Surfer SEO Review

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Surfer SEO is one of the leading search engine optimization tools around. Thousands of bloggers and writers are currently using it in over 140 countries.

This SEO tool helps users propel their web pages to the top of search results to increase site traffic. If you’re planning to use it, this Surfer SEO review can give you an in-depth analysis of its features.

Surfer SEO Overview

If you want the gist, check out this quick summary:

How does it work?

Surfer uses correlational search engine optimization by analyzing the top-performing pages to determine how you can rank higher in search engines.

Who is it for?

This platform is useful for:

  • Bloggers
  • Small-business owners
  • SEO specialists for big enterprises
  • Anyone who wants to post content online

What Are Its Key Features?

Surfer has the following component attributes:

  • Content Editor
  • Content Planner
  • SEO Auditor
  • SERP Analyzer
  • Keyword Research Tool
  • Keyword Surfer


  • All-in-one SEO tool
  • Insightful user interface
  • Superb content editor


  • SERP analyzer can’t sort according to relevance
  • Keyword research tool needs fine-tuning

What Will Surfer Cost You?

We’re happy to let you know that Surfer has a free version. However, you might want to check out the following packages for more features:

  • Basic – $59 per month
  • Pro – $99 per month
  • Business – $199 per month

What Are Your Alternatives?

Suppose you want to look at other options or compare Surfer with other leading platforms. Don’t forget to check out the following alternatives:

  • Frase
  • Page Optimizer Pro
  • Clearscope

Surfer SEO Review

Surfer SEO started with five people – friends from different fields with one mission in mind. They want to democratize search engine optimization (SEO) and make it easier for people to attract web traffic.

Surfer SEO’s inception was around 2017, but it underwent countless developments and revisions. The company made its first sale in 2018, and since then, Surfer SEO has catered to numerous businesses and private individuals.

The primary function of Surfer SEO is to allow you to compare your content to high-ranking search engine results pages (SERPs).

This cloud-based on-page SEO tool analyzes Google data and informs you of what you need to add to your content. Once you access such information, you can make your page rank higher in search results.

The analysis includes variables ranging from meta tags, LSI keywords, NLP, TF-IDF, images, and even Hx tags or other structural elements.

How Does Surfer SEO Work?

The keywords Surfer SEO suggests are not just words it generates randomly. There’s an entire complex process behind the success of the Surfer SEO tool.

To summarize, the Surfer SEO keyword research utilizes correlation to suggest how to improve your content.

Search engines don’t openly divulge their algorithms on how they rank pages on search results.

What Surfer SEO does is reverse engineer the ranking factors by analyzing data from the top-ranking pages.

Instead of simply giving you a vague goal such as “aim for 2,000 words on your article,” Surfer SEO gives more detailed suggestions.

The ranking factors that Surfer SEO gathers include:

  • Length of the article or the type of the page that performs best
  • Any kind of media contained on the pages
  • Additional topics covered
  • Frequently used keywords on the top-performing pages

It’s important to note that correlational SEO is not a one-way ticket to the top of the search results page.

Nonetheless, by optimizing your content to be better than the top-performing pages, you get better chances of reaching the front page of search results.

Who Is This Product For?

Surfer SEO is one of the most straightforward SEO tools available today. That’s why professionals and beginners alike will find this tool to be extremely helpful.

Generally, Surfer SEO caters to three user categories.


If you have a personal webpage and want to increase your blog post’s visibility, Surfer SEO will help you out.

It doesn’t matter if you’re unfamiliar with search engines or keyword research because this on-page SEO tool will do it for you.

Small-Business Owners

Around 69% of Americans use the internet to shop. That’s why establishing an online presence is essential to small businesses.

Surfer SEO will help you understand what customers search online by allowing you to conduct basic keyword research.

You can optimize your content and make your presence known through the Surfer platform. You can combine this with the best web hosting service for small businesses.

Doing so will significantly expand your market size and grow your business.

SEO Specialists for Big Enterprises

Those with deep knowledge of search engine optimization will still find this tool extremely useful.

Surfer SEO is so versatile that it offers numerous features for professionals such as SEO specialists and large enterprise writers.

