Frase Review 2021 – Using AI to Improve Your Content

What is Frase, what does it do, does it work. I’ll answer all those questions and more in this unbiased and detailed Frase review.

I’m a heavy user of Frase.io and several other AI-powered content optimization tools. So I’m going to take you through it step by step and show you how I use it.

What is Frase.io?

Frase is a content marketing tool that helps you generate a content brief or write a full article. It is primarily aimed at anyone writing blog posts or people who need to brief writers to create blog posts for them.

If you want to write a blog post, you would start by adding your keyword phrase (you can add up to 3 phrases) and Frase will go off and fetch the top 20 websites that rank in Google for that term. It will then show you lots of different things about those top 20 articles e.g. average word count, the average number of images, the headings used in each article, the key topics mentioned across all the articles etc.

The whole idea here is that Frase is saying, here are the top 20 results for your chosen search term so this is what Google considers to be the best articles on the topic. So if you want your article to rank well you need your content to be as comprehensive or more comprehensive than those, you need to cover these key topics etc.

As you write your content in Frase it gives it a topic score from 0-100%. The idea is to get your article to score as high as possible, or at least higher than the average score across competitors, by making sure you have no key topic gaps. 

The process is very similar if you are creating a brief for a content writer. After you have entered your keyword phrase you can select a briefing template from some pre-built ones Frase has created or use your own custom briefing template (custom briefs are only available on the Team plan) and then populate it with the key topics etc. that you want your writer to cover.

Frase can also automatically create the brief for you, so you just click a button and it will generate a brief for you. Personally, I never use this feature as I want way more control than this but it’s an option.

Frase.io Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Time-saving. I find that both using Frase for content briefs as well as writing full articles saves me a lot of time (I’m talking many hours a month)
  • Content optimization abilities – It is a great way to create SEO optimized content because in effect it is showing you all the keywords to use, LSI words, synonyms, what sort of length it needs to be etc.
  • Support is great. Frase is a small and relatively new company. Via their Facebook group, they encourage you to provide them feedback, suggest new features, raise bugs etc. You can also raise a support request from within Frase and, in my experience, you’ll get a quick response.
  • New features are added constantly. Frase clearly seems to be on a mission to be the best tool of its kind in this space and are regularly adding new features.

Cons

  • The software can be a bit buggy. I think because they are growing quickly as a company and regularly adding new features sometimes there are glitches but they are usually fixed within a day or so
  • Scraping failures – Occasionally Frase does not process some of the top 20 results fully, meaning some of the headings etc. don’t get pulled in. I have some sympathy here as scraping lots of different websites and correctly processing the results 100% of the time is fraught with issues
  • Price of the Frase SEO add-on. Whilst I think the pricing of their overall software is very good compared to their competitors and the value you get from it. I personally think an extra $35 per month to get some very basic SEO metrics such as keyword volumes, domain authority etc. is a bit steep. You can get the whole Mangools product suite for around that money.

    I know Frase are planning on adding more functionality to the SEO add-on, at the time of writing it has only just launched, so my view on the cost/benefit of this may change.

If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like reading detailed reviews, you’ve had enough already, and just want to dive straight in and try Frase out. I won’t cry, I promise.

(Even though it took me hours to write this post 🥲)

Missing Functionality

I was going to add these under cons, but I’ve decided that’s a bit unfair as really what I’m talking about here are features I personally wish they had but don’t (yet):

  • On-Page SEO optimization – Whilst Frase does a great job of helping you produce SEO-optimized content, it doesn’t help you make sure that content is structured well for SEO. So no checking of meta descriptions, title tags etc. Nor does it break out LSI terms, keyword variations, etc. You’ll still need a tool like https://pageoptimizer.pro/ if you want this.
  • Existing content optimization –  Whilst you can manually check an existing piece of content by giving Fase a URL to analyze this really isn’t practical if you have a decent number of articles already live. What I’d like is for Frase to integrate to WordPress (or, less ideally, via RSS) and give me some sort of dashboard that shows me all my live articles and a content score for each plus some relevant data from Google Search Console (so I know which ones are worth optimizing).

    These are areas I’m hoping Frase develops and I have suggested them as future developments. The addition of these features, if done well, could turn an already great SEO tool into a truly awesome SEO tool.

Who is Frase For

Frase is aimed at 3 types of users, all of whom, ultimately, produce content for the web and by content I mean blog posts:

– The blog owner wanting to produce their own SEO friendly content

– The blog owner with a team of writers

– Content writers who need to produce quality, Search Engine optimized, blog articles for clients

Frase isn’t well suited to writing other types of web content e.g. landing pages, about us pages, product descriptions for e-commerce sites etc. Whilst I have no doubt you could get some value from it, it’s not what Frase is designed for.

