Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Which One is Right for You in 2024?

by | Last updated May 23, 2024

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs

Finding the right SEO tool is a game-changer for getting your website noticed online. 

You’ve probably heard of popular contenders like Surfer SEO and Ahrefs, but which one fits your needs the best?

Choosing poorly means opportunities are missed. You could save time and money on tools that don’t help with keyword research or improving your website’s on-page SEO checker scores.

It’s time for a head-to-head battle! 

We’ll break down surfer SEO vs Ahrefs so you can make the best choice for your website’s success.

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Overview

We’ve spent countless hours testing both Surfer SEO and Ahrefs in real-world scenarios. 

This comparison draws on our practical experience to provide you with clear insights into these powerful SEO tools.

Best Choice
Surfer SEO 
Surfer SEO

Boost your rankings! Surfer SEO users see a 32% increase in organic traffic. Try it now.

0out of 10

Pricing: Starts at $89/month with 7 days free trial

Key features: 

  • Content Planner
  • Content Audit
  • Competitor Analysis
Best Value

Explore Ahrefs' massive database of 19 trillion+ backlinks. Start your free trial today!

0out of 10

Pricing: Starts at $99/month

Key Features:

  • Keyword Research 
  • Backlink Analysis 
  • Rank Tracking

What is Surfer SEO?

Think of it as your website's search engine coach. Surfer SEO analyzes what's already ranking and helps you write content that Google will love.

Surfer SEO
Surfer SEO
9 of 10

Target 50% more relevant keywords with Surfer SEO's in-depth analysis.

Key Benefits

  • Speed things up. Surfer SEO's Content Editor gives you real-time feedback on over 500 on-page ranking factors.
  • Uncovers hidden opportunities. Its keyword research tools help you find profitable terms your competitors might need to include.
  • Outrank the competition. The SERP Analyzer shows you exactly what it takes to beat the current top-ranking pages.
Surfer SEO


  • Basic: $89/month ($69/month if billed annually). Includes 10 Content Editor uses and 20 audits per month.
  • Scale: $129/month ($99/month if billed annually). This plan increases your limits and adds additional features.
  • Scale AI: $219/month ($179/month if billed annually). Perfect for larger teams and agencies.


  • Super user-friendly. Even if you're new to SEO, Surfer SEO is easy to learn.
  • Data-driven recommendations. Takes the guesswork out of optimization.
  • Works with my tools. Integrates with platforms like WordPress and Jasper.


  • It can be pricey. Especially with higher-tier plans.
  • Lacks some advanced features. MarketMuse might be better if you need deeper competitive analysis.

What is Ahrefs?

Think of Ahrefs as your website's secret success weapon. It's loaded with tools to help you get found on Google and beat the competition.

9 of 10

Join 500,000+ SEO pros who trust Ahrefs. Upgrade your toolkit today!

Key Benefits

  • Massive backlink database: Ahrefs tracks over 19 trillion backlinks – that's the key to understanding your competition.
  • Powerful keyword research: Uncover thousands of keyword ideas and see how hard they are to rank for.
  • In-depth website audits: Find technical issues dragging your site down in search results.


  • Starting price: $99 per month (Lite plan)
  • Upgrades available:
    • Standard ($199/month): More data and reports
    • Advanced ($399/month): Larger projects, more user seats
    • Enterprise ($999/month): Agency-level features


  • Huge, reliable dataset for competitive analysis
  • Excellent for deep-dive technical SEO
  • Regular updates and new features


  • It can be pricey for casual use
  • Some features have a steep learning curve

Surfer SEO vs Ahrefs: Feature Comparison

Ready to see how these SEO titans compare? Let's compare their most important features side by side.

1. Keyword Research

  • Surfer SEO: Excels at finding related keywords and search terms people actually use. It helps you build content clusters for topical authority.
  • Ahrefs: Offers a massive keyword database and in-depth metrics like keyword difficulty. Great for competitive analysis.
  • Bottom Line: Ahrefs wins for sheer data volume, but Surfer SEO excels at on-page content optimization.

2. Content Editor

  • Surfer SEO: Provides a real-time content score and NLP analysis as you write, ensuring your pages match top-ranking competitors.
  • Ahrefs: Offers limited content guidance focused more on keyword usage than structure or semantic analysis.
  • Bottom Line: Surfer SEO takes content optimization to the next level, helping you create pages that align with what search engines want.
  • Surfer SEO: Offers a limited backlink overview, which is useful for a quick snapshot but not an in-depth analysis.
  • Ahrefs: The undisputed king of backlink data. Tracks your profile growth, finds competitor links, and uncovers new backlink opportunities.
  • Bottom Line: Ahrefs is essential for serious SEO professionals focused on link-building.

4. Site Audits

  • Surfer SEO: Provides basic audits and highlights on-page issues to fix.
  • Ahrefs: Delivers comprehensive technical SEO audits, pinpointing errors that hinder your SE ranking.
  • Bottom Line: Ahrefs offers a deeper dive into site health, which is ideal for fixing underlying problems.

5. Rank Tracking

  • Surfer SEO: Includes basic rank tracking capabilities.
  • Ahrefs: Robust tracking for multiple keywords, locations, and devices. Sends alerts on ranking changes.
  • Bottom Line: Ahrefs is better for monitoring progress over time and reacting to algorithm shifts.

6. User Interface (UI)

  • Surfer SEO: Clean and intuitive, making it easy to find the tools you need.
  • Ahrefs: More complex and can be overwhelming for beginners.
  • Bottom Line: Surfer SEO wins on user-friendliness.

7. Integration with Google Analytics

Choosing a Content Optimization Tool: What to Look For?

  • Ease of use: Will the tool fit seamlessly into your workflow, or is there a steep learning curve? Consider your current SEO knowledge.
  • Keyword research depth: Does it uncover easy-to-rank-for terms and related search queries or offer generic suggestions?
  • Data-driven recommendations: Does the tool provide clear action steps based on real competitor analysis, not just vague guidelines?
  • Pricing and your needs: Factor in your budget and website size. Expensive tools might be overkill for smaller sites.
  • Integration with other tools: Can the tool work with your current content creation tools (e.g., WordPress, writing platforms)?

Key Insight: Stay blinded by flashy features. Prioritize tools that genuinely help you understand search intent and how to write content that search engines and real users will love.

Final Verdict (Our Pick)

So, should you go with Surfer SEO or Ahrefs? This battle between two excellent SEO software depends on your needs:

If your focus is on-page optimization and streamlined content creation, Surfer SEO shines. However, for in-depth backlink analysis and technical SEO tasks, Ahrefs is the backlink checker king. 

Ultimately, we've found both tools incredibly useful when compared to Ahrefs, and the best choice often depends on your specific project requirements.

We built this comparison based on hands-on experience – trust us, these are powerful SEO tools worth considering!


Frequently Asked Questions

Ahrefs wins hands-down. Its massive database and advanced features make it the industry-leading backlink analysis tool.

Is Ahrefs the only comprehensive SEO toolkit out there?

No! While popular, there are strong Ahrefs alternatives like Semrush and Moz, each with its strengths.

I'm on a budget. Are there any free SEO tools like Surfer SEO or Ahrefs?

Yes! Limited free versions of both exist. Other SEO tools, such as Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest, also have free plans.

Can I use both Surfer SEO and Ahrefs together?

Absolutely! They complement each other well—Surfer SEO for on-page optimization and Ahrefs as your comprehensive SEO toolkit.

These tools seem complex. Where can I learn more?

Both companies offer tutorials, guides, and vibrant user communities. You can also search for reviews and comparisons online for unbiased opinions.