SurferSEO and Semrush are two of the most popular SEO solutions out there. They help you optimize your content and site’s performance so that you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

The two SEO giants are similar in many ways. For instance, both tools feature keyword research and competitor analysis capabilities. 

Despite their similarities, however, SurferSEO and Semrush have a different primary focus. The former is all about on-page optimization, while the latter is an all-in-one SEO solution. 

In an ideal world, using both tools together would be your best bet, as they offer complimentary features. But what if you can only pick one?

Read on for much-needed insights on SurferSEO vs. Semrush. 

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SurferSEO vs. Semrush: Overview

Comparison PointSurferSEOSemrush
Main FocusOn-Page SEOAll-Around SEO
Keyword Research✔ (Limited)
On-Page SEO
Social Media Management
SERP Analysis
Backlink Analysis
Content Optimization
Advertising Research
Starting Price (Annual Billing)$69/m$108.33/m

1. SurferSEO

SurferSEO vs SemRush review
SurferSEO home page showing a document with an SEO Content Score

SurferSEO is a cloud-based SEO writing assistant that’s designed primarily for on-page SEO. It helps optimize your content and increase its relevance in the metaphorical eyes of search engines. 

SurferSEO works by analyzing the top-ranking pages for a given target keyword. It then provides actionable insights and suggestions to help you outrank the competition. 

The tool’s content score meter helps highlight how well your content is optimized. The higher the score, the higher your chances of making it to the top of the SERPs. 

Content optimization aside, you can use SurferSEO to conduct keyword research. It’s not as thorough as the likes of Semrush and Ahrefs, but it’s pretty darn close.

SurferSEO also offers content planning capabilities. You can use it to plan your content calendar and identify new content opportunities. 

And if that’s not enough, you can use Surfer AI to generate high-quality AI content in a few minutes. Simply pick a keyword, review the generated outline, and then click “Write with AI.” 

Key Features

  • Content optimization
  • Keyword research
  • Competition analysis
  • Chrome extension
  • Google Docs integration
  • AI content generation

User Experience

If you’ve been following Triple A Review for a while, you know how big of a fan I am of Surfer’s user experience. And that’s not being biased at all. 

SurferSEO’s interface is clean and clutter-free, and all of its features are easy to navigate. The modern design and vibrant color scheme also contribute to the interface’s visual appeal. 

Optimizing your content using SurferSEO is also straightforward. Simply write into the content editor, and it will provide you with real-time keyword suggestions. 

SurferSEO’s main customer support channel is email support. The tool also boasts a rich knowledge base that covers common queries and concerns. 


SurferSEO has four pricing plans that differ in terms of credits, add-ons, and number of users. Here’s a quick breakdown of Surfer’s pricing model based on annual billing:

SurferSEO Annual Billing
SurferSEO Annual Billing
  • Essential ($69/m): Two users and 180 credit points. Suitable for individuals and small teams.
  • Advanced ($149/m): Five users and 540 credit points. Suitable for experts and mid-sized teams. 
  • Max ($249/m): 10 users, 1080 credit points, and all add-ons. Suitable for agencies and big teams.
  • Enterprise (Custom): Unlimited users, custom credits, all add-ons, and a dedicated customer success manager. Suitable for large agencies and enterprises. 

All of SurferSEO’s pricing plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee. If the platform doesn’t live up to your expectations during the 7-day period, you can request a full refund. 

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a content creator or SEO professional, SurferSEO can improve your search engine rankings, boost your online visibility, and automate many of your on-page SEO tasks. Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

2. Semrush

Semrush web site
Semrush web site

On the other hand, Semrush is an all-in-one online marketing suite that you can use for more than just on-page SEO. You can also use it for PPC campaigns, competitor analysis, keyword research, and more. 

The platform’s comprehensive keyword research tool allows you to easily find high-value keywords by highlighting key metrics such as search volume, level of competition, and more. Using Semrush, you can optimize your content so it’s more likely to rank. 

And speaking of ranking, you can also use Semrush to keep tabs on your rankings by monitoring a specific set of keywords over a period of time.

Plus, if you don’t know yet, you can even use Semrush’s market explorer tool to spy on your competitors and identify their strategies. It will show you what they’re doing right (and wrong) in terms of SEO. 

Another neat feature that Semrush has to offer is site auditing. It crawls your website, identifies technical SEO issues, and helps you fix them. There are also other features meant for link building, social media marketing, and PR marketing.

Overall, Semrush is suitable for businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to large enterprises. 

Key Features

  • Keyword research
  • On-page SEO
  • Competitor analysis
  • Local SEO
  • Website auditing
  • Rank tracking
  • Social media management
  • Link building
  • Paid advertising
  • PPC keyword research
  • PR monitoring

User Experience

For such a feature-rich tool, Semrush is surprisingly easy to use. The interface is user-friendly, the navigation is smooth, and the data is displayed clearly. 

It goes without saying that it takes longer to get the hang of Semrush than it does with SurferSEO. After all, it’s a full-blown digital marketing toolkit, not just an on-page SEO tool. 

Luckily, Semrush has an extensive knowledge base that you can always refer to. It contains guides that cover everything from getting started to advertising and content management. 

