11 Best Content Writing Tools For SEO

by Jason Smit

At Contentellect, we’re always on the lookout for the best content writing tools for SEO. Because of this, I’ve gotten to test out quite a number of these tools over the past few years to find out which ones are worth utilizing.

If you’re looking for a paid writing tool with lots of cool features or something that’s free but effective, here is my rundown of the best content writing tools for SEO.

Best Content Writing Tools For Search Engine Optimisation

Surfer SEO

surfer seo

I’m starting off with Surfer SEO because it’s one of my favourite tools for writing and optimising content. Surfer has several features so you really get bang for your buck here. There’s a SERP Analyzer, Content Planner, Audit, Keyword Research, and Content Editor.

The Content Editor is Surfer’s main tool to use for optimising content and it’s the tool I use the most. You basically type in a keyword (or multiple) keywords you want to target and it will give you guidelines on what the word count should be and how many headings, paragraphs, and pictures. It also gives a list of terms to mention in the content and how many times to mention each one.

What I Like

  • Good for guiding your content. Surfer serves as a handy guide for what topics you should cover in an article in order for it to compete with the top ranking results. I use it a lot to guide what headings to use and how to structure content so that I can get all the relevant terms and information in. 
  • Content score. I like having a content score feature as it gives me an idea on the quality and relevance of my content at just a glance. However, I don’t put too much weight on it as it’s not a perfect score and just gives a good idea on how your content stacks up against a select few competitors.
  • Easy-to-use interface. I really like the interface of the content editor. It’s simple, easy to navigate, and nice to look at. 
  • Integrates with Google Docs. Working at a content creation agency, this feature is super helpful! My writers can easily get Surfer’s guidelines for an article they need to write without needing to access Surfer itself. I prefer this to sharing a link to the Surfer editor as it means I can still leave comments for the writers.
surfer seo content editor

What I Don’t Like

  • Time-consuming. I find that it can be incredibly time-consuming and tedious to try to fit in all the terms and get them to turn green. And sometimes, you simply can’t get the score to budge so you can spend ages fiddling with everything to try and improve it.  
  • Inaccurate terms. Every now and then Surfer will suggest terms that aren’t completely relevant to the topic you’re writing on. For example, sometimes it suggests including a competing website’s name in your content.


Surfer SEO offers three pricing tiers: $49, $99, and $199 per month. It also has a free plan with limited features. 

Surfer - Pricing

For more info, check out my full review of Surfer SEO


MarketMuse is pretty similar to Surfer SEO. It offers a couple of tools you can use for keyword planning. 

There’s a Research tool that gives you related topics to a keyword and a competitor analysis so you can see top-ranking pages for your target keyword. 

The Questions feature lets you see queries related to your keyword. I always find this type of tool very useful as it gives me ideas on what I could include in my content. 

The optimization tool is very similar to Surfer’s Content Editor. It gives you a list of terms you should mention and how many times, as well as the length the article should be. 

What I Like

  • Good range of tools on the free version. If you’re a freelancer or a website owner with just one website then I think MarketMuse’s free version is a great content writing tool to use. 
  • Simple content optimization tool. Everything is nicely laid out and easy to use. 
  • Target content score to reach. MarketMuse scores your content and provides a target score for you to work toward. I like this as it gives you a goal to reach as you write and gives you an idea on how your content is looking compared with the top search results for the same keyword.
MarketMuse - Tool

What I Don’t Like

  • Not very intuitive. When I first started using MarketMuse, I felt a bit lost and had to do some research on how some of the different tools worked. There are introductory videos but no helpful prompts when you go past these into the tools. 
  • Paid versions are very expensive. MarketMuse’s paid plans offer more features than the free version but they come at a hefty cost. In my opinion, it’s not worth choosing a paid plan when there are cheaper options available with similar functionality. 
  • Need to have a website. In order to log in to MarketMuse, you need to give them your website domain. This is not ideal if you’re a freelance content creator on sites like Fiverr or Upwork. 
  • Manual saving. With the Optimization tool, you need to remember to manually save your writing. Having used tools that automatically save queries as they are created, I found this pretty annoying as I often forgot to save and had to start over again. 


MarketMuse has a free version and two paid tiers that are $7,200 and $12,000 per year.

MarketMuse - Pricing



Clearscope is a content writing tool that is best suited for agencies or people running multiple websites as it’s pretty pricey and there is no free version. 

It essentially consists of a Keyword Discovery tool, which provides a list of relevant terms for a keyword, and a Report feature. 

