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Ultimate Guide to Surfer Onsite Optimization in 2024


Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Do you know the best thing about on-page SEO? Control. As an experienced SEO professional with more than 10 years of experience in the filed and founder of multiple 7 figure digital marketing businesses, I know firsthand the importance of on-page optimization in achieving higher search engine rankings. Even with a small budget, you can see real results with on-page optimization. You won’t get the #1 spot overnight, but you can still rise in the ranks with fewer backlinks than your competitors. There are two ways to deal with on-page optimization: you can do it on your own and build great content from scratch, or you can use tools that speed up your optimization work. Like we do. In this guide, you’ll learn more about Surfer, an SEO tool that specializes in on-page optimization. You’ll also get a step-by-step guide on how to use the tool to create better content, fill content gaps, and rank higher for your chosen keywords. Quick Summary What Is Surfer? Surfer is an SEO tool that analyzes why top pages are ranking well for your keyword. Based on that information, you’ll be able to figure out what you need to do to create content that will help you outrank your competitors. Surfer helps in two ways: Creating/outsourcing new optimized content Optimizing existing pages The Surfer Content Editor analyzes your content structure, keyword usage/density, phrasing, and more, comparing them to high-ranking results for the same keywords. Then, it provides you with guidelines on how to build content that has the right structure and wording to show up on page 1. There’s also the Keyword Analyzer, with Audit and Terms to Use features that help you optimize existing pages. Rounding out the Surfer SEO tool kit are the Keyword Research and Common Backlinks features—I’ll discuss all these in full detail later. Surfer Recommendations In Action How does this tool help you optimize your content? And what can you expect from Surfer? Let’s take one of my own pages as an example. I have an SEO coaching landing page that was ranked at #1 forever. All of a sudden, it had dropped to #2. After plugging it into Surfer, I found out that my landing page content was too long…and thus I cut it in half. The Terms to Use feature also let me know that my word usage was off.   Tweaking the landing page boosted the page back to #1, and now it’s at a similar length to other high-performing pages. Here’s another example: in November, I turned my Affiliate Networks page into a blog post and adjusted the densities of relevant phrases based on Surfer’s recommendations. The next day, I checked my keywords and saw this: My page jumped to the top three after my tweaks. Similarly, Matthew Woodward had an extremely comprehensive review of SEMRush that clocked in at a whopping 26,000 words and was ranked #7. Surfer told him to remove 22,000 words…or almost 85% of his content. While it sounds counterintuitive to reduce your long-form blog post to a “regular-sized” one, his review jumped to the #1 spot…the next day. These are three examples of Surfer giving you insights on pages that are currently doing well with their content so that you can use the same rewarding practices. Correlation SEO In On-Page Optimization Now that you know what Surfer can do, you’re most probably thinking, “How does Surfer know which ranking factors are the most crucial for SEO?” Unfortunately, Google and other search engines aren’t transparent about their algorithm. Enter correlational SEO. Correlation SEO analyzes various ranking factors in order to determine which ones have the biggest impact on ranking. Surfer’s data comes from reverse engineering the search engine results page (SERP)—it looks at what top-performing pages are doing that you aren’t. Instead of giving you vague advice (“long content is better than short content”) or ballpark figures (“aim for 1,000-2,000 words per blog post), Surfer provides recommendations that are based on pages that already rank for your target keywords. And this extends to more than just word count. Surfer also looks at what kinds of pages rank best (e.g. long-form vs. quick answers), what kind of media they contain (e.g. graphics, lists, etc.), what topics they cover, and what words and phrases are most commonly used. Surfer wasn’t the first correlational SEO tool to hit the market.  Cora and Page Optimizer Pro came earlier and are both exceptional tools as well. One of the major criticisms of correlation SEO is that correlation doesn’t mean causation—just because a competitor is ranking while using certain practices, it doesn’t mean that those practices are the reason they’re ranking. But by optimizing your content so that it’s similar (but higher-quality) than the content that Google ranks at the top, you are more likely to take the top spot. Check this video to learn more about Google SEO ranking factors. The trick is to know which pages to compare yourself to, so that you aren’t introducing the wrong kind of change. Choosing The Proper Competitors For Your Work With Surfer Although it sounds sensible to look at the top ten results for your analysis, you’ll end up getting a lot of imprecise data and ineffective recommendations. John from Freedom Bound Business found that out the hard way. When he didn’t pay much attention to picking the right competitors, his page dropped from rank 25 to rank 41. When he qualified competitors correctly, his affiliate review got bumped up from the second results page to the first. Source: https://www.freedomboundbusiness.com/surfer-seo-review/ What does this tell you? There is no point in comparing oranges to apples, and the same rule applies to competitor analysis. To get the most out of Surfer’s correlational SEO tools, look into pages that are similar to yours, and don’t compare yourself to websites that are not. Here’s a quick guide to choosing the right competitors: Don’t compare yourself to high-authority sites like Wikipedia or Amazon (unless you are a site of this level, of course). Find websites, pages, or competitors that are within the same niche or have the same format (e.g. review sites, blogs, etc.). Avoid listings and directories while optimizing for local SEO. Look at the word count of top pages and exclude outliers. Once you do the above, your data will be much more accurate. Use Case No. 1: Building High-Quality Content From Scratch Now that you know more about correlational SEO and Surfer, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. Create a new page for your target keyword using Surfer’s Content Editor tool. Automate Your Content Brief Content Editor lets you create guidelines for your copywriter that includes all your requirements like keywords, topics, and optimum word count. I’ll show you how to create comprehensive briefs that outline your requirements and make it easy for your writers to understand. Preparing a good brief the traditional way is a lot of work. You have to manually research your competitors, extract some basic data about keywords, and follow good SEO practices—things that can take a lot of time. Here’s an alternative way: 1. Type Your Keyword And Location When working with Surfer, you always start with a keyword and location. In this case, our target keyword is “cordless circular saw” and our location is the United States. You can also choose to turn on NLP Analysis for more phrases and words suggestions from Google API (more on this later). Once the analysis is done, you can find your query in the history log below the input. Open it to access a customization panel. 2. Choose Pages To Compare Against The customization panel has five sections: pages to include, content structure, terms to use, topic and questions to answer, and notes. Let’s start with the “Pages to include” section. By default, Surfer checked the top five pages. These top five pages are your benchmarks. Pick URLs that are organic competition for your page. Exclude pages that rank high because of their extremely high authority, pages for different business models, and pages that target a different search intent. Also exclude word count outliers or pages that have word counts that are way shorter or longer than the others. Basically, everything I already told you about selecting comparisons. Here. Check out this example for an affiliate review: 3. Let Surfer Determine The Word Count Surfer automatically recommends a word count based on your chosen competitors, but you can also customize it if you prefer. However, if you chose your competitors wisely, there shouldn’t be much reason to adjust the number. Content length is critical—Surfer calculates phrase and keyword density based on it, so be cautious when modifying it! After you save your changes, the average length will appear in the requirements section. 4. Incorporate The Suggested Words And Phrases In addition to word count, Surfer also checks the top-performing pages for words and phrases relevant to your page. Surfer uses its own algorithms to reverse-engineer the top words and phrases that you should include in Read More Read More

The post Ultimate Guide to Surfer Onsite Optimization in 2024 first appeared on Diggity Marketing.


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