It’s not always obvious why one page is ranking better than others in a SERP. To figure out the reasons and find actionable insights for their websites, marketers usually look into three main areas: off-page factors, technical SEO, and content.
While many tools and companies do a great job helping us evaluate the first and the second field, there’s always been one missing piece of the puzzle…
A metric that would allow us to evaluate just how good content on a page is—both in comparison to the target keyword and to other pages in search results.
Today, I’m extremely proud to share with you Surfer’s Content Score—a tool that fills this gap. This real-time, fully automated score will save you tons of time delivering the best content out there and will help increase the efficiency of your SEO endeavors. Together with Content Score, we introduce a Domain Score metric that will give you a good overview of the authority of the analyzed website.
Content Score is available for all Surfer subscribers and trial users and is now a part of Content Editor and SERP Analyzer tools. It will be visible for all your new queries!
What is Content Score?
Content Score is the most accurate on-page metric on the SEO market.
It is a numerical value that ranges from 0 to 100 representing the quality of the pages’ content and its relevance to a given keyword.
In general, a number between 0 - 33 represents irrelevant or low-quality content. A number between 34 - 66 represents decent quality and relevance, high quality and lower relevance, or low quality but high relevance. Finally, a number between 67 - 100 indicates good quality and relevance.
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.
Since content relevance varies from one query to another, one page has many different content scores. One Content Score evaluates a page in the context of one keyword.
To understand how it works in practice, let’s go through a few examples.
Example 1—Internet marketing website
Let's assume that a website contains high-quality content about internet marketing, and ranks in the top 10 for the phrase "content strategy".
- The Content Scores for the most relevant websites are very high since there are both factors in place—quality and relevancy.
- Surfer’s URL that contains content with low relevance (“keyword research”) has a lower Content Score. Although keyword research is somehow related to content strategy, the website suffers from a content gap that decreases the overall score.
In this case, one URL/content would get the following scores:
- For the keyword "internet marketing": 95 points.
- For "keyword research": 47 points.
- For "headphones reviews 2020": 3 points.
Example 2—A website of a local roofing company from Milwaukee
The website contains good content that describes roofing services and ranks in the top 10 for “roofing company Milwaukee".
- The Content Score for the phrase "roofing company Milwaukee" is high since there are both factors in place, quality, and relevancy.
- The Content Score for the phrase “roofing company new jersey" should be lower. Although the website describes the same service, the lack of local references to New Jersey will decrease the overall score.
- The Content Score for the phrase "headphones reviews 2020" will, of course, be very low.
In this case, the content would get the following scores:
- For the keyword "roofing company Milwaukee": 79 points.
- For "roofing company New Jersey": 41 points.
- For "headphones reviews 2020": 7 points.
How to use Content Score to improve your SEO?
With Content Score, you can analyze content quality for each page ranking for your target keyword. While you will not get direct information on what to do to get a perfect score (just yet), there are some great use cases right now:.
Use case #1: Create guidelines and benchmarks for your content
When conducting analysis and preparing data for new content, it's crucial to base the guidelines on the best, most relevant set of competitors.
It's time-consuming to verify every competitor manually, so the Content Score tells you which competitors should be considered as a benchmark for your content. Pick the ones with the highest score and try to outdo them! We can apply this rule in Content Editor.
Use case #2: Specify content quality requirements for a given keyword
Let’s say you want to target a popular, high-volume keyword. An individual or average content score in Google SERP helps determine what level of content quality will allow you to take over one of the top 10 positions.
You’ll be able to make an informed decision whether or not your resources allow you to achieve the right quality. Here’s an example of SERP with Content Score for a highly competitive keyword: “internet marketing”.
Use Case #3: Identify the best keyword opportunities to go after
What's the best SERP scenario for someone who doesn't have a budget and time for link acquisition?
I'd say it's the following combination of competitors in SERP: domains with low authority plus low/average Content Score.
Now, let's imagine that you can distinguish high-volume keywords that you could easily target with content-oriented activities. Prioritizing this sort of queries could bring great results in a short period of time.
No matter if you’re creating a content strategy, writing a new article, or optimizing an existing website, Content Score will help you make decisions based on real-time datasets.
How to write a high-graded article?
Write high-quality content that’s in line with the user intent and expectations.
Follow general SEO good practices.
Make sure the content provides precise information that solves the user's problem.
It's also crucial to take care of proper vocabulary and semantics, use the right keywords and entities (according to the rules of NLP in SEO) related to the topic. The text structure should be divided into paragraphs and contain graphics elements if it will increase the experience for your readers.
The best shortcut for a higher score is page optimization audit with Surfer's SERP analyzer.
The most important components that will increase the score (and the value) of your content are:
Title (or the main header)
The H1 should be visible for the user and reflect the topic. It's good practice to include the main keyword into it, or at least its partial version.
Many users only scan websites to find the specific information they’re after. Make sure to catch their eye with the right header structure. That means:
- Using headers from H2 to H6.
- Using the main keyword, partial keywords, and query words in headers.
- Using highly relevant words and phrases from Google’s NLP or True Density.
There is no one "right percentage" of keywords you should use there. Each query is different, and each of them must be analyzed separately to find optimal keywords density.
You can use Surfer's Content Editor for these calculations (find out more about using it in our article on how to write SEO content) or Audit with the True Density section.
It's a crucial part responsible for a considerable chunk of Content Score. To make the most out of it, you should include the right percentage of exact keywords, query words, partial keywords, True Density phrases, and NLP entities.
You need to take care of the optimal structure of the first 100 words and above the fold section and try to include there the exact keyword.
Other good practices include sticking to the proper text length, providing an author if possible, referring to high-authority resources in the form of outside links, and dividing the text into easily digestible paragraphs.
Sometimes, a picture says more than a thousand words. For some topics, the user may expect visual enhancements. It's worth verifying competitors' content to assess the intent.
If pages in the top ten contain three images on average, that’s a good indicator you should aim for a similar number.
Things to avoid
There are factors that might negatively impact your content. Things that are considered poor SEO practices include:
- 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
Still in beta stage
Content Score is currently in beta. We will keep improving and adjusting the impact of each component on the final version. We intend to teach our system to measure each signal's importance and assess its meaning for every single keyword.
If you believe your insights could help us improve the development, shoot us a message. We’re always waiting for your feedback!
So, what do you think?