How To Use Surfer SEO: What Is It and How Does It Work?

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In running a website, it's important to make sure that it's as visible as possible to potential customers. If you're looking to get better rankings in the search engines, then you may have heard of "Surfer SEO." Here's a quick introduction to what it is and how you can use it to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in - using techniques to improve your website's ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Surfer SEO is a tool that helps you analyze and optimize your website for better search engine ranking. It does this by providing you with data about how your website stacks up against your competitors, as well as popular keywords that people are searching for. This information can be very valuable in helping you fine-tune your SEO strategy.

In this episode, we will discuss what Surfer SEO is and how it works. 

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Atiba de Souza: I've been on SEO for a very, very long time. And today, I'm going to tell you about my secret weapon. Yup. That's what we're going to talk about today. What is my number one secret weapon that helps me rank my clients on page one. This tool is so great that I guarantee rankings on page one because of this tool.

So, let's dive right in. Hey, everybody. Welcome to Traffic Keys. I am your host, Atiba. And today, we're going to drop dri —jump not drive, jump, into my number one favorite SEO tool. This is the tool that produces the most results. Now, I know that sounds like a bit of hyperbole, but I think you'll believe me after you see it.

Now, before we go any further though, before we go any further, do me a favor. Do yourself a favor, hit subscribe, hit that like button and don't forget to hit that bell. So that you know, when we put out new SEO and marketing content just for you. Okay. So we're going to jump into this tool right now.

And the tool is called Surfer SEO. Okay. Surfer SEO. And this is it here, guys. And we're going to jump in here and I'm going to kind of show you how this thing works. Now, there is a link for it down below. And because I love it so much, I am an affiliate. So I do get a little bit of credit if you use my link down below, but there will be a link down below for you.

So this is their homepage here, and they say it here, rank your content with the power of AI. But, I'll be honest with you and tell you, that's not my favorite headline on their page. This here is my favorite headline on their page because they actually deliver this, guys. Create excellent content that ranks on the first page of Google.

Create excellent content that ranks on the first page of Google. And that's so key and crucial because there are a lot of AI tools that produce content for you. This one does not produce content. It helps you produce content and that's where the difference is. Okay. Some of these tools that we haven't— on the market today that produce content for you— not that they're bad inherently, but they're not human. And so they don't create excellent content. And by excellent content, we're talking about content that your reader is going to want to read. Content that your reader is going to want to consume, that's going to help them move the needle, that's going to bring them closer to being a customer of yours.

Okay. So that's the beauty here on Surfer SEO. But no, no, I know this is all marketing jargon and stuff that you see on the front page, but how the heck does this actually work? How does this actually work? So let's jump in into inside of Surfer. Here, and inside of Surfer, this is the homepage. Here, one of my accounts in Surfer, there are five main tools inside of Surfer. Five. Okay. Today, we're going to talk about two of them. The two that I use the most, the first one is the content editor, and we're going to dive into— and there's an audit tool. Okay. Which is genius. And definitely one of my favorites.

And they have a content planner. So if you're planning your content, looking at what content you need to create, the content planner is great for that. The SERP analyzer, which will actually help you analyze the search for certain keywords also really great. And then the keyword research tool. Now, the keyword research tool and the SERP analyzer, I don't use those here in Surfer, full disclosure. Okay. I use other tools for that, but you can do it all in one spot right here. And that's kind of the beauty, but we're going to start off looking at the content editor today. Okay. That's the first one of its tools that we're going to look at is the content editor and the thing with the content editor is it's exactly what it says.

It's for helping you edit your content. So you would come here and you can put in a keyword. Okay. And once you put it in your keyword, you can create your content editor— oh, before I go on, there's something I forgot to mention or cover with you guys, which I'm sure you're all wondering right now, which is, where is it?

The pricing. Yeah. Let me just click up here and get down to the pricing of this thing. Okay. The three pricing tiers. I'm going to tell you don't do the basic tier. A lot of people say, "Oh, I'll just do the basic." No, don't do the basic tier. Do the middle tier, do the middle tier here. Why you do the middle tier? It's because you get this check mark right here.

This is the most important check mark in the entire application. My humble opinion. The NLP and we're going to talk about what that means in just a few moments, but this is the difference maker. This is the thing that you get in the middle tier, and this is what you absolutely want. This is the power of Surfer, using the NLP.

Okay. Alright. So let's jump back into the content editor here, and we're going to edit this guy here. So, now we're inside of the content editor and this is content that we've created before. So I kind of wanted to give you a sense and you'll see, over on the left-hand side here is the actual content.

This is what we actually wrote. This was the article that was written. And so now with my writers, we give them a topic and we have them write. And then we bring the content in here and let's Surfer analyze it. Okay. There are a lot of people who write their content in Surfer and that's perfectly fine too.

