NeuronWriter vs Surfer SEO: Which is Better for On-Page SEO?

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In the ultra-competitive world of search engine optimization, resources that can give you a leg up are extremely valuable. Over the past few years, AI-powered content optimization tools that perform SERP analysis have become increasingly popular.

If you’re in a competitive niche, using one of these tools to optimize your content is almost a necessity to rank at the top of Google today. It’s essential if you want to get the best on-page SEO possible.

Surfer is one of the most popular options, but many others exist. NeuronWriter isn’t as well-known, but I came across it in 2022 and gave it a shot. I love testing these SEO tools to see which ones can help me get the best results in the least amount of time. 

This NeuronWriter vs. Surfer SEO comparison shows the similarities and key differences so you can decide which one is right for you.

First, I’d like to explain my experience with both of these tools. I’ve been a paying Surfer user for about a year and a half. I’ve used it to optimize new and existing content for several sites in different industries. I’ve been using NeuronWriter for about a year, also with many different sites and clients. 

Although I’ve been using Surfer longer, I’ve used NeuronWriter for many more articles. For the last several months, I’ve hardly used Surfer as I’ve moved everything to NeuronWriter, and I probably won’t renew Surfer when my annual subscription is up. I’ve also tried Frase, MarketMuse, Clearscope, and Page Optimizer Pro, among others.

This comparison is based on the content optimization capabilities of NeuronWriter and Surfer SEO. Both tools offer AI writing capabilities as well. However, I don’t use those features. From my limited testing, neither of these AI writers is good enough (yet) to create high-quality content equal to what you would get from a human writer.

NeuronWriter vs. Surfer SEO Summary

The main difference between NeuronWriter and Surfer SEO is the price. Surfer is one of the most expensive tools of its kind, while NeuronWriter is far more affordable. (And currently, NeuronWrite is available with a lifetime deal, which is an AMAZING value.)

Aside from the price, I’ve found that optimizing an article with NeuronWriter is usually much faster than Surfer. With NeuronWriter, I can get similar results while investing about half as much time or less.

Overall, NeuronWriter and Surfer are both excellent on-page SEO tools for optimizing articles, whether you’re using them for new SEO content or improving existing content. I’ve had excellent results with both. But the huge price difference and the amount of time I can save with NeuronWriter give it an edge.

Get a Lifetime Deal on NeuronWriter

Currently, a lifetime deal on NeuronWriter is available at AppSumo. This represents a fantastic value and can save hundreds or thousands of dollars. Instead of paying monthly, you’ll pay a one-time, upfront price and get lifetime access.

Pricing starts at just $69, which allows you to optimize 25 articles per month. I chose a higher-priced plan and paid $267 to get up to 100 monthly content optimizations, plus the ability to share the document editor so freelance writers can use it.

Get More Search Traffic!
NeuronWriter: Create Content That Ranks

NeuronWriter is my go-to tool for optimizing content for Google. You can use it to write new content or update existing content. NeuronWriter uses natural language processing (NLP) to help you plan, write, and optimize content.

  • Easy and fast to use
  • Much cheaper than competitors like Surfer
  • Can be used by teams or with freelancers
  • Gets results!

Surfer Overview

Surfer SEO

Surfer was one of the first tools to use natural language processing (NLP) to help writers, marketers, and website owners optimize content for search engines. NLP allows computers to understand the text and its meaning, which can help content rank higher in search results.

Surfer provides a list of keywords and phrases related to the primary keyword. It suggests how often those words and phrases should be used on the page. The end result is an optimized article that tells Google and other search engines what it’s about. Ideally, the article will rank higher in searches for the target keyword and rank for a wider range of similar or related keywords.

Over the past few years, many competitors have entered the market. However, Surfer is probably the most well-known, thanks partly to promotion and affiliate partnerships with some big names in the SEO industry.

Content Optimization

I’ve tried many tools for optimizing content, and Surfer stands out as the most thorough. In my opinion, that comes with pros and cons. Surfer addresses details that many of its competitors do not. But you’ll need more time to optimize an article with Surfer than with other content writing tools, and the difference in outcome may be minimal, based on my experience.

When creating new content, Surfer gives you a suggested range for the word count, number of paragraphs, headings, and images. When you’re auditing existing content, it also suggests the total number of words that should be in header tags, the number of words in paragraphs, the number of words in bold text, the number of times the exact keyword should be used, and the number of times partial keywords should be used.

All of these details impact the optimization score of the article, which ranges from 1-100. The higher the score, the better the article is optimized for the target keyword.

The terms used in the article are the most significant factors impacting the score. Surfer provides a long list of words and phrases that should be included in the article and a range for how many times each should be used.

