Ever get tired of your page not ranking? Sick of seeing competitors on page 1 while you are stuck on page 2 or 3? Surfer SEO may be the miracle you need!
Feel like your content is great but you are not sure what keywords and phrases you should be targeting to improve traffic?
Whether you are optimizing a blog post or a service page, the Surfer SEO tool might be the serp tool that can help you make some dramatic improvements. It did for us and we are writing this review and recommending it because we believe in that much!
Plans from $29+ make it affordable for everyone.
Easy interface makes optimization easy.
We use it and we have had a lot of success!
What Is Surfer SEO?
Surfer SEO is a tool that will help you improve your on-page optimization with their data driven analysis. It is the newest one of the many SEO tools we use to grow our websites as well as client websites.
Data driven analysis gives you an edge up because it is providing you a comparison based on your unique keyword or phrase and the top pages ranking for that keyword.
Every keyword or phrase you want to optimize for may require different optimization techniques – and Surfer accounts for that.
No more are the days of optimizing every page the same way – pages are now optimized based on the query that is being made by a user.
Below are 2 examples of what we mean by “different optimization techniques” based on keyword.
Keyword 1 Example
Keyword 1 may have the top 10 ranking pages with approximately 2,500 words on each of those pages, so it would be expected you have roughly the same.
They may have 20 exact keywords in that content that are italic or bolded, so it would be expected you have the same.
Surfer will tell you all of this.
Keyword 2 Example
Keyword 2 may have the top 10 ranking pages with only 500 words on a page but have a lot more images on the pages.
These top pages may also have structured data for something specific that you should also have, like a recipe – and Surfer will tell you this too!
The goal of Surfer is to have you be competitive with the top ranking pages based on what those top ranking pages actually having going on on their pages!
Simple concept – and one that many of us have been doing manually for years with spreadsheets!
But no more – because that is where Surfer SEO comes in. It does all that manual labor for you – an experience that has saved us hours of audit work!
This cloud-based tool allows you to compare your own pages against the top ranking pages for any keyword and provides and easy to read format to find out where your page needs to improve.
It also offers a content editor feature that will helps enable you to write better optimized content based on factors that the top ranking pages are using.
Surfer Keyword Analyzer Overview
This is their original tool that helps you understand how you can improve your content based on the top results for a keyword.
It features a few sections that will provide important details about how important a specific item is to your optimization, a great graph for easy visuals, an audit tool and more.
Below is the SERP Analyzer tool where all the magic begins.
- Enter the keyword/phrase you want to optimize for.
- Select your country.
- Do you want mobile or desktop results? Check your analytics data to see where you get more traffic from!
- NLP is an option that even gives you more information – but it does cost a bit more. You do not need it but it will help you. You can select 3 levels of NLP results.
- You can choose to see a screenshot in your results, but we usually leave this off to save on processing time.
- Click create query.
Once the Surfer analysis is done you will be taken to the analysis screen where you will find the following to review.
Left Area Features
This area features the following sections:
Search visibility shows an estimated number of keywords and traffic that the top pages have and you can select whether to show site wide or just for a specific URL. This is still in beta at the time of this writing and while it may be a “guide” based on analysis compared with other tools it is not truly accurate.
Backlinks shows the estimated number of backlinks a specific page or domain has. This is another beta item and we are not confident on the accuracy of them. Again – they are useful as a guide – but not for exact data.
Structure is where the real magic happens and what you will want to dig into a bit to find where you can improve the content! This section covers everything from word count to page length to headings and alt tags.
You can compare your page against the competitors – find where you are missing comparable items and also see the relevance of that item to ranking higher. There are also little graphs that are what is called a correlation meter that will show you the level of importance that factor has on ranking – the higher the bar (or green) – the more value that item has on how well you rank.
Quality covers page speed and structured data – so if your page is slower than the top 10 pages for example, you will want to improve. If you are missing structured data that other pages have – you will want to add it.
Media shows the number of images a page has on it.
Right Area Features
The right area is filled with an overwhelming number of items. Some we use some we do not and in speaking with SurferSEO it sounds like a newer version may exclude some of the items so we are only going to talk about the areas we use and that we understand are staying.
Graph area is where you can get an overview of your page compared with the number of pages you want to analyze. By clicking the left area menu items you can chart various items to get a great visual of where you need to improve.
Tabbed area below the graph includes several resources to help you improve your content. The first tab shows you the top competitors for the term you have entered and if you do not rank – you can add your own URL to allow it to be seen on the graph above. The other tabs focus on related keywords, questions and phrases that other pages have that you do not.
Surfer SEO Audit Tool
This is the part of the Surfer SEO tool I use most often.
It takes all of the items mentioned above and puts them into an even easier to digest format.
You can see below it tells me right away I have 5 errors and 4 warnings that should be addressed if I want to rank for the phrase “fundraising ideas”. In each section you can click the “show details” button to get more detailed suggestions for each area.
They could not have made optimizing your content easier! (But rumor is they will in the future with some new features coming to the tool.)
We feel the audit features are pretty self explanatory so we will not go into detail but we do highly recommend you use as much of the provided recommendations you can and shoot for a whole lot of green to ensure you optimized to what Surfer SEO is recommending!
We have tried it on several affiliate posts with FANTASTIC results when everything was green! Just sayin’.
