6 Best Content Optimization Tools (23 Investigated)

Ashley R. Cummings
Table of Contents

    Google's mission is to deliver the most relevant, useful results, which means they are evaluating content on its ability to meet the needs of the searcher.

    With such an immense amount of data being added to Google every day (2.5 quintillion bytes to be exact), content creators need to find ways to stand out in the crowd.

    And, this means cracking the content structure code and optimizing your content for search. Gosia Hytry, head of content at Spacelift explains the best way to do this is—not manually—but with the help of a content optimization tool.

    Let’s dive into the best content optimization tools you can use to improve your chances of ranking well in search engines.

    Best SEO content optimization tools

    Note: Clearscope is our product. We’re proud of what we’ve built and believe we have the best content optimization and monitoring platform on the market. Request a personalized demo.

    1. Clearscope

    Screenshot of Clearscope's website.

    Clearscope is an artificial intelligence (AI) powered content optimization tool that helps people create highly-relevant new content and also refresh old content for optimal ranking.

    Clearscope stands out from other content optimization tools because of its focus on offering the highest quality recommendations, ridiculously simple-to-use interface, and unique content grading system. Its reports also include a shareable link for your writers, and writers don’t have to enter a password to access the report.

    With the help of Clearscope, users know exactly what keywords to include, which questions to answer, how to organize and structure the piece, how long to make an article, and how to improve readability. Users can also see how their piece measures up to top competitors. It also integrates into your content workflow with Google Docs integration and WordPress plugin.

    Clearscope helps content teams consistently produce top-performing SEO content, from start to finish:

    1. Identify relevant keywords & topics

    2. Streamline content production and quality assurance

    3. Monitor content performance and decay

    We’ll discuss each in detail below.

    Identify relevant keywords & topics

    Keyword discovery

    Perform your keyword research inside of Clearscope by adding a keyword or pasting in a URL.  Clearscope identifies keyword ideas along with their monthly search volume, competition, and cost per click. This data comes straight from Google Ads Keyword Planner so it’s always up-to-date.

    Filter the keywords by Questions to call out what you and your writers need to answer in the piece. And even identify which search terms are trending at the moment.

    Clearscope's Keyword Discovery tool.
    Watch an overview of Clearscope's Keyword Discovery tool.

    Streamline content production and quality assurance

    Create a content outline

    Create a Clearscope report by adding your target keyword and clicking Run Report.

    Clearscope identifies the relevant terms used by your SERP competitors. Each term includes a term frequency range indicating how often a term appears in the other pieces. Terms include a heading (“H”) indicator when they appear in a competitor's heading.

    The outline tab is a powerhouse of a feature. We scrape the top 100 results from Google and then distill each piece into its content hierarchy through headings. We extract each heading from the piece along with the heading tag (i.e., H1, H2, ... H6).

    A Clearscope content report for "best credit cards".

    Clearscope content grade

    Learn how to create a content brief using Clearscope's content report.

    We use a Clearscope Content Grade to indicate how your content stacks up against your SERP competitors. This is an easy way to determine how your content stacks up to the SERP competitors. As you can imagine, an “A” is great and an “A++” is even better.

    Term map

    Identify gaps in your content and your competitors by scrolling through the Term map. See which competitors are and are not covering specific terms.

    Clearscope's term map for "best credit cards".

    Competitor map

    See your competitors’ content pieces ranked by their Clearscope content grade and organic position. Typically, a high Clearscope Content Grade and high organic position go hand-in-hand.

    Clearscope's Competitors chart for "best credit cards".

    Scroll down the Competitors page in the Clearscope report to see an overview of the SERP. We pull in the top 30 pages for both desktop and mobile from Google. Each page includes the position by device type (desktop and mobile), word count, and Clearscope Content Grade.

    The SERP competitors for the term "best credit cards".

    Monitor content performance and decay

    Content inventory

    SEO content is no longer “set it and forget it”. Your content needs to evolve as topics evolve.

    Content creation is never done. There are times when you’ll need to refresh your content. And Clearscope helps determine when the time has come.

    Add the URL and the query you’re tracking to your inventory. Clearscope will watch your piece of content for you, checking the SERP competitors regularly.

    As information changes and new competitors pop up, your page’s Clearscope content score will change as the SERP adjusts.

    Clearscope's Content Inventory tool.


    Clearscope plugs into your content workflow with our shareable Clearscope reports (no password required) and direct integrations.

    The Clearscope shareable reports power our Google Docs and WordPress integrations.

    Watch how Clearscope integrates with Google Docs and WordPress.


    Clearscope pricing starts at $170/month for the Essentials plan. Custom plans are also available for larger enterprises.

