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How to use the customization panel in Content Editor
How to use the customization panel in Content Editor

Learn more about the ways you can affect your Content Editor guidelines.

Updated over a week ago


Our Customization Panel inside Content Editor allows you to adjust your guidelines before you dive into writing. You can find it under the gear icon.Β 

πŸ’‘The step of reviewing your guidelines before writing is super important and should not be skipped! Make sure to benchmark only against those competitors with high Content Scores and serving the same search intent as you.

Any changes in the customization panel will affect the maximal Content ScoreΒ you can achieve for this specific draft. If you find the default setup not optimal for your content, you should not worry about maximizing the Content Score and introducing changes.

In the customization panel, you can work on the following things:

  1. Competitors – Surfer will recalculate your content structure and terms to use based on the competitors you will pick.

  2. Content Structure – you can change the number of words, paragraphs, images, and headings.

  3. Terms – all words and phrases you'll need in your content. You can add or remove phrases that you find irrelevant.

  4. Topics & Questions – here, you can define your content draft. Surfer suggests multiple ideas, but you can add yours as well.

  5. Notes - this is the best place to do it if you want to share any notes or instructions with your writers.

Let's break down each section. πŸ„


This section shows the top ten pages ranking currently for your keyword in Google search for your location. You can also choose the "Load more competitors" button to reveal another ten competitors.

By default, Surfer picks five pages from the top ten with the highest Content Score.

πŸ’‘ At least 3 unique competitors (not under the same domain) from the top 10 ranking pages must be selected for Content Score and guidelines to be properly calculated.

For the most accurate data, aim to include at least five pages for your analysis that are similar to your future content.

For your analysis, choose pages that:

  • Have the same search intent as your content, e.g., if you write a blog post, exclude e-commerce products and service landing pages.

  • Create the same content type as yours. In the best scenario, when you write a listicle article, you want to compare it with other listicle articles.

  • Rank high because of their great content, not just their authority. Content Score is your best ally here.

  • Are they outliers in terms of word count? It happens that one page is much longer or much shorter than the rest. They may skew your word count, so it's better to remove them.

There are various data points you may rely on to pick the best competitors. You can customize this view by adding or removing data like:

  • Authority (Domain Score)

  • Breadcrumbs

  • Content Score

  • Meta descriptions

  • Domain traffic

  • URL traffic

  • Words

Content Structure

In this section, you can change the word count and the number of headings, paragraphs, and images to include.

You can change the number of words to the number of characters or link/unlink the number of words to the other parts of the structure if you prefer.

You may want to consider changing those numbers in the following situations:

  • You want to reduce the number of words to reduce the content price you order. Usually, copywriters charge per word, so changing this number will influence the final price.

  • You feel that increasing/decreasing those numbers will improve the overall experience with your content - and using your best judgment is very important!

  • There's an outlier (in terms of word count) among the competitors you picked, and you estimated it's better to change the values.


This section of the customization panel defines which words and phrases you should use in your content.Β Review all terms suggested by Surfer. They are sorted by relevance to your main topic.

The most relevant terms are located at the top of the list. Each term can be:

  • Included/excluded from the list – you can hover over a term and check/uncheck

  • Added/removed from the terms to be used in headings

  • Added to blacklist so it will not appear in your future drafts

You can also manage a few terms at once. Click on multiple terms or choose the "Select all terms" button.

You can switch between All terms, Included terms, NLP, and Ignored terms to filter out words from each category.

If you have your own list of words that you want to include (for example, a list of secondary keywords for your article), you can import a few words/phrases in bulk:

Your imported words will appear on the top of the list in this section but at the bottom of the list of the draft.

Topics & Questions

In this section, you can specifically define your draft so a copywriter knows exactly which topics they should cover in this text. Toggle the checkmark to add a topic you find relevant.

There are three main data sources for this section:

  1. Competitors – topics covered by top-ranking pages for your keyword

  2. Google's "People Also Ask" – four questions that appear as a SERP feature in Google search results

  3. Surfer's database – topics and questions from our database that seem to match your target keyword

Below the topic suggestions, you can find a section to add your topics. Type your topic in and press Enter.


This section depends solely on you. You can leave it empty or leave notes to your copywriter, add information about the deadline, benchmarks, and anything you like.

πŸ’­ Do you still need help? You can contact us at [email protected] or by clicking the chat icon in the bottom-right corner. We're here 24/5! 😊

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