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How to Use Surfer SEO – Our Procedure

This step-by-step how to guide will show and explain how to use Surfer SEO to create better, more valuable and in-depth content for clients at ContentRefined.com

See the results when we compared Surfer SEO vs POP vs MarketMuse and the resulting traffic increase each tool was able to achieve. 

Step 1: 

Go to Surfer SEO

Click Login and sign in using the provided credentials

Step 2: 

Go to SERP analyzer at the top of the screen. Type in the keyword of the article/post that you are optimizing and hit “Create!”. The keyword will be provided by your editor in the Google Sheet.

Step 3: 

SurferSEO will take a couple of minutes to process the information for that keyword. After it has done so, you will see it pop up underneath the search bar. 

Click on the keyword below the search bar. 

Step 4: 

Copy and paste the URL of the article in the search bar below the graph and hit Compare. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 5: 

This next part takes a bit of research and a judgment call on your end. The task is to go through the list of competitor sites below and weed out any sites/articles that are not direct competitors with our article. To remove these sites from the SERP analysis, click the eyeball icon beside each one so it’s greyed out. We want sites that are the most similar to your site selected.

How to Use Surfer SEO

Sites you’re looking to keep: articles, reviews, posts that talk about the same topic as our topic.

Sites that you’re looking to eliminate: Wikipedia, government sites, online store sites (amazon), news websites, etc. 

Our article is about an online degree program, so we’re definitely going to get some searches for Universities/colleges and government sites. We want to eliminate those and stick to reviews. You can see that I eliminated the #2 site which was a government site, the #4 site which was a college board website, and a few more below (which you can’t see in the screenshot). Some of the other ones I removed were college and university sites for application pages. These aren’t competitors to our articles informational intent. 

The ones I kept were articles that are third party sites reviewing the schools and programs for the keyword. 

To give you another quick example, if we were comparing an article we wrote on best dishwasher safe pans, the top 3 searches might be from Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart. We would want to remove these, but then keep any sites that are third party review sites (if that is what your site is). The opposite recommendation is true if you are a HomeDepot competitor. 

Go through the top ~25 sites listed in the analysis and remove ones that don’t fit. 

Step 6: 

Once you’ve removed non-relevant sites, go back to the top and click the “Audit” button beside the site we are optimizing. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

This will give you all the recommendations that need to be made for optimizing the content. 

Step 7: 

Don’t worry about: backlinks, time to first byte, or Load time. But go through all of the other recommendations and without affecting the overall quality of the article, make the recommended changes to the article. 

For example, here it tells us we should add between 13-80 of the word “air” to the article. If it’s possible to do so (without keyword stuffing), add this word 13-80 times. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Add content, keywords, paragraphs, headings, etc as recommended by the audit.

TIP – if you want to open this in a new page, click the “Share audit with anyone” button at the top and you’ll get a shareable link, which you can open in a new page. 

Step 8:

In order to make the edits, copy/paste the content of the article into a Google doc (share in folder with your editor), and make necessary changes in there. 

Step 9:

After you’ve optimized the article, go back to the SurferSEO main page and click on “Content Editor” at the top of the screen. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 10: 

Type in the keyword of the article/post that you are optimizing and hit “Create!”.

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 11: 

SurferSEO will take a couple of minutes to process the information for that keyword. After it has done so, you will see it pop up underneath the search bar. 

Click on the keyword below the search bar. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 12: 

You’ll be sent to a page where you can alter the settings for the KW optimization. 

Be sure to select all the sites that are similar to you in the top 10 sites and hit “Save changes”:

Step 13:

Then scroll down and in the right hand corner, click “Finalize customization”.

Step 14: 

On the next page you’ll be able to input the content of the article/post (this should be the content you’ve already optimized). Simply copy and paste the content of the article into the space provided (make sure to remove any words that are in the space already). 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 15: 

Once the content is in there, you’ll be able to see the improvements that can be made to the article on the right-hand side of the page. 

NOTE: Please take a screenshot of this page to send to your editor at the end of this SOP. 

Here you’ll have a number of things to optimize:

  • The number of words
  • Number of headings
  • Number of paragraphs
  • Number of bold words
  • Number of images
  • Important terms to use and how many
  • Topics and questions to answer
  • Other relevant terms

If something has a checkmark beside it, it does not need to be changed. If it has an “x” beside it, then it needs to be changed based on the recommendations set out in SurferSEO. 

In this example we need to increase the word count and include a variety of keywords and terms. 

How to Use Surfer SEO

Step 16: 

This is going to be a judgment call on your end. Look at the suggested changes on the right side of the page and see if any of the recommended changes are needed. If for example, all of the changes are not highlighted in red and for the most part, the article seems up to par with SurferSEO, then don’t make any changes. 

If you see some minor changes that are easy to make, then go ahead. 

This is an additional step that will help you see how effective the first set of changes was. However, because this step does not remove the irrelevant sites (like you did in Step 5), it may give you inaccurate data. 

For example, you may have added 30 keywords for one of the suggested keywords, and then after you run it through the content editor, it asks you to add another 50 of that word. In this case, it’s probably not pulling accurate data and you should ignore this suggestion. 

Step 17: 

Once you’ve made all the necessary changes (if any were needed), copy and paste the edited content back into the Google doc. 

Step 18: 

Deliver the edited article back to your editor.

Surfer SEO Review and Alternatives:

There are several alternatives to SurferSEO. See our deep dive comparing SurferSEO alternatives in terms of performance, cost and ease of use.

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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