With the Report feature, you pop in your keyword and it generates a document with details on how long your content should be, what terms to include, a readability score and a content grade. 

It also gives a list of related questions people ask as well as links to a few top competing pages. 

What I Like

  • Shareable editor. Clearscope lets you share a link to your Reports so that other people can write in the editor. This is helpful if you work with various writers like I do. 
  • Integrates with Google Docs and WordPress. I like that Clearscope offers these alternatives to working in its own editor as it makes it easy to integrate with your existing content creation system. 
  • Super easy to use. Clearscope has an intuitive interface and I like the layout. It’s very clear and simple - no fuss, no muss! 
  • Readability score. One of my favourite things about Clearscope is that it gives you a readability score for your content so that you can keep an eye on it as you write. This means that I don’t have to go and use a different tool to check content after it's been written. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Expensive. The main downside to Clearscope is the price. It’s very expensive for what you get. I find it very similar to Surfer SEO and MarketMuse’s free version so personally I would rather use one of those.  
  • Not a lot of features. In the lowest price tier, you only get two features: Reports and Keyword Discovery. If you upgrade, you get content inventory monitoring as well. For me, these features are not enough to justify the hefty monthly cost. 


Clearscope offers three plans: Essentials at $170 per month, Business at $1,200 per month, and Enterprise with custom pricing.

Clearscope - Pricing


Frase is another great tool that can help you optimise your content as you write it. It comes with many features - the best of which is its ability to create detailed content briefs

I use Frase every single day to quickly put together comprehensive briefs for my writers to follow. 

Like other content writing tools for SEO, it analyses the top SERP results for a specific keyword and then provides guidelines, questions, topics, topic clusters, statistics, and more for you to use to structure your content well. 

Besides creating briefs, Frase has its own content editor where it recommends terms to mention and scores your content. 

It also has an AI tool that automates certain parts of the writing process. For example, you can use it for blog intros, answering ‘why’ questions, turning bullet points to answers, and more. 

What I Like

  • Amazing briefs. Frase is an awesome tool to quickly put together briefs for writers. It fetches top-competing links, suggests a word count, and compiles lots of useful information to use to help guide your articles. For me, this has massively reduced the time I spend creating briefs.    
  • Easy to use. Frase is laid out well and is very user friendly. While it has lots of features and compiles lots of information for briefs, everything is easy to understand and find. 
  • Content editor. I like that Frase puts the content editor in the tab directly next to the brief. This makes it easy to switch between the brief and your writing. 
  • Content score. Like other content writing tools for SEO, Frase rates your written content against competitors and gives you a score. What I like is that it gives you the average score amongst competitors, which helps to set a target to beat.
Frase - Tool

What I Don’t Like

  • AI isn’t always accurate. While the AI writing tools in Frase are cool, they just aren’t always accurate. If you’re super specific when you give context for it though, you can usually get a few useful lines out of it. 
  • Can be a little glitchy. Certain elements in Frase are a little buggy unfortunately. I’ve run into issues like half of the screen going white when I’m working on briefs and text not being deleted when you highlight it and paste over it. But these are just small issues that don’t really affect the use of the tool that much. 
  • Doesn’t always fetch relevant results. Every now and then, I’ll need to create a brief on quite a niche topic and find that Frase doesn’t fetch the most relevant list of SERP results to look at. 


  • Frase has three different pricing tiers: Basic at $39.99 per month paid annually, Team at $99.99 per month paid annually, and Enterprise with custom pricing. 
Frase - Pricing

To learn more, read our full Frase AI review

Jasper AI


If you’re looking to speed up the actual writing process, then a tool like Jasper is a great option. Jasper is an AI content writing assistant that you can use to create articles from scratch or rewrite sections of your own content. 

Simply give some details on the topic and what you’d like written, and Jasper will do the writing for you. It produces content that is 100% unique and can take tone of voice into account too so that you can create content that is suited to your brand or the client you’re writing for. 

You will need to do some editing though. Jasper doesn’t produce content that is completely ready to use and will include some irrelevant or repetitive content here and there. 

