This article covers explanations and troubleshooting regarding completed Audit queries. If your query fails on your dashboard (perhaps with "Oops, we're unable to crawl this page") please check crawler troubleshooting article.


If you'd like to see exactly how Surfer sees your page - you can also check out SERP Analyzer Screenshots function.

As Audit visits your pages directly you might encounter few unexpected behaviours that stem from your CMS, Firewall, CDN or hosting server configuration:

  • Low word count / Low Content Score

    - Your firewall blocks bots / page runs additional security checks
    For example, we can be server a Cloudflare "Checking if connection is secure" challenge instead of page content, which may result in Audit reporting Word count as around 70-100 words.
    Please reach out to us at [email protected] and we'll share how you can whitelist us.

    - Served us with a custom error page instead of proper content
    There are few resons as to why we might get an error, two of the most popular ones are:
    - the audited URL contains a typo and your server sent us a 404 page
    - your domain lacks proper configuration of 301 redirections and doesn't display content properly if URL lacks trailing slash (for example https://surferseo.com/earn-credits/ works ok, but https://surferseo.com/earn-credits doesn't)
    - there is a performance issue with routing or your server and we're served with a timeout error page, that contains errors like 504 or 520

  • No changes after Audit is refreshed

    Depending on the environment you have, this can be the site, the page (performance plugins like WP Rocket), the CDN (If you are using one, like Cloudflare), or a setting on your server.

    If the audit doesn’t update, in general, it means that your website is somehow cached. We use 100% fresh servers to check your website after you hit refresh and we do the best effort to avoid caching, but sometimes, especially if you have a CDN or website performance plugin (like WPRocket), stale content could be served.
    We know it’s not ideal, but on the other hand, if Surfer doesn’t see updates it means that Google and your customers may not see it either.

  • Not all images are detected

    Lazy loading most likely is turned on. Lazy loading is a feature that is great for increasing your page's performance - but it will also cause bots like ours not to be able to see the whole content upon crawling.
    Alternatively - images are hyperlinked (more on that below)

  • Bold text or images were placed as a CSS style and not as an HTML tag

    Audit will only check images that are placed as <img> tag, not if they are placed as <div style="background-image:xxx.png">.
    Reason being - they essentially carry different meaning. <img> are like a framed painting, while background-image is more of a wallpaper.

    Similarly, <b> or <strong> is not equal to <p style="font-weight:bold"> - Surfer will only count tags and not styles.

  • Multiple <h1> tags detected

    Most likely you either placed and extra <h1> tag in footer or within a first-time visitor pop-up.


There are also few design decisions and compromises that influence how Audit detects content and makes suggestions:

  • Keyword numbers reported are different than what you see on page

    Please note that we analyze your entire <body> tag, including hidden content and things like image alt-texts.
    Searching through browser's CTRL+F will not show you all occurances of a word.

    Additionally - if you did not use anchors or image alt-text during editing draft with Content Editor - you might see here the numbers accurately updated to reflect them.

  • Content is hyperlinked

    If some suggested keywords, images or headings are hyperlinked we will not count them towards occurances.

    Anchored content is not calculated towards the score, as it describes the page it links to rather than the page it's on. So if you're making a hyperlink out of a term, you're telling the crawler: Hey, this page is about what I wrote in <a> tag of my code. So it counts more toward optimization of the linked page than the content you're optimizing.
    Moreover, it also helps us to exclude the navigation, menu, footers from the suggestions & calculations

  • Keyword is not picked up due to different character encoding

    Some charaters, like German's "Ü", might have few different character encoding variations. As we base on competitors from Google it might happen that selected competitors are using different characters than you and thus we don't detect them as matching.

  • Suggested keyword ranges are low (mostly 1's)

    We base our keyword suggestions on your current word count, so it would have appropriate keyword density.
    If you have lower than expected word count, we will also suggest less keywords.


Lastly, there is a possibility of user error:

  • Audited URL contains a typo


    In such case, your server most likely sent us a 404 page which was crawled instead of proper content.
    You can reach out to us at [email protected] and we'll remove and refund you such failed queries.

  • Direction of suggested internal links

    Some users are applying internal linking suggestions on the audited page, whereas internal links should point from URLs on the list to the audited page.
    Having them both ways is not necessarily bad, but it won't mark link as done if placed the other way.

Are you still having problems?

Contact us at [email protected], send a link to your Audit and describe your issue in detail. We will be happy to help you further with that.

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