Keyword Research (formerly known as Content Planner) is an innovative tool that will support your content strategy efforts. With only one main keyword and a few clicks, it allows you to create the whole content plan and help you understand the volume of organic traffic you can get by getting into this specific topic cluster.

If you are looking for information related to our old Keyword Research Tool, check out this set of articles.

Keyword Research use cases

Keyword Research is a go-to tool if you want to:

  • Analyze the content structure of your organic competitors in relation to a topic of your choice;

  • Find the best opportunities for secondary keywords to rank for multiple target phrases with one page;

  • Build topical relevance of your domain to increase your authority and brand awareness;

  • Discover new topics for your existing topic clusters you might have missed;

  • Create a content strategy plan for many weeks ahead.

How to run a Keyword Research query

To create a query, simply go to the Keyword Research dashboard.

There are two things you have to define:

  • Keyword

  • Location

Choosing the right keyword

When you choose a keyword, it has to be relatively broad. Don't waste your queries on narrow, long-tails keywords as they will generate very few suggestions for your website.

A good keyword doesn't have to be your target keyword as well. It can be a category of your blog, business, the main topic of your blog, etc.

A good phrase to use in Keyword Research is:

  • A broad keyword that you may or may not want to target, eg. toys, kitchen furniture, dentist, online marketing, outdoor fashion

  • A category of your business, eg. CRM, CBD oil, cooking class, traveling

  • A category on your blog. For example, for a marketing blog that could be SEO, email marketing, social media, influencer marketing, PPC.

Creating a Keyword Research query may take up to five minutes. It's because we're scraping data from the most relevant sites to the keyword you used and digesting topics they write about.

Once the query finishes running, you will be directed to a results page where you should be able to observe different keyword metrics.

Understanding Keyword Research results page

Topic cluster

A topic cluster is a group of multiple, closely related content pieces. As a whole, those pages should offer comprehensive coverage of the main topic. An example of a topic cluster can be a blog category and articles in this category.

A solid topic cluster not only consists of multiple, topically connected pages. It's important those pages link to each other letting Google know they create the whole silo.

Keyword Research allows you to analyze clusters on the domain and single URL level:

  • Domain level: You can insert your business category or sub-category (SEO blog, coffee shop, web analytics, video games, toys for dogs) to get a list of dozens of ideas for content. That's a domain-level topic cluster.

  • URL level: You can analyze the topic and the suggested keywords to understand how big the potential is hidden in this topic. That way you get the main keyword and secondary keywords for one content piece. That's a URL-level topic cluster.

Search Intent

Search intent is used to describe the purpose of a user making an online search. It’s the reason why someone conducts a specific search.

Surfer identifies 4 categories of search intent which you can write content around; Local, Customer Investigation, Informational, and shopping. You can filter the topic clusters based on the search intent you would like to write content and dominate.

Finding the correct search intent is important in SEO because not only does it help you focus on a particular audience, but it also helps your evaluate your chances of ranking for a keyword. Read more about how Surfer uses Search Intent to help you rank in our blog.

Search Volume

It is a measure that displays how many people are searching for a specific keyword. Search volume is an important factor to consider when developing your content strategy, as it indicates how popular a given keyword is. The best keywords are those that have a high search volume and minimal competition.

Keyword Difficulty

Keyword Difficulty is a metric that measures how hard or easy it would be to rank your page on Google for a specific keyword. This metric runs from 1 to 10, 10 denoting the highest difficulty and 1 being easy.

You can also filter topic clusters by Keyword Difficulty to find those cluster keywords which are easier to rank for.

Connect Google Search Console to find missing clusters and Relative Keyword Difficulty

The recent update brings a great feature - the ability to cross data from Google Search Console with Keyword Research. It reveals all the critical clusters that you are not ranking for yet. We sort the topics by their relevance to your domain.

The new "Missing" tab is your prioritized list of articles you should consider adding to your website.


Relative Keyword Difficulty is a metric that helps you understand if it will be hard to rank for a specific cluster on your domain.

Relative keyword difficulty considers your domain's strength and checks whether the difficulty is Easy, Medium, or Hard.

How to create a Content Editor for a topic of your choice?

To identify the most attractive topics for your site, you can find the following data for the URL-level topic clusters:

  • Main keyword

  • List of secondary keywords

  • Total monthly search volume of all keywords (MSV)

  • Monthly search volume per single keyword

Go into the detailed view to see the monthly search volume per a single keyword. From this place, you will be able to create a multi-analysis Content Editor query. By default, Surfer selects all keywords to run the multi-analysis but you also have the option to exclude some keywords if you choose to.

Once the Content Editor is ready, you will see 3 dots in your cluster details and in the main view of the domain-level topic cluster. Then select the 3 dots and "Open Content Editor", you should be directed to the respective content editor where you can start optimizing your content!

You can access the new Content Editor query from the main Content Editor dashboard as well:

Additional Resources

Surfer Knowledge Base

Surfer Blog

Surfer YouTube

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