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Updated: November 23, 2020

Surfer SEO vs MarketMuse vs Contenteum

Written by Purushottam Kiri

What are some of the challenges you face when managing content for your website? 

Whether you're an affiliate marketer, SEO consultant, or project manager, you'll likely run into the same problems:

  • Creating original content (you know, not plagiarized)
  • Not understanding your audience and how to attract them (aka not knowing what they're searching for or their intent)
  • Dealing with gaps in your content (because you don't know what questions your audience is asking)
  • Simplifying how you manage content (from concept to publishing)

And this is why you're looking for an SEO tool to optimize your content and its production. So we're going to explore three options: Contenteum, Surfer SEO, and MarketMuse. 


Contenteum Interface
Contenteum Interface

Contenteum is an SEO tool that doubles over as a comprehensive content management platform. It allows you to create teams, share outlines, and track content progress from start to finish. 

But what makes this tool appealing to SEO heads is its ability to assist with optimization. It comes with an SEO feature that suggests keywords (primary and LSI) based on what's ranking on Google. 

Some of the other features enable you to:

  • Create deadlines
  • Organize articles into projects
  • Assign roles for teams
  • Check for plagiarism in one click
  • Update status of articles
  • Optimize based on best practice suggestions (add more photos, H2s, etc.)
  • Answer top questions in your post(can use for content ideas)
  • Publish directly to WordPress
  • Check grammar

Right now, the platform is free to use, but plans to be an affordable option once it fully launches. 

Pros: Offers all the necessary tools needed to combat common content creator issues, and it's currently free to use (in beta). 

Cons:  Comment end Still in beta mode, but new features are being added all the time. 

Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO Interface
Surfer SEO interface

Surfer SEO is primarily an SEO tool. It helps content creators optimize articles and blog posts by suggesting primary and secondary keywords. 

But the tool is a little more comprehensive, offering an analytics dashboard that shows a visual graph of your page. On the graph, you'll see which on-page factors your post is falling short. 

This makes it easier to pinpoint how to improve optimization for your content. However, it doesn't do this in real-time, which can be a time-waste. 

Other features it comes with include:

  • Content structure assistance (title, H1, H2s, H3s) and how many to add
  • LSI keywords (categorized by popular, common, and prominent words and phrases) and density to use
  • Competitor comparison to spot areas for improvement

The cost of Surfer SEO starts at $59/mo for Basic, $99/mo for Pro, $199/mo for Business, and $650/mo for Business+. There's also a Hobby plan starting at $29/mo, but won't suffice for serious SEO analysts. 

Pros: Comprehensive SEO tool that simplifies optimization and is affordable.

Cons: Doesn't come with tools to check for plagiarism or grammar and doesn't publish to WP blog/website. 


Marketmuse Interface
Marketmuse interface

Marketmuse is a platform specializing in content optimization. It does this by offering real-time keyword recommendations, so you can optimize your content quickly. 

The tool also includes a score recommendation so you can aim to overdo your competitors. Marketmuse is designed with content marketers in mind by including features like:

  • Content brief/outline creation (includes suggestions for titles, H2s, and questions to answer)
  • Content research tool to find search intent and competitor content
  • Content analysis to determine how comprehensive your post is compared to competitors'
  • Word count recommendation
  • Related topics to discuss in your article
  • NLP (natural language processing)

The price for Marketmuse starts at $79/mo for one user, $179/mo for the premium one-user account, $499/mo for up to three users, and $1,499/mo for unlimited users. Each plan is for one domain, except for the unlimited plan. 

Pros: Makes content ideation and outlining simple for content creators and managers. 

Cons: The cost is relatively high, making it inaccessible to small businesses and teams. It also lacks other tools, such as grammar and plagiarism checks, and direct-to-WP publishing. 

Choosing the Best SEO Tools for Content Optimization

These all seem like great tools to add to your content strategy, but you don't need them all to succeed. So which should you choose?

Well, it comes down to the pain points you're facing. Let's take a look at how the three compare in these areas. 

Improving the Ranking of Your Content

If you're struggling with getting your content ranked, then you need to improve your keyword research. All three platforms assist with this by suggesting the best words and phrases to target based on the topic. 

