First, we’d like to give a huge shout-out to the team at Clearscope. They’ve built a great content optimization tool to help creators craft compelling SEO content.
But is it the right tool for you?
We tested a few popular Clearscope alternatives for a day. This guide will help you pick the right content optimization tool for your use case and budget.
Here are the top 5 alternatives to Clearscope:
- Surfer SEO
Let’s get started.
What is Clearscope and Why do People Like It?
Clearscope is one of the first content optimization tools on the market. Their co-founder Bernard Huang is a well-known SEO in the industry.
Writers use Clearscope to create high-quality content that’s loved by both readers and search engines. The result? A great reader experience and higher organic search traffic.
Clearscope’s strength lies in its AI-powered content optimization feature called “Optimize”. With Optimize, you not only save time but also remove any guesswork involved in figuring out what readers want to hear from you.
Simply pop your draft into Clearscope to get information on content relevance, comprehensiveness, and LSI keywords to include. You’ll also receive a letter grade based on how well your content is optimized for SEO and ways you can improve it.
Want to learn more? Brian Dean from Backlinko wrote an in-depth review of Clearscope.
What are the Best Clearscope Alternatives and Competitors?
Clearscope isn’t perfect and it certainly isn’t for everybody. For starters, it’s expensive and doesn’t come with a free trial.
Their most popular plan at $350/month can be a huge upfront commitment for anyone. The newly introduced $170/month plan, while cheaper, is still limited.
Clearscope is great at optimizing blog posts for search engines but it offers no support for content brief generation.
These are some limitations that prevent Clearscope from being the best SEO tool for determining your content strategy. Here are five Clearscope alternatives:
While there are feature differences between both marketing tools, at its core, Topic was designed to speed up the research process when creating a new piece of content.
We believe that research is the most crucial step in the content creation process.
Crafting a well-researched article involves understanding search intent, analyzing competing articles, and addressing common questions your audience is asking.
This takes time. And on top of that, you also need to figure out your angle.
At Topic, we automate the manual and time-consuming research process so you can spend time figuring out how to make your content stand out.
Here are some key features:
Topic analyzes top results for your keyword and generates a research document that includes headings, questions, and relevant topics. You can curate this research into a comprehensive outline using Topic’s outline builder functionality.
AI-Powered Brief Generation
With GPT-3, Topic can automagically generate a content outline for you. Plug in a title and description and let the AI do the rest. Use this feature with our research section to build high-quality briefs for your content writers in minutes (not hours).
Use Content Grader to see what your draft is missing. Optimize before you hit publish to ensure every article covers what your audience is looking for. Our Google doc and WordPress plugin offers content grader right where you need it.
Topic vs. Clearscope
- Save time and build content briefs in minutes (not hours).
- Create high-quality drafts that nail search intent every time.
- Rank higher on search by optimizing with our content grader.
- No technical SEO toolset.
- No content audit or refresh features.
- AI-generated headlines can go off rails for certain topics (we’re working on it!)
Best for: Content teams and agencies.
Pricing: Our starter plan (best for solopreneurs or startups) starts at $99/month and our plus plan (for content teams or agencies) costs only $199/month.
Marketmuse is an enterprise content strategy and intelligence platform. Their core focus lies in automating your entire content strategy with the help of AI.
Unlike Clearscope, Marketmuse tackles a broader problem. You can create an entire content strategy from scratch, auto-generate first drafts of an article with NLP, create content briefs for your writers using AI, and more.
This makes Marketmuse one of the most feature-rich Clearscope alternatives and best suited for large teams with big budgets looking for help with end-to-end content strategy.
Here are some key features:
- Marketmuse surfaces headings, subtopics, questions to build a detailed content brief.
- Content Inventory helps you manage your entire content library in one place.
- Content scoring system to grade content before you hit publish.
