The 11 Best Content Analysis Tools in 2022

Everybody thinks their content is good.

But, question: how do you know for sure?

This unique area – content analysis – is the blending of analytics and marketing. In addition to manual content analysis methodologies, there are tons of content analysis tools that can help you out as well.

For the sake of this piece, we won’t cover the manual protocols, since they typically require a data science skill set (or, at the very least, tons of time and data literacy).

But we will cover several qualitative and quantitative content analysis tools to help you learn whether:

  • Your content is well-suited for on-page SEO
  • Your content is generating adequate backlinks
  • Your content is engaging and compelling

And of course, if your content is performing in general, and if not, why that might be.

What is a Content Analysis Tool?

Content analysis software helps you measure the performance of content, identify shortcomings and opportunities, and diagnose potential solutions to increase the performance of your content.

Basically, they all help you analyze your content in one way or another:

Most of the content analysis tools are catered towards SEO, which makes sense: SEO is easily the largest distribution channel for content.

Additionally, there are content analysis tools for specific platforms, such as YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

Technically, a content analysis tool can be anything that gives you intelligence on your content, including plagiarism checkers like Copyscape and grammar tools like Grammarly and Hemingway.

For the most part, we’ll cover organic search content analysis tools (aka stuff that helps you rank in Google).

The 11 Best Content Analysis Tools in 2022

  1. Surfer SEO
  2. Clearscope
  3. Google Analytics
  4. Ahrefs
  5. Semrush
  6. Frase
  7. MarketMuse
  8. Google Search Console
  9. Screaming Frog
  10. Yoast
  11. SE Ranking

Editor’s note: I’m going to use some affiliate links when possible to try to earn some revenue from my content. These don’t change the opinions espoused in the content nor the style in which they are written. If I think a product sucks, I’m not going to say otherwise. This is just a bonus and a way to fund the whole operation. Anyway, enjoy the article

1. Surfer SEO

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Surfer SEO is one of my favorite content analysis tools.

Say you’ve got a target keyword (like “best form builder”) that you want to rank for.

Surfer reverse engineers the existing rankings on the search results pages, identifies common patterns, and uses artificial intelligence to generate an outline for your piece.

The outline includes questions you should answer, related keywords (weighted by density and importance), images, recommended word count, and headers and subheads.

It also helps you measure and optimize existing content.

For example, if I plug my piece of content into Surfer SEO, it gives me a score (out of 100) and several keyword suggestions to beef it up and improve the probability that it will rank for that target keyword.

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Surfer is great for several reasons.

First, it’s super intuitive. You get a clear score out of 100 to aim for. If you’re working with freelance writers, this makes it easy to give guardrails and targets when they submit their piece of content.

Second, it has great native integrations with Semrush and Jasper (an AI copywriting tool). If you can’t get all your features in one tool, the next best thing is to find tools that integrate with each other easily.

Finally, it’s affordable. If you’re just starting out and writing less than 10 articles per month, it will only cost you $49/month. When you scale, it’s only slightly more expensive at $99 /month for 30 reports per month.

Love Surfer and I’m using it to write this very article. Meta!

Use case: optimize content to rank in search engines.

G2 Score: 4.8/5

Price: starts at $49 per month for 10 articles and includes a 7 day free trial

2. Clearscope

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When I first tried Clearscope a few years ago, I was hooked.

I first knew about it as a MarketMuse alternative (MarketMuse was a bit too enterprise for my budget at the time). And it was the first real content optimization and analysis tool that I used.

Since then, I’ve become a power user of Clearscope. We use it at my content marketing agency on all our clients. It’s a great stop gap solution for making sure on-page SEO is on point.

Similar to Surfer, Clearscope generates a proactive content outline based on your target keywords. I find it a little easier to use than Surfer, but it also gives you related keywords, word count, and readability score suggestions.

This one, however, grades you on a different scale – your goal is to get an A+ (or an A++ is you’re really good).

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Clearscope has some pretty neat features for content operations at high scale as well, including monitoring and proactive alerts for content that needs updating.

Search intent changes over time, and Clearscope makes sure you don’t lose traffic and rankings before you find that out.

Pricing is a little bit more expensive than Surfer, but I’d say, overall, it’s a slightly more powerful tool. If it’s out of your budget, there are tons of Clearscope alternatives out there nowadays that have similar features.

Use case: optimize content to rank in search engines.

G2 Score: 4.9/5

Price: $

3. Google Analytics

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Google Analytics is the meat and potatoes of content analytics.

Pretty much everyone has used Google Analytics at this point.

Of course, it goes beyond content analytics – you can track product users, e-commerce conversions, offline CRM conversions. It’s an insanely powerful and customizable analytics tool, and it’s absolutely ubiquitous (some 30-50 million websites use Google Analytics).

