9 Best MarketMuse Alternatives in 2023: A Thorough Analysis

Pankil Shah
by Pankil Shah
Updated On: October 6, 2023
9 Best MarketMuse Alternatives in 2023: A Thorough Analysis

While MarketMuse claims it uses AI to go beyond basic content strategies, it struggles with creating competitive content. And if you don’t focus on being competitive, you aren’t going to create winning content that ranks. 🏆

Amy Santiago from Brooklyn 99 saying "no one is less competitive than me"
Are you sure that’s a good thing?

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So, if you want to write more competitive web pages (or just want something that won’t break the bank), check out these top nine MarketMuse alternatives.

But first, we’ll give you the lowdown on how MarketMuse justifies this approach.

Just so you know:

This blog was created by the team at Outranking, a trusted content analysis tool for digital marketers. In this review, our team analyzed nine tools, some of which are competitors with Outranking. This content is for informational purposes only. 

MarketMuse’s Key Features: the Good and the Bad

MarketMuse has many great features that could help improve your content game. But in reality, only some of those features are helpful. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Heatmap – Helpful and Visual

The MarketMuse Heatmap function offers valuable data on your competitors’ topics. It looks at the top 20 of a keyword’s search engine results page (SERP) and lets you know the relevant targets, gaps, and must-have focus areas. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visually represents areas you should cover to provide comprehensive and relevant content
  2. Helps you identify the specific topics that the top 20 covers
  3. Helps you prioritize your content creation efforts by highlighting topics to cover

A visually driven representation of what to target can help you figure out where to go with little work. But this function is separate from the content editor, meaning you’ll have to navigate between pages to access this information. 

MarketMuse heatmap screenshot
MarketMuse’s Heatmap feature analyzes the top 20 search results for your topic

Despite this minor inconvenience, MarketMuse’s visually-driven focus is a nice alternative to the wall of numbers you get from other tools. 

2. Proprietary Technology – Overpriced

MarketMuse’s proprietary technology can be pretty decent for research. But it ultimately becomes less useful when you apply the data to your content writing workflow.

This limited usefulness comes back to its approach, including resources outside the top keyword results to gather your information. While this has the potential to help you create more comprehensive content and collect data, not all of this information can help you rank better. 

In fact, it seems that much of that data is thrown out the window once you get to the editor, which relies on the classic keyword-stuffing approach, a nasty habit similar to SurfeSEO. 😬

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The data is, in fact, no more helpful than what you would get from a budget option. Regardless, MarketMuse still charges a premium for its services.

And the data is virtually worthless for short-form content creation — it’s mostly helpful for long-form articles. So, if you hope to improve a service page, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

3. Pricing – Recently Reduced (but still not cheap enough)

MarketMuse has recently significantly reduced its pricing, which has had a notable impact on its users. This reduction in pricing has made MarketMuse a more affordable option if you’re looking to improve their content marketing strategies.

Marketmuse pricing page screenshot.
MarketMuse has recently reduced its prices, but it’s still expensive!

But MarketMuse is still priced well above the budget of many content writers and small businesses. Its minimum monthly cost is $150, which only allows for 100 queries per month and access for one user. If you run a team, the minimum price skyrockets to a whopping $3,900 annually. 🫣

The pricing used to be several thousand dollars a month, so these rates represent a vast improvement. But you’ll still find cheaper content optimization tools elsewhere.

4. Integrations – Lacks Options

MarketMuse recently announced a loose integration with ChatGPT. This attempts to capitalize on trending topics and compensate for its lack of built-in AI writing features.

Psst! 🤫Learn all about crafting a ChatGPT prompt for SEO content writing here! 👇

The integration offers four different predefined prompts:

  1. Answering questions
  2. Expanding on a concept
  3. Creating an outline
  4. Drafting an article

These prompts are incredibly basic, as multiple AI tools give you more flexibility. Outranking and Frase are two examples that let you craft an article with a few clicks. 

5. Keyword Clustering – Fairly Basic

Keyword clustering is a crucial aspect of content optimization, allowing users to discover semantically related keywords to their primary target(s). MarketMuse offers some keyword clustering features, but these are incredibly basic.

Much of what you’ll find is under the connect tab under research on the left-hand navigation tool. You’ll need to connect your website to access this and learn about potential content clusters. For more of a keyword-based focus, you can look under the topic navigator, seen below.

MarketMuse topic navigator screenshot
MarketMuse’s keyword clustering functionality is rudimentary

By checking multiple boxes, you can create a writing environment with various keywords. The topic model tab here attempts to gather similar keywords, but they are severely limited under the free plans. 

