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SEO
6
min read
February 20, 2024

Top 4 Clearscope Alternatives

Parthi Loganathan
CEO of Letterdrop, former Product Manager on Google Search

TL;DR:

  • Clearscope is a popular SEO tool but has been on the market for a while, doesn't offer much by way of AI-assisted writing, and has become increasingly outdated.
  • Top competitors that help you do more on the SEO front (and the generative AI front) are Surfer SEO, Frase, and MarketMuse.
  • Unfortunately, most of these alternatives promote keyword stuffing as a primary ranking factor.
  • Letterdrop offers a comprehensive ecosystem of SEO tools that includes optimizing for search intent, information gain, and other modern SEO best practices. It also incorporates generative AI and automated technical SEO fixes.

Clearscope is one of the most well-known content and SEO-optimization tools on the market today and was one of the first to apply NLP to SEO.

But it's been around for some time now. As the SEO landscape evolves, marketers are looking for optimization tools that help them give a more complete answer to questions and that help them write optimized content faster with generative AI.

Maybe you're wondering what new alternatives are out there and how they compare to Clearscope. I've put together a list of its top contenders — Surfer SEO, Frase, MarketMuse, and Letterdrop.

For each of these tools, I give a rundown of the offerings that set it apart from Clearscope to help you make your choice. I also include tables that compare their capabilities for:

  • Keyword research
  • Topical optimization
  • Technical optimization
  • Generative AI and automation capabilities



1. Letterdrop

Letterdrop Homepage


We're putting Letterdrop forward as a more modern and full-service alternative to Clearscope that's won companies like Scribe an 11x boost to qualified traffic and paid signups from SEO.

Founded by former PMs on the Google Search team, Letterdrop is one of the first SEO assistants built to put people first, prioritizing new perspectives and search intent over keyword stuffing.

Our suite of SEO tooling can identify and auto-fix SEO issues both on-page and across your site, taking SEO off your hands.


Standout Features

In a nutshell, Letterdrop's SEO tool semantically understands your content and can:

  1. Identify Search Intent and let you know you whether the search is informational, navigational, commercial or transactional. It analyzes top pages and suggests the best format you should use to get ranking
  2. Its AI-powered Outline Generator and topical coverage features provide insight into what has been covered on the SERPs so that you know what needs to be addressed. The AI can help you "research dump" and structure your article.
  3. Suggest topics and new angles that haven't been covered yet so that you optimize for Information Gain.
  4. Give you an EEAT guide specific to your content to make sure all your bases are covered.
  5. Automatically fix over 60 on-page technical SEO rules, such as internal links, keyword placement, alt text, and more
  6. Auto-fix links and publish them across your site
  7. Monitor your pages for you for necessary content refreshes

We're not here to tell you to repeat your keyword 20 times, but to help you create content that:

a) Ranks better in the new SEO climate, especially in the wake of Google's SGE

b) Your customers actually want to read


Clearscope vs Letterdrop

Clearscope Letterdrop
Keyword Research Basic to intermediate - offers a keyword report Basic keyword research tool that pulls data from Semrush
Technical Optimization None Advanced - automated on-page SEO fixes (over 60 SEO rules), internal linking on-page and across your site, automatic content refresh monitoring, and more
Topical Optimization Very basic - based on keyword usage alone Advanced - includes SERP topic coverage and recommendations to optimize for information gain
Generative AI for SEO Writing Assistance None Intermediate - an outline-builder that "research dumps" information from the SERP for you; built-in writing frameworks; can summarize videos and text, and more


2. Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO Home


After you've put in your keyword, Surfer SEO analyzes the content of top competitors out on the SERPs. Much like Clearscope, Surfer assigns an SEO score to both SERP content and your own written content on the basis of:

  • Inclusion of relevant LSP keywords
  • Word count
  • Image count
  • Page structure (headers and paragraphs)
  • Keyword density
  • Page speed
  • Backlink count and quality
  • Meta tag structure

It then produces a customizable guideline for you with real-time SEO recommendations. It covers structural tips, keyword suggestions, and topic ideas.


Standout Feature #1: AI-Powered Outline Builder

Surfer's outline builder lets you generate headers and even full paragraphs into the editor based on your target keywords.

But remember, you can't just take this output as-is. It still demands a lot of editing from a person in order to make it actually usable.


