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Content Score – What It Is and How To Use It for SEO and Content Marketing

Google works in mysterious ways and it's very different from other websites.

It's not always obvious why a page ranks above other pages in a SERP. At first glance, there's no way to tell whether it's based on domain authority, a website's backlink profile or any other numerous ranking factors that allow websites to stand out on search engines.

Marketers and seo experts usually try to hunt for actionable insights when trying to climb to one of the top ten positions on search engine results pages  - reviewing any broken links, checking domain authority scores, or making sure that their website has high quality backlinks. What happens when that's not enough, though?

While you spend precious time troubleshooting, other websites are putting their finger on the specific ranking factor that's holding them back using popular seo tools. Honestly, don't feel bad though, google rankings are not always based on link popularity or a website's domain rating. It's not obvious, which is why it can be so frustrating trying to establish website authority.

That said, if page authority is on your list of priorities, a fix here and there, perhaps adding more backlinks, tweaking your seo strategies just slightly could help you get just one rank higher or increase search traffic enough to skyrocket your web pages to the very top of search engine result pages.

Although there are multiple factors, they usually dig into three main areas:

  1. Backlinks + Link building strategy
  2. On-page optimization
  3. Content

There are endless marketing tools that solve off-page factors and technical SEO. Yet none of them have figured out how to *really* solve for content. How to evaluate if the content is good enough to rank higher? How does it compare against the targeted keywords and other page results in the SERP?

Introducing Content Score Checker

Content Score by Surfer is here to fill the gap. Generally speaking, it's  a real-time, fully automated score that saves you tons of time and effort on manual research and ensures your SEO efforts are hitting the right place. No need to check similar sites because with this tool you'll optimize your content and show up more on google searches! That's what we want, yes?

How does Content Score work?

Content Score is a numerical value that ranges from 0 to 100, representing the quality of the content and its relevance to a given keyword.

In general, a score between:

  • 0 - 33 warns for irrelevant or low-quality content
  • 34 - 66 represents decent quality and relevance, or high quality with low relevance, or low quality with high relevance
  • 67 - 100 indicates optimum quality and relevance

Surfer’s algorithm ensures Content Score takes into account hundreds of on-page factors like:

  1. Usage of relevant words and phrases
  2. Natural Language Processing
  3. Title and H1
  4. Structure of the headers
  5. Content length
  6. Images
  7. Original data
  8. Hidden content
  9. Main keyword and partial keywords

How to use Content Score to improve your SEO?

With Content Score, analyze content quality in the pages ranking for your target keyword. You won't get the exact pointers to fix your content (just yet) but you'll get some refined suggestions for your burning questions.

Burning question #1: Who is your competition and how do you tackle them?

Smart content marketers know that concrete research for the next best piece doesn't just require good writing. It requires heavy competition research, analyzing every ranking page in SERP, understanding what each competing piece comprises, and recognizing patterns across multiple competitors. And like all things in an SEO game, it takes time and manual effort.

Content Score automates all of it and some more. It tells you which competitors should be considered as a benchmark for your content. You can easily nit-pick them and reach after their score. Jump on the Content Editor and get started!

Burning question #2: How can your next piece become the most compelling and SEO-optimized content out there?

Patterns, patterns, patterns. Upping the rank of your content in SERP is all about adopting the models that work and shedding the ones that don't.

If you had to do it all manually, you could start an excel sheet with the following columns:

  1. Number of headings (H1s, H2s, H3s)
  2. Types of headings
  3. Keywords used (Main keywords, long-tail keywords, phrases)
  4. Total paragraphs
  5. Total word count
  6. CTAs
  7. Images and videos used (with alt text)
  8. You know this list is endless!

One of the biggest superpowers of Content Score is to compute over 100 hundred such factors and tell you exactly what's missing: additional headings, more paragraphs, better structure – you name it, Content Score's got it. Added to the Content Editor, your writers will know how to create the most SEO-optimized, compelling piece of content in real-time.

How to write a high-graded article with Content Score?

The answer is simple and yet not so simple.

Here's the simple part:

  • Write high-quality content that resonates with the reader's intent and expectations.
  • Follow general SEO good practices.
  • Make sure the content includes concise information that solves the reader's problem.
  • Ensure proper vocabulary and semantics.

