Surfer SEO vs. Ahrefs – Which SEO Tool Is The Best For You?

Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by Jordan Alexo

Are you struggling to make your website appear in the top search results? Are you unsure of which SEO tool is right for you?

If so, then this article is just what you need. We will compare two of the most popular SEO tools on the market: Surfer SEO and Ahrefs. We’ll look at their similarities, advantages, and disadvantages, focusing on how they can help improve your website’s SEO.

So if you’re looking for ways to increase your visibility online, read on!

Best on-page SEO tool

Surfer SEO

surfer seo logo
  • Get detailed insight into how to optimize each piece of content.
  • Receive weekly advice on the necessary steps to rank high
  • The powerful auditing feature helps you optimize your older content to rank higher on search engines.
Best all-in-one SEO tool


ahrefs logo
  • Powerful keyword research tool for finding the right keywords.
  • See which backlinks your competitors have and discover new opportunities to target them.
  • You can track your keywords and see if your SEO effort is working

Key Takeaway

  • Surfer SEO optimizes website content to outrank competitors and improve organic traffic.
  • Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool that offers in-depth information about backlink analysis, competitor research, keyword research, and more.
  • Both are powerful SEO tools with different purposes. However, Ahrefs may be a better option initially since it helps you with keyword research and building links to your site. Additionally, Ahrefs also offers a site audit feature to identify technical SEO issues and provides suggestions for improvement.

Quick Overview of Surfer SEO and Ahrefs

Surfer SEO and Ahrefs are both popular SEO tools. Each has unique features that can help you optimize your website and improve your search engine results.

However, both tools serve very different purposes. Surfer SEO is mainly designed for on-page SEO. In other words, it helps you write optimized content for your website. So you can outrank your competitors and improve your site’s organic traffic.

On the other hand, Ahrefs is what we call an all-in-one SEO tool. It covers several aspects of search engine optimization, such as backlink analysis, competitor research, keyword research, and more.

What Does Surfer SEO Analyze?

Surfer SEO comes with multiple powerful features to help you optimize your website, such as:

Surfer’s Content Editor

The content editor analyzes your content against top-ranking pages for your target keyword. It provides recommendations on what keywords to include in your content, as well as word count and other important factors to help you create blog posts that rank higher on search engines.

surfer seo content editor


The audit features let you analyze your website’s existing content and provide suggestions for improving it for better SEO. This includes relevant search terms you may include throughout your content, internal links, and other factors.

surfer audit tool

Keyword Research

Surfer SEO isn’t as closely focused on keyword research as Ahrefs. However, Surfer SEO’s keyword research tool can still help you discover relevant and profitable keywords for your website. One of the unique aspects is that it shows you keyword clusters.

This helps you see the supporting content you must build to improve your main keyword’s ranking on search engine results pages.

Surfer keyword research

Domain Planner

This feature analyzes your website’s pages and tells you the number of impressions, average position, and monthly search volume for your target keyword. You also have a “Surfer SEO score” based on the quality and relevancy of the content.

The higher the content score, the more likely that page will rank well on Google and other search engines.

Using this information, you can see what SEO strategies you need to apply to improve that web page results.

surfer domain

SERP Analyzer

The SERP analyzer is one of the most powerful features of Surfer SEO. You can analyze your target keyword’s search engine results (SERP) and see what factors are helping the top-ranked pages rank so well.

surfer serp

What Does Ahrefs Analyze?

Ahrefs is an entirely different tool compared to Surfer SEO. This tool is meant to help you with keyword research and backlink analysis.

It doesn’t tell you which keywords you should include in your content to rank better. But rather shows you the search volume, difficulty score, and potential traffic for different keywords.

Anyway, let’s go more in-depth with Ahrefs:

Keywords Explorer

Keywords Explorer is Ahrefs’ flagship keyword research tool. This tool allows you to enter a keyword or URL and see its search volume, difficulty score, and potential traffic.

At least for me, this is one of the main reasons why I use Ahrefs. Currently, it is considered to have one of the most accurate “keyword difficulty” scores in the market. This score allows you to see whether a keyword is worth pursuing or not.

Also, keyword research is one of the most important aspects of SEO. You want to find search terms that your target audience uses and include them in your content to rank higher on search engines.

ahrefs keyword research

Site Audit

This feature is similar to Surfer SEO. It analyzes your website’s pages and identifies technical SEO issues that may hurt your rankings on search engines. However, it goes more in-depth by recommending pages with broken images, 404 problems, broken links, and more.

ahrefs site audit

Rank Tracker

The Rank Tracker feature in Ahrefs allows you to track your website’s rankings for specific keywords over time. You can see more easily if your optimization strategy works and make adjustments as needed to improve your rankings.

ahrefs rank tracker

Content Explorer

This unique feature helps you find guest post opportunities, low-competition search terms, and more.

ahrefs content

Site Explorer (Backlink Checker)

This feature lets you analyze your competitor’s website and discover their backlink profiles. Knowing this allows you to visit the same places and obtain valuable backlinks.

ahrefs backlink checkr

Surfer SEO vs. Ahrefs Similarities

Although some features are similar, both tools work very differently. I use these SEO tools daily for my business. Each one has a set of different features. However, some features are quite similar, such as:


Both tools offer a site audit feature that helps you identify and fix technical SEO issues on your site. But Ahrefs Audit functionality is more complex compared to Surfer SEO.

Keyword Research

Once again, Ahrefs is light-years more advanced in keyword research, but both tools provide search volume and keyword difficulty scores. However, Ahrefs goes more in-depth with additional data, such as search intent and related keywords. Also, the keyword difficulty score is more accurate compared to Surfer SEO.

