To effectively optimize your content for search engines, you need to stay up-to-date with the constantly evolving SEO landscape, which is changing at lightspeed.
For instance, we know that Google’s algorithm undergoes more than 500 updates each year. If you want your web pages to keep up with these updates and rank well in search results, you’ll need a boost from automation and optimization software.
To help you narrow your search, in this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of MarketMuse and Clearscope.
Clearscope is a better choice if you're looking for a user-friendly tool to help you understand what you need to write and optimize to rank above the competition at a reasonable price.
MarketMuse, on the other hand, performs better for AI-generated content and provides excellent domain analysis, data export, link suggestions, and other advanced SEO features. It can save your content writers a lot of time, but it comes with a higher price tag.
If you really want to understand these products in-depth, let’s start from the basics - what every great content optimization software should have.
What you should look for in content optimization software
Content optimization software solutions are a great asset for content strategists and teams as they save a lot of content research time, reinforce your SEO and content strategy to deliver excellent results, and drive organic traffic to your site by focusing on content optimization and providing web users with a customized experience.
However, not all content optimization software is created equal. A content optimization platform that will help you make the most of your content should be:
- Easy to use so that you can focus your time and energy on creating great content;
- It should perform keyword research and track keyword performance to clue you in on which keywords are doing the trick and which aren’t;
- Compatible with other tools that you use, such as Google Analytics or HubSpot;
- As a bonus, it can offer content analytics - data on how people interact with your content, such as viewing behavior, topics of interest, and preferred social media channels.
With all this in mind, let’s look at what MarketMuse and Clearscope offer.
An overview of MarketMuse vs Clearscope
Before we take a more detailed look at what each of these powerful tools is all about, let’s have a side-by-side look at the features they offer:
|Competitive content analysis||Yes||No|
|Content inventory||Yes||Still in Beta|
|Common questions asked by users||Yes||Yes|
|Personalized difficulty score for relevant keywords||Yes||No|
|Content brief/ content outline||Yes||Yes|
|Natural language processing (NLP)||English and Spanish||English and Spanish, plus Dutch, French and Italian|
|Integrations for Google Docs and WordPress||Yes||Yes|
What is Clearscope?
At its core, Clearscope is a keyword research and content optimization tool designed to help writers and content marketers develop high-quality content. With Clearscope, marketers can maximize their organic reach by ensuring that their content has been optimized for the best search engine results page (SERP) placement possible using AI-generated insights derived from real-time analysis of all published web pages across a wide range of industries. The platform has a simple-to-use interface and a unique content grading system.
Clearscope uses the IBM Watson services to automate SEO research and help you optimize your content by analyzing and comparing writing that ranks the highest in SERPs for particular keywords.
The way it works is, you pick your target keyword, plug it in, and Clearscope generates a report about it and gives you a content editor designed to help you optimize your article for that keyword specifically.
The text editor is equipped with a term map and competitor panels, the last being of great aid for identifying topic gaps.
This includes related keywords and other helpful suggestions, like readability, content scores, word count, and keyword density.
While these are mostly things you can do manually or replicate with other free or cheaper SEO tools, Clearscope does it in a way that’s easy, convenient, and very impactful.
In summary, these are some of Clearscope’s most noteworthy features:
- Relevant keywords discovery (a sophisticated keyword research tool that also provides related topics);
- Questions identifier;
- Competitor analysis;
- Content briefs and outlines and content mapping;
- Text editor with term map and competitor panels;
- Content length suggestion;
- Real-time content assessment and overall grade;
- Popular external links;
- Unlimited sharing and exporting;
- Google Docs add-on and WordPress plug-in;
- Free onboarding and training.
- Five languages: Dutch, English, Spanish, French, and Italian.
What is MarketMuse?
MarketMuse works similarly - only it does way more. It’s a content optimization platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyze published content on the subject you are writing about.
These algorithms allow the platform to determine and suggest relevant topics and give you all the relevant data you might possibly need, which empowers your research, content strategy, and content creation.
MarketMuse and Clearscope compete well in many categories, but MarketMuse offers the following features that are unavailable with Clearscope:
- Content inventory scanning, which helps you to evaluate your content and avoid duplicating coverage.
- Content briefs that rely on AI to analyze your topic and point out possible content gaps that you should cover in your article.
- First drafts, created by machine learning algorithms.
Some of the features MarketMuse offers include:
- Competitive content analysis;
- Content planning;
- SEO audits and content strategizing;
- Topic tracking & ROI tracking.
- Content inventory and optimization;
- List of common questions people ask search engines;
- Personalized difficulty score for relevant keywords;
- Detailed content briefs covering topics, desired word count, and KPIs;
- AI-supported first draft;
- Suggestions for external and internal link-building;
- Two languages: English and Spanish.
MarketMuse vs Clearscope: in-depth features comparison
Both tools can be a valuable addition to your content marketing and search engine optimization toolkit, but taking a closer look at how their features compare can give you a clearer picture as to which tool is right for your needs.
Powerful content editor
MarketMuse and Clearscope feature an advanced content editor where users can paste or directly write their content pieces. There, users can see keyword suggestions, target word count, target content score, and readability score.
