Want to see what it would take to outrank the competition? Better yet, have a software tool that will tell you exactly what action to take to improve your page content to rank higher for your keywords.
SurferSEO analyzes over 500 ranking factors, compares your content against your competitors, and provides a data-driven SEO blueprint on improving in the SERPs.
Slawek Czajkowski started Surfer in 2008. Slawek started an agency that focused on bringing data to every step of the SEO process. As they grew, his team built an internal tool for optimizing content. This tool became more and more powerful and ultimately was the motivation to create Surfer SEO and share it with the world.
- Surfer SEO: What Is It?
- Who uses Surfer SEO
- How do you use Surfer SEO?
- Content Analyzer
- SERP Analyzer
- Keyword Research
- Content Planner
- Chrome Extension
- Other Notable Features
- How much does Surfer SEO cost?
- Surfer SEO Alternatives
- Surfer SEO Pros:
- Surfer SEO Cons:
- Future updates for Surfer SEO.
- Ready to Start Ranking?
Surfer SEO: What Is It?
Surfer helps you create the most Google-friendly and on-page optimized content possible.
While most software relies on basic keyword research, user information, and a list of instructions to get your work done, Surfer uses data-driven modeling to help you rank your pages.
You can focus less on the how and more on what it takes to outrank a competitor.
Think of Surfer SEO as your personal Data Scientist. Quickly analyzing competitors, performance metrics and finding technical factors that are positively impacting search rankings. Using that data, you can reverse engineer your way to the top of the search results.
Here are just a few of the search engine ranking factors that SurferSEO looks at:
- Text Length
- Number of headings
- Number of Images
- Page Speed
- Keyword Density
- Partial Keyword Density
- Referring URLs
- Referring Domains
- Meta Tags Structure
These are just a sample, Surfer analyzes 500 different factors across the keyword results at any given time.
Who uses Surfer SEO
No matter your profession or industry, Surfer SEO can help you with your website traffic.
The ideal Surfer SEO user values a data-driven approach to content or creates content professionally in a scalable manner.
The Surfer SEO website shows some impressive testimonials of notable SEO experts. Including a handful that has been featured on Niche Pursuits previously, such as Matt Diggity, Gael Breton, and Matthew Woodward.
Surfer is a quick yet extremely accurate way to get data-driven advice for your site. I’ve seen ranking gains in many different niches by applying its suggestions. Bonus: It takes the data and presents it in such a way that even beginner SEOs would understand so… you can outsource the actions as well.
Surfer is the perfect balance between ease of use and depth of data. They understand SEO and make optimizing for your queries accessible to the masses.
Surfer’s analysis told me to delete 22,000 words of content which was…weird. So I deleted 85% of my content including 901 blog comments. 2 days after doing precisely what Surfer told me to do, I moved straight into the number 1 position.
How do you use Surfer SEO?
With so much data, I thought it would be overwhelming. But SurferSEO makes it easy to identify the best way to rank with search engines.
Using it was my absolute favorite part- it’s like surfing the web, but with a lot more data. I found myself riding some “keyword waves”.
It’s easy to navigate, with a transparent display that will allow you to switch between sections quickly and efficiently. Everything is well laid out.
There are essentially four primary tools, and a few add on tools you can use with Surfer SEO.
Let’s take a look at the tools, as an added bonus we’ll also do a brief review of the Surfer SEO chrome extension.
Keyword density is no longer enough. That’s why Surfer uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to check the prominence of each word on your competitor’s pages. The data collected will give you the most accurate and competitive guidelines to help your content hit the metrics that Google is requiring.
You’ll get instant feedback via the content score.
What’s a Content Score? The content score is the spot where Surfer SEO analyzes your text and gives you immediate feedback on your writing quality compared to your competition.
It’s not really about how good your content is, but how good your content is to rank in Google.
In other words, the content score doesn’t just look at if you have good grammar, that’s a really basic function. But instead, it looks at relevant keywords, headings, images, content length, and about a hundred other factors to determine how good your content is COMPARED to current top-ranking sites.
The rating ranges from 0 (worst) to 100 (best).
Content Score takes into account around a hundred on-page factors like:
- Usage of relevant words and phrases
- Title and H1
- Structure of the headers
- Content length
- OG data
- Hidden content
- Main keyword and partial keywords.
Looking at the content score is an excellent indication of when you’re ready to publish. Similar to how Yoast provides you with their green score indicators, Surfer will do the same, however, the difference is Surfer is comparing your content to hundreds of your closest competitors’ content.
Using the content editor in a way feels like a game. As you write you aim to hit your high score. Let’s look at a couple examples.