Here's the not-so-simple part:

  • Use the right keywords and entities related to the topic. (according to the rules of NLP in SEO).
  • Divide the text structure into efficient paragraphs.
  • Add graphics like images and videos to enhance the reader's experience.

What's more? The rules keep changing. Sometimes the time that your readers spend on the page matters. Other times it doesn't. And your content needs to accommodate for it.

There's a shortcut to a higher Content Score.

Follow the guidelines in Surfer’s Content Editor.
  • Write new pieces while optimizing for SEO.
  • Optimize old content to meet today's SEO standard.
  • Rank higher to increase organic traffic.
  • Lastly, save yourself from the wrath of research that comes with being neck-deep into SEO.

The simplest way to write content with a high content score is by using Surfer AI.

Surfer AI is a part of Content Editor and is designed to create long-form content that ranks in search engine results.

Head to Surfer Content Editor and select the Write with AI tab.

  1. Enter between 1-5 primary keywords
  2. Select your country and device preferences
  3. Click the Create button

You will be asked to select a few options in order to create a customized article for your website.

These will include choosing the following:

  • blog format
  • tone of voice
  • organic competitors
  • anti AI detection
  • article outline

In about twenty minutes, Surfer will generate a fully optimized article with a high content score.

If you prefer to write yourself, and are looking for specifics to increase the score and value of your content, continue reading.

Main heading, Title, H1

Make sure your H1 reflects what the content holds. It's good SEO practice to add your main target keyword to the H1. And depending on what type of content you're writing, think whether it should be a question, statement, or sentence. Understand the context and frame your H1 accordingly. Don't make promises you can't fulfill.

Other headings like H2, H3, H4s

Today's internet readers are skimmers. Until they confirm that your content is adding value, they don't spend time reading every word. Their natural step is to scan websites and hunt for specific information. If you hide what your reader is looking for in wordy paragraphs, they quickly drop off. It indicates to Google that your content is not helpful.

The appropriate heading structure is crucial to catch their attention. 

  1. Use multiple headers from H2 to H6.
  2. Use the main keyword, partial keywords, long-tail keywords, and query words in headers.
  3. Use highly relevant words and phrases from Google’s NLP or True Density.

There is no "right amount of keywords". Each query is different. They must be analyzed separately to find optimal keyword density.

Surfer's Content Editor and Content Score automatically ensure that your content piece is optimized for such guidelines. Find out more in our article about how to write SEO content or Audit with the True Density section.

Plain text or paragraphs

Your content obviously can't all be Headings. Paragraphs play an immense role in evaluating your Content Score. Make the most out of different paragraphs and sections in your content piece.

  • Include a decent mix of exact keywords, query words, partial keywords, True Density phrases, and NLP entities.
  • Take care of the optimal structure of the first 100 words or your first fold. Include the exact keyword to increase relevance.
  • Stick to the proper text length.
  • Provide an author, if possible.
  • Mention content from sources that have high domain authority (DA) scores
  • Divide the text into easily digestible paragraphs.


Good content pieces are not always all words. They should appeal to different audiences, even the kind who engage better with images and videos.

Surfer's Content Score also evaluates how many images or videos are present in the top-performing SERP pages and tells you what the best number is for you.

What can stop your content from ranking higher?

Google is very serious about barring malicious or ill-fitted content. And they determine it by looking at poor SEO practices like:

  • Keyword stuffing in H1
  • Duplicating H1
  • Keyword stuffing in content
  • The presence of hidden content
  • A lot of “fluff” content with no value to a reader
  • Wall of text, with no bullets and headings
  • Higher drop-off rates


Content marketers often battle between writing quality content and creating SEO-optimized content. It shouldn't have to be that way.

The best-performing content is a perfect mix of both. And while only knowledgeable humans can write the best quality content, SEO tools can help get more eyeballs at the same content.

We built Content Score into Surfer with the same mission in mind. We wanted to empower Content Marketers, SEO writers, and just about anybody to write quality content that ranks.

If you like what you read, you'll definitely love how it works. Take Content Editor and Content Score for a spin today!

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Screenshot of Surfer SEO Content Editor interface, displaying the 'Essential Content Marketing Metrics' article with a content score of 82/100. The editor highlights sections like 'Key Takeaways' and offers SEO suggestions for terms such as 'content marketing metrics