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min read
May 28, 2024

Clearscope vs MarketMuse

Keelyn Hart
Content Writer at Letterdrop


  • Clearscope is best for medium-sized businesses and companies working with freelancers and agencies.
  • MarketMuse offers more advanced analysis and is best suited for agencies and large teams.
  • However, neither tool is equipped for the future of SEO, as they focus too heavily on keyword relevance.
  • There is as a more modern and robust alternative that prioritizes search intent and unique perspectives.

Clearscope and Marketmuse are among the most well-known competing content optimization tools on the market. They share similar features, so it can be difficult to figure out which would be better for you.

We'll compare the two in this guide to give you a clearer idea of which tool is best suited to which kind of team — and demonstrate how neither may be the best choice for your business given the changing SEO landscape.


Clearscope is an AI-powered keyword research and content optimization tool that's been on the market since 2016.

It uses IBM Watson's natural language processing to analyze and assign your content and top-page content a letter grade based on Latent Semantic Indexing keywords (LSI keywords) or keywords relating closely to your target keyword. The tool suggests other LSI terms you can add to make your content more SEO-friendly.

Its core offering is an editor where you paste your content for Clearscope to analyze, grade, and make suggested improvements according to top results on the SERP for your chosen keyword. The tool shows you:

  • which top or relevant terms you've included
  • which top or relevant terms you've left out
  • which top or relevant terms you should include in your headings

Once the analysis is over, you're assigned a letter grade based on your inclusion of these keywords, how readable your content is, and how close your word count is to top pages.

Clearscope content editor results
Clearscope content editor results

It also integrates with WordPress and Google Docs, so that marketers can do basic SEO checks on the go. It connects with Google Search Console for its keyword data.

Who is Clearscope For?

In my opinion, Clearscope is best used as a one-off tool for B2C brands signing off on basic SEO checks. This lets teams scale content quickly.

This makes it best suited for:

  • Medium-sized businesses looking to run basic SEO checks and scale content fast
  • Companies working with freelancers and agencies

What Customers Say About Clearscope


"I love that it aggregates all the secondary keywords in one place, so adding them into an existing document is easy and user friendly. The additional research features are also very helpful, and this makes on-page SEO super easy." — Amica G, Sr. Content, Social Media, and Reputation Manager (Small-Business, less than 50 employees)


"If I had to say I dislike anything with Clearscope it would be that sometimes you have to manually filter irrelevant terms from it’s algo." — Nick B (Small Business, less than 50 employees)


MarketMuse Home
MarketMuse Home

MarketMuse is a content optimization and content creation tool that uses AI and machine learning for an in-depth analysis of published content on the subject you're writing about.

Just like Clearscope, MarketMuse is capable of:

  • Keyword research
  • Inserting terms in the editor to create outlines
  • Content gap analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Grading content based on SERP analysis

However, it does offer more in-depth data and more robut SEO features.

Standout Feature 1: AI-Generated Draft Builder

Unlike Clearscope, Marketmuse uses your specified KPIs and the subheadings you chose in your content brief into first drafts using NLP (natural language processing) technology. This can give you a jumping-off point and save you some time.

Just like any AI-generated content, you shouldn't use it as-is or take it at face value.

AI-generated draft builder in MarketMuse
AI-generated draft builder in MarketMuse | Source: theblogsmith.com

Standout Feature 2: Internal Link Suggestions

MarketMuse offers an Applications feature, which includes all the tools you can use for your content research.

Included in these tools is an internal linking suggestion feature that scans your pages and makes relevant recommendations. Since internal linking is so important to SEO, this gives MarketMuse a huge advantage over Clearscope.

Internal link suggestions in MarketMuse
Internal link suggestions in MarketMuse

Standout Feature 3: More Advanced Analysis

When it comes to research and content gap analysis, MarketMuse takes it a step further than Clearscope.

  • The Content Inventory evaluates your existing content for potential gaps and compiles best content opportunities
  • The more advanced Content Editor gives insight into more than competitor analysis, but also distribution suggestions and topic depth
  • You're able to track topics and potential ROI

These features save you more time on research and give you more personalized metrics to work with.

