If your goal is to drive organic traffic to your site with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you need to produce high-quality, well-optimized blog posts on the regular.

And this is exactly where using a content creation and optimization tool can make your life a whole lot easier.

Because in a nutshell, it is the job of these tools to make your content production faster and better by providing content outlines and briefs…

…as well as optimizing your content for search engines through its recommendations for keywords, headings, post length, image use, and more!

Sounds almost too good to be true right?

Well, at the time of writing this Frase vs Surfer SEO comparison, I've been using Surfer SEO for just over one year, and Frase.io for almost four months.

Do they work?

Are they worth the money?

Is one better than the other?..

…Lets find out…

Frase vs Surfer SEO 

Before we get deep into which of these tools is better;

Let's have a real brief round-up of what each of them actually does!

What Is Surfer SEO?

frase vs surfer seo screenshot of surfer login page

Surfer SEO is designed to help you better optimize written content, like your blog posts and pages.

You can use it to see how your existing content is performing in the Google SERP.

And you can use it to seed with a new target keyword, to see what type of competition you would be facing should you move ahead with writing content around that keyword idea.

Whether you are looking at existing content, or for new keywords, Surfer provides a really great visual of the competitor information that it pulls from the SERP.

To say this tool is analysing 500 on-page signals, it is pretty staggering how they've kept the visual presentation so easy on the eye.

Before we go any further, let's take a look at Surfer's core features:

Surfer SEO – Core Features:

  • SERP Analyzer – Full breakdown of Google's first page with detailed content score for each position
  • Content Optimizer – Content score and suggestions based on information pulled from SERP Analyzer
  • Keyword Research – Find new potential keywords to target
  • Content Editor – LSI Keyword Finder. Integrates with Google Docs
  • Article & Page SEO Audit
  • NLP – Sentiment Analysis

To do Surfer any kind of justice, a couple of these features need a little further explanation.

So let's give that a go…

…starting with the SERP Analyzer.  

The SERP Analyzer is Surfer's primary feature.

It deeply analyzes the content of the SERP's first page results, so that you can easily see how you will need to structure your content in order to have Google see your content as rank-worthy.

It looks at average word count, keyword density and frequency, use of partial match keywords, hidden content, page speed, image alt text…along with a ton of other stuff.

You're also advised on the LSI keywords that you should use, as well as how many times to use them.

It's fair to say that Surfer's SERP Analyzer goes deep and it is very detailed.

What is Frase.io?

surfer vs frase screenshot of frase.io login page

Frase is newer to the market than Surfer and while it was originally built as a research tool, it has been cleverly evolved into a high-functioning content creation and optimization tool.

This is why you will find research-type features, sitting right alongside the content and optimization features inside the Frase editor.

Here's a brief outline of the research that Frase automates for you:  

  • Provides headings, sections and full text from the SERP;
  • Automatically produces topic clusters and expands into related topics;
  • Accesses questions from Reddit, Quora, and People Also Ask;
  • Researches topics from Wikipedia and presents them via a concept map for better visualisation;
  • Researches news and related sources.

All of this means you can easily turn your content ideas into well researched page and blog post outlines that will drive more organic search traffic to your site.

And the research functionality is only just touching the surface…

so let's take a look at all other core features of Frase:

Frase.io – Core Features:

  • SERP Research – Headings, sections and full text from top 20 SERP results
  • Outline Builder – Point-and-click content planner from the SERP results to quickly build content outlines
  • Content Brief – Create yourself from your outline, or click to ‘Automate Brief'
  • Content Editor – Editing space where you make the content unique
  • AI Writer – Use on-the-fly within the Editor to re-phrase sentences and paragraphs
  • AI Writer Templates – Use the full power of AI to create entire section types from existing templates
  • Content Optimizer – Scores and suggests improvements for both new and existing content
  • Questions Discovery – SERP, People Also Ask, Quora, Reddit
  • Wikipedia Concept Maps

That's probably enough background on what you're going to get inside Frase.

We'll be going into much more depth later on.

Key Features and Benefits

Let's take a look at a few of the key features and benefits of these two tools.

Specifically, the functions that I use these tools for.

I've tackled these in the order that I go about producing a totally new piece of content for my sites, which is this:

Step 1: SERP Analysis

Step 2: Content Outline & Brief

Step 3: Content Writing

Step 4: Content Optimization

Naturally these all dove-tail and cross-over at various points, but this is the general workflow. 