    What do customers say about Clearscope?

    Clearscope has overwhelmingly positive reviews with 4.9 stars out of 5 on Capterra and G2. Customers say Clearscope “does everything for you but write the articles.” Here are some advantages and disadvantages from customers.


    • Gives the right tools to rank above competitors

    • Helps anyone refresh old content for higher rankings

    • Excellent tool to help you figure out what to write and exactly how to optimize


    • The wordcount can sometimes be off

    • It’s possible to get an A++ with keyword stuffing

    What Differentiates Our Customer Support?

    At Clearscope, we’ve always prided ourselves on our customer support. Our customers are the lifeblood of the tool (excuse the cliche).

    Responsive customer support is not just a priority, it’s who we are. And we don’t stop at answering your question. We’re invested in your success and how Clearscope can drive real business impact for our customers.

    Our team is obsessed with content marketing and SEO. And we’re always in the mood to help.

    Interested in optimizing content with Clearscope?

    Optimize your content with Clearscope.

    Watch the playlist above and get started with Clearscope here.

    2. Surfer SEO

    A screenshot of Surfer's website.

    SurferSEO is another content optimization software that offers content suggestions to help you match search intent and boost your rankings in the search results.

    Top features for SurferSEO include:

    • Content editor filled with keyword suggestions

    • Integrations with Google Docs, WordPress, and Chrome

    • SEO audit tool to identify content gaps in your current content

    • AI content that uses machine learning to generate unique paragraphs and headers

    • Content planner to tailor content to your audience and capture strategic optimization ideas

    Price: Surfer SEO ranges in price from $59/month to $239/month, depending on the features you need.

    What do customers say about SurferSEO?

    SurferSEO has good reviews on Capterra, and customers say it makes it easy to “evaluate your articles against the top-ranking articles on Google.” Here are some advantages and disadvantages from Surfer SEO customers.


    • The content writing feature makes creating drafts fast

    • SurferSEO makes it easy to evaluate your articles against competitors


    • The monthly subscription is costly

    • Relevancy sometimes changes to low, medium, and high, instead of a percentage

    Here’s a review of SurferSEO from Capterra:

    A customer's review of Surfer on Capterra.

    Read more: Clearscope vs MarketMuse vs Surfer: A Detailed Comparison

    3. MarketMuse

    A screenshot of MarketMuse's website.

    MarketMuse is an AI-powered content research and writing tool. It works to help you increase how much you publish and to help your content rank well.

    MarketMuse’s top features include:

    • MarketMuse Inventory automates your content audits by collecting, organizing, and analyzing your pages

    • Applications that help you optimize content, complete keyword research, and identify questions

    • Project management so you can assign tasks to members of your team

    • On-demand content audits for your domain (premium feature)

    • Content metrics like authority, user intent, and difficulty

    • An SEO writing assistant

    Price: MarketMuse has a free, limited-use account. Paid plans range from $7,200/year to $12,000/year.

    What do customers say about MarketMuse?

    MarketMuse doesn’t rank as highly on Capterra as Clearscope or SurferSEO, but it still has great reviews. Customers say they like MarketMuse as a tool to “understand your potential ROI for any topic.” Here are some advantages and disadvantages from MarketMuse customers.


    • It yields good results for EN search queries

    • Optimization is based on many results, not just the top 20

    • MarketMuse is organized and helps with data categorization


    • It’s expensive

    • It can be difficult to use

    • Some of the recommendations are random

    Here’s a review of MarketMuse from Capterra:

    A customer review of MarketMuse on Capterra.

    4. Frase

    A screenshot of Frase's website.

    Frase is a content optimization tool that creates content automatically or helps you create custom templates for your content needs.

    Frase’s top features include:

    • Team project folders to keep tasks organized

    • Custom templates and AI writer customization

    • Content scoring to help your writers improve readability

    • Automated content briefs

    • Outline builder that infuses data points, including autosuggest and people also ask

    Price: Frase pricing starts at $44.99/month and also has custom plans.

    What do customers say about Frase?

    Most customers like the Frase content optimization tool, as it has a 4.8 overall rating on Capterra. Customers say the tool helps them improve their content, and that it provides excellent content suggestions quickly. Here are some advantages and disadvantages from customers.


    • It’s affordable

    • It helps make content more SEO-friendly

    • It makes it easy to produce a brief quickly


    • It’s time-consuming to use

    • Features are missing on the concept map

    • There’s no feature to organize pages by project

    Here’s a review of Frase from Capterra:

    A customer review of Frase on Capterra.

    5. Dashword

    A screenshot of Dashword's website.

    Dashword is yet another content optimization tool focused on helping content teams create outstanding content briefs.