Traffic and ROI potential analysis in MarketMuse
Traffic and ROI potential analysis in MarketMuse

Who is MarketMuse For?

MarketMuse offers more robust research tools than Clearscope, and the generative AI can be helpful in scaling content faster.

It's best suited to agencies and large teams with fast-growing websites.

What Customers Say About MarketMuse


"The MarketMuse briefs are a must! At my company, along with listicles, I write detailed articles about health issues requiring research and the briefs easily create an outline and suggest related links. [...] Following the brief and checking my SEO targets with the optimization application makes writing so much easier!" — Anonymous Verified User (Small Business, less than 50 employees)


"I have run diagnostics for my personal site (not for work) and found some of the insights confusing. I would also love the ability to delete/ignore certain words it serves as allegedly required for ranking on Google. No, MarketMuse, the "all rights reserved" is not a phrase I need to rank on. I could also use some guidance on what to put into headings." — Janet G, Mid-Market

Our Recommendation: Neither Tools Are Equipped for the Future of SEO

Ultimately, Clearscope and MarketMuse can both be used for basic SEO sanity checks and to keep you on topic.

The same can be said for other Clearscope and MarketMuse alternatives like Surfer SEO and Frase.

While MarketMuse does have a handy internal linking suggestion feature, both it and Clearscope put too heavy a focus on keyword or term relevance. This promotes keyword stuffing, which can hurt your rankings.

On another note, Google's own John Mueller dismissed that there was such thing as LSI keywords back in 2019.

Google's John Mueller dismisses the existence of LSI keywords

As the SEO landscape continues to shift (especially in the wake of Google's SGE), this simply isn't enough to get you ranking. Google's PaLM2 already smart enough to semantically crawl pages and it will only improve.

Neither tools help you understand search intent, how to add unique perspectives to win with information gain, optimize for technical SEO, or follow EEAT guidelines.

Keyword optimization alone won't get you ranking in 2024 and beyond.


We're putting Letterdrop forward as a more modern and robust alternative to Clearscope and MarketMuse that's gotten companies like Scribe to 11x their traffic and paid signups within a year.

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.

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

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. Provide insight into what has been covered on the SERPs so that you know what needs to be addressed. You can even auto-generate sections into your content.
  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 refreshes

We're not here to tell you to repeat X keyword 30 times or just make linking suggestions, but to help you automate SEO best practices and create content that:

a) Ranks better

b) Your customers actually want to read

It also has AI tooling that can help accelerate your workflow from ideation to publish.

‎Who is Letterdrop For?

Letterdrop is best suited to companies with:

It's also for content teams who hope to optimize content no matter the search changes that get thrown their way in the coming years. The tooling is consistently updated to reflect changes in the search climate, including making sure you optimize for Google's SGE and Perspectives.


Related FAQs on Clearscope and MarketMuse Alternatives

What Is the Difference Between Surfer SEO and MarketMuse?

Surfer SEO and MarketMuse are both platforms that provide solutions for improving website visibility and performance.

  • MarketMuse offers more advanced and comprehensive features compared to Surfer SEO.
  • MarketMuse uses AI-driven insights and automated content optimization, which sets it apart from Surfer SEO.
  • Surfer SEO, on the other hand, may have a more user-friendly interface and a lower price point compared to MarketMuse.

The question as to whether Surfer SEO is better than Clearscope comes down to what you're looking for. Surfer offers a better insight into what the SERPs are covering than Clearscope, but both tools are still heavily focused on keywords.

What Is the Difference Between MarketMuse and Frase?

While similar in their offerings, Frase primarily focuses on providing content ideas, questions, and popular topics.

On the other hand, MarketMuse offers a more advanced research tool that goes beyond just generating content ideas. It analyzes entire content clusters and provides insights for topic modeling and content strategy.

Your SEO Tool Should Help You Optimize for the Future of SEO

SEO is changing, and while Clearscope and MarketMuse are capable of helping you with basic topical optimization, they're fast becoming outdated.

Putting the user first has never been more important in SEO, especially with Google's SGE.

We're constantly developing our tooling to optimize for the future. Reach out to us if you want to find out more.

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