What I Like

  • Very easy to use. I found it so easy to get started with Jasper and start producing AI-generated content. Just tell it what you want and it gets going! 
  • Speeds up the writing process. The main thing I like about Jasper is how much time it can save as it writes content for you. This quickly provides you with a foundation for your article that you can edit to your liking. 
  • Templates. Jasper provides over 50 different content templates to use. From social media captions, email subject lines and product descriptions to blog intros and conclusions, you can quickly come up with engaging text for all your channels. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Can provide incorrect information. Because Jasper pulls its information from various sources across the internet, it can produce some questionable and incorrect content. If you want to use Jasper, I highly recommend fact checking the content it produces - don’t just trust it. 
  • Doesn’t show sources. Following on from the point above, I really don’t like that it doesn’t provide some sort of reference list to show where it pulled its information from. 
  • Long-form content is only available on the Boss Mode plan. It’s important to note that if you want to use Jasper to provide you with full-length blog posts, you’ll need to be on Boss Mode. But, you can write paragraphs on the Starter plan and build out your articles that way.


Jasper offers three different plans that increase in price depending on how many words you want per month. The Starter plan starts at $24 per month for 20,000 words. Boss Mode starts at $49 for 50,000 words. Then there is the Business plan which offers custom pricing. 

Jasper - Pricing

Check out our complete Jasper AI review



Another powerful AI writing tool is Copy.ai. You can choose to create blog posts or use the Freestyle tool to create small sections on any topic you want. Just tell Copy.ai what you want to create and it will generate unique content in seconds! 

It also comes with lots of different tools to help you create SEO-friendly content much quicker. These include things such as: The Analogy Generator, turning bullet points into paragraphs, changing passive voice to active, simplifying or rewriting sentences, and brainstorming tools for new products, viral ideas, or business growth.

What I Like

  • Quick and easy content. I find Copy.ai so easy to use and it’s very efficient. 
  • Helps you generate outlines. On the pro plan, you can generate long-form blog content. I really like how this feature is structured as it lets you create the outline first and will generate some suggested headings to use based on the target keyword. 
  • Freestyle tool. Out of all the different features, the Freestyle tool is my favourite. It’s a great way to quickly create small sections of content, like answers to questions or overviews of different concepts. It will generate a couple of different texts so you can choose the one you like the most. 
  • Lots of templates. Another awesome thing about Copy.ai is that it offers a host of different templates. You can basically use it for anything from wedding vows and short stories to blog intros and social media captions. This makes it a great tool for freelance writers, hobbyists, and marketers alike. 
CopyAI - Tool

What I Don’t Like

  • Provides incomplete content. When using the Freestyle tool, I noticed that it doesn’t always provide complete paragraphs and will cut off at the end. 
  • Uses up words quickly. While I love the Freestyle tool, I wish it gave the option to generate one piece of content at a time instead of providing several to choose from. If you like the first piece it generated, then the rest are wasted words. 
  • Needs fact-checking. Like with other AI tools, sometimes the content can be a bit questionable and inaccurate. 


Copy.ai has a free version that gives you 2,000 words per month and then a Pro plan starting at $49 per month for 40,000 words. 

CopyAI - Pricing

Find out more in our Copy AI review

Hemingway App

Hemmingway App

I use Hemingway App every single day to check the readability of my articles. This is a free app that checks for sentence length, word choice, and more to determine how clear the writing is.

It gives you a readability grade and highlights difficult-to-read sentences as well as passive voice, making it a helpful content writing tool for SEO. 

What I Like

  • It’s super easy to use. I just paste my article in and it immediately gives a readability score so that I can see whether it needs more editing or not. 
  • Great for quickly checking passive voice. As you know, writing in Active voice is essential when creating content! Hemingway App highlights passive voice for you so you can easily edit your content. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Recommended word replacements don’t always make sense. Hemingway highlights words that have simple variations. For example, it will highlight “utilise” and suggest “use”. However, I’ve noticed that some suggestions don’t fit the sentence structure.
  • Sometimes flags perfectly readable sentences as “hard-to-read”. I find that if short sentences have a couple of long words then they will be highlighted as “very hard to read”.





Grammarly is another one of my favourite free content writing tools. It’s one of the best tools for proofreading content and spotting spelling and grammar errors. 

With the Chrome extension, you can also use Grammarly on Google Docs, in your emails, and even in WordPress. 

The premium version of Grammarly offers even more comprehensive writing analysis and checks for plagiarism. 

What I Like

  • Very quick and smooth. Grammarly is very simple to use and functions seamlessly. It analyses your text within seconds and has a simple layout so you can easily accept or reject its suggestions. 
  • Useful free version. I’ve used the free version for years and find it to be a very effective tool for proofreading to make sure I haven’t missed anything while editing. 
Grammarly - Tool

What I Don’t Like

  • Chrome extension overrides the built-in Google Doc spell-checker. I personally prefer using the web version of Grammarly over the Chrome extension because it overrides the automatic spell checker within Google Docs. I find that sometimes they may flag different words so I like using both separately. 