SERP Analysis

This is pretty much how I start, whether I'm planning a new piece of content, or looking to improve an existing post or page.

You get a look at what Google thinks is the best content on the topic, and you can start figuring out what you will have to do to get onto page one.

Surfer's SERP Analyzer shows you exactly what the results page looks like for your keyword, and presents you with a ton of on-page analysis from  the SERP results.

We're talking word count, keyword density, number and type of headings, backlink score, page speed…to mention just a small handful.

Surfer have done a thorough job on this. It would be hard to ask for more.  

Frase does not go into the same depth of SERP analysis as Surfer.

But I think it covers the most important stuff.

When you input your seed keyword into Frase, it will look at the top twenty Google results and provide you with average word count, average number of headers, links and images.

You can also choose to view the SERP results by choosing to filter by either overview, links, stats or related news.

Which Is Best?

The depth and breadth of SERP analysis that Surfer goes into is close to mind-blowing.

But I'm not convinced that it's all useful!..

..we'll cover that when we talk about content optimization.

As a stand-alone head-to-head between Frase and Surfer based on the SERP analysis function, I'm giving this as a win for Surfer.

Creating Your Content Outline & Brief

I see a quality content planner as a critical area when it comes to being able to produce high-quality content quickly.

With Frase, you simply insert your seed keyword, let it process and present the top twenty SERP results…

…and then you simply point-and-click to add content headings, sub-headings, text and questions from any of the results.

You can then either create a content brief in a couple of clicks, for sending to your content writer, or use the Frase AI Writer to help apply your own personal touch.

This ability to build content outlines so quickly and easily has been one of the key factors in speeding up my content production process.

Surfer doesn't have a function that enables you to add content from the SERP results, so you will have to add any content into your outline manually.

Which Is Best?

For me this is a win for Frase as my content production times have fallen dramatically since using it.

I've not found that Surfer SEO has given me any real time savings in new content creation.

So, with that said, in my opinion, Frase.io beats Surfer in this area.

Content Writing

So we've come a long way in our content production.

We've analyzed the SERP.

We've produced our content outline…and brief for our content writer if needed.

But what about actually getting the content written? Do either of these tools help out with this.

Well they both have content editors, but hey, give or take a few differences, they're just content editors.

What we're interested in is how much, if at all, these tools actually help with getting the words written.

Frase has its own AI Writer.  

You can use the AI Writer in any of the following ways:

  • Rewrite – quickly and easily rewrite existing sentences
  • Write About – ask the AI Writer to expand on an existing sentence
  • Write for Me –  provide brief background context and AI Writer produces up to 150 words on the topic
  • Templates – for producing blog intro's, blog titles, features to benefits, list of questions, and more 

Surfer SEO does not have an in-built AI assistant for helping with writing content.

But, it does have a function to link Surfer with Jasper AI, which is an excellent piece of content writing AI software. You will need to purchase a Jasper subscription to access this function. 

Which Is Best?

For obvious reasons I have this as a straight win for Frase.io.

Content Optimization

You've researched your content, you've planned and outlined it, and you've written it.

But is it going to rank on page one?

As we all know, properly optimized content is one of the primary factors in ranking high in Google search.

We already mentioned how Surfer SEO analyzes your page content against five hundred plus ranking factors…which is quite a lot!

So what you get is a remarkably deep breakdown of the SERP compared to your piece of content.

This provides you with a thorough understanding of how to optimize your content to give it the best chance of ranking on the first page of Google.

Surfer scores your current level of suggested optimization as you write within the editor.

In Frase, you get a content score called ‘Topic Score' which rates your content against the top twenty pages in Google search.

This feature provides you with an average competitor score according to your topic and relevant keywords. 

Frase then gives you keyword suggestions on where and how often to use them, as well as your long-tail and related keywords and phrases. 

Which Is Best?

Both tools are excellent at content optimization.

Both give you deep analytics and reports on how to optimize your content after comparing it to the best ranking competitors.

But Surfer offers a wider scope of data.

A win for Surfer.

Does Surfer SEO Work?

In my experience to date, yes, Surfer does work as a very effective content optimization tool.

I've used it to create totally new content from scratch, and for optimizing existing content that I felt should be doing better in the SERP.