There's nothing wrong with that. It's created for you to do that. We actually write outside of Surfer and then bring it into Surfer and let Surfer analyze it. It's analyzing this content for a particular keyword. And here's what it's looking for guys. It is going to go out— and actually, let me just show you, I'm going to jump in and show you, come up to this gear icon here at the top.

And you'll see, this is how it's evaluating your content. So it's going to look at the first 10 results in Google. Okay. And it's going to say what caused these first 10 to be the first 10 as compared to everything else. And it's going to look at what are the differences and kind of give you the roadmap of what you need to put and create in your content so that your content has a chance to compete with page 1.

Okay. Or on page one. Okay. Now you'll see some of these are grayed out because sometimes, like for example, this one here is a government website. Alright. We're not going to compete with a government website. Right. Sometimes you may get a directory listing or other things, and you don't want to compete with them in terms of content because that's not what you're creating.

Right. So you can actually turn off some of the listings and then it will only compare the once that were left on. Right. So it gives you the first 10 results. You can add more and add more competitors, but for what? Like, you care about being on page one. No need to compare to page 2, 3, 4, or five compared to page one.

Okay. Give you some really great information here on each of your competitors. So, obviously. You get the URL, you get the the title of the page and a little bit of the description. This is all the stuff that you will see if you did a Google search, but then it will tell you what their content score is.

So, the number three position, their content score is at a 65. Okay. So, you know right away, in order to rank on page— I got to get above this 65. So my contents go— you know that up front. And then the next thing it tells you is what is the domain authority for this page? Okay. And here, this is at a five.

It's at a five. So now, comparing domain authority, you can compare it to your domain authority and how it ranks your domain authority. Let's say your domain authority is at a 7. Man, you know, if I write better content and I have a better domain authority, then I have a better chance of showing up on page one.

Well, what if you're on the other side? What if your domain authority is at two and theirs is at five. Well, then, you know, your content has to be that much higher, that much more perfect for you to be able to compete against them. Okay. Now, one of the questions I get all the time is how is domain authority scored on here?

And to the best of my knowledge, from what I've heard from Surfer, domain authority here is scored based on the backlinks to this page, right? Yep, the backlinks— actually to the domain, the backlink profile of the domain, not just the page, the backlink profile of the domain, that's what it says up here in the tool tip.

Alright, so this is it here, guys. You get this information, which is absolutely fantastic on your competitors, but then it also gives you content structure. Content structure where it will tell you how many words that you need to have as compared to your competitors. So, if your competitors are all writing 1200 word articles to talk about this topic, if you come out with a 300 word article that doesn't seem like it covers the bases, right? It seems like it may be a little bit more general. That may be how Google will look at it. So, they give you here exactly. How many words on your article needs to be. This is the range that your article needs to be in. Then, it tells you how many headings need to be on your page. How many paragraphs, how many images you need to have.

I mean, yeah, this is the type of stuff you need to plan your content. Right? Okay. Then down here, this is the genius. This is it. This is it right here. Surfer will tell you that there are 147 terms in this case that Google expects that you will use in your article. Now, a little while ago, I told you we don't write our content inside of Surfer SEO, and that's just because with my writers, what I've found is, if I give them this data upfront of, "Hey, here are 147 words that you need to include in an article." It kind of stifles their creativity. So, we create a brief, we give our writers a brief with everything that we want about this article and the keywords and so on and so forth, and tell them, "Go write."

Go write. We give them lots of research, tell them to go, write. They write their article and then they bring it into Surfer and compare it to the terms that Surfer says Google needs for you to use. And then we see, okay, you wrote this, here are the terms. What's the difference? But we'll get to that in a second.

Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself cause I'm getting excited, guys. Alright. So. Here, these are all the terms, 147 for this keyword. Now, you'll see that some of the terms are unchecked down here because some of the terms I know we're not going to use. Okay. We're not going to use and that's okay. You can't always use all of the terms that you have to decide and select which ones you're going to use and focus on.

And how do you do that? How do you do that? Well, you start with this thing called NLP, this tab right here, NLP. You want to use as many of the NLP terms as you can. NLP stands for Natural Language Processing and it is Google's new standard. They've been working on this for several years. Okay. And they released it a couple years ago.

This is Google's new gold standard for end search, because what NLP does it says, "Okay. If you were naturally talking about this topic, what are some of the other terms that you would use when describing this topic?" Right. And so it being Google is now taking your search term and saying, okay, what are all the other terms that are related?

And it's making this topical map out of it, but then it takes a topical map and it starts to ask the question, how well does your content cover the topical map that we believe should be covered for this keyword? For this keyword. And that's what it's using. Now, guys, to help rank your page. So having this data upfront before you publish a content is huge because it's invariable.