As far as support channels, Semrush offers customer support via email and live chat. However, all support tickets are addressed within only one business day.


Semrush pricing
Semrush pricing

Semrush has three pricing tiers that differ in terms of features, as well as the number of projects, keywords to track, and results per report. Here’s a brief breakdown of Semrush’s pricing model based on annual billing:

  • Pro ($108.33/m): Five projects, 500 keywords to track, and 10,000 results per report. Ideal for newbies and small teams. 
  • Guru ($208.33/m): 15 projects, 1,500 keywords to track, and 30,000 results per report. Ideal for agencies and mid-size businesses. 
  • Business ($416.66/m): 40 projects, 5,000 keywords to track, and 50,000 results per report. Ideal for large agencies and enterprises. 

It’s worth noting that Pro and Guru are available for trial for up to 7 days. I recommend making use of this trial to test-drive the platform before making a financial commitment. In addition, Semrush does offer several add-ons, such as Agency Growth Kit and Semrush Social. 

Check out my article on Semrush pricing to learn all about Semrush’s add-ons. 

Bottom Line

Semrush is a versatile SEO suite that all digital marketers will find useful, not just SEOs. It tackles everything from SEO and content marketing to social media management and PPC campaigns. 

SurferSEO vs. Semrush: Common Questions

Which SEO Tool Is Best for On-Page SEO?

SurferSEO is an excellent tool for on-page SEO and content optimization. And because it is less expensive and easier to use, the platform also appeals to more users. 

Meanwhile, despite being more capable than SurferSEO, some users are wary of using Semrush because it is more expensive and seems challenging to use.

So, if you only need a basic tool to optimize your website’s content for search engines, SurferSEO is a good option. But if you need a more complete platform with comprehensive features—and if you have the budget for it—go for Semrush.

Which SEO Tool Is Best for Keyword Research?

If you need to find relevant keywords with a high chance of ranking well in search results, SurferSEO’s keyword research tool does the job for you.

However, it doesn’t offer as much keyword intelligence as Semrush’s tool. The latter has a larger database of keywords and competitive data, as well as features like search intent analysis and keyword difficulty analysis. 

In other words, Semrush is the better SEO tool for keyword research. With its analytics and insights, you’ll find it easy to discover relevant keywords as well as high-value related keywords.  

Which SEO Tool Has Better Customer Support?

SurferSEO’s customer support is said to be reliable and responsive, but you can only reach the representatives through email. If this doesn’t appeal to you, you might need to consider the other option.

On the flipside, there are two ways to reach Semrush’s customer support: email and live chat. With a live chat option, you can easily reach the representatives if you need an immediate answer for any concern you might have. In this regard, Semrush clearly secures the win.

Which SEO Tool Is More User-Friendly?

With its simple interface, easy navigation, and high-quality resources, SurferSEO is a great user-friendly tool for beginners. Now, while Semrush isn’t difficult to master, the learning curve may be steeper because of its comprehensive set of features.

In terms of simplicity, Surfer SEO emerges as the clear winner. Then again, this shouldn’t come as a surprise since it’s focused mainly on on-page SEO, while Semrush has a much broader focus. 

Which SEO Tool Is Best for Budget?

While $69/m (billed annually) is not exactly cheap, SurferSEO is considerably cheaper than Semrush, which makes it a good fit for beginner SEOs, especially those on a tight budget. 

Meanwhile, Semrush is one of the more expensive SEO tools out there, with a starting price of $108.33/m (billed annually). That said, the pricing is justified, considering how comprehensive the tool is.

If you’re new to SEO or on a tight budget, Surfer SEO strikes a good balance between affordability and functionality. If you want the most bang for your buck, however, Semrush has more to offer. 

SurferSEO vs. Semrush: How to Choose Between Them

Still struggling to choose between Surfer SEO and Semrush? Here are the main factors to consider:

  • Needs: If you’re mainly focused on on-page SEO and content optimization, Surfer SEO is a good fit for you. But if you need a comprehensive SEO suite, Semrush is the better option. 
  • Ease of Use: Consider your level of experience before deciding between SEO tools. Surfer SEO is perfect for beginners, whereas Semrush’s complexity makes it more suitable for professionals. 
  • Budget: If money isn’t an issue, I’d recommend opting for Semrush since it has more to offer. However, if you’re on a tight budget or don’t need Semrush’s bells and whistles, Surfer SEO is the way to go. 
  • Support: How many support channels does each SEO tool provide? In the case of SurferSEO, there’s only email support. With Semrush, on the other hand, there’s email and live chat support. 

In Summary

Although they share some similarities, Surfer SEO and Semrush couldn’t be any more different. One is a content optimization tool, while the other is a comprehensive SEO suite. 

I personally believe that both tools should be used in conjunction, where Semrush is used for keyword research and competition analysis, and Surfer SEO is used for content optimization. However, if you can only use one and are still struggling to choose between them, I’d recommend taking advantage of the 7-day trial period that each platform offers.

Don’t do it simultaneously, though. Experiment with just Surfer SEO for a week, and then start Semrush’s 7-day trial. By the end of that 2-week period, you’ll know exactly which SEO tool is best for you. 

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