    Dashboard’s main features include:

    • Keyword rank tracker to find low-hanging fruit

    • Content monitoring to identify underperforming pages

    • Automated keyword reports identifying where you can refresh content

    • A content brief builder to generate ideas and organize those ideas with ease

    • Content optimization tools to include relevant keywords and level up the quality of your writing

    Price: Dashword’s price ranges from $39/month to $249/month.

    What do customers say about Dashword?

    Dashword’s is a relatively new tool and doesn’t have robust reviews like other top content optimization tools.

    The Dashword site includes customer reviews that say its software makes writing easier, and that it helps to have a list of keywords when writing an article.

    6. SEMrush's Content Marketing Platform

    A screenshot of SEMrush's website.

    SEMrush is one of the most widely known SEO platforms. It also has a content marketing platform that helps marketers and writers with on-page optimization.

    Top features of SEMrush’s content marketing tool include:

    • Content gap analysis

    • Insights into audience interests

    • Relevant and trending topic information

    • Content calendar to keep everyone on the same page

    • Data-driven insights to help you come up with a stellar content writing strategy and workflow

    Price: SEMrush’s Content Marketing Platform starts with a free 7-day trial. Then, you choose a plan based on your usage after your trial.

    What do customers say about SEMrush?

    SEMrush customers typically use the tool for a more comprehensive SEO strategy. Many customers rave about its overall SEO functionality. In terms of the content management tool, customers enjoy the data-driven insights that inform content strategy. However, some say they wish SEMrush offered an easier way to find keyword ideas for content. Most of the reviews are about SEMrush as a comprehensive tool, not only its content management platform.

    Here’s what customers are saying about SEMrush on Capterra:

    A customer review of SEMrush on Capterra.

    Helpful content optimization writing tools

    “Content optimization isn’t only about identifying the best keywords, headings, and questions to answer in your blog posts. Search engines also pay attention to how well content is written, how readable the content is, and how engaging the content may be to an audience,” says Michael Keenan, freelance writer and co-founder of Peak Freelance.

    If you’re looking to go the extra mile with content optimization, it’s critical to use content optimization writing tools like Grammarly and Hemingway. Here’s a closer look at each tool.

    Hemingway Editor

    A screenshot of Hemingwayapp's website.

    Hemingway Editor is a must-have for content marketers and writers, especially those who are looking to improve the readability of their work. You can paste your content directly into the tool. Using AI, it will analyze your text and offer suggestions for improvement.

    Hemingway Editor’s top features include:

    • Yellow highlights to indicate sentences that are too hard to read

    • Purple highlights to show phrases that have simpler alternatives

    • Green highlights to indicate where you’re writing in the passive voice

    • Blue highlights to show adverb use and help you cut down on adverbs and use more natural language

    • A readability grader that shows you how your content ranks on a readability scale

    What do customers say about the Hemingway Editor?

    “Hemingway is one of my favorite tools to improve self-awareness as a content writer. It's made my writing simpler, clearer, and punchier. It helped me shake off the habit of writing long-winded phrases that I'd picked up in college. I love it for its simplicity and reliability and couldn't do without it,” says writer and content marketer Andra Zaharia.

    The Hemingway Editor has mostly positive reviews on sites like G2, and many reference Hemingway as an excellent tool for polishing writing and proofreading.

    Here’s what one customer says about the Hemingway Editor on G2:

    A customer review of Hemingwayapp on G2.


    A screenshot of Grammarly's application.

    Grammarly is another must-have tool for people interested in high-quality online writing. Grammarly has a free account, but the premium accounts are where it shines.

    All you have to do is copy and paste your optimized text into the tool. It uses AI to look for problems with spelling, grammar, readability, and sentence structure.

    Grammarly’s top features include:

    • Plagiarism checker

    • Style guide checker

    • Overall readability score

    • Grammar, spell, and sentence structure check

    • Option to hire a human writing expert to improve your content

    What are customers saying about Grammarly?

    “Grammarly is a personal editor. I love it for its intuitive interface and suggestions. It helps me spot any inconsistencies in my first draft related to punctuation, sentence structure, or spelling. This single feature polishes the first draft a lot,” says freelance writer Aanchal Parmar.

    Grammarly has 4.7 stars on Capterra and most customers have positive reviews. Above all, customers say Grammarly is an excellent tool to help them identify grammar mistakes and polish their writing.

    Here’s what a customer says about Grammarly on Capterra:

    A customer review of Grammarly on Capterra.