6. SERP Analysis – Free Alternatives Available Elsewhere

MarketMuse provides a SERP X-Ray tool that gives you some basic information. The image above shows you the photos, videos, links, word count, and content score. You get a decent amount of information alongside the topic navigator:

MarketMuse Serp X-Ray screenshot
MarketMuse’s SERP analysis feature offers the same information as free tools do

Free tools offer the same information, so MarketMuse saves you a bit of time but doesn’t offer much value. And this data would be more helpful when displayed as part of your content editing toolset. Other services, such as Outranking, build this functionality into the editor.

7. Content Brief Builder – No AI Support

MarketMuse doesn’t provide any brief building tools, a huge oversight for many content writers. Whether you are a business owner or content writer, briefs are the “skeleton” for your article. Without a brief, it doesn’t take long for your content to lose focus. 😱

Also, MarketMuse doesn’t have a dedicated spot for a brief building. Instead, it averages the word count, gathers random words or phrases, and gives suggestions based on your typing. This means creating an SEO content brief is manual, which isn’t helpful at all.

Unlike most tools, MarketMuse doesn’t even have a location for a brief. So, if you work with a team, be prepared to create your briefs in Microsoft Word when using MarketMuse.

8. Content Scoring Methodology – Only Scores Use of Terms

Like most platforms, MarketMuse relies on a content-scoring methodology. You can find this by clicking on the “feed” and “research” links, which give you a count on how often you mention important terminology.

It’s handy to have this NLP content-reading tool; the simplicity means you won’t get distracted. However, the limited data that MaketMuse analyzes is disappointing, making it one of the least-involved content analysis tools on the market.

MarketMuse content scoring screenshot.
MarketMuse’s content scoring feature provides only limited data

Of course, everyone is different, and some writers prefer not to be overwhelmed by information. But others like to have this data before them, making a customizable option, such as Outranking’s interface, far more helpful.

9. Outline Builder – No AI Features

MarketMuse’s outline builder, much like its brief builder, is nonexistent — instead, you get information on keyword research, content analysis, and a content sorting system.

As mentioned during the brief building section, content without guidance can lose its way. An outline builder is part of the brief-building process, providing your content with steps they can follow.

A good AI-driven outline builder helps you generate ideas and consider alternative options when creating content effortlessly. These days, a content optimization tool without an online builder is missing something important.

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10. Content Workflow – Limited Choices

MarketMuse’s content workflow is limited by its choice to remove outline creation and briefing from the process. Some might see this as a helpful simplification, allowing business owners to skip straight to “the good part.” But process-driven writers won’t appreciate the limited functionality.

When looking for MarketMuse alternatives, consider those that offer a complete workflow process, from keyword research to writing, all the way to optimizing. The ability to complete every step within the same platform makes it easier for you to write topically relevant pieces for your readers.

The 9 Best Alternatives to MarketMuse

Now that you know the good and bad parts of MarketMuse, take a look at some alternatives below to help you make the best choice. 

1. Outranking: the Best Alternative

Outranking offers the most comprehensive alternative to MarketMuse. We focus on the complete content-building process, giving you the power to bring content from keyword research to finalization without leaving the platform.

Plus, we’re competitively focused, so you know the data it gathers is from top results (not random sources).

Outranking content editor screenshot.
Outranking provides the most comprehensive alternative to MarketMuse

Outranking starts with in-depth, keyword-focused SERP analyses. Then, it goes into brief, title, and outline development. Finally, it writes the article for you using integrated first-party tools. This means you won’t have to purchase a separate ChatGPT API integration to have your articles fully written.

It’s [Outranking] incredibly feature-rich, and it’s guaranteed for you to publish content that ranks!

Gaia B. on Capterra

Within the content editor, which you can see above, you’ll see a list of suggestions that go beyond the content. This enables you to better meet the needs of your readers. You can also customize this view to focus on different areas, making it as simple or complex as you want.

Provides the full content workflow without ever needing external toolsBrief and outline building are completely manual
Gives you deep suggestions gathered from top Google resultsProvides you with a list of phrases you can use, but nothing else

Also, we heard your cries! In our recent V13 update, we gave our interface a simple makeover, making it easier than ever to navigate!  On top of that, our new auto-optimize wizard is here to help you fight any writer’s block.

Long story short:  From title optimization for increased Click-Through-Rates (CTRs) to AI-powered keyword research and clustering, we keep your content relevant and competitive with just a click of a button!