The biggest downside of Marketmuse is it’s unclear pricing. What’s a query vs a credit? What’s an application? You’ll never know unless you dive deeper into their support docs:
Marketmuse vs. Clearscope
- Content Inventory
- Content Brief Generation
- Content Optimization
- Unclear and expensive pricing.
- Complicated workflow results in a steep learning curve.
- Poor UX/UI can reduce adoption rates.
Best for: Enterprise companies looking for help with end-to-end content strategy.
Pricing: Marketmuse offers cheaper plans but expect to pay $499/month (and above) for access to the entire suite of features.
Dashword is a content optimization tool offering features similar to Clearscope.
The content editor offers keyword suggestions on the left, a letter-based content grade for gauging content quality as well as the recommended word count on the top.
Enter your target keyword and Dashword generates a detailed report on all competing articles in the top 10 results. This includes average word count, content grade, relevant terms, and readability level.
Dashword’s biggest con is its poor term quality. Terms like “good idea”, “great way”, and “example” are recommended when I run a report for “SEO content”:
Dashword vs. Clearscope
- Access to unlimited reports.
- Simple and easy-to-use user interface
- Cheaper compared to Clearscope
- No content brief generation.
- Poor term quality.
- No keyword research tool.
Best for: Freelancers
Pricing: For access to unlimited reports you’ll be paying a flat $99/month. Dashword offers a free trial with one free report.
4. Surfer SEO
Surfer SEO works like Clearscope. Start by entering the target keyword you want to rank for in their dashboard.
Surfer will then analyze the search results for 100s of data points such as recommended word count, recommended keywords and phrases, image alt tags, and backlinking information.
Instead of the “write what your audience wants to read” philosophy, Surfer chooses to focus on the technical aspect of SEO writing.
This makes Surfer a much better fit for expert-level SEOs looking to solve the problem of on-page optimization for both new and existing content.
Surfer utilizes Google’s NLP APIs but there’s room for improvement. Here’s a snapshot of Surfer’s recommendations, some of which are generic and won’t improve your content quality:
Surfer SEO vs. Clearscope
- Powerful content audit and refresh features.
- Robust technical SEO toolset.
- Content planner to create a content strategy in minutes.
- Low-quality recommendations.
- No content inventory feature.
- Weak content outline generation.
Best for: Freelancers or Technical SEOs.
Pricing: The basic plan starts at $59/month. To access all Surfer features, expect to pay $99/month and above.
Further Reading: 5 Best Surfer SEO Alternatives (Tried & Tested)
Frase is a content answer engine platform. Their strength lies in answering questions your readers might have with the help of their chatbot integration.
Not only that, but they also offer content brief generation to help you build briefs quickly.
Frase can output a huge list of subtopics – usually 100+. You’ll need to manually sift through them and pick the most relevant ones. Failing to do so can make your writer jam all the subtopics in the article, leading to a poor reader experience and increased writing costs.
- Frase surfaces headings, subtopics, and questions to help build a content brief.
- AI answer engine chatbot helps answer questions your readers may have.
- Content scoring system to grade content before you hit publish.
Frase is best suited for anyone on a tight budget and willing to take the time to curate the subtopics list by themselves.
Frase vs. Clearscope
- Cheaper compared to Clearscope.
- Content brief generation.
- Powerful Q&A features.
- No writing assistance.
- Weak content optimization.
- Poor help and support for navigating the tool.
Best For: Bloggers and freelancers.
Pricing: The basic plan starts at $45/month and the team plan costs $115/month. Frase also offers custom enterprise plans.
Which Clearscope Alternative Is Right for You?
Like any tool in this list, Clearscope has its pros and cons and may or may not be the right solution for your particular use case or budget.
Our recommendation: pick a tool that offers the features you need at a price that fits your budget. Some tools offer a free (or inexpensive) trial, so take advantage of them!
If you’re looking for an inexpensive content optimization tool that helps you create SEO content faster and scales as your needs grow, check out Topic!