Surfer SEO's suggested terms

For example, Surfer recommends that an article targeting the term “neuronwriter vs surfer” should include the phrase “SEO optimized content” 2-3 times. If the article includes the phrase one time, it will under-optimized. Including it four or more times would lead to over-optimization. So to increase the score in Surfer, that phrase should be included two or three times.

The suggestions from Surfer are more specific than what you’ll find from most of its competitors. If you want to get a high score from Surfer, you’ll need to have most of the suggested terms in the recommended range, and those ranges can be very specific. Other tools give you more leeway (bigger ranges or simply include the term at least once in the article) to achieve a high score.

From my experience using Surfer to create new content and to update/optimize existing content, it works very well. I’ve always been happy with the results that Surfer helped me achieve, even though it requires time.

Keyword Research

Surfer SEO's keyword research tool

In addition to content optimization, Surfer also includes a keyword research tool. You’ll enter a keyword, and Surfer lists related keywords grouped into clusters. The tool provides each keyword’s estimated monthly search volume and difficulty score (1-10).

Surfer keyword clusters

While this keyword tool is useful, it’s never been a significant factor for me. I suspect most people who are able and willing to pay for Surfer already have a preferred tool for keyword research. Surfer’s keyword research tool can’t compare to Semrush, Ahrefs, KWFinder, or other dedicated keyword research tools.

The keyword research tool is nice to have if you’re a Surfer user, but it probably doesn’t factor into your NeuronWriter vs. Surfer decision.

AI Writer

In 2023, Surfer announced the launch of their own AI writing tool (hasn’t everyone launched an AI writer this year?). The possibility of automating content creation integrated with Surfer’s optimization capabilities is intriguing, but unfortunately, this AI writer isn’t anything to get excited about (yet). Hopefully, it will improve with time. But for now, it’s lacking in two key areas: quality and pricing.

The quality of articles generated by Surfer’s AI writer is average, but not among the best in the industry. Of course, it’s still new, and I’m sure it’s developing, so there could be significant improvements.

The AI writer’s capability is not included in Surfer’s base monthly or yearly price. The cost is $29 per article, which is very high for AI content. Until the quality improves substantially, better options are available.


Surfer SEO offers several integrations that can make your life easier. WordPress and Google Docs are possibly the most significant integrations. Thanks to this, you can use Surfer to optimize content directly in the WordPress dashboard or Google Docs rather than copying and pasting back and forth.

You can also integrate with Jasper for writing long-form articles and blog posts with AI. I’ve used this integration many times, and it’s quite handy. When writing an article in Jasper, you can flip to a view that includes the Surfer optimization details. You’ll see Jasper’s content editor on one side of the screen and the Surfer optimization details on the other side.

Surfer and Jasper

Surfer also integrates with Semrush and Google Search Console to provide a broader view of your site’s optimization.

NeuronWriter Overview


NeuronWriter is a great tool similar to Surfer in many ways. You can use it to optimize new content or improve existing content. It is a product of CONTADU, a Poland-based company (coincidentally, Surfer is also based in Poland).

Content Optimization

Like Surfer, NeuronWriter uses NLP to list suggested words and phrases based on the target keyword. It also recommends a target word count based on the top 10 organic results. You can also select or deselect the competitors NeuronWriter uses to generate the suggestions.

By default, it uses the top 10 organic results, but you can deselect any of them (for example, YouTube videos or thin forum posts) and select others. There may be some well-optimized pages ranking outside the top 10 that would be better to include.

NeuronWriter - Selecting competitors

In NeuronWriter’s content editor, you’ll see a list of suggested terms, your content’s current score, and the highest score from your competitors.

The suggested terms are separated for H1, H2, and the article body. Some similar tools only provide an overall list of suggested terms, but both NeuronWriter and Surfer specify which words and phrases should be used in the heading tags.

NeuronWriter suggestions

NeuronWriter‘s suggestions for the article body are separated into “basic” and “extended” sections. This is one of my favorite features of NeuronWriter, because it shows which words and phrases are most important. Usually, you can achieve a strong optimization score by focusing on the title, H1, H2, and the basic terms. The extended terms can help your score, but not as much as the others.

I’ve found that optimizing articles, whether I’m writing a new article or updating an existing one, is much faster with NeuronWriter than with Surfer. Surfer typically requires more changes to impact your score. With NeuronWriter, it’s a pretty quick process.

Of course, saving time is great, but results are what we’re really after. I’ve found that NeuronWriter is extremely effective even though it doesn’t require a lot of time. After trying 5-10 similar tools, I’ve had the best results (achieving high search engine rankings) with Surfer and NeuronWriter. I wouldn’t say NeuronWriter can help more than Surfer, but I think it’s on the same level, and the time commitment is much lower.

