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How to write and optimize in Surfer Content Editor

How to write and optimize in Surfer Content Editor

Ever since we launched Surfer, our tool was known mainly among SEO agencies and specialized teams. The correlation tool or the keyword analyzer required some technical background to make use of the data. But it’s changing now.

Talking with our users and from our prior experience, we learned, that the cooperation between a copywriter and SEO specialist is one of the most crucial, yet vulnerable parts of SEO. 

Choosing the keywords, creating guidelines, communication, quality control of the end product... There are just too many things prone to human error. 

We created the Content Editor with that issue in mind. The Content Editor is a brand new feature, that will speed up your guidelines creation and enable simultaneous writing and reviewing your work. All you have to do to check the optimization progress is to look at the sidebar. Surfer will give you insights on keyword usage, length, number of structural elements, and more.

That means less stress, less pointless correspondence, and more time for doing whatever is important for your business. Tempting, isn’t it?

Today I want to explain to you how to use the SEO Content Editor in order to achieve the best results and create the best content, which will be loved both by your target audience and Google.

This article is going to speed up your efforts if:

  • you outsource the content creation. In a minute you will create the guidelines and share the link to the editor with other specialist or external writer without the need to log into the app. 
  • you optimize the content from a copywriter. Content created in our tool will be already optimized. You will save at least an hour of work per text. And verifying the optimization takes less than a minute.
  • you create texts and want to make them SEO-friendly. We lowered the entry threshold to the data-driven optimization to the point, where you are just a few clicks away from writing perfectly optimized pieces.

All is clear? Let me be your guide through the Content Editor. 

Create a brief

The first thing you see in the main dashboard with a keyword input and a list of all your projects. Before you start using the Editor, you must know a keyword you want to rank for.

The guidelines are based on your main keyword and location. Insert this data and press “Create a query”!

Creating guidelines takes around 30 seconds. In this time Surfer analyzes your top 10 competitors and their content. Once it’s done, you get precise tips regarding the length, structure, and words to use in your text. As you know, to rank high you should always create a piece that will be competitive for the best performers from SERP. Let me show you how to select them.

Adjust the guidelines

You can start writing right away or take a moment to polish your brief. This additional one or two minutes of your time may have a great impact on the overall quality, so I recommend you to spare some time to adjust your guidelines. It is especially important if you want to rank for difficult phrases.

Your competitors

Some of the top 10 pages do not have comprehensive, long content or have strong domains that enhance their rankings. They may not be exactly your competition.

In this example, I excluded 3 pages: Moz—due to its different page type (category), pages ranked 4 and 10 are short and should not be my points of reference here.

Once I’ve excluded those pages, I have my guidelines based on extensive pieces from my competitors.

Only when you click the “save” button, the numbers and densities will update in the sections below. 

The length

Let’s see… The structure guidelines have been updated. The suggested number of words is the average length of the text in the pages we have chosen for our analysis. Try create your content so it has a similar length. That way you will use your copywriter’s time effectively and give yourself better chances for the higher position in Google.

The length of the text influences the density of every phrase you use in the text. This is the moment you should define the number of words you aim for. Surfer will do the math. 


Let’s have a look at the key phrases and important words for your given topic, as well as other phrases we recommend to use in your content. Suggested words are semantically close to the main keyword. This is critical to use them in your piece. A comprehensive description of the given issue with specified words and phrases (which are closely related to our keyword) positively impacts the ranking.

Usually, in the guidelines, you find the main phrase, its variations, and 5 most searched phrases related to that keyword., They are marked with the magnifier icon. The words with stars are those you added autonomously. After pressing +Add term you will see a list of keywords with their popularity and the level of their connection with the main topic. Surfer will check your competitors for every and each one of them and add them to your guidelines.

As you see above, some words are grayed. If you decided that some of them do not meet your expectations, click on them and they will be removed from the list. Surfer aims to give you words valuable for your readers, however from time to time you will find words like “if”, “why”, “should” on your list—invest some time to scan the guideline and remove these words for the clarity of your list.

The list of the words on the right side is an additional inspiration that will be placed in the suggestions. The supplementation of your topic means extra points to the overall rating of your text.


In the Content Editor, you will find the list of questions asked by Google users. In this case, it Surfer recommend me to explain what is content marketing.

As you know, positioning is not about the list od the keywords and their density in the text. SEO is about providing the actual value to the reader. That is why you should spend a few minutes here and add relevant questions and topics besides those generated automatically. If you outsource your content let the copywriter know what the text is about. After all, every subject can be approached differently. It’s your task to assure your content is written in the best possible way, right?

The notes

Last, but not least, the notes field. This is where you can add some additional information about the content type inspirations, the deadline, and the client’s preferences. You can also skip this section.

The guidelines are ready. As you see, even with some basic customization it won’t take more than a few minutes. It is far quicker than analyzing data from graphs in Surfer (not even mentioning the manual analysis of your competition, ouch)

Share the editor or the guidelines

With Content Editor, cooperation with the external content creators comes down to sharing a unique link and letting them do their work. Everyone with the link is able to create content based on the guidelines, without logging into the app.

I will say it once more: if you work with the content creators outside of your organization, they will be able to use the Content Editor without having Surfer’s account on their own.

Write in the Content Editor

The key advantage of the editor is that the values update instantly during the creation process. Before the Content Editor preparing briefs of such detail was just not possible—who can imagine simultaneously checking the density of 20 or 30 phrases in one text? Definitely not a fun task to do. 

The Content Editor lets you verify the progress of your text’s optimization when you write. All guidelines are visible in the right sidebar, while the content is written in the well-equipped WYSIWYG.

The structure of the article is analyzed automatically, and every word and phrase from the bank of important words has its own counter. 

The limits on the usage of given words

Every word has its own optimal density. The color will go green when you use the particular word as many times as recommended. You can use it more frequently and Surfer will let you know when you are pushing it too hard.

Try to write your text so it has as many words marked green as possible. It is not easy to achieve the ideal density of every word and you shouldn’t be too niggling about that. The more green words, the higher the quality—that interests you the most.

The text’s topic

The “questions” and “topics to implement in the article section” is an inspiration for a person creating the text. By answering the actual questions people have, not only we improve the quality of our content but also build so-called longtail keywords that bring more opportunities for organic traffic.

Below you will find additional words that Surfer will recommend for your content. The longer the article, the more phrases from the additional list land on the “important terms” list.

Verify the optimization 

The content written in the shared editor shows in Surfer once you refresh the page. Verification is all about checking if all elements are colored green. No more manual searches through the articles in the pursue of missing words and phrases. Look at the example below—it looks pretty good, but there is still some room for improvement.

Phrases marked yellow and red were not used in the article enough times. The red exclamation mark means your density is too high. Try reducing its frequency to the optimal level. Surfer will cross out any tips once you implement them in the text. They are not crucial for your text. It is enough if you use them just once.

Export the prepared content

There are two ways of exporting your finished content. First one is simply copy-pasting the article. Styles are copying well, headings and lists should also look just fine. You should check with your own CMS if this way is good. The other one is to export the text in a form of the HTML file.

Upload it to the server or paste it to the HTML editor.

That’s all!

I hope that by now you see how much time you can spare when outsourcing and creating content. Contact me at [email protected] if you have any additional questions!