For most people, this feature alone is why they use Ahrefs. To run a successful website, you must find relevant keywords you can rank for and target. Otherwise, you won’t receive website traffic if you build content around irrelevant keywords or have too much competition.

And that’s about it! You don’t have many other similarities. In other words, Surfer SEO and Ahrefs have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The reason you use one isn’t the same reason you need another.

Advantages of using Surfer SEO

Now let’s take a closer look at some specific advantages of using Surfer SEO:

  • On-Page Optimization Tool: Surfer’s content editor helps you write a fully optimized blog post. It provides keyword suggestions, ideal post length, and other factors. I used Surfer SEO mainly for this reason. On the other side, Ahrefs doesn’t offer the same optimization feature.
  • Powerful Audit Tool: You can analyze your older content and see how to improve it by incorporating relevant keywords, updating information, building more internal links, and fixing technical issues. Also, Google loves sites that regularly update and optimize their content, which can lead to better rankings over time.
  • Grow Flow: A unique feature where Surfer SEO gives you weekly tasks to optimize your content and boost traffic. For instance, it provides advice about missing links on certain pages and recommendations on which pages to optimize.
  • Easy User Interface: You can start using Surfer SEO in minutes. The interface is intuitive, and the option you need is always at your fingertips.
  • Powerful Integrations: You can integrate Surfer SEO on your Google Docs, making it easy for you to optimize your content there. Also, you can install a plugin on WordPress to optimize your content directly on your site’s editor. If you’d like to write faster SEO content, you can use Surfer with Jasper AI (AI writer software).

If you’re still uncertain about this tool, check my Surfer SEO review here, where I explain everything in more detail.

Advantages of using Ahrefs

Now, let’s check Ahrefs advantages.

  • All In On SEO Tool: Ahrefs Is one of the most powerful SEO tools on the market. Offering a wide range of features from keyword research to backlink analysis, rank tracking, and more.
  • Powerful Keyword Search: One of Ahref’s key advantages is it helps you find low-competitive keywords easily. Especially if you have a new website, it can be challenging to find the right keywords to drive organic traffic.
  • Backlinks Analysis: This helps you see where your competitors are getting their backlinks from, allowing you to replicate and create a better backlink strategy for your site.
  • Ahrefs Browser App: A useful feature where you can see SEO metrics for any web page you visit in your browser.

Disadvantages of using Surfer SEO

While Surfer SEO is a great tool, there are a few potential drawbacks to remember.

  • Weak Keyword Research Tool: Surfer SEO’s keyword research tool isn’t as powerful as Ahrefs. So, you shouldn’t get this tool for that reason.
  • No Keyword Tracker: You don’t have a built-in tracker to help you see where your keywords rank.

Disadvantages of using Ahrefs

One disadvantage of using Ahrefs is that it can be overwhelming for beginners.

  • Not Budget Friendly: Actually, this is something that I don’t like about Ahrefs. Each time you do a search or analysis, it counts towards your monthly limit, and the price can quickly add up, making it quite expensive for those on a tight budget.
  • Complex User Interface: Don’t expect to come in and understand everything within a few minutes. You probably will need to spend some time watching or reading tutorials before you get the hang of it.

What’s The Right Tool For Your Website’s SEO Needs?

Well, I use both because each tool offers unique features that complement the other. Anyway, I guess that isn’t the answer you’re looking for. So, I’m going to separate each one.

Why Should You Get Surfer SEO?

Google has algorithm has become more complex and advanced over time. Currently, it looks at over 200 ranking factors to determine where your website should appear in the search results.

So, spending your time studying all these factors is a complete headache. And perhaps, only necessary for SEO experts. For this reason, Surfer SEO is the perfect tool for you. It gives you in-depth insight into what keywords, word count, and the number of images you need to include in your content to outrank your competitors.

Furthermore, it comes with other useful features such as “Growth Flow,” which provides weekly advice on the necessary steps you need to take to rank higher.

Why Should You Get Ahrefs?

At the moment, Ahrefs is one of the most popular SEO tools in the market. It has a vast database of backlinks and is incredibly useful for analyzing your website’s link profile or a competitor’s.

Contrary to Surfer SEO, this tool won’t provide extensive information about optimizing each piece of content. Still, it does offer useful information on how to build links and increase your website’s authority.

Also, one of the main reasons you use this tool is because of Ahrefs’ powerful keyword research tool. To build a successful website, you need to know which keywords to target, and Ahrefs makes this process easier.

But If You Could Only Pick One?

People often read comparison posts because they can only invest in one of the tools, and they want to know which one is better.

If I could only choose one, I definitely would go for Ahrefs. As I already said before, to build a successful website, you need to:

  • Know which keywords to target
  • Where you can possibly build high-quality backlinks
  • And if your content is ranking well for the chosen keywords

Initially, you can escape without Surfer SEO by only performing basic optimization, such as optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, and H1 tags. But you definitely can’t escape without having good keywords to target and building a strong backlink profile.

So, once you have the dough, investing in Surfer SEO would be a smart move to take your content optimization to the next level.

Try Ahrefs Today

Last Thoughts

So when it comes to picking the right tool for the job, both Surfer SEO and Ahrefs have advantages.

While Surfer SEO provides more detailed insight into how you optimize each piece of content, Ahrefs offers valuable information on building a strong backlink profile and conducting effective keyword research.

If I had to pick one, though, I would go with Ahrefs since having good keywords and high-quality backlinks are essential elements in building a successful site.

Although, investing in both tools would be the best solution. However, if your budget only allows for one tool at the moment, I highly recommend starting with Ahrefs and later adding Surfer SEO to your toolbox.

If you have any questions, please leave them below. Jordan Alexo will reply asap.

Try Ahrefs Today

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