It’s where all your key metrics for website performance live. Tons and tons of data here, including real time data.

For content, I like to use the following reports:

Landing pages

Quickly analyze page level performance including traffic and user metrics, engagement metrics like bounce rate and exit rate, and conversion metrics (you can attribute specific conversions to individual pages). Bounce rate and engagement rate can help you optimize for user experience as well as sheer traffic volume.

You can also add a secondary dimension to only include referral traffic, organic traffic, social traffic, etc.

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Traffic sources

If you’re engaging in multiple channels, analyzing your traffic sources and the performance therein can help you make decisions as to where to optimize your efforts and, more importantly, where to double down and spend more time.

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Conversions

Of course, at the end of the day, what I want to know is this: does my content convert? If you’ve set up Google Analytics goals properly, the conversions report will help you see if you’re actually driving business value with your efforts.

Attribution models

Finally, attribution modeling is a useful feature. Not all content can or should be tracked on a default last click basis. I like to see how it performs on a first click basis, especially if I’m writing more top of the funnel traffic.

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Google Analytics is one of the few tools on your list that helps you learn more about your audience data in addition to simply auditing performance.

I could write an entire blog post on Google Analytics (or a whole series, like I have for KlientBoost). But suffice to say, Google Analytics is the tool for quantitative content analytics.

Use case: analyze all quantitative elements of content, including business performance.

G2 Score: 4.5/5

Price: FREE (and then super expensive once you sign up for Google Analytics 360).

4. Ahrefs

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Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO suite.

It’s got keyword research functionality, backlink audits, keyword rank tracking, content gap analysis, competing domains, and so much more.

Honestly, every day I wake up, I fire up Ahrefs. It’s an addiction, but I’m okay with it because it’s an awesome tool. Just look at this beautiful domain level report for my website:

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Now, Ahrefs is a bit pricey. Their Lite plan starts at $99 per month, and to be honest, the feature set at that tier is, well…light. Their next levels get a lot more pricey. So it’s not the tool for everyone.

They do have a free version that includes their webmaster tools. If you can afford it, Ahrefs is my favorite SEO tool to use (though there are point solution tools that do specific things better).

Ahrefs is the place where I always start my content audit, even if I end up using other tools for specific use cases like on-page SEO.

Use case: research competitors, plan content, conduct keyword research, audit technical website performance, and identify new and existing content opportunity areas. Pretty much everything SEO and content related can be done in Ahrefs.

G2 Score: 4.6/5

Price: Lite plan starts at starts at $99 per month

5. Semrush

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Semrush is another all-in-one SEO tool. While I’ve used Ahrefs daily for many years, Semrush is growing on me.

First off, it’s more feature rich than Ahrefs. In addition to your typical SEO reports (domain analysis, competitor analysis, keyword research, backlink analysis, etc.), it also has tons of tools to analyze paid marketing campaigns and SEM.

They also have a variety of novel tools that no other SEO platform has, including the surround sound tool (a new tool designed to help you measure and optimize the SERPs as a whole, not just your website’s rankings).

They also have a free writing assistant that does many of the things that Clearscope and Surfer do (though I’ll say it’s less accurate and powerful).

Use case: research competitors, plan content, conduct keyword research, audit technical website performance, and identify new and existing content opportunity areas. Pretty much everything SEO and content related can be done in Ahrefs.

G2 Score: 4.6/5

Price: Pro plan begins at $119.95/mo (their pro plan is very feature rich howeverA).

6. Frase

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Frase is a content optimization platform with several unique features compared to Surfer, Clearscope, and MarketMuse.

Like those content analysis tools, it helps you plan as well as optimize your blog posts. As a content planning tool, it’s one of the best with the most rich and robust content brief tools.

They also have AI copywriting features to actually generate text (acting as a Jasper alternative if you want to do it all in one tool). And honestly, their AI writer is quite good – you can even try it without signing up for an account directly on their homepage.

This helps with the content creation process as well as optimization.

They have tons of ready made templates, too, like listicles and blog introductions. Again, you can try this out directly on their website:

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This means Frase is not only a good content audit tool, but also good for content planning and a tool that helps you write copy and improve your content score.

Use case: optimize content to rank in search engines. Plan content with robust content briefs and outlines.

G2 Score: 4.8/5

Price: Basic plan starts at $44.99/mo. This gives you 30 document credits, making it more affordable than Surfer, Clearscope, or MarketMuse. They also offer 60% off the first month.

7. MarketMuse

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MarketMuse is the O.G. content optimization platform.

It used to be that MarketMuse was only for the enterprise, and while they are still quite expensive, they’ve recently launched a free plan so you can learn the platform for yourself.

It works like the other content analysis tools. Enter your target keyword, some machine learning magic ensues, and voila: you’ve got a content brief to guide your writing process.