These enterprises can avail of the Surfer SEO Pro to find other helpful elements that fit their workforce size.

What’s Included?

Right off the bat, you get a straightforward and easy-to-understand user interface upon accessing the Surfer SEO page.

The center space of the page is where you input your content. The right side of the page displays your SEO performance.

It even has a built-in SEO content measurement tool showing your current content score. This feature allows you to gauge how your content will most likely interact with search engine ranking factors.

It also displays the keywords related to your topic, your word count, and other content structure that will influence your SEO performance.

The free version allows you to use the following SEO tools:

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

Overview of the Features

Surfer SEO is simple enough that you don’t have to dive down the SEO rabbit hole to use it. Nonetheless, understanding its features will help you maximize this on-page SEO optimization tool.

So, what do each of the SEO tools we’ve mentioned above do for your content?

Content Editor

Surfer SEO Content Editor
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The Surfer SEO content editor has the basic editing and formatting tools in most word or document processing applications. It is this tool’s most used and most important feature.

First, you can write your content into the editor or paste an entire article from a different writing program.

From there, you can choose from tools such as heading formatting, text face type, text alignment, numbering, and bullet formatting. You can also use its toolbar to insert images, set hypertext links, and text highlights.

Basically, the Surfer content editor is where you will feed the platform with keywords related to the topic or content you wish to publish.

Surfer SEO then uses a data-driven analysis tool to provide helpful information about the highest ranking pages on the Google search console.

The Surfer platform uses this information to create guidelines on optimizing your piece to compete with pages that receive the most traffic.

Content Planner

Content Planner
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The content planner is the second most important feature we will cover in our Surfer SEO review. It’s basically a keyword research tool mainly used for site-building and development.

Suppose you have finished inputting a domain or a keyword. The Surfer SEO content planner will provide you with a map of keyword suggestions or clusters relevant to your main topic.

Through this, you can develop an SEO strategy for optimizing future content using other relevant topics and keywords.

SEO Audit

SEO Audit
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You can think of the SEO Audit feature as your assistant in optimizing your content. It shows pretty much everything you need to know about your current content and what it needs.

First, it displays your Content Score, which is a number between 1 to 100. It gives you an idea of what to aim for based on competitors’ page rankings.

The SEO Audit also indicates your content’s metrics, which include your current word count and the number of headings, paragraphs, and images.

Underneath each of these are Surfer’s suggested target scores. You can edit your content until you’ve reached Surfer SEO’s proposed goals.

Below the area displaying the word count are target keywords. The list shows the number of times you’ve used a target keyword and the optimal number of times you should use each.

Surfer’s SEO Audit is so comprehensive and beginner-friendly that it’s regularly included in reviews or lists of the best SEO tools.

SERP Analyzer

SERP Analyzer
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The SERP analyzer tool is one feature you’d always look for in SEO software. This tool allows you to get correlational insights about Google’s ranking factors.

The SERP analyzer helps you determine what type of content will rank higher on Google’s search results.

It also allows you to export the data from the analyzer to produce an SEO report should you need one.

The synergy of the SERP analyzer, the built-in content editor, and SEO audit makes Surfer SEO an indispensable tool for on-page auditing and analysis.

Keyword Research

Keyword Research
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Surfer’s keyword research tool is perhaps where it falls behind a bit, but it’s still valuable. It details all the keywords associated with your submitted topic on a table.

It uses three methods to rank certain keywords on top of SERP analysis and estimated search volume per month.

The first method congregates similar keywords used by the top-ranking pages using the same target keyword.

The second method includes keywords with exact terms as your target keyword.

Finally, the third method incorporates questions used by the top-ranking pages related to the target keyword.

Keyword Surfer

Keyword Surfer
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The Keyword Surfer app is a free Google Chrome extension that lets you integrate Surfer’s content editor into your browser.

This feature allows you to access valuable keyword data such as keyword ideas, search volume, and others while on a different website.

Simply put, you don’t have to be on the Surfer SEO online app to conduct SEO.

You can also use this feature in conjunction with Google Ads. The Keyword Surfer will provide you with an estimated cost per click (CPC) upon inputting a search query on the search engine.

