We know it may be confusing to see that a piece of work you’ve optimized in Content Editor does not display the same results when Audited.

However, even though we are calling it the same in Content Editor, Audit, or SERP Analyzer, the way we calculate is different depending on the tool.

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!

What is being analyzed in Content Editor?

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

The main difference between Content Editor and Audit is that in the Content Editor, we focus mainly on the article’s contents. We do not see the actual website that the content will go to, so the score is calculated only for the piece of content you are creating at the moment.

Your guidelines (including the Score) 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.

What is being analyzed in Audit?

In Audit, the analysis is a little bit more complex. Audit considers everything that is placed within the <body> tags of your source code, like the navigation bar, the footer, menus, and comments, which is why the data can vary and might affect your final score. It looks both at the content you wrote and at everything surrounding the article on your webpage.

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

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

How to eliminate the differences?

Well, that's the thing - you can't really eliminate the differences - but here are some tips to make sure that your Content Editor and Audit are as closely related as possible!

1. Choosing 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 also important to understand that multi-keyword 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 as Audit does not support multi-keyword analysis.

2. Choosing the 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.

3. Your Organic Competitors list:

Since Surfer's suggestions are based on top-performing pages, if the top results change - so would the score and terms to use. If you are running an Audit and a Content Editor, you must remember to check and select the same competitors to get comparable results.

4. How much time passed between one query and another:

SERPs are dynamic and are changing daily. Depending on the niche, those changes may not even be noticeable and some may be very substantial. When you are running an Audit to optimize your article written in your Content Editor a few months ago, you will most likely see some differences, even if you will choose the same parameters to run both queries. And it's totally ok! That is the main purpose of our Audit tool - to let you stay relevant and keep your articles up to date.

5. Content within the article itself:

If you will add some changes to your Content Editor article outside of Surfer, Audit will be able to see those changes, but Content Editor. For example, let's say that you created your article using our Editor but decided to add your hyperlinks directly to your website-building tool. That would cause Audit to ignore the hyperlinked terms in the published article, but Content Editor would still see those.


Those are the 5 tips that we recommend following when running Content Editor and then Audit analysis. However, please remember that differences between the scores and guidelines will most likely still occur as those are two different "grades". Don’t be alarmed, it’s due to the fact they’re different tools that serve different needs.

If your Audit Content Score is only slightly lower than your Content Editor one, in most cases it's better to move on and work on optimizing other content pieces.

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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