But what sets Contenteum apart from the others is you can choose which sites you want to compare your content to. You have to choose five to seven sites from its list and then the platform will make suggestions on how to outperform those pieces. 

This is important because you're telling the platform which competitors are targeting the same audience as you. This way, it'll make relevant suggestions for the H2s and questions to answer. 

Marketmuse and Surfer SEO pull SEO analytics from the first 20 to 50 pages of content.

Here’s a look at the SEO suggestions for each of the platforms based on the term “SEO writing tips”:


This is a snapshot of Contenteum’s list of keyword suggestions:

Contenteum important terms to use

And a look at Contenteum’s recommended questions to answer:

Contenteum questions to answer
Contenteum questions to answer


Here’s a screenshot of Marketmuse’s keyword suggestions:

marketmuse Keywords Suggestions
Marketmuse keywords suggestions

And a snapshot of its suggested questions to answer:

Marketmuse questions to answer
Marketmuse questions to answer

Surfer SEO

And a peek into Surfer SEO’s keyword recommendations:

Surfer keywords recommendations
Surfer keywords recommendations

And the recommended questions to answer it provides:

Surfer recommended questions
Surfer recommended questions

As you can see, the three platforms offer similar keyword phrases (but at varying densities). And you’ll find Marketmuse and Contenteum with more questions to answer, which can make your content more comprehensive.

Streamlining the Management of Teams and Content

When you're cranking out lots of content, it becomes difficult to manage a team of writers and the posts they produce. At least, that's the case when you don't have the right tools at your disposal. 

If you're looking for a way to improve project management, then Contenteum enables you to do so. It comes with features to invite team members, assign roles, and assign tasks with due dates. 

Then you can track the progress of each post. 

Marketmuse and Surfer SEO act as content planning tools only and don't offer a way to manage your content. 

Enhancing Your Content By Closing the Gaps

It's not always easy to cover everything your audience wants to know about a topic. And this is especially true when you're relying solely on first page results. 

This is why you need tools that outline suggestions for your content. For example, providing popular questions to answer in your piece. And recommending sub-headings and sub-topics to include. 

All three platforms help in this area, making it easier to create content briefs and outlines for your writers. 

Uploading Content Faster with WP Integration

Having to copy and paste your content from one platform to another is time-consuming. And it can be tedious if the formatting changes, causing you to spend extra time fixing the errors. 

Marketmuse and Surfer SEO fall short in this area, so you'll have to deal with whatever formatting issues arise. 

Contenteum integrates with your WordPress website, which means how you format it on the platform is how it appears on your site. It even includes the same Gutenberg text blocks WordPress uses. 

Improving the Quality of Your Content 

Creating a cycle of content on-time each month is easier when you have tools to speed up the editing process. For instance, having a built-in grammar checker.

Rather than copy and pasting each post into Grammarly or similar software, you can do this directly within Contenteum. 

It works just as well as any grammar tool on the market today and can help ensure your content is ready to publish. 

This feature isn't available with Marketmuse or Surfer SEO. 

Ensuring Your Content is 100% Unique (or Very Close to It)

There's nothing worse than being contacted about plagiarizing someone else's content. So to prevent this embarrassment (and potential legal issues), it's critical to use a plagiarism checker. 

This is essential if you're managing a team of writers. And it can be beneficial for your own writing when adding quotes and research from other sources. 

With this feature on Contenteum, you can feel confident you changed your content enough to pass as original. 

You won't find this on Surfer SEO or Marketmuse. 

Selecting the Right SEO Tool for Your Content Production

As a content developer, you want to invest your time and money in tools that boost productivity. This is why you'll find the all-in-one tools to be optimal solutions for content marketing. 

So if you're looking to improve your content production and management, then Contenteum is an excellent choice. 

It comes with the features needed to overcome common woes you'll face throughout the content cycle. 

If you'd like to see it in action, then sign up for free today!

Written by Purushottam Kiri

Computer Science graduate with a knack for data, rankings and content.

Create Content That Ranks. At Scale.
Create Grammar-Perfect, Plagiarism Free Content
Generate Keywords From Live SERP
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