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Getting Started: Content Editor
Getting Started: Content Editor

Create an SEO-maximized article that your audience will love

Updated over a week ago

With Surfer, research is no longer a problematic and time-consuming task - which is why you can proceed to start writing your article faster than ever.

Content Editor provides personalized, real-time feedback on how to optimize your article best. It takes into consideration a live analysis of over 500 web signals, pairs it with NLP solutions and machine learning, and tops it up with Surfer’s proprietary algorithm to achieve a single goal: provide you with your personal Content Score.

Content Score is our original metric that will grade your content’s quality on a numerical scale and let you know how much more you have to work on your article.

Thanks to Content Editor, you can write with confidence, knowing that simple adjustments to your structure and terms advised by Surfer will ensure your article has a great chance of ranking after publishing.

Content Editor step-by-step:

1. You can create a query directly from Keyword Research, but if you already know your targeted keyword, you can also open Content Editor from the main dashboard.

2. Identify a keyword, phrase, or multiple keywords that best represent the word you want your content to be found in SERP - your targeted keyword(s).

3. Type it into the Content Editor and double-check the region settings (ask yourself, where geographically do you want to rank?) and crawler settings (ask yourself, do you want to optimize for mobile or desktop?).

Also, make sure the keyword matches your audience’s search intent. If you want to type in multiple keywords for one article, separate them with commas.

4. When you’re ready, just hit the Create button and allow the query to load for a few minutes. One Content Editor query requires one Content Editor credit, regardless of whether it is a single or multi-keyword analysis.

Writing in Content Editor is like having access to your own personal SEO professional during the entire process!

Customizing created query:

1. Click the gear icon to start customizing your draft and fitting it best to your needs

In the pop-up that appears, you’ll have the opportunity to adjust some of the factors that are affecting your final Guidelines. Take the time to review the four main sections of the Customize Panel and modify them as necessary 👇

2. Verify your organic competitors.

This is the most influential part of the customize section, as it directly influences the remaining sections. It is essential your selected competitors match your own content’s search intent. You don't want to compare an e-commerce site to an informative blog.

Surfer will automatically select up to 5 domains from the top 10 based on their content, but it’s always a good idea to verify selection, especially when your keyword has a mixed search intent.

3. Try not to tweak the Content Structure too much.

Your structure guidelines are calculated by averaging the structure of your chosen competitors. While you can adjust the recommended word count and the number of headings, paragraphs, or images, please remember that this may have an adverse effect on your ability to attain a perfect Content Score, which grades relevancy, as well as other factors. In other words, adding heavy changes to the structure section may decrease your chance of getting the maximum Score for the article.

4. Review your Terms to Use.

While the ‘Organic Competitors’ section is the most influential, we consider the suggestions made in the ‘Terms to Use’ section to be the most important part. These words and phrases are sorted by relevance. Those terms were chosen because of their prominence on your competitors’ pages.

Leave keywords that match your search intent, and uncheck all keywords that are not relevant to your article. You can also import your terms if that’s something you’ve prepared outside of Surfer’s tools.

5. Review your Topics and questions.

Much like with ‘Terms to Use’, these suggestions are sourced from your competitors, Google and Surfer. This section is great for ensuring that you are meeting the needs of your target market, and it can also help with filling potential gaps in your content.

See what people want to learn in relation to your seed keyword, what your competitors are writing about, and what Surfer thinks you should write about.

6. Share your draft with your coworkers, writers, or friends.

There are a few different ways you can share your draft progress and guidelines for Content Editor. The most simple one is by a special, shareable link to your Content Editor - you can get it by pressing the purple ‘Share’ button at the top right corner. Check out this article for more information about sharing your drafts.

💡 At the bottom of the customization panel, you’ll find a designated space for leaving notes, which is especially useful when collaborating!

Writing your article:

1. Start with the Outline Builder.

If you need a helping hand starting your article, head to the ‘Outline’ tab. You’ll find some ready-to-use titles and headings, as well as AI-generated sub-headings and paragraphs to boost your creativity.

These are created based on your competitors’ content and can be easily pasted into your Content Editor for a quick boost to your content score. They are not only a great foundation upon which to build, but you can also have full control over how you use them: add the entire section, only the heading, or only the paragraph.

💡 On the ‘Brief’ tab, you’ll find notes made in the Customize panel, as well as links to your chosen competitor’s pages and the ‘Topics & Questions’ section. This is mostly useful when collaborating with others (workspace & query sharing are available on plan Essential and higher. Upgrade your plan to access it).

2. Follow your Content Score.

With the Guidelines prepared & reviewed, you may begin the act of content creation. As you write and follow the suggestions presented to you in the Guidelines, you’ll notice the speedometer graphic live update with your representative Content Score. In the same tab, you can also check guidelines for your content structure and keyword density.

💡 Tips on how to interpret your score:

  • A score below 33 means your content is not optimized enough. You probably need to add more text and optimize important terms.

  • A score between 33 and 66 means your content is optimized quite well. At this stage, you should have most of your work done.

  • A score over 66 means your content is ready to go. Of course, aiming for 100 is definitely great, but anything over 66 indicates a decent optimization.

  • It's usually impossible to get a 100 Content Score. If you make any changes in the customization panel, this may affect your maximum achievable score. Sometimes, it's better to use your common sense and keep your Content Score 90 than to try to get the highest score. Such an approach may damage your final work!

3. Speed up your work with Insert Terms.

You can use the Insert Terms feature when:

  • Your current word count is 50% of the suggested length. For example, if your suggested word count range is 1,000 - 1,500, you'll need to have written a minimum of 500 words.

  • You have already ensured your article is well-structured because we can only provide one suggestion per paragraph.

💡Insert Terms supports the following languages: en, ru, id, vi, fa, uk, th, ja, de, ro, hu, bg, fr, fi, ko, es, pt, no, el, zh, da, pl, he, it, nl.

4. Make sure your content is unique with Plagiarism Checker.

Plagiarism Checker provides an added level of security by identifying duplicate content through SERP Analysis. We need at least 50% of the total suggested word count in the guidelines to be able to run a plagiarism check successfully.

Surfer uses our own analysis to check duplicated content on the SERPs, so we will present you with a unique analysis that can be different compared to other tools out there.

There is no limit to how many times you can use the tool in a draft, but wait 10 minutes in between every check. It is accessible in the web app on your draft’s shareable link but not to drafts created outside Surfer (ex., Google Docs, Jasper).


Tip 1: Content Editor’s SERP and NLP analysis will work in any language, meaning you can create and optimize content for a global audience. Simply generate content briefs with Outline Builder to ensure you stay on point.

Tip 2: Use Surfer’s Import content from URL toggle to have an already published article pasted into a Content Editor for when a touch-up is necessary.

Tip 3: If you run out of Content Editor credits, instead of waiting for your limits to restore, you can actually go above the limit! Surfer Essential, Advanced, and Max allow overages - additional Content Editor queries can be purchased starting with just 5$ per query!

Tip 4: Surfer works where you work - our Content Editor integrates with Google Docs, WordPress, and Jasper for your convenience. As a bonus, if your Grammarly extension is active, it will automatically start to work inside the Content Editor!

Additional resources:

Surfer Knowledge Base

Surfer Blog

Surfer YouTube

Surfer Academy:

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