Frase.io’s Key Features (And how I use them)

Topic Ideas

If you are looking for content ideas then Frase has several tools to help you. Personally, I tend to come up with my content ideas outside of Frase using tools such as Ahrefs but I will always take a look at Frase for some additional inspiration.

Outline Builder

Frase Outline Builder

By entering your target keyword in the outline builder section, you can see all the People Also Ask results and the Related Questions (which is pulled from Google, Quora and Reddit) for the common questions associated with your search term.

If you have the extra SEO Add On then you also get to see monthly search volumes here, as well as select commercial & informational keyword modifiers to focus your results based on user intent.

All of this is useful info to help you think through what would be relevant to cover in your content.

Concept Map

Frase Concept Map

The concept map uses Wikipedia’s knowledge graph to show you topics and concepts that relate to your target search query. You can also drill down by selecting a specific node that will generate a new concept map for that specific term.

I find this useful for thinking of topic clusters that I could write additional related articles for.

Content Creation

Content Brief

When you are ready to start your content brief you simply start a new document, enter your target search query (up to 3), select your search type (Top Google Results usually) etc. and then away you go.

Frase Create New Document

Once you hit the Create Document button, all the competitor info you need is displayed in the right-hand panel and you can start creating your content brief.

Frase Brief

The first thing I then do is look at all the returned results, remove any sources/websites that aren’t relevant and add extra relevant sources if required. This gives me a clean ‘data model’.

You can then either use the Automate Content Brief (for an AI-Generated Content Brief) or Import Template links and start writing your brief. I always use the latter.

Then I spend most of the rest of my time in the Topic Score tab, usually focusing on the long tail results.

The topic score panel shows you how many times on average the competing articles have mentioned a term and how many different sources have used it.

For those of you that like the nerdy stuff, this process is called TF*IDF, which is simply an algorithm that calculates how frequently a term is used on a page (TF), and how often that term appears across different documents/sources (IDF) — to assign a score, or weight, to the importance of that term to the page.

As you start adding your content the traffic light type system shows you your relative count for each term and whether or not you are using it too many times or too few. This is less relevant when it comes to creating a brief but comes into its own when you get to writing the actual content or evaluating an existing article.

Content Editor

Frase Content Editor

The user experience is the same here as it is for the content brief, it’s just another tab. You write your content masterpiece and Frase uses its Natural Language Processing (NLP) and TF*IDF AI content optimization analyses wizardry to continually score your content.

The Topic Score will show you any key terms your content is missing, check the relative frequency of those terms (for under or overuse). You can also utilize all the other tabs and core features to see; question ideas, external links or statistics you may want to include etc. etc.

If you’re one of those organized types then you can add additional tabs for say notes, keyword terms, style guide, or whatever you want.

I’ll also highlight a specific feature here because I really like it and that’s the Topic Heatmap, which gives you a great visualization of how your article compares to each of your competitor’s articles.

Frase Topic Heat Map

Optimize Existing Content

If you have existing content that is live on your website then you can use the Import Content To Optimize feature by simply giving Frase the URL of the article you want to improve. You can also access the same feature when you are in the content editor under Workflows.

If you have existing content that you or one of your writers have written in say Google Docs or Word then you can simply copy and paste the article into the My Content tab.

Natural Language Generation (NLG)

Frase has very recently started to explore using AI to assist with text generation. If you’ve heard of ShortlyAI, ConversionAI etc. then you get the idea. Although Frase has taken a somewhat different approach.

At present, there are two things you can do with Frase’s NLG:

Frase FAQ Automation – tries to analyze each result i.e. one of the top 20 results returned and generate a set of FAQs for you.

Frase Outline Generation – will try to analyze a specific section of a result and turn it into a summarized and re-written section.

It’s early days for this type of functionality in Frase, so it will be interesting to see what else they use their NLG engine for going forwards.

The reason I said that Frase has taken a different approach to most of the other NLG tools on the market is that it is not using GPT-3 to write additional relevant copy on a given subject, it is using NLG to simply synthesize and re-phrase sections of text.

Let me try and explain the difference by way of example:

If I gave a GPT-3 tool the phrase “1899 was the beginning of the Boer war” I would get back something like this (in fact this is exactly what I got back from Shortlyai):

“1899 was the beginning of the Boer War, and the year that the first American football game was played. The population of London was 3.6 million, and a US penny could buy you five bottles of Coca-Cola at its debut on the market”

If I gave Frase exactly the same phrase it would simply re-phrase it e.g. “the Boer war started in 1899″.

Frase isn’t trying to generate new additional information it is trying to re-write existing text into something unique or ‘tune it’ as some might call it.

