capabilities Includes rank tracking functionality, allowing users to monitor keyword rankings over time and assess SEO performance
Pricing Offers different pricing plans based on usage and features, making it relatively affordable for businesses of all sizes Considered a premium SEO tool with higher pricing, which may be a consideration for smaller businesses with budget constraints

Surfer SEO: The On-Page SEO Specialist

Surfer SEO is a great choice for businesses that want to improve their on-page SEO. The platform’s AI-powered content editor provides data-driven insights on content length, keyword usage, and semantically related terms. This information can help you create content that is more likely to rank well in search results.

Surfer SEO also offers competitor analysis and content audit features. These features can help you identify areas where your content can be improved and benchmark your performance against your competitors.

Ahrefs: The All-in-One SEO Suite

Ahrefs is a more comprehensive SEO tool than Surfer SEO. It offers a wide range of features, including keyword research, backlink analysis, competitor research, and rank tracking. 

This makes Ahrefs a good choice for businesses that need a tool to help them with all aspects of their SEO strategy.

Ahrefs’ backlink analysis is particularly powerful, including its ability to utilize tools like how to Spy Competitor Backlinks. The platform has a massive backlink database, and it offers a variety of features that can help you identify and analyze backlinks, both from your competitors and your own website. This information can be used to improve your own backlink profile and to identify opportunities to build backlinks to your website.

Which Tool is Right for You?

If you’re looking for a tool to help you with on-page SEO, Surfer SEO is a great option. It’s easy to use and provides actionable insights that can help you improve your content and boost your rankings.

However, if you need a more comprehensive SEO tool with features like backlink analysis and competitor research, Ahrefs is a better choice. It’s more expensive than Surfer SEO, but it offers a wider range of features to help you with all aspects of your SEO strategy.

Ultimately, the best way to decide which tool is right for you is to try both of them out and see which one you prefer. Both Surfer SEO and Ahrefs offer free trials so that you can test them out without any risk.

With over a decade of experience in the digital marketing landscape, Alekh has driven exponential growth for global Fortune 500 brands. He has led dynamic, results-oriented teams to acquire customers across digital channels. He develops strategies that deliver tangible business results. His expertise spans digital marketing, branding, organic growth, partnerships, and campaign management. He stays ahead of emerging marketing trends and technologies.

Best Marketing tools  2024