This lets you determine what keywords are currently generating search demand. Therefore, you can build your content around the search data to enter the competition.

Surfer SEO Pricing

Before moving forward, we want to clarify that Surfer SEO is completely free to use. However, if you wish to access more advanced features, you can avail of the platform’s Basic, Pro, or Business plans.

Basic Plan

The Basic plan is the cheapest of all the Surfer SEO pricing. It’s an excellent package for small businesses that want to upgrade their SEO strategies while working on a tight budget.

This plan costs $59 per month. However, if you choose to pay annually, the monthly cost drops down to $49.20.

With the Basic plan, you’ll gain access to the following SEO tools:

  • SEO Audit – 50 queries per month
  • Content Editor – 25 queries per month
  • SERP Analyzer – 15 queries per day

Pro Plan

Surfer SEO aims its Pro plan at medium to large companies. It’s also the most popular plan offered by Surfer.

It’s almost twice as expensive as the Basic plan at $99 per month. If you choose to avail of the annual subscription, you get a discounted monthly price of $82.50.

The Pro plan lets you use the following:

  • SEO Audit – 200 queries per month
  • Content Editor – 100 queries per month
  • SERP Analyzer – 50 queries per day
  • NLP Analysis – 50 queries per month

Business Plan

Last but not least is the Business plan, which is almost twice the price of the Surfer SEO Pro. It’s an excellent option for large enterprises with multiple content writers and SEO specialists.

It costs $199 monthly, but you’d get your money’s worth if you avail of the annual subscription as it only costs $165.80 each month.

You get many more additional features with this Surfer SEO pricing:

  • SEO Audit – 600 queries per month
  • Content Editor – 300 queries per month
  • SERP Analyzer – 100 queries per day
  • NLP Analysis – 150 queries per month
  • Audit and Content Editor
  • White Labeling Report

How to Use Surfer SEO to Optimize Your Content

Surfer SEO is all you need if you want your online content to be successful. Of course, we can help you move forward with a tutorial on how to maximize the tool. 

We’ve summarized the entire content optimization process of the Surfer SEO tool in a few steps:

Step 1: Choose keywords and pick a location.

With every data-driven marketing strategy, one of the first things we need to determine is our market. When using Surfer SEO, you must first indicate your main target keyword and choose a location.

The location depends on your target audience. If your consumers are often from the US, you can choose “United States” as the location.

Surfer SEO makes it easy for you to get additional suggestions by using Google’s API. By enabling NLP parsing, you can access more word or phrase suggestions related to your keyword.

Step 2: Choose competitor pages.

This is where Surfer SEO starts to get more interesting and versatile. Upon entering your keyword, you can begin choosing competitor pages.

The Surfer SEO tool automatically includes the first five top-performing competitor pages. These will serve as the primary baseline for Surfer’s data analysis.

You can then check or uncheck multiple domains listed on the table. It’s best not to include high-authority pages or pages that aim to answer a different question than what you plan to.

Step 3: Set a word count.

Surfer SEO will then suggest the ideal word count for your content. This depends on the length of the articles on the competitor pages you’ve chosen.

The Surfer SEO content editor will allow you to adjust your target word count if you wish to do so. Nevertheless, it’s almost always better to stick with Surfer SEO’s suggested word count.

Word count is essential to content optimization. Article length and keyword density will significantly affect your content’s SEO performance.

Step 4: Use suggested keywords and key phrases.

Once you have your word count, Surfer SEO analyzes the top-performing pages and searches for keywords or phrases that match your main target keyword.

Surfer SEO will then list all of them on a table and let you choose which ones you believe you should include in your content.

Click any suggested words and phrases and press the “Add term” button to include them in your SEO Audit.

It is best to include as many relevant keywords or terms as possible to maximize your SEO strategy. Mentioning them in your content increases the likelihood of ranking higher on search engines.

On the other hand, be mindful of secondary keywords that contain your main keyword. Using too many of these may cause search engines to flag your content for over-optimization.

Step 5: Answer questions.

Surfer SEO also includes a section called “Topics and questions to answer.” In this section, you will find a list of questions that people typically ask people about your topic.

