Which Content Optimization Tool is Right for your Agency?

Content optimization is the process of refining and tweaking your content to match a user’s search intent, rank in search engine results pages (SERP), and improve the quality and readability of your asset. Sounds tricky, right? 

As an agency, maybe you’re optimizing content in-house, or perhaps you’re outsourcing projects to an SEO professional. Either way, the content optimization process is time-consuming and cumbersome. 

However, with content optimization software, the most challenging parts of optimizing your content are done for you. Online content optimization tools such as Clearscope, MarketMuse, Surfer, Ahrefs, and SEMRush not only help you with your SEO efforts but double up as an essential tool that supports content strategy and improves production workflows.

What is content optimization software? 

Content optimization software helps you to create content that answers a search query. The tools answer important questions that every search-optimized asset needs to include: 

  1. What is the target keyword?
  2. What is the search intent? (Navigational, transactional, or informational)
  3. What other keywords are people searching for that relate to my target keyword? 
  4. What headings and subheadings need to be included in the content? 
  5. Who is the target audience? 
  6. What other content types and topics should be written?

What are the benefits of content optimization tools? 

Increase organic traffic

Content optimization tools help you uncover high-volume and high-intent keywords that you can use in your content. Incorporating these into your posts will help increase your organic performance and traffic from the SERP. 

Maximize your content returns

Optimization typically isn’t a “one and done” process. The work doesn’t stop once you hit publish. You need to continually optimize and iterate on your assets for peak performance. Content optimization software will help you in the initial stages of production and serve as a tool further down the road when you need to refresh or update your assets. 

Become a subject matter expert (SME)

Google ranks content based on many factors, but one consistent is the quality of the work. Content optimization tools quickly and easily provide keywords and topics to help you improve your writing and position your author as an SME. In turn, this bolsters the quality of the article and will positively impact your organic search rankings.

Discover content issues

Content optimization tools for agencies won’t just help you become a better writer and generate more traffic; they’ll also help you uncover issues in your content. 

Strategize high-performing content formats

Should you use a listicle, a how-to, or a long-form guide? Content optimization tools will give you insights into what format your asset needs to be in to achieve results. 

Save time and money

Ryan Levander, owner and lead strategist of Rednavel Consulting, believes that content optimization tools are key to saving agencies time and resources. He says, “when I think of a pillar piece of content, something that could be 3,000 words or more, and then you have five children beneath it, a content optimization tool could save you hours per week—maybe even days.” 

Freeing up time will allow agencies to focus on creating content strategies. Levander says, “I think agencies should spend time creating airtight strategies because if you do B-level keyword research, you can’t really do A-Level SEO content; you don’t set yourself up for success”. 

And with the content marketing space becoming continually saturated, agencies need to not only create optimized content but publish content that adds value—something that can only be uncovered in a rigorous strategy process. 

Uncover Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords

In the early days of SEO, Google focused entirely on the keywords on a page to rank content in the SERP. For example, if a piece of content had the words “craft beer” in it a lot, Google would understand that the page was about craft beer. 

Nowadays, Google wants to know what the whole topic is, and it does this by crawling content for LSI keywords. For example, you’ve added “craft beer” to your title tag, meta description, image alt tag, headers and weaved it into your copy a few times. Google will also crawl your blog post for LSI keywords. In this case, words like “brewery,” “hops,” and “IPA.”

The benefit of using LSI keywords in your content is that it enables Google to fully understand what your content is about and helps you strategize content for pillar pages and topic clusters (another important way to ensure your content gets the attention and ranking it deserves!) 

Unlock the power of long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are a vital part of any successful content marketing strategy. This keyword bucket is typically low in search volume but produces high conversion rates. A content optimization tool can help you uncover a treasure trove of long-tail keywords to use in your content. 

Target keywordLong-tail keywords
craft beeris craft beer vegan
non-alcoholic craft beer
which craft beer has the least calories
facial tonercan i use facial toner everydaywhen to apply facial toner
vegan and cruelty free facial toner
accounting softwareaccounting software for small business
do I need accounting software or a CPA
what is the best accounting software for personal use

Stay ahead of the competition

If you’re not optimizing your content and your competitors are, guess who’s more likely to be pushed down the SERP? Stay ahead of the game by using a content optimization tool designed specifically for an agency. 