Example #1: How to start a blog
I’ve taken a previous post written on Niche Pursuits (how to start a blog) to see how it could be optimized using the Surfer content editor.
After putting the content into the Surfer content editor I immediately got a content score of 74. According to Surfer, “A score over 66 means your content is ready-to-go. You should aim for the highest content score, however, anything over 66 indicates a decent optimization.”
This article is one of Niche Pursuits’ longest articles with over 9,000 words. This is a highly competitive keyword and the competition has written even longer posts. The Surfer recommended word count is showing 9,227–10,611 words. The content is also just a bit short on the number of images included in the article.
In addition, Surfer recommends that I use these terms more:
- wordpress blog
- blog posts
The terms that are highlighted in red, indicate the terms that should be added to the article. I’ve used the term “wordpress blog” only 2 times in the entire 9,000+ word article. Surfer sees that my competition has mentioned this term quite a few more times, and recommends that I use the term at least 12-39 times in the article.
Surfer also recommends headings that I should be using. Here’s a few examples:
- how to start a blog
- blogging platform
- domain name
For the headings, I have used almost all the recommended terms, however, the term “blogging platform” is highlighted in red, indicating this term should be used in a heading within the article. Before publishing I will want to either create another paragraph or two covering “blogging platforms” or update a current heading that would be more meaningful if the term was included.
Example #2 Best Croquet Sets
In the next example, I’ve taken an article from Own The Yard and ran through the Surfer SEO tool.
For the keyword term “Best Croquet Set”, the content score of 80 was achieved. Again it shows a few updates I could make for word count, images, and headings. But one of the more powerful components of the Surfer content editor is its keyword term suggestions and NLP.
A list of recommended terms is provided to include in the article. For example, the term “six player croquet set” is mentioned only 1 time in the 3,201-word article. Surfer SEO is recommending I include this term at least 3-7 times. By doing so this article may have a chance to rank for other long-tail keywords like the six player croquet set that Surfer is recommending.
Following the Surfer Content Editor recommendations, I have a much better shot of ranking above my competition, with the updated Google-friendly optimized content.
The next tool on the Surfer SEO list is their Serp Analyzer.
While the flagship product is the content analyzer, the SERP analyzer is my favorite feature and is what I believe sets Surfer apart from the competition. Their analyzer’s uniqueness is that it gives you visibility into the keyword ranking factors. With a few clicks, you can see the impact of your chosen ranking factors with easy to understand charts.
SURFER will challenge your keyword post against hundreds of factors that may impact your position in Google.
For example, if you type in “croquet sets reviews,” the results will return all the sites currently ranking and the alternate queries that websites in this space are targeting.
We’ll also see what is currently working for the current articles to give you a solid baseline.
For the keyword Croquet set reviews, it’s easy to see the top 10 results are averaging around 3,500 words per post. So to compete for this keyword, you would need to do the same or better.
Word count is just the beginning. You can slice and dice the data in so many ways. Backlinks, keyword density, page speed, page size, or even content above and below the fold are just a few of the factors you can analyze.
Surfer SEO has its tool for keyword research. In many ways, it’s similar to the other tools within the software. You’ll enter a seed keyword, and a handful of similar primary keyword suggestions will appear.
Once you’ve picked the keyword, you want to target, you can easily add it to the SERP Analyzer or Content Editor (the two tools we looked at above)
The keyword research option is great feature, but it’s easy to see that Surfer’s strengths are in the SERP and Content editor options.
The newest of the Surfer SEO tools is the Content Planner, you’ll see a grouping of keywords. What’s unique about this tool is the classification of the type of content.
When it comes to writing content such as product reviews, it could be challenging to rank in “shopping” keywords. Big players like Amazon and eBay typically cover the first few pages of search engines. With the content planner, you can easily see keywords based on search intent.
The Surfer search intent categories are informational, shopping, and customer investigation.
Here are a few examples of content intent categories :
- “Rules of Croquet” – informational.
- “Croquet Set Reviews” – Customer Investigation
- “Cheap Croquet Sets” – Shopping
In the above examples, someone searching for “Cheap Croquet Sets” is likely looking to purchase, while someone searching “Rules of Croquet” is searching for informational content. The classification of keywords helps sift through many keywords quickly for the types of content you are writing.
While not necessarily part of the suite of products of Surfer SEO, Surfer developed a Chrome extension that is well worth the price of free.
You can download the chrome extension with the button below.Free Surfer SEO Chrome Extension
After installing the Chrome Extension navigate to Google as you normally would, and enter your keyword into the search.
SurferSEO makes it easy to see keyword traffic without even opening a new tab.