Answers to such questions may function as integral portions of your content’s outline or summary. You can try answering these questions directly and integrating them into your content.

On the other hand, you can also add an FAQ section if you’re having trouble blending the answers to your article organically.

There would be instances when the questions that directly pertain to your main keyword are scarce.

In these instances, Surfer SEO gathers similar keywords that have interesting queries. Nonetheless, you can also enter your own questions into the mix.

Step 6: Use the Notes section.

Once you have all of the above covered, you can begin writing. On the other hand, if you want to write it some other time, you can leave notes in the form of a topic outline.

The Notes section allows you to include comments or pieces of information in different parts of the content.

You can also have this ready if somebody else will write the content for you. 

Step 7: Share guidelines (if you have an editor).

After finishing the piece, you can share the content and the guidelines with your editor if you have one.

Your editor can freely access the Surfer SEO Content Editor without using your login information.

However, this will prevent them from editing the Notes section or other briefing requirements. Surfer SEO will also record the updates and the number of times the content has been edited.

On the other hand, if your team often uses Google Docs, you can use Surfer’s Google Docs Integration so that you don’t have to leave the platform.

Nonetheless, you can simply copy the content in Surfer SEO and paste it into your preferred document management software.

Step 8: Publish and monitor your content.

After finishing and polishing the content, it’s time to publish. This would obviously depend on what platform you post your content to.

You can then use the Google Search Console or any SEO tracker software to monitor your progress.

How to Optimize Existing Content with Surfer SEO

Let’s say you already have existing content, but it’s performing poorly. Can you optimize it with Surfer SEO to increase visibility and draw traffic to your site?

Yes! That’s possible. You just need to learn how to edit the content to rank higher in Google search results.

Simply follow these steps:

Step 1: Access Surfer’s audit tool.

Surfer is one of the best platforms that integrate an audit tool.

First, you need to access this audit tool. Import your content and open the “Compare with competitors” section.

Step 2: Audit against top pages.

Surfer SEO will automatically analyze the five top-performing pages based on your keyword. You can add or remove pages you don’t want to audit against by clicking the “Exclude all pages” option.

You can then manually add different web pages that have similar topics or content as yours.

After doing so, you can click on the “Audit” button.

Surfer SEO will then show you how your content fares against chosen competitors through the following factors:

  • Comparison of word count
  • Bridging the content gap through missing keywords
  • Reports of “red flags” that cause your content to perform poorly

Step 3: Examine word count.

After clicking the “Audit” button, Surfer SEO will indicate the “Actual Density,” which is the ideal length of the article based on your keyword.

If your content is longer than the actual density, it’s best to revise it to fit the word count. On the other hand, shorter content would require additional sections.

Step 4: Reduce the gap.

Surfer SEO will also show you the content gap between your output and competing websites. Content gap refers to keywords, phrases, topics, or answers to questions that your content might be missing compared to competitor sites.

You can then use the True Density tool provided by Surfer to see these missing words or topics.

Using the NLP feature will also help you find phrases that are part of the top-ranking content.

However, it’s best to optimize the length of your content first before analyzing the actual density. This is mainly because the keyword density is significantly affected by the length of your piece.

Surfer SEO will also allow you to sort the missing keywords by action. This means the missing terms that need the most attention will be shown first.

Step 5: Consider keyword placement.

One thing you need to know about SEO is that the keyword frequency does not solely determine how you will rank in search engine results.

Placing them appropriately in different parts of your content is just as important. Thankfully, Surfer SEO lets you identify opportunities for the best keyword placements.

It will inform you if you need to include the keyword in a heading, on the meta title, and in other areas of the content.

Step 6: Consider page loading speed.

Aside from keywords and content structure, page speed is another factor that Google uses to rank pages. Slower pages will not organically rank higher in search results.

Therefore, it’s best to use Page Speed Insights or other tools that help determine the loading speed of your page.

Surfer SEO lets you compare your page speed with competitors. If your content is optimized, but you’re still not in the top results, your page speed might be the reason.

Unfortunately, solving this problem requires a different software program.

On the other hand, if your webpage is built on Shopify, one of the easiest ways to improve this is to choose a faster theme.