And my results have been good.

There is a lot going on inside the dashboard so it does take a little time to really make it all work for you.

But it is worth it?

Yes, with practice you should be able to get your content ranking significantly better than it would otherwise have done. 

Does Frase.io Work?

Frase works brilliantly on a number of fronts.

It has significantly improved my rankings when I've used it for optimizing existing content, and it has got new content ranking well very quickly.

So I'm very happy with it for content optimization.

And when I signed-up to Frase I wasn't expecting anywhere near the content creation capability that it comes packed with.

This is what's really blown me away!

Its powerful ability to create detailed content outlines and briefs quickly and thoroughly, have slashed the amount of time it takes me to produce new, high-quality content.

Stack its AI Writer on top of this, and you never again have to get stuck on how to rewrite or re-phrase existing content, or even write a whole new paragraph from scratch.

With Frase, you've got a content creation and optimization tool that has the power to increase the speed of your content production by four, or even five times.     

Once you get the hang of using Frase, you'll start to see your search traffic grow exponentially.

Surfer SEO – Pros & Cons


  • Extensive Ranking Metrics — analyzes over 500 ranking factors
  • Related Keyword Results — LSI keyword analysis to find related topics, keywords and content for adding to your existing page
  • Semantic Evaluation — uses AI to evaluate the most prominent words and phrases in currently ranking content
  • Browser Extension — Chrome extension extends the functionality so you can work on the fly


  • Overwhelming For Beginners — you'll need some pretty deep SEO knowledge to get the best out of this tool
  • Analysis Overkill – nobody needs a tool to tell them how much text should be in bold
  • AI Writing – requires separate subscription to Jasper AI
  • Keyword Research Tool — not a core part of the software, but if it's there it should be better

Frase.io – Pros & Cons


  • Time-Saving –  the speed of producing content outlines and briefs, to writing the final draft with the help of the AI Writer, has quadrupled my content production
  • Content Optimization – clearly shows you how to easily create your content for best SEO results
  • Crystal Clear Layout – you won't find yourself wasting time trying to figure out where to go in the dashboard, it's all perfectly clear and intuitive
  • New Feature Roll-Out –  useful new features are being added regularly


  • Occasional Scraping Problems – not often, but sometimes Frase does not fully pull-in some of the SERP results, so some of the headings and text don't come through
  • Software Sometimes Buggy – not so much anymore, but when I was first using it, there were sometimes some buggy little glitches, which is often an issue for software companies who make regular updates


There isn't a huge difference between the price of Frase vs Surfer.

Frase is a little cheaper for the basic plan, and Surfer's slightly cheaper for the advanced plan.

For business plans, the two are pretty much identical.

Basic Plan

Surfer SEO: $59 per month, includes 25 queries, or new documents, on the content editor. With the SERP analyzer, you get 15 queries per day.

Frase Basic: $44.99 per month, includes 30 document credits, or new documents, for the content editor, and pre-built templates for your content.

Premium Plan

Surfer SEO: $99 per month, includes 100 content editor queries per month, and 50 SERP analyzer queries per day.

Frase: $114.99, includes unlimited document credits and ability to share the backend tools with two additional users and access to custom content templates.

Business Plan

Surfer SEO: $199 per month

Frase: $199.99 per month

My Recommendation

If you love a bit of deep SERP analysis, and super-in-depth content optimization, I would recommend Surfer.

If you're more interested in massively speeding up the rate at which you can create new, SEO optimized content, I would recommend Frase.io.

That's not sitting on the fence by-the-way!

Currently the two tools are great in slightly different areas.

For me, where I am right now, I don't find I need the super-in-depth analysis that Surfer provides. 

My most pressing need is to speed up the content creation process in producing high-quality pages and posts, that will stand a great chance of ranking high on Google search…

…and right now, Frase is delivering this for me time and again!

Wrapping It Up!

These are both great SEO tools, and they are at their best according to different content strategies.

In my mind, if I owned a site with a ton of pretty decent existing content, but hardly any of it sitting in the top six or seven SERP positions, Surfer would probably be the tool I'd go for…

…because I'd need it's deep SERP analysis to really maximise my optimization of existing content in an effort to boost rankings.

But if I own a site where the main focus is on creating more new relevant content that is SEO optimized, Frase.io would be my choice…

…because it is the better content creation tool…in my opinion!

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