    We investigated the following during our research

    • Similar Content

    • LSIGraph

    • TextOptimizer

    • Ryte

    • Yoast

    • INKforall

    • RankIQ

    • WriterZen

    • KeywordInsights

    • ContentHarmony

    • SearchMetrics

    • SEOClarity

    • Grammarly

    • CognitiveSEO

    • PageOptimizerPro

    • SEOToolLab

    • CopyWritely

    Need a refresher on content optimization? Let’s discuss what it is and why you should add it to your content workflow.

    What is content optimization and what are its benefits?

    Content optimization is the process of improving your content so search engines can better understand it, properly index it, and serve it up to a wider and more relevant audience.

    Content optimization includes identifying and adding keywords, improving readability, focusing on quality, updating meta information, and linking to external and internal sources.

    The best way to create ranking articles is by using content optimization tools. “Content optimization tools help you create content that best answers any search engine query in detail,” says Pushkar Sinha, digital marketing manager at FirstPrinciples. “These tools help you understand the target audience and best keywords.”

    What are the benefits of content optimization?

    The primary benefit of content optimization is improved rankings on the SERPs. “By improving the ranking and visibility of content, businesses can drive more traffic to their websites, which can lead to increased sales and revenue,” said Jamie Irwin, Director & Founder, Straight Up Search.

    Here are some additional reasons to optimize your content:

    • Beat out competitors: Higher search engine rankings mean more organic traffic to your site. Statistics from 2022 show the first ranking sees a clickthrough rate (CTR) of 39.6%, 18.4% for the second, and 10.1% for the third position.

    • Improve trust: 75% of searchers report they never scroll past the first page of the SERPs. Searchers trust Google is returning the most relevant websites for their search queries.

    • Increase engagement: Optimizing content increases readability and scannability for your target audience. HubSpot shows content that is easier to read and scan resulting in higher engagement rates.

    • Provide a stellar user experience: Optimizing content makes it easier for your visitors to quickly find what they are looking for, improving your page’s user experience.

    Refreshing old content

    The best news about optimizing your content is you don’t always have to start from scratch. Search engines are constantly combing through the internet’s content — old and new — to find the most relevant results.

    Content that once ranked high in the search engine results may slip in rankings when competitors produce new, well-optimized content. But, that doesn’t mean all is lost.

    You can use a content optimization tool to refresh your old content with more relevant keywords, recent stats, improved quotes, and engaging content.

    “Optimizing old content is efficient. It is much more predictable than writing new content and squeezed more value out of your existing program. It's rare to find strategic edges in content marketing nowadays, but if you can get good at content optimization, you can add value and stand out,” says Alex Birkett, co-founder at Omniscient Digital.

    Here are some ways to refresh old content to improve your search engine rankings:

    • Update any old statistics

    • Optimize for search intent

    • Improve keyword frequency

    • Edit out fluffy content that adds no value

    • Fix broken internal and external links (backlinks)

    • Add context to examples to support your arguments

    • Make your content more scannable and easier to read

    • Research and speak to the most recent industry trends

    Remember, to refresh old content and optimize it for search, it’s critical to use best-in-class content optimization tools.

    FAQs for content optimization

    What is search engine optimized content and why is it important?

    Search engine optimization is the process of improving your online media and site data so that it resonates better with your intended audience and so Google can rank it appropriately.

    Optimizing content includes everything from studying your audience and identifying keywords to uncovering better content opportunities and strategically implementing keywords to improving your writing skills and making your content easier to read.

    How do I optimize my content?

    There are several ways to optimize content for SERPs. It all starts with creating a strategy to identify your target audience, uncovering the most appropriate keywords, writing strong SEO content, and tweaking your content to make sure Google’s algorithms understand it.

    To optimize content, it’s critical to invest in content optimization tools.

    What are the best content optimization tools?

    The best content optimization tools depend on what part of the optimization process you’re in and what you’re trying to accomplish.

    If you’re looking for a full SEO strategy, consider looking into SEMrush or Ahrefs. For audience research, look to SparkToro and BuzzSumo.

    If you need to improve your writing, run your content through Grammarly and the Hemingway App. To optimize your content, you’ll need a tool like Clearscope.

    Recommended reading: On-Page Optimization Tools to Create & Update Site Content

    Start optimizing new content and refreshing old content with Clearscope

    Content marketing isn’t going away. Every day, more people turn to search engines to find answers to a variety of pressing questions. And, companies that occupy the top spots on the search engines statistically get the most traffic.

    If you want to beat out your competitors, it’s time to start optimizing your new content for search engines and refreshing your old content. Clearscope is here to help. Request a personalized demo today.

    Featured image source.

    Written by
    Ashley R. Cummings
    Ashley R. Cummings is a freelance writer specializing in commerce, marketing/advertising, and the Creator Economy. Connect with her on Twitter!

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