Step 7: Optimize progressively.

In SEO, content optimization does not stop. Google regularly updates its SEO algorithm. This means ranking high in results today may not guarantee that you’re still on the top results after a few months.

That’s why you should constantly optimize your content. Always make sure that you revisit your published content and monitor its SEO performance.

If you find that you’re getting left behind, you can optimize your existing content again with Surfer SEO.

Surfer SEO Alternatives

If you’re still undecided, you should know that there are multiple Surfer SEO alternatives that you can choose from. Some of us have specific functions we’re looking for in an SEO tool. If Surfer SEO couldn’t provide that, maybe the other on-page SEO tools will.

Comparison Table of SEO Tools

SoftwareContent CreationContent PlannerContent OptimizationContent EditorKeyword ResearchCollaborationPricing
Surfer SEO✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓Free version

Paid: $$$
Frase✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓No free version
Paid: $$
Page Optimizer Pro✓✓✓✓No free version
Paid: $$$
Clearscope✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓No free version
Paid: $$$$$

1. Surfer SEO vs. Frase

Surfer SEO vs Frase
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Frase is one of the leading competitors of Surfer SEO in terms of content optimization. Initially, the company intended it to be a content creation tool. However, as content optimization became more prominent, Frase added SEO features.

Content Creation

The Frase AI is one of the strongest features of the brand. It allows you to create content with ease. Furthermore, Frase also enables you to improve your content by finding better opportunities using the Content Analytics tool.

However, Surfer SEO recently added Jasper’s AI. This feature provides you with more control over your content’s tone. You can even feed specific instructions to the AI.

Content Planner

In terms of content planning, Surfer SEO automatically researches relevant keywords and provides you with topics for future content.

On the other hand, Frase makes it easier to develop content outlines and write structured content for your next posts.

Content Optimization

Surfer SEO launched as an SEO software program – the content creation tools came later.

Because of this, it’s not surprising to find that Surfer SEO provides more in-depth reports and SEO analytics about your content.

In terms of content optimization, Frase only identifies keywords you need to include in your piece.


At first glance, Frase seems to be the victor in this area. It’s relatively more affordable, with the cheapest plan costing $19.99 per month and the highest at $114.99 monthly.

However, when you consider the features that Surfer SEO offers, you’d immediately see that Surfer gives more value for your money.

2. Surfer SEO vs. Page Optimizer Pro

Surfer SEO vs Page Optimizer Pro
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Page Optimizer Pro, or POP, is an on-page optimization tool founded by Kyle Roof, one of the leading SEO specialists in the world.

POP has been tested with more than 400 Google algorithms, and the results are promising. That’s why this software is also a reliable tool for SEO strategies.

Let’s see how it fares against Surfer SEO.

Content Optimization

Surfer SEO offers a simpler and more comprehensive content optimization tool than Page Optimizer Pro.

Moreover, Surfer SEO lets you choose up to 50 competitor pages to audit your content against. With POP, the competitor pages drop down to 10.

Keyword Research

Another advantage of Surfer SEO is that it has a keyword research tool. Page Optimizer Pro does not have one at all.

Nonetheless, POP will still show you a number of suggestions related to your main keyword. However, it does not show keyword density, difficulty, and search volume.

Lastly, both Surfer SEO and POP allow you to choose a location to optimize your content for a specific audience.

Content Editor

The Page Optimizer Pro includes a live content editor. It allows you to gather keyword suggestions for optimizing your content.

This live content editor will let you make changes to your piece. However, keep in mind that POP is only for existing content.

Surfer SEO offers this as well. The only difference is that Surfer takes the game further by allowing you to create new content on the platform.

Content Creation

One area where Page Optimizer Pro is on par with Surfer SEO is content creation.

We did mention that POP only allows you to edit existing content. However, both on-page SEO tools offer Google Chrome extension capabilities.

This means you can use Google Docs or other content editors and have either of them as plugins.


Page Optimizer Pro plans start at $22 per month. This paid plan allows you to create up to 12 white-label reports per month.