Every single article we write, it's invariable, that we run into terms that we did not expect. Like look at this one, Annapolis junction. Right. When we're talking about home care and Maryland, sure, Annapolis is in Maryland, but we wouldn't have considered using the term Annapolis junction in there.

Okay. There are always terms that pop up. That you don't expect responsible. Okay. Maybe that's a term that you may have used, but you may not have been expecting to use the term responsible, but Google is. And that's what this tells you. And that's why I said, this helps you create great content that can rank on page one.

Because it's actually giving you what it takes to rank on page one for this keyword, for this keyword. Okay. So, absolutely wonderful here. And then it will even tell you topics and questions that you should cover in your article. Alright. Lots of great information. Then you can even write notes to yourself.

Okay. Let's jump out of this here. So that's kind of the setup. So when you do a search, it pulls all of this data together. Then when you put your content in, it's evaluating your content by all of that data that I just showed you. In this case, our content here scores an 85 out of a hundred. Now I'll take anything over 80.

That's what I tell my team. I'll take anything over 80. So 85, I'm happy with the highest we've ever gotten where I think it was about an 89, never seen in the 90's. And I think that's because we don't put pictures in ours, and as you saw, like even right here, it says that this article needs three to eight pictures that we don't ever put pictures inside of our Surfer.

Now, our final published article will have pictures, so we know the score is going to go up. Okay. So, anything over 80, I'm perfectly happy with. 85, I'm gold. Alright. Now, as you can see here, it's going to say, oh, we could use more headings. We can actually trim a few of the words, but we found that, you know, we try to trim the words in this particular article, but this is what it took to cover it.

So we're good with it. And we're happy with our 85, right. We had enough paragraphs, but then look, it comes down here and it shows you, so not only did it tell you the keywords that you need to use. I want you to look a little bit closer here. You see where it says "home care in Maryland"? And it says four out of one to four? That one to four says, that's the number of times you need to use this term in your article. At least once, no more than four. At least once, no more than four. So now, when my writers bring the content in here, this is what they evaluate against. Now, I want to be clear. We do not promote nor do we do keyword stuffing. So you'll see a term, like, look at this Baltimore city or Baltimore county right here. We didn't use it enough. And we couldn't figure out how to put it in that was natural. That still allowed us to create really great content. So we left it out. We used it once and we left it out. Okay. Because we are more concerned with creating great content for our end-user than ranking for Google. Because you see, if you create great content for your end-user that your end-user wants to read, Google will award you with rankings.

This just helps you gain the system a little bit. Okay. But at the same time, you can't use it to a place where are you're stuffing keywords or stuffing terms. And now, your article is unreadable because even Google can't figure out that it is not a readable— or the article does not read well. Okay. Now, if we were say at 900 words or 800 words, then yeah, we may have tried to add a few more of these in, but we're already over the word count.

So we're not about to go add more words. And so that's kind of how you kind of have to balance it there. Okay. That kind of makes sense? Alright. So, now that the article is done, we've gotten to our 85. We're happy. We're absolutely happy here. And we can publish this article. And so this is the content editor guy.

So this is on the front side of creating your content. Okay. Now, what happens after you created your content? This happens all the time. That you must audit your— the content that you create at least once every six months. Why? Because guess what? If you create this article and it ends up on page one of Google.

Okay. For this keyword, guess what? That means you knock somebody else off of page one. Maybe a few people off the page one, depending on how it all worked out and they're going to want to regain their footing. So what are they going to do? Well, they're going to use their tools to try to get back onto page one.

They're going to work hard to regain their page one status. So, if that's the case, there is a chance that they can then turn around three months from now and outrank you. And if they do, my friends, it's time for an audit. So, let's go to our next one. My next favorite tool is the audit tool, here. And in the audit tool, you would give it your URL for the page and the keyword that you want to rank for, and it will run the audit.

So I'm going to pull up, an audit here. Okay. So this is an audit on the keyword for dementia care in Bethesda, Maryland. For this page here. Now it says to me right off, you got some problems, improve your content score by at least 27. Now, here's the beauty guys. When we wrote this page, it was above 80.

Now it's no longer above an 80 anymore because it's been over six months and other people have outranked this page. So we need to work on the content score here now. Okay. This is what I was just telling you about. Right. And then it continues to— what this is giving you is a roadmap, right? So the content editor gives you the playbook of how to create your content to get it to rank on page one.

So you create your content, then after you've created an existed for awhile, maybe it does rank, maybe it doesn't rank. Okay. Maybe it rains and then it falls, that's when the audit comes in. And what the audit does is it gives you a checklist and it tells you, here are all the things you need to fix now to regain your ranking back to page one.