On the right-hand side, you’ll get more in-depth details for additional similar keywords. Easily switch between countries or copy to your clipboard. Everything is built into the browser.
You can use a few charts to quickly visualize the traffic, words, and keywords within the search results.
You can quickly see how many words are written for each post in the top 10 search results in this example.
Other Notable Features
Surfer SEO has far too many features to review in this article alone, and as everyone is a bit different, you should just take advantage of their trial option to see for yourself. Here are just a few of our favorite features we thought were notable in our Surfer SEO review.
Built for Collaboration
If you use a writer or assistant to help with your content writing, you can use Surfer SEO as an all in one tool. Not only will your writer get real-time results, but once your writer is finished with the article, they can easily share it with you.
Using the Surfer SEO share options could save you many hours when it comes to the editing stage of posting your content. Your writer will send you a completed article with headings, images, and paragraph counts already optimized. The tool comes built for collaboration with click to share options.
Location-Based SERP Analyzer
What works in one country won’t necessarily work in another. In this new search era, most businesses with just a little international presence are making it over to a global marketing strategy. If your audience can find your business in any language with globally relevant keywords, you’ll be noticed.
Surfer databases work with different languages and countries, so it doesn’t matter if your page is Spanish, German, or Swedish and where you want to rank.
Structural Data Search Engine Optimization
With Surfer you can go beyond “typical” ranking factors like keywords and anchor text to see which pages have the best structure. The schema markup describes certain aspects of content that search engines expect to find on your site.
As Schema.org improves over time, it should improve SEO and be a more realistic indicator of who ranks well on major search engines like Google and Bing.
Rank for multiple keywords with on blog post
Creating content to target just one phrase or keyword is not how reality works. Running a multi-keyword analysis can increase your chances for more organic traffic and help you rank higher in search results.
Surfer SEO tools allow you to view your existing content to review search volume for your exact keyword and other potential target keyword opportunities.
Optimize for True Density
What are essential terms missing from your content? Is your search presence predictable and consistent? To find out if you’re off-target, True Density offers simple yet powerful ways to discover and fix these issues.
The Surfer SEO Website Auditor gives you a step-by-step recipe for higher rankings based on your organic competitors’ data. If you are wondering what is an SEO audit? The Surfer SEO audit tool answers questions such as:
- How does your content stack up now?
- What essential terms should you add to get the best possible SERP?
- Is this page fast enough?
With the audit tool, it’s easy to see what to optimize that will matter the most.
If your competition in the SERPs is outranking you, it could be due to your backlink profile. Surfer SEO will discover missing common backlinks.
Backlink optimization is unique for each business. Surfer looks at what matters in your business and which link building tactics your competition uses to increase their search traffic.
Surfer SEO strategy understands that it’s good links, not just any links; great content, not just links with keywords in them.
How much does Surfer SEO cost?
With Surfer, you’ll get an incredibly detailed analysis of your on-page and off-page data and backlinks – for a relatively low monthly fee.
Of course, more features require more money. However, the information you receive is quite useful and worth the cost of admission.
At a minimum, you can get started with the Surfer free chrome plugin. Which is a great deal as is.
|Plan||Price||SERP Analyzer Queries Per Day||SERP Analyzer Factors Analyzed||Number of NLP Analysis Per Month||Content Editor Queries Per Month||Backlinks & Visibility Reports|
Surfer SEO Alternatives
There are other SEO tools in the market that offer similar functionality. The SEO keyword space is highly competitive, it’s the Surfer SEO content editor that sets them apart. A few other companies that provide similar data-driven content options are
- Page Optimizer Pro
- Clear scope
Surfer SEO Pros:
- The user interface is clean and easy to use
- The ability to create your own unique charts and data comparisons for keyword research.
- One of the best tools for optimizing your current content to improve search engine rankings.
- Surfer provides both keywords and content optimization. Other keyword tools don’t offer content editors inside their platform; you’d have to pay for another tool like Clearscope or MarketMuse.
- Free Chrome extension is well worth it.
Surfer SEO Cons:
- A limited number of queries
- While the Surfer SEO team excels in the content editor, the keyword research tools felt somewhat challenging to navigate, but appear to have a few additional features coming in beta.
- Other tools excel when it comes to identifying exact backlinks of competition.
Future updates for Surfer SEO.
Surfer SEO has a public roadmap of what they are working on. The roadmap is conveniently placed in Trello.
TIP: If you have a Trello account you can use the “Watch” option to be notified when new features are released or added to the queue.
Ready to Start Ranking?
Surfer SEO has a lot of great tools at great prices to get started. When writing this Surfer SEO review, the starter package starts at just $29, which is a steal compared to competitors.