When you tell either tool the keyword you want to rank for, it will generate a report with a list of recommended keywords, phrases, and topics that your content should cover to rank well, as well as a list of competing pieces that rank for those terms.
With Clearscope, the tools at your disposal are term map, competitor map, and content inventory. With MarketMuse, you have distribution, topic depth, topic breadth, content score, content insights, competitor analysis, and more.
So MarketMuse offers many more tools for editing and optimizing your content piece based on your specific goals. This means that while both content editors can help you optimize your text, MarketMuse goes into more detail and is much more robust.
Time-saving content research tools
To automate the content creation process, MarketMuse and Clearscope gather input from the most varied web sources, such as PDFs, charts, tables, blog posts, news articles, meta descriptions, image tags, tweets, and many more. With these insights, the platforms can evaluate the content piece and offer users suggestions on what the piece needs to include in order to have the best chance to rank against the competition.
Still, when we compare MarketMuse and Clearscope on their ability to save content creators valuable time in research, we have to give our vote to MarketMuse. The platform has a very helpful Content inventory feature that consists of workflows and metrics that make it easy to find the best content opportunities for your niche.
With MarketMuse's Content inventory, you can monitor all of your existing content and get thorough insights about its quality and recommendations on how to improve it for better ranking search results.
Apart from providing an insightful look into your own content, Marketmuse’s Content inventory gives you the edge by telling you how effectively the competition is covering the same topics.
It’s worth noting that Cleascope also features a content inventory feature, but it’s still in Beta, and it’s not as advanced as MarketMuse’s.
Clearscope's Content Inventory allows you to add newly published content or pull old website pages and gauge their SEO health by tracking its Clearscope score as time passes.
As the latest SERP data is updated on a daily basis, Clearscope can show you how rankings change and can identify updated content on competitor sites.
Another feature offered only by MarketMuse is the personalized difficulty score for relevant keywords. Content creators and SEOs use the keyword difficulty metric to evaluate how hard it may be to rank for a particular keyword. Generally, it's a score between 0 and 100, with higher numbers indicating greater difficulty in ranking.
Combining it with other metrics often helps you decide whether to create or optimize content with a particular keyword.
Advanced AI, machine learning, and NLP technologies
For content optimization tools to be able to perform optimally, they need to employ analytical technologies with powerful capabilities. To that end, MarketMuse uses an ensemble of their own algorithms (deep learning, knowledge representation, NLP, and NLG) that fall within the domain of artificial intelligence. The results of these algorithms are interpreted by a so-called topic model for each specific topic, based on which the platform provides scores and offers suggestions. Clearscope has the ability to group similar keywords and display their combined search volume.
Clearscope is a comprehensive content optimization platform built on IBM Watson’s natural language understanding capabilities.
IBM Watson is a powerful cloud-based artificial intelligence platform developed by IBM. It offers numerous capabilities related to the analysis of natural language data, such as text analytics, auto-classification, sentiment analysis, keyword detection, concept extraction, subject/entity extraction, and summarization. It can be used to analyze large amounts of data, identify patterns, and make predictions.
IBM Watson offers great flexibility when it comes to working with different types of structured or unstructured data sources (such as text-based documents), and it has been used to great success in a variety of industries.
Some of the perks of using IBM Watson are the following:
- Increased efficiency;
- Improved decision-making;
- Cost savings;
AI-Powered content writing tools
One step beyond using AI for predictive analysis is using AI for content generation.
Both platforms have this capability as they generate extensive content briefs and content outlines that provide structure, themes (headlines) relevant to your subject matter, questions that need to be answered, and linking suggestions.
However, here’s where the similarities end, as MarketMuse takes things to the next level with the first draft feature. Based on the generated content brief and KPIs, the first draft feature uses natural language processing (NLP) to create a rough (draft) article for your topic of choice.
This draft then goes to the content editor feature, which provides real-time feedback on how well your content covers the topic across your entire content inventory. Then, you can use the feedback to continue fine-tuning your text manually.
Of course, while this feature can seriously speed up the content generation process, it won’t be for everyone. AI-based technology is still in its early stages and is somewhat controversial. It’s unclear how much we can rely on it when it comes to producing accurate, unbiased, and relevant content. Additionally, AI tools are not perfect, so a content writer will still need to double-check everything and polish out the first draft manually; so the feature does give you something to work with, but whether you use it will depend on your needs and views on content creation.
Integrations with other tools
Clearscope is better when it comes to integrations with other tools, as MarketMuse lacks integration with important content writing platforms such as Google Docs or WordPress.
Whether you are using MarketMuse as an individual or a company, it's difficult to move data to another system or tool like WordPress or Adobe Creative Suite. This can be quite a hassle for intensive campaigns.
Clearscope, on the other hand, works with Google Docs and WordPress, making it easy to enhance your writing efforts.
Depending on your location, content trends will vary. Therefore, to be able to target your customers with precision, content optimization tools need a region-specific search feature that provides suggestions specific to your geolocation.
Here again, Clearscope has the advantage. MarketMuse offers limited search query customization, which limits users' ability to customize their content according to region-specific searches they may be targeting.
