It can be confusing and frustrating to see a piece of work you’ve optimized in Content Editor not display the same results when Audited.

This article will explain when you should and shouldn’t be seeing differences, why they occur at all, and why you likely shouldn’t be concerned!

  1. What is being analyzed?

  2. What's the context?

What is being analyzed?

It's important to understand that those two tools will analyze different contents.

In Content Editor, your guidelines are only focused on what’s going on in the tool and what is actually written there; words, pictures, structure, etc. You should also keep in mind that Content Editor has a suggested word count set, so the terms to use ranges will be based on the currently set total word count suggestion.

When running an Audit, however, our crawler will review the web page’s code and take in everything in the <body> tag. This can include any sidebars and the footer or some content hidden from the site in scripts. In other words: if there are a lot of elements surrounding your main content, the score and guidelines might differ from the ones you saw in Content Editor.

Moreover, in Audit, we would apply the suggestions to your current word count on the page. The terms to use suggestions will be adapted based on how many words we saw on your audited page.

As a result, terms to use and content length may (and most likely will!) vary between the tools.

What’s the context?

For an accurate comparison, be sure to use the same:

  • keyword(s)

  • location

  • crawler type

  • organic competitors

Keyword(s) and location:

If you wish to compare the results from both tools, make sure to use the exact same keywords and location.

It's important to understand that multi-keywords analysis will be different from the guidelines for a single keyword. If you have made a Content Editor query using a few keywords (or created one from topic clusters in Content Planner), the Audit won't show you the same results in a query made for only one of them.

Crawler type:

Don’t forget about crawler type either as the SERPs on mobile might not be the same as the ones on the desktop.

Organic Competitors:

Lastly, your chosen competitors are so important as you are only able to select top-performing pages from SERPs for your chosen keyword(s) and location. Surfer’s guidelines are generated from your selection, so it’s important to consider them in either tool individually, or when comparing.


To sum up, it's very likely to see some variation between Content Editor and Audit. Don’t be alarmed, it’s due to the fact they’re different tools that serve different needs. If your Audit Content Score is slightly lower than your Content Editor one, in most cases it's better to move on and work on optimizing other content pieces. Otherwise, you might get stuck, and as we say the more optimized pages, the better!

Of course, if in doubt, you can always reach out to Surfer Support via email or live chat. We’d be happy to investigate on your behalf!

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