What I particularly like about MarketMuse is the relevance of their suggested keywords. I’ve found that other content optimization tools can sort of spray and pray keyword suggestions, and some of them feel a little out of place. MarketMuse seems to have better context awareness.

The big downside is that MarketMuse is super expensive if you’re operating at any kind of scale. This makes it preventative for many smaller content shops, and thus, many look for MarketMuse alternatives like Surfer, Frase, or Clearscope.

Use case: optimize content to rank in search engines. Create fully optimized SEO content briefs.

G2 Score: 4.6/5

Price: Starts free with a very limited plan (and then goes to $7,200/year!).

8. Google Search Console

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Google Search Console is Google’s own free search analytics platform.

While I’m a huge user of tools like Ahrefs and Semrush, there are certain features that only Google Search Console has, like impressions and click through rate.

They also integrate directly with Google Data Studio which is wonderful for proactively analyzing your rankings and search performance.

If you want to level up your SEO skill set, it’s important to learn Google Search Console.

Use case: submit websites to be crawled, analyze search performance including impressions, click through rates, and keywords, and identify potential site speed and performance issues with your website.

G2 Score: 4.6/5

Price: free!

9. Screaming Frog

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Screaming Frog is the most popular website crawler out there, and it’s critical if you’re doing any sort of technical analysis of your content and website.

Sure, tools like Ahrefs and Semrush have website audit features. But they don’t go to the depths that Screaming Frog or any other crawler go. You’ll have to conduct a lot of manual analysis after you run your crawl, but that’s a good thing: the best technical audits have a large degree of manual data analysis to uncover stuff that’s outside the normal, basic fixes.

At the simplest, you can use it to find any missing title tags, meta descriptions, or any other micro copy on your website.

I also love it for finding internal link opportunities and broken pages and links on the website.

Use case: crawl websites and identify technical issues, broken links, internal links, missing meta descriptions / meta tags, alt tags, H1s, and other content assets.

G2 Score: 4.7/5

Price: free to start and then paid version is $209 per year.

10. Yoast

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Yoast is a WordPress plugin for SEO.

It has a ton of different features, and I recommend anyone who uses WordPress should install this one.

Here are a few features that users love:

  • It’s incredibly easy to install and begin using (simple WordPress plugin).
  • Easily add target keywords, related keywords and meta descriptions to your post
  • Quick readability scores
  • Keyword density scores
  • Add FAQs and schema to pages

I use Yoast personally and always install it when working with clients if it isn’t already.

Yoast is one of the O.G. content analysis tools. Maybe not the most powerful anymore on any one dimension, but it’s got so many use cases and features, and it’s so affordable, that you might as well be using it if you’re on Wordpress.

Use case: all kinds of SEO features like 301 redirects, meta description optimization, optimization for a target keyword, readability and optimization scores, and general content analysis on WordPress.

G2 Score: 4.6/5

Price: free then $99 per year

11. SE Ranking

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SE Ranking is a full featured SEO platform that specializes in rank tracking.

Rank tracking doesn’t necessarily diagnose problems with the content or ways to fix it, but it does give you a good indication of what content is working and what isn’t.

Therefore, it’s a great platform to begin your audits and prioritize opportunity areas.

Rank tracking and SERP tracking are what SE Ranking is known for, but they really do it all, including page level SEO reports, backlink reports, and keyword analysis. It’s a great tool that is rising in popularity, and for very good reason.

As this G2 user put it, “The SERP reports provide good analysis by offering page score and domain score as well as word count and content outlines among many other features. Fantastic for planning your content.”

This makes it a more holistic content analysis tool than many others on this list.

Use case: track keyword rankings, analyze competitors, analyze SERPs as a whole, track backlinks. Basically anything search engine related can be accomplished with SE Ranking.

G2 Score: 4.8/5

Price: Starts at $39.20/month for a pretty generous plan (including website audits for 40,000 pages and 10 on-page audits).

Conclusion

Content analysis software is abundant in 2022, giving you the ability to measure keyword rankings, content performance (including how many first click or last click conversions it’s driving), and on-page SEO and content quality.

Even with all these tools, there’s a lot of art to content quality. So even with this list of content analysis tools, don’t be afraid to add a little taste and judgment to the content you write.

Analyze your content with a discerning and manual eye, as well. After all, content marketing (and in particular, content creation) isn’t a job we can fully outsource to robots…at least not yet.

However, don’t be ashamed to use Surfer to optimize your piece to rank in search engines.

You can both be creative and use the great machine learning tools at your disposal to ensure the content is actually ranking, driving traffic, and ultimately, driving business value and revenue.

Alex Birkett
Alex Birkett is a product growth and experimentation expert as well as co-founder of Omniscient Digital, a premium content marketing agency. He enjoys skiing, making and experiencing music, reading and writing, and language learning. He lives in Austin, Texas with his dog, Biscuit.

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