So, we already talked about increasing the content score. Then it's going to tell you that you're missing backlinks. This page is bad. It's missing 28 out of 28 common backlinks. And what it means by that are these are the backlinks that all of the rankings on page one have, so when it does its analysis, it compares the backlink profile of the top 10 pages on page— or the top 10 websites on page one, and it figures out what are the common backlinks that all of them share. While there are 28 of them, and this page has zero. Might be something we want to look into. Internal Linking, which is really easy to fix. Internal linking, it says that it needs more internal links. Okay. Need more internal links, which also says to Google,

so backlinks say to Google that, "Somebody else in the world thinks my content is good." Internal links, say to Google, "I think my content good." I think my content is good. So it's telling me, you're not sending a strong enough signal to Google with this page that says that this site believes that this content is really important and you need more internal links to prove that.

So great, easy thing to fix. Terms to use. This may look somewhat similar to where we were before. The NLP changes. NLP changes as Google gets smarter, as more things rank on page one, as more people, real people, real humans interact with content on web pages about your searched term. Google gets smarter and the NLP gets updated.

And so here, it says to us, "Hey, listen, here are NLPs that you need to add." Okay. Or change. Here we go. So it says a memory care facilities is an NLP. There are five of our competitors using this term. We're not using this term at all. It suggests that you use this term two to five times in the article, Google believes and Surfer believes it's a hundred percent relevant.

Okay. And here look at the action. It tells us we need to add two to five. Right. Which makes sense. We're using zero, and it says we need two to five. Memory care. We're using zero, and it's telling us we need to add 13 to 22, Alzheimer's disease, we're all good. So it's going to tell you clearly where you need to work.

What are the terms you need to work into your article? And now, some of them, you're going to be able to, in some of them you aren't. Take a look at this, "Maple Heights Senior Living." Okay. I mean, if this page wasn't related at all to Maple Heights, Senior Living, it may be kind of hard to put that in there. Google thinks it's an NLP, but it doesn't mean you have to use it.

You still have to be smart. We've been talking about this creating good content, right? You've got to create excellent content. And a big part of creating excellent content is making sure it's relevant to your reader and relevant to you because if it's not relevant to your reader and it's not relevant to you, then it's not excellent content.

So if this page wasn't about Maple Heights Senior Living, even though it's an NLP, we can't add it. Just the way it is. Alright. Let's keep on going, word count. It says my article is way too short. We wrote 1,181 words, but we need to be between— or we need to add 1700 words, so it needs to be twice as long— over twice as long, to be honest. They believe that this article needs to be over twice as long. Now, why is that important? And why is that helpful? Because look at all these NLPs, we have to add. We've got all these NLPs that we need to add. So therefore, having to more than double the length of this article actually is a really, really good thing. Really, really good thing. It's going to tell you about your headings, your paragraphs, even stuff that you should bold.

It's going to suggest that you bold 60 words. Now, this isn't a bit of an interesting one here. I don't typically follow this one because Google has said that bolding text doesn't affect SEO rankings. A lot of people believe it does. But Google came out last year, actually in 2021 and said, no, that's really not a ranking factor for us. So, you know, you can do it or you can not, you can believe Google or you can't. I mean, not like they haven't lied to us before about what were and what weren't ranking factors. Right guys? Okay, then, it's going to talk about exact keywords in the title, in the body, et cetera, et cetera.

So guys, this is an entire playbook of stuff here. Page structure, telling you what's going on on your page that you need to change and get better at. Title and metadata, everything. And even some Technical SEO. Your time to first byte, and your load time, which in this case are really good. So that's actually really helpful.

Okay. An entire playbook of what you need to change in this audit. So guys, this is Surfer SEO. Okay. Wanted to bring you in, wanted to show you this, because as I said, this is my favorite tool. All of my writers use this tool, their version of this— the copies of this tool in order to create the content that we create for clients that ranks so well. Now, there is one caveat that I must give you.

Surfer works really well when you give it the right keywords or keyword research, which I've done a ton of videos on, on my channel. Keyword research is key. Understanding first your audience. Second, the content you want to create, which is what we're talking about, but that bridge in between of what are they searching for to find your content.

So you've got to do great keyword research because if you put the wrong keyword in, it will give you the right answer for the wrong keyword. And that could frustrate you because it may, I mean, your rank, it just won't work and you say, "Well, why isn't this working? Why am I ranking?" Because the keyword you chose is incongruent with the rest of your website.

Again, this is not a keyword research lesson. So, if you do want one of those check out one of my other videos on that, but. I strongly, strongly suggest you hop on Surfer SEO. Okay. It's an actual crime. How little they charge us for this, for the value that you get back. So jump on this today. Get your copy. Again, click the link down below. Alright. And go sign up for Surfer today. Alright, everybody. I'll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

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