You get an incredibly useful tool set at a fraction of the cost of MarketMuse’s entry-level plans.

Are you ready to go sky-high with your content? 🛫

With Outranking’s 7-day money-back guarantee, give it a try today! ✨

2. SurferSEO: a Balanced Optimization Tool

SurferSEO is one of the most popular content optimization tools on the market. It has a simple content grader that writers are familiar with; you’ll see a bunch of copycats on the web.

SurerSEO automatic outline generation and editor screenshot.
SurferSEO offers a popular content-grading feature

SurferSEO outperforms MarketMuse in terms of how much data it provides. It displays word count, headings, images, and key terms you need to remain competitive and relevant. While it has far less data than Outranking, it gives you a clear picture of what you must do. 

But based on user experience, it has some odd SEO suggestions, leading people to rely more on its free extension:

SurferSEO G2 review screenshot
Surfer doesn’t always offer great SEO suggestions.

SurferSEO is far less expensive than MarketMuse, especially if you plan on creating small batches of content. As with MarketMuse, its AI features are not directly available; SurferSEO offers first-party AI tools for an additional $29 per article.

Like MarketMuse, it doesn’t include any automated brief-building systems. But it does offer a notes page that you can use to instruct writers. 

Features a comprehensive content editor that provides numerous data pointsOnly focuses on the terms used in the content
Optional add-ons to audit your siteSite auditing is part of higher-tier plans

3. Frase: Great Content Editor

Compared to MarketMuse, Frase is a relatively small company in the content optimization industry. But despite its small size, it has solid workflow efficiency.

Frase starts you with an automated process that begins with outline creation. You’ll need to look up keyword data from third-party sources, however, as Frase holds no data on the amount of potential traffic.

Frase content editor and AI tools screenshot.
Frase offers a three-step workflow

Those who pay for the SEO add-on will get unlimited access to Frase’s AI writing tool. It also includes numerous AI templates for everything from sales copy to content creation. Without paying an extra $35 monthly, you’ll have incredibly limited access to its AI writing.

Even so, you might not want its AI writing tool, as it’s known to duplicate content (which can waste your time and hurt your SEO work).

Frase G2 review screenshot
Some users believe that you pay Frase for AI-driven plagiarism.

The brief building systems are somewhat limited, with most data being a “fill-as-you-go” platform. They include more detailed brief templates, but the AI systems don’t work with them.

4. Clearscope: The Simplest Platform

Clearscope is easily the simplest content optimization platform you can buy. With a non-existent learning curve, writers can easily pick up Clearscope in minutes.

Screenshot of Clearscope's content editor
Clearscope offers a simpler alternative with a minimal learning curve

Clearscope’s simplicity means that it provides fewer features. There’s very little data; analysis of top results only focuses on text, and you get no data on keywords. Instead, Clearscope focuses on writing simple and effective content through its built-in grading system. The grading system focuses on readability (grade level) and usage of terms.

Users have also noted that it’s not very transparent: 

Clearscope Getapp review screenshot

Clearscope might be a “not so smart” grading system.

Despite this limited functionality, Clearscope is the most expensive tool (much more than MarketMuse) – it charges $180 for 10 content pieces, has no brief-building systems or AI writing software, and offers little support for the entire content-building process.

Still, if you simply need a tool that builds your content, and if price is not a concern, Clearscope is a solid option.

IBM-backed NLP content-reading systemMore basic NLP system
The simplest option in the content optimization industryAlso relatively simple

5. Dashword: an Inexpensive Alternative to Clearscope

Dashword content report screenshot.
Dashword provides a lower-price alternative to MarketMuse

Similar to Clearscope, Dashword focuses on a simple content editor. But, unlike Clearscope, it supports brief creation, keyword research, and content monitoring.

Dashword is also far more cost-effective, costing $99 monthly for 30 content reports. This includes five user seats, access to the content brief builder, and up to 100,000 words for the tool’s AI writer. Higher-tier plans offer more features, like bulk report creation.

Dashword is fairly new to AI content creation, as evidenced by the relative simplicity of its tool. However, it can create a unique AI outline from the top results of Google, giving you something unique that you can use as a basis for ideas.

More comprehensive reports are out there, and the content editor could use a bit more customization to include more data. Still, it’s an excellent alternative to MarketMuse.