A costlier paid plan requires $44 monthly payments and lets you create unlimited reports. If white-label reports are essential to your work and you don’t want to spend more on Surfer SEO, POP is a great alternative.

However, if you need a platform where you can create SEO content instead of simply optimizing existing ones, Surfer SEO still wins.

3. Surfer SEO vs. Clearscope

Surfer SEO vs Clearscope
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Clearscope is another outstanding SEO tool mainly preferred by large companies and enterprises. It’s also one of the leading competitors of Surfer SEO.

While both are popular choices and extremely useful, they differ in quite a few areas.

Content Editor

Content editors are the selling points of any SEO tool, aside from additional features like keyword research and SERP analyzer.

Clearscope’s content editor offers a simpler interface than Surfer SEO. It also automatically translates SERP data using its built-in AI.

This provides the user with simple recommendations when writing content. One of the most significant advantages of Clearscope is its keyword research.

Surfer SEO only gathers data from the top-performing pages. Clearscope, on the other hand, includes search intent and search volume.

Clearscope then displays the guidelines and keywords on the right and left sides of the interface. It also shows the readability of your content.

It scores the readability using two metrics: report card and year.

The report card ratings are A+, A, A-, B+, and so on. On the other hand, the year ratings are Grade 12, Grade 11, Grade 10, and so on. These metrics give you a general idea of how easy it is to read and understand your content.


In terms of collaboration, Clearscope also gets the trophy. It allows you to share URLs and invite members to edit your content.

Both these tools have Google Docs and WordPress integration, but Clearscope offers reporting and task management.

Using the Content Planner tool, Clearscope users can collaborate with other team members and get updates about the content’s progress.

Surfer SEO has quite a lot of collaboration tools as well. However, Clearscope seems to get the job done easier and conveniently.


Surfer SEO offers some of its basic tools 100% free. Clearscope doesn’t.

The cheapest Clearscope plan starts at $170 per month, significantly higher than Surfer SEO’s $59 monthly plan.

However, as we’ve mentioned, Clearscope seems to target large enterprises. Surfer SEO’s biggest paid plan at $199 only allows 10 users and 70 content editors.

On the other hand, Clearscope’s Business and Enterprise plans allow unlimited users. The Business plan, which costs $1,200 per month, can accommodate up to 100 content reports.

Is Surfer SEO For You?

There’s arguably no better SEO tool out there than Surfer. It offers a wide range of features and various plans to accommodate every type of user.

The on-page SEO customization and content creation certainly make reaching the topmost page of Google search results much more manageable.

We hope that this review has been helpful to you. Be sure to visit our website for more articles, reviews, and guidelines about online growth.

Surfer SEO FAQs

1. What is a good score on Surfer SEO?

The higher the score, the better the chances are of getting to the top of the search results page. That’s why you should always aim for a score of 100, if possible.

On the other hand, it’s best to get a score of 70/100 at the very least.

2. Does Surfer SEO offer a free trial?

Currently, Surfer SEO does not offer a free trial. While the first month of the Basic plan is free, the Surfer SEO Pro and Business do not offer such promos.

Nonetheless, if you only use basic SEO tools, you can use the free version of Surfer SEO anytime.

3. What is NLP on Surfer SEO?

NLP stands for Natural Language Processing. Basically, it’s a machine learning component that aims to better understand a word within the context of the article.

NLP is important in determining what makes content great, bringing it to the top of search results.

Surfer SEO determines what Google deems as NLP entities. It then instructs you how often you should use them on your content.

4. Can you add images to Surfer SEO’s Content Editor?

Yes, and it can significantly boost your Content Score. To add images, you can simply drag and drop a preselected image saved on your device.

The editor will automatically upload the image. Below the image, you can also add alt texts to improve your Content Score further.

5. What’s the best Surfer SEO Alternative?

It often depends on what you’re looking for. Nonetheless, we believe that Page Optimizer Pro is the best alternative to Surfer.

It’s free and relatively easy to use. You can check our Page Optimizer Pro review to learn more about it.

On the other hand, if you’re running a large enterprise and have the budget, you should definitely check out Clearscope.

Uday Tank is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader. He has a wide variety of interests and enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, health, diversity, and management.