Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Comparing Major SEO Tools in 2024

Finding the right search engine optimization (SEO) tool can be tough. I get it—I’ve been there, too, sifting through tons of options to boost website visibility and get more visitors.

After really looking at Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs, I’ve gathered some key points to guide you through their pros and cons. This article is all about figuring out which tool could really make a difference in your online presence.

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Ahrefs vs Surfer SEO 2024 [Key Takeaways]

  • Surfer SEO boasts real-time content improvement tips, while Ahrefs specializes in backlink analysis and competitor insights.
  • Both Ahrefs and Surfer SEO cover keyword research, site audits, and rank tracking, but each focuses on different areas of SEO.
  • Surfer SEO provides on-page advice for immediate article enhancement, while Ahrefs delves deeper into keywords, links, and competitor strategies.
  • Surfer SEO starts at $69 per month (billed yearly), suitable for newcomers or small projects. Ahrefs starts at $108 per month (billed yearly), offering extensive tools for larger operations or detailed use.
  • Surfer SEO offers a paid artificial intelligence (AI) writing tool—Surfer AI. Ahrefs, on the other hand, provides its users with a variety of free AI writing tools, including a summarizer, a paraphrasing tool, and various types of content generators.
  • Using both Surfer SEO and Ahrefs offers a comprehensive view into your website’s performance, combining content quality and technical analysis.

Overview of Surfer SEO: Key Features

Surfer SEO Key Features

Surfer SEO is a tool that helps your website get more visitors from Google. It checks your pages and tells you how to make them better for people looking for content online.

Surfer SEO stands out with its powerful features for on-page optimization:

  • Content editor: It gives real-time advice on improving articles or blog posts for higher search engine rankings.
  • Search engine results page (SERP) analyzer: Peek into top-ranking pages to tweak your content strategy for better performance.
  • Keyword research: Dive deep to find high-traffic keywords and learn how to use them effectively.
  • Competitor analysis: Uncover rivals’ strategies to outshine them in search results.
  • Content planner: Get proven content ideas aligned with user intent to drive traffic.
  • On-page audit: Pinpoint SEO issues on your web pages and get clear fixes. The Content Score metric shows you how optimized your texts are.
  • Page speed analysis: Ensure fast load times to keep visitors engaged and improve search engine rankings.
  • Chrome extension: Surfer SEO’s Keyword Surfer extension provides search volume, related keywords, and competitor analysis directly within Google’s search results page.
  • Surfer AI: Surfer AI is an AI-powered tool that generates optimized content by analyzing search engine results, keyword trends, and competitor insights and providing real-time suggestions for improving readability and user engagement.

Each feature provides actionable guidance, explaining the importance of the suggested changes and helping you make informed decisions about your SEO strategy effortlessly.

Overview of Ahrefs: Key Features

Ahrefs Key Features

Ahrefs is a standout in the world of SEO tools, offering a comprehensive suite of SEO tools to boost your efforts:

  • Site explorer: It analyzes your backlink profile and search traffic, giving insights into your performance and those of your competitors.
  • Keywords explorer: Uncover valuable keywords with data on search volume, difficulty, and clicks, helping attract traffic to your site.
  • Content explorer: Discover top-performing content in your niche for inspiration and an understanding of what works.
  • Rank tracker: Keep tabs on your search rankings daily to gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
  • Site audit: Identify and fix issues that could harm your site’s performance on search engines, from slow-loading pages to broken links.
  • Backlink analysis: A standout feature offering detailed insights into backlinks and referring domains. This helps you find linking opportunities and assess your domain strength using a metric called domain rating (DR).
  • Chrome extension: The Ahrefs SEO Toolbar focuses on backlink analysis and SEO metrics for every page or site visited.
  • AI tools for writing: These free AI writing tools include an AI grammar checker, AI summarizer, AI title maker, AI paragraph generator, and AI meta description generator, among others.

These features are essential for shaping successful SEO campaigns and providing rich data and insights to optimize websites and content for better online visibility.

Comparing Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs

Now, let’s look at how Surfer SEO differs from Ahrefs.

User interface

Surfer SEO features an easy-to-use dashboard, perfect for those who prefer simplicity and efficiency. It’s easy to navigate, focusing on essential on-page analysis and content optimization without unnecessary clutter.

Surfer SEO dashboard

Ahrefs is also user-friendly, offering a comprehensive dashboard and providing easy access to a range of tools and analytics. However, it comes with a steep learning curve due to the depth of its features.

Ahrefs dashboard

Keyword research tools

Diving into the deep end of SEO software, we find ourselves juggling between Surfer SEO and Ahrefs, especially when it comes to their keyword research capabilities.

