Customization panel inside Content Editor allows you to customize your content guidelines before you dive into writing. This step is optional as Surfer by default chooses the best setup.
However, you may want to change a thing or two or add information for a copywriter to streamline the process.
In the customization panel, you can work on the following things:
Organic competitors – based on your choice, Surfer will recalculate content structure and terms to use in your content
Content structure – you can change the number of words, paragraphs, images, and headings
Terms to use – all words and phrases you'll need in your content. You can add or remove phrases that you find irrelevant.
Topics & Questions – here, you can define your content draft. Surfer suggests multiple ideas, but you can add yours as well.
If you make any changes in the customization panel, this may affect the maximal Content Score that you can achieve. If you find the default setup not optimal for your content, you should not worry about maximizing the Content Score and introduce changes.
Let's break down each section.
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.
For the most accurate data, you should 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, eg. if you write a blog post, exclude e-commerce products and service landing pages.
Are 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 not 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.
Customize this view
There are various data points you may need to pick the best competitors. You can customize this view by adding or removing data like:
Authority (Domain Score)
In this section, you can change the word count along with the number of headings, paragraphs, and images to include.
You can change the number of words to the number of characters if you prefer:
If the clip icon is on, all numbers will change automatically once you change the word count.
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 think that increasing/decreasing those numbers will improve the overall experience with your content.
There's an outlier (in terms of word count) among the competitors you picked, and you estimated that it's a better idea to change the values
Terms to use
This is the most important section of the customization panel that defines which words and phrases you should use in your content.
How to use this section:
Review all terms suggested by Surfer. They are sorted by the relevance to your main topic. Each term can be:
Included/excluded from the list – you can hover a term and they use "Space" on your keyboard to do that
Added/removed from the terms to be used in headings
Added to blacklist
You can also manage a few terms at once. Click on a term or choose the "Select all terms" button.
You can switch between All 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:
Topics & Questions
In this section, you can specifically define your draft so a copywriter knows exactly which topics they should cover in this text.
You can freely add and remove the ones you find relevant to your main topic.
There are three main data sources for this section:
People Also Ask – four questions that appear as a SERP feature in Google search results
Competitors – topics covered by top-ranking pages for your keyword
Surfer – topics and questions from our own database that seems to be similar to your target keyword
The content of this section is up to you. You can simply leave notes to your copywriter, add information about the deadline, benchmarks, and anything you like.