At first glance, most on-page SEO tools can seem identical to the uninitiated. Popular SEO tools like Page Optimizer Pro, Cora, and Surfer SEO, share the same goals—to help you research, plan, and draft better content (for blogs or web pages) that ranks higher in search results. They expand upon the standard tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics to make content research faster and easier. But which page optimization tool is the best? In this post, we’ll take a look at Surfer SEO and compare it to one of its competitors—Topic.
What is Topic?
Topic is a content optimization tool that helps you consolidate your content research, plan your content structure, and optimize your content by grading it in real-time within a convenient content editor. Like Surfer SEO, Topic provides insights by analyzing SERPs for a particular search term and giving guidelines on how you can align your content in a similar vein. Both Surfer SEO and Topic provide features for keyword research and keyword usage analysis. But how is Topic different, and why is it a better alternative?
How does Topic differ from Surfer SEO?
Not to get too philosophical, but the key difference between Topic and Surfer SEO is a matter of SEO philosophy.
Both tools are lauded for their easy-to-read dashboards, and both provide convenient extras like a Google Chrome extension, so you can grade your content directly within Google Docs.
But SEO content optimization is both science and part art, so it makes sense that each product reflects its founders’ personal philosophies—which ranking factors they think are the most important and what data sets provide the best results.
Topic focuses on the human aspect of content writing
Instead of getting bogged down in technical minutiae like keyword density, Topic’s guiding principle is, “Write what your audience wants to read.”
Topic believes research is the most critical step to creating content that will increase organic traffic, and the Content Research section on each keyword brief reflects that ethos. Here’s how Topic makes it easy to write valuable content that real humans want to read.
1) Write what your audience wants to know
Make it easy on your readers. Answer the questions people want to know. This principle is the easiest way to create useful content. Luckily, The Questions to Answer feature within Topic Content Grader aggregates questions people are entering into search engines, so you can tailor your topics to them. The questions are pulled from credible sources like Answer The Public, Google’s People Also Ask, and Quora. Finding and sorting through these questions can be a tedious process, but Topic sorts them by relevance so that you can prioritize them by importance.
2) Outline your content faster
Unfortunately, your fifth-grade writing teacher was right all along—creating a content outline before the drafting process speeds up the writing timeline and ensures structural organization stays on track throughout the piece. In Topic, the Outline Builder includes some rich competitive analysis tools, so it’s easy to build a content outline based on content from top results for that search term. A user-favorite feature is the Competitor Outline section that allows you to quickly scan through a competitive article’s topic headings. You can also sort competitor outlines by top-ranking pages or by content grade.
3) Group subtopics by semantic similarity
Topic’s ability to cluster subtopics or similar keywords by semantic grouping is another human-centric touch that makes it easier for content teams to organize a wide range of topics neatly and efficiently. By focusing on semantic similarity, content writers can systematically cover subtopics faster and easier.
Different data sources
A quick note on data sources. It’s worth mentioning that Surfer SEO has its, “own crawlers that provide the platform with real-time data for SERP Analyzer and Content Editor queries,” while Topic pulls data from SEMrush, a widely respected industry-standard software for competitive SEO keyword research. Most users may not care or notice the difference, but some users may be concerned that Surfer’s proprietary crawlers don’t have the correct data.
Why Topic is a Better Choice than Surfer SEO for Content Teams
With a greater focus on content and subtopic quality, Topic’s design is better suited for content writers and editors who don’t know all the ins and outs of on-page SEO analysis.
Simple User Interface
By placing less emphasis on the keyword planner than Surfer SEO, Topic highlights a simpler user interface that is more intuitive for content teams who are more likely to care about blog post copy than monthly search volumes. A quick glance at the main platform divisions shows Topic’s wheelhouse is on Content Research and Content Grading. This dyad is what most content marketers will be familiar with. By contrast, Surfer SEO’s bells and whistles that include features like backlink tracking or SERP analysis will have a sharper learning curve than Topic.
In addition, Surfer’s term recommendations can be confusing. You need to choose between regular vs NLP terms which can add additional complexity for the writer. Topic simplifies the decision making process and only shows you the most relevant terms (aka subtopics) to use within the article. We do this by employing a combination of NLP analysis and AI models.
Topic’s pricing is easier to understand, as it is based on the number of content briefs you create. Surfer SEO’s pricing is dependent on the feature set and capabilities you pick.
Topic allows unlimited user seats, so large content teams can easily integrate SERP analysis into their daily workflows. Topic also has a hassle-free share function to allow cross-team collaboration and sharing with external users.
Compare Surfer SEO and Topic Features
|Questions To Answer||✓||Limited|
|Outline Idea Generation||✓||X|
|Topics To Cover||✓||✓|
|Google Docs Extension||✓||✓|
Topic Makes Content Optimization Easy
With a visible focus on content research and an optimization philosophy that emphasizes readability and content utility, Topic is the clear on-page SEO tool for content marketers who want to deliver valuable content to their audiences. With Topic, even SEO newbies can approach content optimization with confidence.