The outline builder in Surfer
The outline builder in Surfer


Standout Feature #2: Personalized SEO Targets

Surfer allows you to adjust your specific goals per article, and assigns you a score on how well you're meeting these goals. This sets it apart from Clearscope.

For example, you can adjust:

  • the competitors you want to be valued against
  • structural goals
  • topical goals by selecting the most relevant "People Also Ask" topics


Clearscope vs Surfer SEO

Clearscope Surfer SEO
Keyword Research Basic to intermediate - offers a keyword report Basic to intermediate - offers a keyword report that you can download as a spreadsheet
Technical Optimization None Basic to intermediate - offers some technical SEO suggestions, such as meta tag structure ideas for backlink building
Topical Optimization Very basic - based on keyword usage alone Basic to intermediate - compares your content to top results on the SERP, giving you competitive keywords and topics
Generative AI for SEO Writing Assistance None Basic - AI can generate an outline. It can also summarize and expand on points


3. Frase

Frase.io Home

Frase is another smart SEO assistant that uses learning algorithms to produce actionable SEO insights based on user engagement with published web content.

Frase processes your content and compares it to the top 20 search results for your keyword. Just like Clearscope and Surfer, it awards a content score, which you can improve by including topics and keywords from top pages.


Standout Feature #1: AI-Generated Outlines, First Drafts, and Other Writing Help

Frase may have a similar editor and outline builder as Clearscope at first glance, but it goes a step further by allowing you to generate a complete first draft based on your keywords.

It should be used as a foundation for your final article, but it kickstarts the writing process and can save some time.


Generating a draft in Frase


You can also use the AI to help you summarize or rewrite text.


Standout Feature #2: The "Questions" Feature

Frase allows you to see top questions from the SERP (including from websites like Reddit) which can help you target better topical coverage.


Clearscope vs Frase

Clearscope Frase
Keyword Research Basic to intermediate - offers a keyword report Basic to intermediate - offers a keyword report
Technical Optimization None None
Topical Optimization Very basic - based on keyword usage alone Intermediate - compares your content to top results on the SERP, giving you competitive keywords and topics
Generative AI for SEO Writing Assistance None Intermediate - AI can generate an outline and a first draft. It can also summarize and expand on points



4. MarketMuse

MarketMuse Home


MarketMuse makes use of AI to help you research, plan, and generate competitive content.

With it, you get an in-depth analysis of published content, covering keyword research, content gap analysis, and competitor insights.


Standout Feature #1: More Personalized Recommendations

MarketMuse takes its SEO suggestions a step further than Clearscope. While you still get a grade based on keyword inclusion and word count, you also get:

  • More information on how to close topical gaps with the "Related Questions" feature
  • Custom SEO targets
  • Suggestions for distribution
  • Projected ROI for certain topics

Standout Feature #2: Internal Link Suggestions

MarketMuse offers a series of Applications you can plug into your writing, including a feature that alerts you to possible internal linking opportunities.


Internal linking suggestions in MarketMuse
Internal linking suggestions in MarketMuse



Standout Feature #3: AI Draft Builder

The tool offers a drag-and-drop, AI-powered draft builder that lets you put together your draft using outputs based on the SERPs.

You can also instruct the AI to help you expand on points, rewrite sections, and summarize sections.


AI-generated draft builder in MarketMuse
AI-generated draft builder in MarketMuse



Clearscope vs MarketMuse

Clearscope MarketMuse
Keyword Research Basic to intermediate - offers a keyword report Basic to intermediate - offers a keyword report
Technical Optimization None Intermediate - gives technical SEO recommendations, such as internal linking suggestions
Topical Optimization Very basic - based on keyword usage alone Intermediate - suggests "Related Questions" for better coverage
Generative AI for SEO Writing Assistance None Intermediate - can generate outlines and drafts. The AI can also help expand on points and summarize text


Which Clearscope Alternative Is Best for Me?

You don't want to end up in a situation where you're telling your CEO that you wasted money on an SEO tool that is doing nothing for your content.

Unfortunately, Clearscope and most of its alternatives heavily emphasize keywords as a primary way to get ranking. This is untrue and promotes keyword stuffing.

An arbitrary score based on keyword density and word count won't help you create content that puts the user first and answers their search intent. This way of thinking is very outdated and could harm your SEO efforts.

Letterdrop is thinking about the future of search and how to use AI to take the SEO basics off your hands, from topical coverage to internal linking. Reach out to us to put SEO best practices on autopilot.

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