Clearscope is a great tool that helps marketing teams write better content to increase their organic traffic.
But the high price may make you consider other SEO software. I did the research and tried all the Clearscope alternatives out there to see how they compare.
Dashword might be the tool you're looking for. It has the same main features as Clearscope with some nice twists.
Unlimited reports for $99/month
First of all, there is no limit to the number of reports you can run. When you write an article, you're targeting one main keyword, but your content will also rank for several smaller keywords. With unlimited reports at your disposal you can create separate reports for those smaller keywords. Your content will be more thorough and optimized.
In-depth content research
Similar to Clearscope, Dashword analyzes the top results on Google and uses NLP to extract the most relevant and important terms for your topic. When you run a report for a keyword, you get benchmarks and actionable data around your target keyword based on the top SERP results. This can save you hours of research time.
Real-time feedback as you write
Dashword's main strength is its content optimizer. As soon as you start writing your content, you get real-time feedback that helps you improve what you've written. Content is scanned for LSI keywords, readability is scanned, and we monitor the length of the content as you write.
Made for collaboration
With Dashword's paid plan, you can invite up to 5 team members to work together on your content strategy. If you're working with external writers, it's possible to make individual reports public and share them with guests.
- Keyword quality: 5/5
- Ease of use: 5/5
- Price per report: low, less than $1
- URL: dashword.com
MarketMuse's cheapest plan starts at $499/mo. They seem to target enterprise and you might be looking for something else.
Some things are a bit complex, like their 6 different dashboards, depending on what you plan to work on, but the overall experience was pretty good and it feels like a robust content marketing software.
I liked that they crawl your site at the account creation and automatically analyze all your pages, giving you a beautiful dashboard for your website where you can see all your content.
But I felt overwhelmed by all the features and didn't know where to start. MarketMuse might be the ahrefs of content marketing, there is a lot of data and you may need to spend hours trying to figure out how to get the most out of it, but their product is great if money is not a problem.
That being said, they seem to target content teams working on a single massive website rather than SEO agencies working on several sites, so this is something to keep in mind.
Cost: Starts at $499/mo
Free trial? Yes, 3 months with limited reports.
Sample report: https://briefs.marketmuse.com/5ed63a90ca487989341b1fbd
If you're interested in seeing how Marketmuse compares to Dashword make sure to read our breakdown.
If you want to use SimilarContent to research and write your content, you need to hold its hand more than other tools out there. When you launch a report, it doesn't automatically analyze everything for you. Instead, it offers a series of loosely coupled tools that you'll need to use one at a time to gather the data you need.
Reports and the Content Optimizer
When you run a report with SimilarContent, all you get is a huge list of keywords to use in your article. No reporting and insights about the competition, no frequently asked questions, no information about content length... On top of that, the quality of the keywords extracted is not very good. The list is huge and seems to contain every possible keyword.
The feedback you get from the Content Optimizer are: Keyword Coverage, Word Count, Character Count, and TF/IDF Score. Once you have some content written, there is a button to manually check the current score of your content.
Similar headline analysis
It's not entirely clear what the purpose of this tool is, and I didn't find it very useful when writing my article. You can enter your article headline and run a report. SimilarContent will then return some benchmarks on the keywords that appear in your headline, including Relevance Score, Sentiment Score and emotion score. The difference between the latter two is not explained.
Topic Difficulty Checker
Also included in the tool is a "Topic difficulty checker", which you can use to research the keyword you want to optimize your article for. This will give you some useful information about the competition and some benchmarks that aren't always clear on what they mean.
The set of other tools (Question Analyzer, Content Rewrite, Topic Ideas Generator) were sometimes a bit buggy and the value they provided was not always clear, but if you are motivated and have the time, you can make it work for you.
Similar Content pricing starts at $9.90/month and for that price you get 10 difficulty reviews per day and two projects per day. Projects are the equivalent of writing an article on Clearscope: you get a list of keywords to use and feedback on your writing. To get all the competitive insights and actually research your topic, you'll need to use the Difficulty Checks tool separately.
- Keyword quality: 1/5
- Ease of use: 1/5
- Price per report: low
- URL: similarcontent.com
This tool has been in development since 2018, and its main focus is on workflows that help you with content planning and content briefs so you can better collaborate with your writers. Their Content Grader is still in beta, so keep that in mind if you expect your content optimization tool to give you quality feedback on the content you write.
Content Harmony produces comprehensive reports, but they can be a bit overwhelming. I didn't find all the data actionable, but sifting through it can give you the information you need. Some of the findings are not very precise. For example, there is an attempt to infer keyword result intent, but in the few reports I tried, the results were slightly off. It's also not entirely clear why they make a distinction between keyword reports and search intent reports, when you probably always want the search intent data when doing keyword research for a new article.
The recommended keywords are of good quality. The same goes for question analysis, where many sources are reviewed to get the best questions about the content.