My Frase Workflow Process

I’ve added this section specifically as I see a lot of people buying Frase but then struggling with the best way to use it. Frase has a lot of functionality and features, it takes some time to get to know the tool and how best to use it.

Initial Research

I do all of my keyword research using a combination of AHrefs & manual SEO research. I study the top 10 results in Google to check intent, whether or not I can rank etc and I take a quick look at the top few articles to see what they have covered.

For Content Briefs

I use a custom template (different ones for different types of article). Into which I then put the headings and sub-headings I want the writer to use, based on the info in the topic score tab.

I’ve made my main content briefing template available for readers of this Frase review so feel free to use it. You may also find this guide useful How to Brief a Copywriter.

I then add external authority source links and internal links that I want the writer to link to in the article. In addition, I add links to the most authoritative articles on the topic for background research.

I also add any questions I want answering if the article is going to include a FAQ’s section.

Then I share a link to the non-editable brief within the team Trello board, where the writer can just pick up an article, look at the brief and start writing.

When the completed article comes back, I will then import it into Frase and optimize it if required. Then I will copy & paste it into WordPress, format it, add images etc. and publish it.

One thing I will point out about my content creation process is that, whilst it allows me a lot of control in terms of exactly what I want to be covered, it doesn’t scale very well. If I was using a large team of writers to produce a lot of content I would do things differently.

I listened to a podcast interview the other day with Jon Dykstra from the Fat Stacks blog. He produces a ton of content each month via a large team of writers (I think he said he spends between $8k-$15k per month on content (yikes)).

His process is that writers have access to a spreadsheet with all the article titles/keywords that he wants to target. The writers have access to, in his case, MarketMuse and they write the article in there. Then he has a VA pick it up, quality check it and then format it in WordPress, ready for him to do a quick check and hit publish.

So he just focuses on the keyword research, doesn’t write a brief and makes the writers responsible for optimization. If you are producing a lot of content, via a team, that’s the way to do it. You have to live with less control and I’d say a really good VA/Editor to maintain quality though.

For Content I’m Writing Myself

I write my own articles directly in Frase. I don’t write a detailed content brief, instead, I go straight to the My Content tab and pull together an article structure i.e. the headings, FAQs etc and then I write the article.

I tend to ignore what’s going on in terms of the content score, topics tab etc. whilst I’m actually writing and just write what I feel is comprehensive content. When I’ve completed my first draft, I then optimize it.

For me, I have found that just writing the article, without worrying about what Frase is telling me in the right-hand panel, and then optimizing it gives me the quickest content creation time and the most natural content flow. I know other users who will do their content writing in Google Docs and then optimize it in Frase to avoid the potential distractions of being tempted to keep looking at your topic score.

Content Planning Tool

You can do some basic content planning/tracking from the main documents page (which shows all the docs you have produced in Frase).

You can set the document status to a pre-defined status: Researching, Writing, Optimizing, Completed, or Published. You can also set a date and assign it to an owner (if you have multiple users/seats).

It’s pretty basic but a useful feature to have.

SEO Add-On – Optional Extra

This keyword research tool is another fairly new feature that gives you some key SEO stats such as keyword volume, domain authority, backlinks etc. when performing certain tasks. It also unlocks some enhanced features like additional keyword modifiers in the outline builder area.

The SEO data comes from a combo of Moz and Keywords Everywhere.

Frase Answer Engine

Whilst I’ve very much focused on Frase as an ai-based content optimization tool there is another completely separate part of Frase which is the Answer Engine.

Frase Answers is an ai-powered tool you can install on your website. It analysis the content of your site and turns it into answers that a site visitor can access via a search or via a chatbot.

Prices starting at $200 per month but that includes the Team level plan for Frase Content.

Frase Integrations

Frase offers integrations to several services, some of which are more useful than others to me.

Google Search Console

Frase GSC Integration

You connect your GSC account to Frase and it pulls in all the keywords you rank for along with the GSC data such as average rank, clicks etc. But the real power here is that Frase then clusters those keywords into related groups using its Artificial Intelligence engine. I find this incredibly useful as it shows me where I could be creating additional articles along the same theme. Creating a cluster of articles around related search terms is a popular SEO technique.

However, whilst I do find this feature very useful, Frase could improve it by better understanding what existing content you already have on your site and blending that knowledge with the suggestions it offers.

WordPress

I shan’t say too much about the WordPress integration at this stage because I know that Frase is changing the way this works soon. Suffice to say that you can connect Frase to your WordPress site such that you can push your newly written content straight into WordPress.