6. Content Harmony: Great for Brief Creation

Content Harmony’s automated brief creation system is likely one of the best options on the market. It provides information on these elements:

  1. Search intent
  2. Target topics
  3. Outline
  4. Common questions
  5. Sources used
  6. The number of videos and images

The keyword research, however, is far more limited, offering few semantic results. This means your content risks being less relevant.

Content Harmony brief creation tool
Content Harmony excels at brief creation

The content grading system could be faster to respond. But, given the relative newness of the tool, the team behind Content Harmony is likely already working towards fixing this.

You can get started on Content Harmony for $10 but will eventually need to upgrade to $50 monthly. This makes the SEO tool relatively inexpensive compared to some alternatives, but you only get five content workflows, which isn’t enough for most people.

7. Zenbrief: Clean Interface

Zenbrief takes a few notes from Clearscope, focusing heavily on creating a simple, clean interface. Its simplistic approach has three stages:

  1. Content brief creation: Automated creation of content briefs focusing on questions, word counts, sources, and outlines.
  2. Content creation: A simple text editor that enables you to import data from URLs and add custom code. However, it doesn’t support tables. The optimizer provides you with a grade based on comprehensiveness and readability.
  3. Auditing: Integrates with Google Search Console (GSC) to target potential gaps in your content and keywords.

The simplistic three-step approach makes Zenbrief easy to work with, even for new content writers. It’s also less expensive than MarketMuse, making it a cheap and focused alternative.

Zen Brief content brief creation screenshot
Zen Brief provides a minimalistic interface

Like most of these simple content optimizers, there’s not a lot of data or customization on the editing page. You’ll find more from alternatives like Outranking, which look into more aspects of the content.

8. GrowthBar: Great for Quick Results

GrowthBar has a simple AI-driven process that starts with a briefing and leads into content creation. As a new market tool, it has solid potential, mainly supported by its blog post generator.

Growthbar content editor screenshot
Growthbar’s blog post generator provides quick results, at the expense of quality

Here’s a list of the tools that Growthbar supports:

  1. Blog post generator, which creates a blog for you from scratch based on top SERP results.
  2. Other AI tools, including templates for creating meta descriptions, sales emails, product descriptions, and blog ideas.
  3. SEO Tools for keyword research, site inspections, and rank tracking.

Above all, GrowthBar emphasizes speed in creating content. The example in the image above took less than five minutes to produce. So, if you need it now, GrowthBar has you covered.

But in emphasizing speed, GrowthBar has sacrificed quality. Many AI tools produce questionable results. Plus, many of the features it supports are available through free platforms like Google Analytics or GSC.

9. Semrush Content Assistant: Very Easy to Use

Semrush includes a comprehensive list of marketing tools to cover your needs. As you can see, one of these is the SEO writing assistant.

Semrush content assistant screenshot
Semrush’s focus on marketing tools means that its writing interface feels unfinished

The Semush writing assistant is a simplified form of what Clearscope offers. This means it’s great for producing basic, engaging content, but no modern AI features support your writing.

Admittedly, the writing tool feels unfinished, which makes sense, given that Semrush doesn’t focus on content writing. Instead, it provides a more comprehensive set of helpful marketing tools. To get access to the SEO writing assistant, you’ll need to pay nearly $230, plus more for additional tools.

Why is Outranking the Best Alternative to MarketMuse?

Outranking is one of the best alternatives to MarketMuse in 2023 due to its exceptional features and advantages. We focus on content optimization and SEO, offering a comprehensive set of tools and functionalities that surpass MarketMuse’s ones. Here are three key reasons why Outranking outshines our competitors:

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Unlike MarketMuse, Outranking provides cost-effective pricing plans that cater to businesses of all sizes.
  2. User-friendly interface: Outranking stands out with its intuitive, user-friendly intuitive interface. Users can quickly adapt to Outranking’s simple, easy-to-navigate platform and maximize their SEO efforts without sacrificing useful data points.
  3. AI capabilities: Outranking excels in automation, providing features that save time and effort for users. Unlike MarketMuse, which requires manual brief and outline creation, Outranking automates these processes, eliminating potential headaches and streamlining the SEO planning and writing workflow.
Screenshot of an article's SEO details on Outranking.
Outranking user-friendly interface makes it a breeze to learn all the tools!

Outranking is the best alternative to MarketMuse in 2023 due to its cost-effectiveness, valuable data, user-friendly interface, and AI capabilities. With its superior features and advantages, we provide businesses like yours with a powerful and efficient solution for enhancing their organic traffic and improving their content marketing strategies.

Stay ahead in the SEO battle with Outranking! 💪

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