Grammarly offers a free version as well as Grammarly Premium at $12 per month and Grammarly Business starting at $15 per member per month.

Grammarly - Pricing

Semrush SEO Writing Assistant


Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant is a nifty tool that uses AI to analyse your content and give suggestions on how to make it better. 

It has a few key features that help you optimise your content for SEO. It highlights target keywords and suggests other relevant terms to include and provides a readability score and recommended word count. The SEO Writing Assistant also analyses the tone of voice of your copy and checks for plagiarism. 

What I Like

  • Checks for plagiarism. One thing that sets this content writing tool apart from others for me is their plagiarism checker. This feature helps ensure that you’re only putting out unique content.
  • Easy to use. Semrush SEO Writing Assistant is very straightforward with a simple, user-friendly interface. It also integrates with Google Docs, Microsoft Word and WordPress. 
  • Provides helpful suggestions to improve content. Another thing I like about this tool is that instead of just providing guidelines or targets to hit, it gives actionable recommendations that you can implement to improve your content.
SemRush - Tool

What I Don’t Like

  • Expensive. Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant is only available on their Guru and Business plans so it’s not worth using if you don’t already have a Semrush subscription. 


Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant is only available on the Guru plan at $229 per month or the Business plan at $449 per month.

SemRush - Pricing



ProWritingAid is an online writing tool that helps you create content that's more engaging, persuasive and grammatically correct.

It uses artificial intelligence to catch spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as common stylistic errors. It analyses your text (as you type or once you paste it in the editor) and generates helpful reports with recommendations on how to improve your writing.

What I Like

  • Readability score. I like tools that provide a readability score to ensure my content is always easy to consume.
  • In-depth reports. I was really impressed with the level of analysis ProWritingAid offers.
  • Identifies passive voice. This is a nifty feature for newer writers still getting used to writing in Active Voice. 
  • Access to writing resources. ProWritingAid’s goal is really to help writers improve their writing technique. On the premium version, it provides access to a resource library full of useful information for writing. 
ProWritingAid - Tool

What I Don’t Like

  • The web version can be slow and buggy. I find that it doesn’t always take you to the words it’s flagged so it’s difficult to spot errors. It can also take a couple of tries to bring up the suggestions pop-up on a specific word. 
  • Free web version only analyses 500 words. The free web version is pretty pointless as it only analyses 500 words of text. However, you can use the Chrome extension to grammar-check your articles fully. 
  • Recalibrates scores every time you look at a report. I don’t like that it has to analyse the text every time you go in and out of a report as it’s time-consuming. 


ProWritingAid offers a free version, a $20 monthly subscription, or a $79 annual subscription. Alternatively, you can opt to purchase lifetime access to the software and all its future updates for $399.

ProWritingAid - Pricing

Slick Write


Another great free content writing tool for SEO is Slick Write. Similar to Grammarly or ProWritingAid, it’s a web-based grammar and writing style checker. 

You paste your article into its editor and it will underline errors and ‘stylistic features’ like adverbs and passive voice. 

In addition, you can check the structure of your article where Slick Write will essentially colour-code the sentences so that you can see which ones are simple and which are long and complex. 

What I Like

  • Helps you improve readability. I really like that Slick Write shows which sentences are a bit long and complex so that you can shorten them into more digestible chunks. 
  • Good layout. Slick Write has a simple, intuitive layout with tabs for different writing features at the top of the editor. 
  • Flags repetition. One feature that I feel sets Slick Write apart from similar tools is that it analyses vocabulary variety. Basically, it will show which sections have lots of similar words so that you can easily spot repetitive paragraphs. 
SlickWrite - Tool

What I Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t provide suggestions for flagged words or phrases. While Slick Write highlights certain words or phrases, it doesn’t really give actionable recommendations to improve them.




Whether you’re looking for a free tool or a paid solution to help you enhance your SEO content writing, there are so many out there to choose from. Try out some of the top content writing tools for SEO listed above to find the best one for your needs. Or even use a combination of them - like I do!

Jason Smit

Jason Smit is the CEO of Contentellect and believes that marketing success lies at the intersection of great content and quality links. With 15 years spent in agency environments, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Media and Performics, his experience is distilled into Contentellect's service offering. He holds a B.Com Marketing from the University of Cape Town and a PGDip. in Entrepreneurship.

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