This Surfer SEO review covers all the main features and the integration with Jarvis, hitherto known as Conversion.ai
Surfer SEO is the Content Intelligence tool that merges content strategy, creation, and optimisation – to help content teams grow brands, organic traffic and revenue.
I’ve been using Surfer SEO for around three months now, both on my own websites and those of my clients at Helter Skelter Digital. I can say from personal experience that it has made a big difference to the ranking of my posts and in the case of new websites, to the planning, execution and ranking of those sites.
The integration with Jarvis, the AI powered copywriting software created by Conversion.ai makes a formidable asset to add to the SEO or Marketing Department’s armoury.
Let’s take a look at Surfer SEO.
Surfer SEO is a tool that includes
- Keyword Research
- SERP Analyser
- Content Planner
- Post/Page Audit
- Content Editor
Let’s talk process.
Content Creation Process
Creating content is fairly pointless, even narcissistic if you don’t have an audience in mind. The first thing to do after defining your audience is to consider keywords that will reach them in the form of search terms.
Part of this process is to work out what terms you can be competitive for. What I mean by this is that using the same focus keywords as say, IBM, is a pointless exercise because they will almost always outrank you.
Most people don’t search beyond the first page of Google results and that means that there are approximately ten places worth competing for. Don’t waste your time competing with giants.
So choose keywords that are searched for in quantity and that you can be reasonably confident of ranking for.
The next step is to research your competitors ie. those people appearing high in the search results for the same keyword, and write better content.
Fortunately we have Surfer SEO at hand to help us do this!
Surfer SEO is predicated on analysing the SERPs for keywords and extracting the structure of the posts that rank highly. So titles, headlines, common phrases, length of content, number of images etc until you have the profile of a winning post.
The next stage is to write the content!
Keyword Research in Surfer SEO
if we’re researching an article, the keyword research screen starts the ball rolling. You’ll see here that you can create tags to group your searches and that Surfer keeps a history of your searches available.
You can add multiple keywords separated by commas and specify the geography your audience is located in. Then run the keyword research.
The results page tells me that of the two search terms I entered, “Artificial Intelligence” has a much larger quantity of searches per month. That initially makes it a more attractive proposition for a focus keyword, but there will be less competition for “Surfer SEO” and so my chances of ranking for that term are considerably higher. The question is out of 600 searches, how many can I reasonably expect to get and is that number worth my while?
I might decide on the basis of data, to make my focus keyword something to do with artificial intelligence and use Surfer SEO as a secondary keyword. The next thing to do is to look at the competition.
This tool allows me to analyse my competitors websites for the keywords I picked in the previous step.
You can see here that the top ranking articles are in the region of 100 words long and I can inspect the keywords, questions, popular words and phrases and even backlinks associated with each article.
When it comes to creating a single article, I can see my competition and the structure of their content. I can click through to actually read the content and that makes it possible for me to plan and execute better content that ticks more boxes for Google.
What is particularly useful in this screen is that I can exclude any article from the comparison by clicking the eye icon. In this case, the presence of surfers.com in the list is not particularly useful – obviously they dominate the space for that keyword, but I’d like to see some of the other competition too so I’d probably leave a couple of pages that are directly relevant to my article and see what fills the gap.
The drawback with most SEO tools is that they don’t show content in the context of the entire website and so the most common mistake for novice SEOs is keyword cannibalisation. Typically they will optimise an article or page according to the Rank Math or Yoast on page SEO audit and in so doing will use the same keywords as another page or article.
The result is that Google has to make up its mind which post is more suited to any particular query – you’re competing with yourself. As if competition wasn’t already fierce!
Surfer SEO solves this problem neatly in the Content Planner tool.
Here I can run a process on a generalised keyword and what will come out is collections of thematically linked keywords that I can use for supportive articles.
What does this mean?
If I want to compete against a bigger hitter than me, then I need to generate links and traffic to my cornerstone content on the topic. Typically this will mean creating a single authoritative article on a subject and then building satellite posts that are linked bi-directionally to the original.
In fact this article is a good example itself because I have another article called AI Driven Digital Marketing which discusses the big picture of how AI is influencing digital marketing. This post expands on a single element of that post and so the link will be of interest to the reader.
The keyword I chose generated 24 clusters each one containing at least three and sometimes as many as 13 keywords without any duplication. While not all of these will work for my website, it gives me some ideas of what I might want to include in my content strategy this year.
The audit tool allows me to audit existing content and compare it to its competition. Let’s take a look at my newly published cornerstone content.
So this is encouraging – I only need 11 points to get into the green. If I scroll down the page I find very detailed comparison data.
For example I don’t have any backlinks. Well the post has been published for only an hour so that might be setting expectations too high right now. But it is something to work on. Backlinks rarely appear by magic.
Further down I see there are no internal links – my bad, but this article will be linked so that’s in hand.
I see that I have 100 common terms with the ranking articles, but over 500 are not shared. I’ll look at this list and choose any words that I think will add value to my readers.
More seriously, my word count is 500 short and my headings 15 short. That can be easily fixed. I’m also advised to bolden a few more phrases and add at least one more picture.
You can see I hope, that this information, retrieved in under 60 seconds from Surfer is pure gold dust. This level of forensic comparison would have taken hours so this capability alone would be worth the money!
This screenshot demonstrates the content editor. I input three keywords on different lines to produce this set of guidance – I’ve pasted the first few paragraphs of my cornerstone article into the editor to show how that affects the keywords and phrases on the right.
The dashboard tells me that I’ve a lot of work to do still – I need another 5000 words, 33 headings, 131 paragraphs and 30 images. I can inspect the headings in the centre table below these suggestions and further down I can see how I’m doing with the phrases and keywords used by the competition.
In brief mode I can see who the completion is for these keywords and there is an outline builder that generates paragraph content if I need inspiration.
This tool is sharable so I can get one of my team to pick up on the brief and complete the article if I need to.
And now for the key statistic.
Today I have written two articles of a couple of thousand words apiece, optimised them both to within a few points of my competition in four hours. I probably need to spend another hour or so on this content to make it properly competitive.
Last year, the same output would have taken at least a couple of days and even then I would have no real idea of how my article compared with specific competition.
Integration with Jarvis
I also use the AI powered copywriting tool, Jarvis. If I’m working in Jarvis I can set up my content editor from Surfer in the same screen, working just as it does here, in real time.
This converts a top drawer copywriting tool into a truly formidable addition to the SEO armoury. You’ll need clients to justify the expense, but in terms of quality of output and results, it is a no brainer if you’re an SEO.
One word of warning – this integration doesn’t work in Safari, for reasons I’ve been unable to fathom so far. It does work in Chrome though. Here’s the proof!
You’ll need the Jarvis Pro plan to get this integration, the instructions for doing it are here.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, I’ve been using Surfer SEO for a few months. I’ve designed a content strategy for one client, delivered content for three without any advertising or promotion. The expense runs to approximately £1000 a year and it’s already on course to deliver twice that amount for me.
SEO, Ad Management and Pay per Click advertising are a bread and butter component of my business and after using them, I would not be without these tools. If I had to choose just one it would be Surfer SEO.
Click on this link if you want to Check Surfer out.
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