Which tool performs better?
Based on everything that we’ve covered, let’s quickly summarize everything and make a verdict.
All in all, MarketMuse gives you more, has more advanced features, and has the potential to speed up the content production process a lot more than Clearscope.
However, Clearscope is simpler and easier to use. If you’re a beginner and want to start with a simple yet powerful content optimization tool, Clearscope will probably be better suited for your needs.
On the other hand, if you want to explore advanced features and innovative technology for content production, MarketMuse might offer more flexibility.
Both MarketMuse and Clearscope are paid content optimization tools. However, Clearscope is the more affordable option of the two.
MarketMuse is a good choice for larger businesses, as its full version is on the costly side of the spectrum for content optimization software platforms. However, they do have a limited free plan.
While Clearscope is more affordable than Marketmuse, it can still be relatively expensive and unattainable for many individuals, startups, and small businesses, as its basic plan starts at $170 a month.
While the affordability of the platform still mainly depends on the size and scope of the project you’re working on, both Clearscope and MarketMuse can be quite expensive compared to their competitors on the market.
For small businesses that don’t have the budget for either, Dashword is a great option worth exploring. If you also want to look at other alternatives, check out our guides on the top 5 MarketMuse alternatives and the 9 cheaper Clearscope alternatives.
MarketMuse has three pricing plans, one free and two paid: the standard plan and the premium plan.
The free plan is intended for one user, has no time limit, and offers ten projects and ten queries per month. However, the application data output is very limited.
Standard plan ($600/month or $6000/year)
The standard plan is also intended for one user, but new users can be added for $99/month. It offers 100 queries per month, unlimited projects, full application data output, and data export.
Premium plan ($12000+/year)
The premium plan contains everything the previous plans do, as well as:
- Team access;
- Unlimited queries;
- Unlimited projects;
- Full application data output;
- Data export;
- On-demand content audit for one or more domains;
- Domain analysis for any number of pages within the domain(s);
- Topics tracking;
- Unlimited content briefs;
- Dedicated account management team;
- Platform and workflow team training.
Clearscope has three pricing plans you can choose from: Essentials, Business, and Enterprise.
The Essentials plan comes with everything you need to start optimizing content:
- One user seat;
- 10 Content Reports;
- 20 Content Inventory Pages;
- One monitored domain;
- Integrations for WordPress and Google Docs;
- Support for five languages.
Business (Custom price)
The Business plan offers advanced functionality for productive content teams and contains everything that the Essential plan offers, plus:
- Five user seats;
- Customized content reports and content inventory;
- Two monitored domains;
- SAML single sign-on (SSO);
- Customized account setup.
Enterprise (Custom price)
The Enterprise plan provides custom solutions for businesses that produce content at scale. It contains all the Business features, plus:
- Unlimited monitored domains;
- Custom data pipeline;
- Crawler whitelisting; and
- Custom geo-targeting.
Which is the best option for you?
What you need to consider when choosing a content optimization platform depends on your needs and budget.
Both platforms are easy to use and offer keyword suggestions, topic analysis, content editing, and competitor analysis. Both give pretty accurate on-page SEO insights, word count recommendations, and additional keyword suggestions. And, if this is all you need, Clearscope has the edge as MarketMuse offers these features at a much steeper price.
That being said, MarketMuse beats Clearscope with its impressive ability to generate content briefs and even first drafts. On top of that, Clearscope has limited email support and does not offer suggestions for backlinks or internal links nor collaborative tools.
Conversely, MarketMuse offers an internal linking suggestion feature, full application data output and data export, domain analysis and on-demand content audit for one or more domains, unlimited content briefs, managed topics tracking, and a dedicated Account Management team.
MarketMuse is the preferred platform for AI-generated briefs and content, link suggestions, or other more advanced features. If you can afford the Premium plan, MarketMuse can save your content writers a lot of time and effort otherwise invested in keyword research and drafting.
While MarketMuse’s benefits are undeniable, and it’s an extraordinary solution for large companies, there are also some drawbacks that might make it unsuitable for individuals, startups, and small companies, the most prominent being the price of its full version.
At the very end, here’s what users say about these platforms’ most notable features on G2.
|SEO auditing and monitoring|
|SEO alerting||7.3||Feature not available|
|SEO auditing||8.5||Not enough data available|
|SEO change tracking||7.3||Not enough data available|
|Technical SEO||7.7||Not enough data available|
|SEO content and rankings|
|Link building||7.0||Feature not available|
|SERP rank tracking||8.5||Feature not available|
|Localization||7.8||Feature not available|
|Content Insights||8.7||Not enough data available|
|Custom reports||7.2||Feature not available|
|White Label||7.2||Feature not available|
MarketMuse has 4.6/5 stars (from 198 reviews), while Clearscope has 5/5 stars (from 82 reviews).
Yet, if you’re still not convinced that either of these two tools is right for you, check out Dashword - another remarkable content optimization software with a lot to offer.
Dashword provides all the essential features you need to write amazing content (NLP technology, relevant keyword suggestions, detailed content briefs, and a top-notch content editor). This practical platform has an intuitive and easy-to-use interface, free resources, and a first free report to get you started.