An interesting feature that I haven't seen in other competitors is the Authoritative Sources feature, which is designed to extract sources that are typically referenced when writing about a particular topic. But while the idea seems nice, the results themselves are disappointing and disjointed.
I liked their competitor report, it follows the same trend of throwing a lot of data at you, but some of it is useful in helping you decide if you want to compete for that particular keyword and how you might approach it.
Content Harmony also shows you data on images and videos from the top SERP results. This can be useful depending on the search intent you want to cover. For purely content-heavy keywords and intent, this is probably less useful.
Workflow and Content Briefs
The workflow feature is nice and simple. It doesn't offer functionality like assigning tasks to team members or other features that case management tools typically have, but it gets the job done with some manual orchestration between you and your team.
For a tool that claims that Content Briefs is one of its main features, I found it a bit disappointing. You're essentially given a list of text fields to fill in yourself after you've analyzed the data from the reports. The idea is that you can then pass this on to one of your authors. It works well, but it's very time consuming and offers little assistance in automating this process.
Pricing for ContentHarmony starts at $99/month. For that, you get 12 Content Briefs, 50 Search Intent Reports, and unlimited projects and users. This is very close to Clearscope's per-report pricing, but a more affordable starter plan.
- Keyword quality: 5/5
- Ease of use: 2.5/5
- Price per report: high, ~$8.50
- URL: contentharmony.com
It's hard to figure out exactly what Textmetrics does, judging by their website. They don't show pricing on their site and the clients they mention are very large, which suggests they are targeting upscale and large content teams. But they do indeed have a content optimization platform and I was able to try it out. It also took about 3 days for my trial account to be accepted.
The typical usage flow in Textmetrics is different from most other SEO tools of this type: instead of starting from a report with insights, you start by writing an article. Once you have some content written down, you can specify what the main keyword is that you want to optimize for.
Sadly, specifying the main keyword doesn't do much. Textmetric only gives you some information about keyword volume and how competitive the keyword is. It also shows related terms you might want to target. Once you've determined your main keyword, you need to start a new search for related keywords (or synonyms, as they're called in the Textmetrics platform). From these synonyms, you have to make a selection of 20 keywords. Textmetris does not track your usage for these keywords, so you have to do this part manually.
All of this is not very user friendly and a bit tedious to manage. The quality of the keywords wasn't the best either.
SEO optimization and content analysis
This is one of the few tools out there that not only looks at words and content, but also analyzes how the text is formatted. And while the text optimization features were disappointing, I liked the content insights. When you go to the Optimize tab, you get all sorts of information about how your text is formatted and how you can improve it. For SEO optimization, this includes things like:
- Length and keyword count for the page title and description
- Number of headings used in your text and the use of keywords in those headings
- Number of images and links
- Bold and italic tags used
The text analysis insights you get are also quite extensive: Textmetrics gives scores for reading time, reading level, readability score, text credibility, target audience match, and sentiment analysis. There is also information on how you can improve each.
Textmetrics offers some nice features, but it won't be enough on its own to help you write quality content. While the SEO optimization and content insights are nice, the text optimization features are very limited.
- Keyword quality: 3/5
- Ease of use: 2/5
- Price per report: unknown
- URL: textmetrics.com
POP has been around for a while, but it looks like they haven't really improved their software in a long time. It looks a bit like a cheap version of SurferSeo, but with less features.
Limited features on the basic plan
They have two pricing plans categories: Single User Plans and Agency Plans.
Most of the useful features are included in the agency plans, which start at $78/mo. For example, the single user plans do not have NLP.
The keywords specified in the basic plans are therefore of low quality, mostly one-word keywords. Many of the reports we created also had 0 LSI keywords to show.
Their interface is really messy. For example, there's no way to go back to the report page from the content editor; you have to manually update the URL.
Too much data
Their reports are displaying too much data and not necessarily useful stuff. Again, it's really hard to know what to do and understand how things are organized.
Our advice at POP is not to bother using the single user plans, they are cheap yes, but pointless. And if you are willing to spend close to $80+, there are better alternatives.
Semrush is in the big leagues alongside MarketMuse. And it's a great tool! They don't just focus on Content Marketing, so I'll just mention what's relevant to this article, but just so you know, they also offer other features like keyword research, on-page SEO audits, competitor analysis, etc...
The Topic Research feature helps you identify other topics that your content should cover. It provides you with an extensive list of topics, each with headings and questions.
It also tells you which topics have generated the most engagement to see what's popular on social media.
This doesn't go any further, but it's a good start if you're in the brainstorming phase to help you create your brief.
SEO Content Template
The SEO Content Template is what we would call a brief generator. You enter your keyword(s) and it gives you a list of recommendations to follow. These include: Semantically related words, Backlinks, Readability and Text length.
It's not the best content brief generator I've seen. It's also based on the top ten Google results, so it may be a little limited.