Keep on track with Google

Google periodically updates its search algorithm to ensure that searchers are being served the right content that matches their query. Using content optimization software means that you’ll always keep on top of algorithm changes. 

5 content optimization tools for your agency

Not every content optimization tool is built the same. Some are more focused on the SEO side, while others are built more for content marketers. Here, we’ve outlined five of the most commonly used content tools for agencies of any size. 


A fan-favorite amongst medium-large scale agencies, especially those focused primarily on SEO-driven content. Founded in 2016, Clearscope is known for its ease of use and exemplary UX and UI. The platform also boasts an outstanding customer success team to help you get the most out of your content optimization experience.

Key features

  • Reading level assessment
  • Search volume insights
  • Search intent insights
  • Competitor analysis 
  • Outline creation
  • Keyword research
  • Keyword analysis
  • Google Docs integration
  • WordPress plugin
  • Word count recommendations

Best for medium-large scale agencies with clients who demand a high production volume.


MarketMuse is an AI-driven content optimization platform that helps agencies build content strategies, find gaps in topics, and speed up content production. MarketMuse is an incredibly comprehensive tool and works well to help agencies produce net-new content, along with refreshing assets regularly.

Key features

  • Keyword research
  • Keyword analysis
  • Rank tracking
  • Competitor analysis
  • Data visualization
  • Content gaps 
  • Content score
  • Page authority
  • Search intent insights
  • Outline creation

Best for large agencies with dedicated content teams and a high number of clients that demand both strategic work and a high production volume.


Surfer is a terrific blend of being both a content optimization tool and a basic SEO tool. The platform does all the regular content optimization work and gives agencies SEO tools to use, including backlink analysis, page speed insights, and meta tag structure. 

Key features

  • Keyword research
  • Keyword analysis
  • Outline creation
  • Search intent insights
  • Content score
  • Content refreshing 
  • SEO audit tools

Best for medium to smaller agencies who focus more on content strategy and SEO and need an easy-to-use, mid-budget tool. 


Ahrefs is a well-known SEO tool used by some of the biggest tech companies, including Facebook, Uber, and Adobe. For agencies that focus on content creation and optimization, Ahrefs doesn’t quite hit the mark due to its lack of built-in, AI-powered writing assistants. However, for agencies that focus heavily on content strategy and SEO, Ahrefs is the pick of the bunch. Ahrefs shines when it comes to tracking keyword rankings and backlinks.

Key features

  • Keyword research
  • Keyword analysis
  • Competitor analysis 
  • Link building
  • SEO audit tools
  • Rank tracking

Best for agencies of any size who want a powerful content strategy and SEO tool.


A powerhouse for all things search, SEMRush is an all-around SEO and content tool. Known for continuously improving and adding new features, SEMRush builds the bridge between a stand-alone SEO tool and content optimization software, thanks to its built-in writing assistant. While the assistant doesn’t have the same depth as Clearscope and MarketMuse, it’s handy for simple optimization work. 

Key features

  • Keyword research
  • Keyword analysis
  • SEO writing assistant
  • Content audit
  • Competitor analysis 
  • Link building
  • SEO audit tools
  • Rank tracking

Best for agencies of any size who want to combine SEO and basic on-page optimization insights.

Questions to ask before deciding on a content optimization tool for your agency

  • Does the tool fit into your tech stack? 
  • Does the tool fit into your workflows? 
  • Is it seamless and easy to use? 
  • Does it fit the needs of your clients? 
  • Does it have a free trial? 
  • Does the price point fit within your budget? 
  • Will the tool help you achieve a positive ROI?

Your writing doesn’t only need to be grammatically correct, it needs to be meticulously optimized for organic search—especially at the top of the funnel. Save time and resources by investing in content optimization tools for your agency. 

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Claire Beveridge

Claire Beveridge is a content marketing consultant who works with innovative B2B and B2C companies to help them achieve their growth goals. She's passionate about crafting creative copy that converts, owning the SERP with long-form content, and creating killer content strategies.

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