One note of caution if you are reading this before Frase changes this to work via their WordPress App (which is in development). The current way Frase creates the connection to WordPress is via something called ‘XML-RPC call authentication’. Savvy WordPress users block this authentication method due to security concerns, if that’s you, the integration won’t work, so you’ll need to wait for the app.

FAQ Schema

This is not something I use as I have RankMath installed on my WordPress sites which handles FAQ schema for me (Yoast does the same if you are using that instead). But if you don’t use an FAQ schema tool on your site already then you can use Frase to generate the schema for you.

Hubspot

The Hubspot integration is for Frase’s Answer Engine rather than the content side of things. It allows you to send contact information directly into HubSpot CRM.

Pricing

BasicTeamGrowth
$44.99 per month$114.99 per month$199.99 per month
30 document credits*Unlimited document creditsTeam Plan
+
Frase Answer Engine
1 user seat3 user seats
($25 p/m per extra)
Custom Templates
Team Document Folders
See Full Pricing Details on the Frase site

Frase also offers a free account tier, so you can try the software out, for which you get 1 user seat and 5 Content documents credits per month.

* Document Credits – Each document in Frase Content uses 1 document credit. So creating a content brief to produce a content outline uses 1 credit, using the content creator to create an article from scratch uses 1 credit, using the content optimization feature for existing content uses 1 credit.

Frase Alternatives

Frase has three main competitors but realistically only one is a similar price point. I’m hoping to add reviews on each of them when I get the chance as I have tried them all.

SurferSEO – Is the only one that comes close to Frase in terms of pricing but it is still more expensive.

That being said, the equivalent of the Frase SEO Add On is included in the price and it does have quite a lot of the existing content optimization capabilities I mentioned Frase was missing. So it’s worth checking out as an alternative.

MarketMuse – MarketMuse is the biggest and oldest player in this space. I do use MarketMuse in conjunction with Frase sometimes (for instance, the way MarketMuse analysis competing content is very different to Frase so it can highlight additional areas of improvement that Frase misses).

However, price-wise it is in a different universe. The base plans are very limited and still more expensive than Frase and the Pro & Premium plans are aimed more at Enterprise size clients with Enterprise sized budgets.

ClearScope – Clearscope is another competitor but again price wise it’s a lot more expensive. However, whilst I can see why some people would pay the price for MarketMuse I’m at a loss when it comes to Clearscope. It has some features that Frase doesn’t but overall it’s less feature-rich than Frase. Sorry ClearScope, but you’re dead to me 🙂

Does Frase Work?

For any AI-Powered Content Marketing Tool, the ultimate question is does it work, and the answer to that is it depends on what you are expecting.

Frase works for:

  • Creating detailed content briefs or outlines quickly & thoroughly
  • Speeding up your competitor research
  • Creating a list of questions based on popular questions from People Also Ask, Reddit etc.
  • Highlighting content gaps
  • Showing you relevant keywords to include in your content
  • Helping you produce better quality content in the eyes of Google
  • etc

Frase can’t:

  • Frase cannot magically reverse engineer Google’s exact content ranking algorithm, so even if you get a perfect 100% topic score etc. it does not mean that article will magically rank in 1st place on Google
  • Quality content is only one ranking factor and the EAT of your site, the number/quality of backlinks to your article etc. etc. all play a factor. Frase can’t fix this

Frase Reviews From Others

I’m not on my own when it comes to really liking Frase. Looks like they have many fans across the web.

Rated 4.8/5.0 from 277 reviews on Capterra Reviews:

Capterra Frase Review

Rated 4.8/5.0 from 66 reviews on G2 Review site:

G2 Frase Review

The Twitterati Frase reviews are positive as well:

Twitter Frase Reviews
Twitter Frase Reviews 2

Frase Review – My Final Thoughts

Ok, that turned out to be a longer review of Frase than I had originally planned, so here are my takeaway thoughts.

If you produce blog articles, either for yourself or others or you have a team of writers creating posts then definitely check out Frase.

I use it daily, both to brief writers and to write my own articles and it saves me hours of time and helps me produce better, more thorough articles.

Is it some kind of miracle tool that will guarantee your articles rank organically as the 1st result on Google because you got a 100% topic score. No, but I’d say you stand more chance with it than without it.

Is it perfect and has all the functionality I am ideally looking for. No, but the Frase team are rolling out new features at a blazing pace, they clearly want to be the best tool in this space, so it is only going to get better and better.

Wow, you made it all the way to the end. Only one thing left to do now and that’s to try Frase out for yourself. I’d love to know what you think, leave me a comment section below.

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About Jon Wright

Jon has worked in Digital Marketing for over 20 years, mainly for large enterprises. He now runs an eCommerce Agency that helps merchants build and grow their stores. He writes about SEO, CRO amongst other things.

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