Both platforms offer a wealth of features but cater to slightly different needs. While Ahrefs provides a built-in tool for keyword research, Surfer SEO offers a special Chrome extension—Keyword Surfer.

Let’s break this down in a way that’s easy to digest.

FeatureSurfer SEOAhrefs
Keyword discoveryFocuses on relevance and context around a core topicOffers vast data on search volumes, keyword difficulty scores, and search intent
Search intent analysisProvides insights into the type of content that ranks for given keywordsIncludes detailed breakdowns of SERP features and the intent behind queries
Content editor integrationOffers a unique content editor that suggests keywords as you writeLacks a direct content editor, but provides keyword suggestions for content planning
Competitor keyword analysisAllows for easy comparison of your content with top-ranking pagesGives comprehensive insights into competitors’ keyword strategies

Site audit capabilities

Let’s talk about how Surfer SEO and Ahrefs handle website inspections. Both tools offer features to crawl your site, but they focus on different areas.

Here’s a quick glance at what each brings to the table.

FeatureSurfer SEOAhrefs
FocusOn-page optimizationBacklink profile and overall site health
Core strengthContent analysisLink analysis
Unique offeringContent editor, featuring a Content Score, for real-time optimization suggestionsHealth Score for a site based on crawl reports
UsabilityUser-friendly for content creatorsComprehensive for SEO professionals
Key benefitImproves content relevance and qualityIdentifies technical and backlink issues

Competitor research and analysis

In the arena of competitor research and analysis, each tool brings something unique to the table.

Here’s my breakdown.

FeatureSurfer SEOAhrefs
Competitor page analysisOptimizes your content by analyzing top-ranking pagesOffers detailed analysis of top competitors pages
SERP analysisProvides a SERP analyzer tool for current top pagesExpansive SERP analysis with historical data
Keyword gap analysisLimited functionalityComprehensive keyword gap analysis
Backlink gap analysisNot a core featureDetailed backlink profiles comparison
Content gap analysisFocuses on on-page elements and content qualityIdentifies missing topics and keywords in your content

On-page SEO and content optimization

Surfer SEO focuses on on-page SEO analysis and content improvement, establishing itself as a leading on-page optimization tool. Surfer SEO’s audit feature even checks to see if we’re doing everything right. The Content Score metric provides a clear understanding of the quality of your written piece. When it comes to content audits, Surfer SEO is often considered superior to Ahrefs. Furthermore, Surfer AI produces fully SEO-optimized articles, making it one of the best blogging tools available.

Surfer SEO Content Editor

“By iteratively adjusting our content based on Surfer’s guidelines and monitoring performance, we managed to significantly improve the SERP positions of several key landing pages. This was particularly evident in one case, where adjustments to an underperforming article, guided by Surfer SEO, led to a 50% increase in traffic and significantly improved engagement metrics within two months.” Rex Liu, Chief Revenue Officer, GoSite

Ahrefs, while also offering an on-page optimization tool, looks at the broader picture of SEO. The Ahrefs Site Explorer tool is great for seeing where your page stands in search results. Moreover, the AI writing tools from Ahrefs provide features such as generating engaging copy, improving readability, and optimizing meta descriptions, titles, and content structure.

Ahrefs Free AI Writing tools
Ahrefs AI Paragraph Generator

Backlink analysis

Surfer SEO’s backlink analysis feature is a Semrush integration, providing users with valuable link building insights and opportunities by analyzing competitor backlinks.

Ahrefs takes the spotlight with its Site Explorer tool, a favorite among users. It provides comprehensive insights into the quality and quantity of links pointing to your site or a competitor’s.

“By utilizing Ahrefs, we conducted a thorough analysis of the backlink profiles of our top competitors and uncovered valuable keywords that were overlooked. This deep dive into competitive analytics empowered us to refine our content strategy, leading to a 45% uptick in organic search traffic over the course of several months.” Steve Pogson, Founder, First Pier

Rank tracking

Surfer SEO is ideal for content marketers who want to monitor their articles’ performance in search results. Surfer SEO also provides insights and suggestions to boost rankings, making it easy to adjust your content strategy.

As one of the best keyword rank tracking tools, Ahrefs not only monitors keyword positions but also compares your rankings with competitors. This helps you stay ahead of the curve and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Both tools regularly update their rank tracking data, keeping you informed of any changes. With these updates, you can quickly adjust your approach, if needed.

Accuracy and data quality

Both platforms dish out top-notch data to give your SEO strategy an extra layer of finesse.

Surfer SEO rocks precise on-page analysis, giving tailored suggestions based on current ranking factors. Meanwhile, Ahrefs flaunts an extensive backlink database and solid competitor research, making it one of the best tools for link building.

Although these tools give approximate values, you can safely rely on them for your SEO strategy. Remember, it’s not just about the numbers—it’s about using accurate data to make savvy decisions that pay off.