You can then export it to a .docx format or order an article directly from their marketplace.
SEO Writing Assistant
The SEO Writing Assistant is simple but efficient. It's not super cozy and looks like a contact form, but it's a quick way to check if your content is well optimized.
They rate 4 different properties.
Readability basically tells you how hard your text is to read. I liked the fact that they give the formula they use as well as all the possible values.
The SEO score is based on your target keywords and how many recommended keywords you use in your content. It also checks your image alt tags and your links to make sure you don't have any on-page SEO issues.
The Originality section will tell you the level of plagiarism. But you must have a Guru plan ($230/mo).
Tone of Voice
The Tone of Voice is also only available in the Guru plan and helps you maintain a consistent tone across all your articles.
Semrush is a strong option if your budget allows it and, like MarketMuse, you have a high need for content.
Copywritely is another low-cost option that gives you low-quality results.
I quickly tried their keyword algorithm and I can say that I am not impressed. It's easy to see what algorithm they use when they divide the keywords into 3 categories: Onegrams, Bigrams, Trigrams. That means they simply count how many occurrences there are in each result.
A report for "best travel insurance" returned the following results...
Their text editor on the other hand is great, but mainly helps you with uniqueness of content, readability and grammar. That doesn't make it an SEO tool.
Copywritely is very, very cheap, but like ZipTopic, you certainly don't need it.
I'm not sure what the main value proposition of Frase is since they seem to have different products. I'll cover 3 of their features that are similar to Clearscope, but I'll skip their auto-generated assistant as it's not relevant to this comparison.
The content brief
The content brief is a report that gives you insights for a target keyword.
Each brief scrapes the 20 first results of Google and analyzes their content to give you a list of topics, the headings of each page, a list of questions related to your keyword and the links that each page includes.
It's what you would run to evaluate the quality of the "already ranking" content.
You can see an example of a brief here: https://app.frase.io/doc/read/e6c2024f32684c379c1df8a8ab7c6a09
The content optimization
To use the content optimization tool, you'll need to specify a keyword and the URL of a piece of content that is already published.
Frase will import your content and analyze it based on the brief it created for the keyword.
Everything is pretty much the same as the content brief, except that for the topics you'll get a progress bar to see the improvements that you can make with the relevant terms.
The content curation
The content curation is the place where you can write content. It's similar to the content optimization tool except that instead of importing an existing content, you can start from scratch.
I like that I can see a summary of the competitors' content and display their whole page without leaving the website.
It's an excellent way to start structuring your content but also very manual.
Unfortunately, you can't share an article with an external writer without giving them access to your account.
Their UI was clean but a bit confusing and redundant. But their free trial is worth a try!
Cost: $45/mo for 30 documents and 1 user.
Free trial: Yes, with a limit of 5 reports
Topic works in a very similar way as Clearscope, their editor looks maybe a bit too similar.
You can generate reports for your target keywords and access a content brief and a content grader.
The content brief tells you about:
- the average word count
- the average content grade
- the keyword volume
- the competitor outline, which is like the structure of each article
- a list of related questions to answer
- the topics to cover
- the SERP result
- the websites that your competitors are linking to
If you've tried Clearscope, their text editor is pretty much the same.
Cost: $200/mo for 50 reports
Free trial: 1st report is free but it's not very clearly indicated on the website
Sample report: https://app.usetopic.com/briefs/efcb6195/overview
At first, ZipTopic looks like an unfinished SEO tool, but I decided to try anyway!
Their product is quite simple, you can generate reports where you define your target keyword and either a webpage or the content of your article.
Then ZipTopic will generate a report in a few minutes that looks like the following image.
I wasn't impressed by the quality of their keywords, they only find single words keywords which might be a sign that they use some simple natural language processing model like bags of words and remove the most common words from the list.
Cost: $20/mo (no limit specified)
Free trial: Yes, 7 days, credit card required
Sample report: https://www.ziptopic.com/sample-report
Surfer helps you optimize your on-page SEO. They analyze SERP results on hundreds of data points, and give you detailed reports, including for example, the number of words in the body, the image alt tags or the number of sponsored links.
But their abundance of data makes the product hard to master.
The screenshot below, for instance, is the first thing you see when you open a report:
I'm sure their tool is useful for experts who know what they're looking for, with a specific framework in place, but for someone trying to get some guidance on how to improve their content, it's a different experience...
You'll have to figure out on your own what's useful from all these pieces of information.
They also use the Google NLP API, but only if you use special NLP credits, which are limited every month.
Cost: From $29 to $650/mo (each plan has its own limits)
Free trial: No
Other notable alternatives
I wasn't able to try out the tools listed in this section. Signup wasn't very straightforward so I ended up not trying them at all but I'm still listing them to have a more complete list.
Similar to MarketMuse, SearchMetrics seems to target enterprise. There are no prices indicated on their website but you can get a free demo if you fill up their form...
Free trial: via demo request