NeuronWriter also provides a list of related questions you can answer. These suggestions are pulled from Google’s “people also ask” and competitor’s pages. You can use these questions to create a FAQ or for subheaders within your article.

AI Writer

Like Surfer, NeuronWriter includes an AI writer. I can’t say too much about the AI writer from personal experience because I’ve barely used it. However, I’ve barely used it because I wasn’t impressed with the results when I tried (which was in late 2022).

It does offer some appealing features. For example, you can use NeuronWriter to create an outline and give the AI writer suggested keywords to use in each section. This helps keep the AI writing on point while producing an article optimized for SEO. However, as I mentioned, I just wasn’t impressed when I tried it.

Like other AI writers, NeuronWriter is currently in development, so hopefully, it will improve in the future. But for now, it’s a feature that I don’t use.

New Content Ideas

NeuronWriter will generate a list of suggested ideas based on the content you’re creating. While this is useful, I would classify it like Surfer SEO’s keyword research tool. It’s nice to have if you’re already using NeuronWriter, but it’s not a significant feature that will factor into your decision.

Content ideas from NeuronWriter


NeuronWriter provides functionality that helps with managing your content and editorial calendar. This can be especially helpful if you work as part of a team or manage several freelance writers.

Managing content with NeuronWriter

Each article can be assigned to someone, and a due date can be entered. You can also use tags to track the stage of the content.

Depending on your plan, you can add team members and grant access to view or edit documents.

There’s also a calendar view that pulls in the document’s name, the person it’s assigned to, and the due date.


NeuronWriter integrates with WordPress, making moving your content between the two easier. If you’re writing new content in NeuronWriter, you can easily export it to WordPress. And if you’re editing existing content, you can import it from WordPress, make the changes, and then export it.

There’s also a Google Search Console integration that allows you to see GSC data directly in NeuronWriter. This is very helpful for optimizing existing content because you can see exactly which keywords are already sending clicks to your page and others that have potential if you improve your rankings.

NeuronWriter also offers a free Google Chrome extension to use anywhere, including Google Docs.

Get More Search Traffic!
NeuronWriter: Create Content That Ranks

NeuronWriter is my go-to tool for optimizing content for Google. You can use it to write new content or update existing content. NeuronWriter uses natural language processing (NLP) to help you plan, write, and optimize content.

  • Easy and fast to use
  • Much cheaper than competitors like Surfer
  • Can be used by teams or with freelancers
  • Gets results!

Surfer SEO vs. NeuronWriter: Head-to-Head

Now that we’ve looked at the details of each tool, let’s see how they stack up in a few key areas.

Features and Capabilities

NeuronWriter and Surfer offer many similar features but also some differences. Ultimately, both tools allow you to optimize new or existing content, generate ideas for new content, create content with AI, and find internal link opportunities.

Each tool does a few things that the other does not, but those differences are relatively minor, in my opinion. The bottom line is both tools are effective for creating search-optimized content.

Winner: Tie

I’ve had excellent results with both Surfer and NeuronWriter. Both have a lot to offer, and I don’t see any real separation here.

User Interface

In terms of design, Surfer has the edge. The user interface is well-designed and logical.

NeuronWriter’s user interface could use some improvement (update: they just made some improvements to the interface, but it’s still not as good as Surfer’s). There are many tools and features, and it can feel a bit cluttered at times. It’s not terrible, but not as good as Surfer’s design.

Winner: Surfer

Ease of Use

In this section, I’m ranking the two tools based on how easy it is to optimize an article, including the amount of time needed. Surfer is an excellent tool that can help, but optimizing your articles takes longer. It provides a very specific range for the number of times each term should be used in your article, and you need to be in that range to see your content score increase.

Optimizing an article with Surfer requires a lot of editing. You’ll need to find places to naturally add the suggested terms or other words if you use a term too much. The same thing is true with NeuronWriter, but on a much smaller scale.

For example, when optimizing this article, Surfer suggests using the term “Surfer SEO” 20-48 times, while NeuronWriter suggests using it 4-20 times. If I’ve used the term three times in the article, I’ll only need to add one more to be within NeuronWriter’s recommended range. But I’ll need to add it 17 times to be in Surfer’s recommended range.

Multiply that by many terms, and you may add or remove a few hundred terms to optimize an article with Surfer. That takes some time.

From my experience, I can optimize content much faster with NeuronWriter than with Surfer because of the number of changes required. However, I’ve had similar results with both tools helping me to achieve higher rankings with existing content or getting new content to rank.