Customer support

Whether you prefer personalized assistance or self-directed learning, both platforms ensure that users have the resources they need to succeed, catering to a variety of needs and preferences.

Surfer SEO’s support team is known for their quick and helpful responses, available through email, messaging, or request forms, ensuring users can optimize content efficiently.

On the other hand, Ahrefs offers a wealth of learning materials such as guides, videos, and workshops, along with prompt assistance through similar channels.


Surfer SEO and Ahrefs both play well with other digital marketing tools, making your life easier. Surfer SEO connects seamlessly with WordPress through Surfer’s free WordPress plugin, so you can optimize your articles right from the platform. What’s more, Surfer SEO’s Google Chrome extension allows users to write using Surfer’s trusted guidelines within Google Docs.

Ahrefs goes even further by linking up with Google Sheets for simple data reporting. Google Search Console integration allows users to monitor and troubleshoot their website’s appearance in Google search results directly within the Ahrefs platform.

Pricing plans

Now let’s talk about prices. Surfer SEO starts at $69 a month on the annual plan and $89 a month for a month-to-month subscription. This tool is perfect for beginners or small projects. Unlike Ahrefs, there’s also a seven-day free trial available. You can purchase Surfer AI credits by selecting the Scale AI plan or by buying on-demand AI credits.

Ahrefs starts at $108 a month (billed annually) or $129 (billed monthly), offering more tools for bigger businesses or advanced users. When it comes to its built-in AI content marketing tools, they are completely free of charge.

Can Surfer SEO and Ahrefs Be Used Together?

Surfer SEO and Ahrefs are a dynamic duo for your SEO strategy.

Start by exploring keywords and backlinks with Ahrefs, then use Surfer SEO to optimize your content accordingly. This approach ensures that your website not only attracts the right audience but also delivers high-quality content that meets both user needs and search engine criteria.

“A success story for us was using these tools to revamp an underperforming blog post. After applying keyword insights from Ahrefs and making content adjustments recommended by Surfer SEO, we saw a significant jump in traffic to that post.” Gates Little, President, altLine Sobanco

Check out the best Surfer SEO alternatives you can include in your SEO game.


Choosing between Surfer SEO and Ahrefs?

It depends on your specific SEO needs. If on-page optimization and content quality are your focus, Surfer SEO shines. For deep backlink analysis and competitor insights, Ahrefs steps up to the plate.

Both tools pack a punch in terms of boosting your online visibility and driving more organic traffic. Using them together could be your ticket to a comprehensive strategy that covers all bases for SEO success.

So, make the smart move based on your specific needs—and watch your website climb the ranks.


What’s the main difference between Surfer SEO and Ahrefs?

Surfer SEO and Ahrefs are two of the most popular SEO tools on the market. Surfer SEO excels at on-page analysis, focusing intensely on making your content as strong as possible for search engines through comprehensive SEO practices. On the other hand, Ahrefs is a powerhouse in technical SEO, offering a broad spectrum of tools such as the Ahrefs Site Explorer and Ahrefs Rank Tracker to dive deep into website analytics.

Can I use Surfer SEO or Ahrefs to find the best keywords?

Absolutely. Both tools have features to help you discover prime keywords for your content. While Surfer provides an SEO content editor tailored to optimize keyword usage, Ahrefs boasts a comprehensive keyword explorer tool that digs into difficulty scores and more.

How do Surfer SEO and Ahrefs help with my site’s optimization?

Surfer SEO offers robust features for on-page optimization—think audits that pinpoint exactly where your content could improve. Meanwhile, Ahrefs delivers daily SEO reports and tools, such as a URL analyzer, to keep track of how well your site performs against competitors.

Is there any benefit to using both Surfer SEO and Ahrefs together?

Yes. You can use Surfer SEO and Ahrefs together for maximum benefit. Each tool has its own strengths—Surfer for on-page analysis, and Ahrefs is known for its broader technical insights. Using Ahrefs and Surfer SEO together can give you a full-circle view of what your website needs to climb up those search engine rankings.

Do Surfer SEO or Ahrefs offer solutions for beginners in SEO?

Indeed, they do. Surfer’s interface is user-friendly, especially if you’re keen on enhancing specific pages or posts with guided suggestions. For those new but eager to understand their site’s performance deeply, Ahrefs provides clear insights with its range of features, from rank tracking to site exploration, and is known for its thorough daily SEO reports.

Article by

Nikola Baldikov

Nikola Baldikov is an SEO magician with a passion for helping companies succeed in their online efforts. He is a founder of Inbound Blogging, where he specializes in SaaS marketing, SEO, and outreach strategies. In addition to his work, he is an avid football fan and loves to dance.

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