Surfer Content Editor Tool
This post was written in the Surfer Content Editor and then moved over to WordPress when it said it was perfectly optimized for the term “surfer seo”. This post was published on September 3, 2019 and we will update it below in the test area when we find out where we rank.
What is the Surfer SEO Content Editor?
The Surfer Content Editor uses data driven analysis of the core keyword you enter to determine what you need to do to better optimize your content and uses real time content creation to help you optimize better as you type.
Surfer SEO will help you write the best blog post or page to help you be in line with the top ranking pages for the term you entered by offering the following suggestions for your content:
- Number of words
- Number of headings
- Number of paragraphs
- Number of bolded words
- Number of images
- Important terms to use (recommended to include as directed)
- Other relevant terms (inspirational terms you can use)
- Questions and Answers
How To Use The Surfer SEO Content Editor
When you go to the Content Editor tool for the first time you can enter the keyword/phrase you want to optimize a post for, the country to target and then hit enter.
When the analysis is done click on the keyword/phrase you just entered to access the content editor and you will be taken to a page that looks like the one below. On this page you can do the following:
- Pages to Include: Review the Pages to Include area to ensure the most relatable content is used to provide you the optimization ideas. (for example if Twitter is in the top 10 – you would want to exclude that as they are not a competitor for your post).
- Content Structure: Review the content structure to determine the number of words or character you would like to include. The tool will give you an estimated range of words or characters to use if you hover over the input box to help guide you.
- Terms To Use In The Content: This area offers ideas in regards to primary, secondary and prominent terms and allows you to exclude terms you think are not relevant – and allows you to add additional secondary terms.
- Topics and Questions To Answer: Finding additional questions and content ideas is a breeze! If available there will be a dropdown of questions or topics you can click on and select to add to your recommendations list.
- Notes: This area is perfect for writing instructions or additional details for an assistant or writer that you are using to write your content.
- When you are done click Finalize Customization
Now you can move on to the actual content editor to begin editing/adding your content and see in real time the changes and optimization updates.
If this is a new post – you can write directly in the editor (which is what we did with this post).
Or if you have an existing post – you can copy and paste the text into the editor and re-optimize it then copy and post back to your website.
Below you can see the content editor on the left and the recommendations on the right. As I continue to write – the items in the right will reflect those changes, so I will keep writing until I see I meet my word recommendations and important terms to use etc.
Use A Writer Or Assistant?
One of the coolest things is you ca simply click the COPY LINK TO SHARE link and then you will have a draft URL you can send to someone else so they can optimize the page for you – without accessing your Surfer account! All the changes they make will be reflected in your account when you access the keyword/phrase in your account.
Surfer Video Overview
See the goods live with this walk-through and general tutorial to help you get started using Surfer!
After watching it – if you have specific questions just let me know and I will see if I can find a way to help you!
This is part of what makes it great – the cost!
There are plans starting at $29 a month which is perfect for bloggers and smaller business owners. They also offer a 7 day free trial for $1 – so i highly recommend giving it a try, I am pretty sure you will fall in love!
Putting Surfer To The Test
We have already done some testing with Surfer on a lower level by implementing some parts they gave us to optimize (like just increasing body content or changing header tags) and loved the results we were seeing, which is why we wanted to share them.
But we wanted to do a full test on 2 different posts and follow the instructions Surfer gives us exactly to see how the posts do.
For these tests we are leaving backlinks OUT of the test. We want to solely test the onsite optimization piece to see how much improvement we can see if we do everything Surfer tells us to.
On October 3, 2019 I ran Surfer SEO for a high shopping user intent keyword for a post I launched in July. The post was climbing for a bit then stayed flat for a bit before starting to fall in September.
I ran it through Surfer – implemented changes as recommended on the audit page and we are finally on an upswing again.
This was a much more competitive term than the one above that we are trying really hard to gain footage with. We implemented the Surfer SEO recommendations on September 26, 2019 and you can see where we are now.
In both cases we only did “some” of the edits Surfer gave us as we wanted to be able to monitor the changes in steps. We will go back to both posts and optimize them again with more information from Surfer SEO to see if it can help push it to page 1!
Summary: In one week went from #5 to #1 utilizing the audit feature tool in Surfer SEO and 1 internal link.
I went from #1 to #4 for one of my main keywords and thought – hell no. Below is the rank drop as shown in Ahrefs.
I jumped into SurferSEO and ran an audit to see how I can get back to position 1. Below are the exact steps I took and I will then share the outcome.
- Entered my keyword into Surfer SEO and selected desktop (that is where most of my traffic is from)
- Selected the NLP option and only selected NLP entities then clicked create a query
- Deselected all the competing pages from the chart and only selected those that were directly relevant as my competition
- Click the audit tool
- Followed EXACTLY what the audit told me – I made sure everything was green (except for the backlinks) – and that anything in the key phrases/single words with a relevance of over 50% was All Good
- Submitted the post to Google Search Console
4 days later I checked where I was and I was at position 2!
But of course my goal was #1.
That same day I add an exact match keyword internal link from one of my top pages and the next day I jumped back to #1.
Final Surfer SEO Thoughts
As with every tool we use here at 2 Dogs Media – we only recommend the ones that we would use ourselves – and this one we definitely are keeping our subscription to.
This review is unbiased, and although we do have an affiliate link – it is because WE USE IT and love it. We are seeing results with only minimal changes – and recently tested several posts to match the optimization recommendations exactly.
With a $1 dollar trial for 7 days – it is worth it to give it a run!