Winner: NeuronWriter

Since I’ve had similar results with both tools, working faster with NeuronWriter is a huge advantage.


Although Surfer is probably the most popular tool for content optimization, most of its criticism involves the price. It’s a great tool, but it’s not cheap. Many bloggers and small businesses find the price out of reach.

Surfer starts at $89 per month, which includes 15 content editor credits. The next plan is priced at $179 per month for 45 content editor credits. Those prices do not include the AI writer. Each AI-generated article costs an additional $29. The ability to audit and optimize existing content is another add-on of $49 per month (for 100 pages).

NeuronWriter‘s pricing is much lower. The starter plan is €19 (about $21 as of 9/6/23) per month for 25 content writer analyses and 15,000 AI-generated words. The content writer analyses can be used for new or existing content.

For €37 per month (about $41 currently), you can get 50 content writer analyses and 30,000 AI credits.

Some features like content sharing (unlimited team members), plagiarism checks, integrations, and content management require the €57 (about $63) per month plan, which includes 75 content writer analyses and 45,000 AI credits.

Even better, you can get a lifetime deal on NeuronWriter at AppSumo (available for a limited time). For as little as $69, you can use NeuronWriter forever without monthly fees. That’s less than a single month on Surfer’s cheapest plan.

Winner: NeuronWriter

NeuronWriter is a clear winner in terms of pricing, even without the lifetime deal. Surfer is an excellent tool, but it’s very expensive and not affordable for many solopreneurs and small businesses.

Surfer’s Advantages

Here’s where Surfer comes out ahead:

  • Established Industry Leader. Surfer is the most popular content optimization tool. The company has been around for a while and is well-established at this point. They regularly add new features, like the AI writer. The company appears likely to be around for a long time.
  • Beautiful Design. Surfer takes design seriously. Its website is well-designed, and so is the app’s user interface.
  • Keyword Research. Surfer’s keyword research tool is better than NeuronWriter’s tool for new content ideas. Surfer’s functionality isn’t nearly as robust as a dedicated keyword research tool, but it’s still useful.
  • Educational Resources. Surfer provides better training and educational resources than NeuronWriter.

NeuronWriter’s Advantages

And here’s where NeuronWriter comes out ahead:

  • Price. There’s a huge difference in price between Surfer and NeuronWriter. It’s not even close.
  • Lifetime Deal. If you don’t like monthly or yearly payments, you can get a lifetime deal on NeuronWriter and pay once. In fact, the lifetime deal starts at a lower price than Surfer’s monthly fee for an entry-level plan.
  • No Add-On Fees. The base price of Surfer doesn’t include all the features. You’ll need to pay extra for the AI writer and to audit existing content. That’s not the case with NeuronWriter.
  • Time Requirement. Based on my experience, optimizing articles with NeuronWriter is much faster than with Surfer. I’ve had the same results with both tools, so it makes sense to go with the one that’s a lot cheaper and faster.
  • Content Management. NeuronWriter’s features for managing content add value, especially if you’re working with a team or outsourcing to freelancer writers. You can assign content, set due dates, use tags to mark the status, and view it on a calendar.
  • AI Writer Included. This kind of overlaps the point about add-ons, but it’s significant for many users, so I’m including it as a separate point. NeuronWriter plans include a generous amount of AI credits each month, whereas Surfer charges high fees for each AI-generated article.

Why I Use NeuronWriter

After using both Surfer and NeuronWriter extensively, I’ve settled on NeuronWriter. The biggest factor for me is the time needed to optimize content. Surfer is effective, but optimizing most articles takes a long time because of the very specific ranges for each suggested term. I can optimize an article with NeuronWriter in much less time.

Of course, the results are what really matter. I’ve had the same amount of success with both tools.

Additionally, the price is another factor for me. Surfer is expensive, and the price has increased several times. I think it’s an excellent tool, but NeuronWriter is equally capable and much, much cheaper.

Get More Search Traffic!
NeuronWriter: Create Content That Ranks

NeuronWriter is my go-to tool for optimizing content for Google. You can use it to write new content or update existing content. NeuronWriter uses natural language processing (NLP) to help you plan, write, and optimize content.

  • Easy and fast to use
  • Much cheaper than competitors like Surfer
  • Can be used by teams or with freelancers
  • Gets results!

NeuronWriter vs. Surfer: Final Thoughts

Using a content optimization tool is one of the best things you can do to increase search traffic to your site. There are many options out there, but NeuronWriter and Surfer are the most effective tools I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a bunch).

Either will get the job done, but I recommend NeuronWriter to save time and money. Check out the lifetime deal on AppSumo for the best offer.