As you may know, Surfer SEO is one of the most popular on-page SEO tools in the market. It’s well known that it can help SEOs rank higher in the SERPs by making on-page tweaks using Surfer’s True Density Audit.
Yet, this is not their ONLY tool that’s been picking up steam recently. Their ever-improving Content Editor is becoming very popular among SEOs who see the value in outsourcing content to writers while having said writers follow specific on-page SEO criteria that Surfer provides in its editor.
For those of you who are thinking about getting Surfer’s Content Editor, the tutorial section of this article below will show you exactly how the tool works and if it can be beneficial to your business.
We’ll end with my experiences using Surfer’s Content Editor with a writing company and a freelance writer. This will include their feedback on writing and working with this editor.
How to Use Surfer’s Content Editor
Using the Content Editor is quite straightforward, and it’s similar to Surfer’s on-page audit where you pick your competitors ranking for your target keyword.
We covered the importance of choosing the right competitors for on-page audits in our Surfer SEO review. The same advice applies here (remember Surfer is not magic).
Here are the how-to steps of using the editor:
1. Enter Your Target Keyword and Location Settings
In this first step, enter the target keyword (or phrase) that you want to rank for. Don’t worry about variations at this point.
Next, choose your location settings from the dropdown. If you're from the US, you’ll notice that you can now target cities within the US!
For this example, I’ll use the keyword “do bed bug covers work” and select the US for the location and click on the Create button.
2. Choose Your Competitors, Adjust On-Page Guidelines, & Write Brief for Writer
On the next screen, you'll notice Surfer is asking you to include the competitors you want to have the Content Editor base its on-page recommendations based from.
The competitors you select will determine lots of factors (you’ll see in the next step) that your writer will have to keep in mind while writing your article and upon delivery to you, the client.
Related: Surfer SERP Analyzer Tutorial (similar to the Content Editor, you have to choose your competitors – this Surfer tool is mostly used for optimizing existing content).
For example, a content criteria the Content Editor will conclude from your competition selection is the word count and the number of times the target keyword and its variations should appear on your piece of content.
I recommend focusing on competitors that are similar to the content style you’re writing for. In this case, a blog article targeting the same keyword I want to rank for are good candidates.
If a page from Yelp.com or Thumbtack (etc.) was showing up as a competitor selection option, I recommend avoiding it as it’ll skew the on-page recommendations and will most likely lead to lousy results.
Now that I’ve selected my competitors carefully and clicked the Saved Changes button, it’s time to look over the on-page criteria. The editor recommends writing an SEO optimized article for the said target keyword.
As you can see, you can edit the recommended word count, add more secondary keywords, topics & questions to answer (Surfer will fill these in for most target keywords), and there’s a “Notes” section to provide specific instructions to the writer (I use this as a mini writer's brief section: outline, internal link details, resources, etc.).
Towards the bottom, there’s a “Finalize customization” button when you approve of the recommendations. Then it's onward to the next step.
3. Send the Content Editor Link to Your Writer (Or Write It Yourself)
Alas, we’ve come to the “easy” part, which is clicking the “Copy link to share” button and send it to a writer and have him/her write it with SEO in mind. There’s no logging into accounts necessary with a Content Editor share link.
As the writer starts to write, they’ll notice changes on the right-hand sidebar, so they know how optimized their article is for SEO.
Content Editor Review On Outsourcing to Writers
I love sharing my content editor link to a writer and have them deliver an optimized article, but the truth is it takes time. It takes time to make these changes, and the writers I’ve worked with thus far are realizing this (it was my first time outsourcing content with a content editor link).
I can share two recent examples of writers sharing feedback about the Surfer Content Editor. They all have the following in common: it takes more time to write articles with the content editor than just getting a traditional article brief and outline.
The first instance was with a popular writing company in the UK. I outsourced a few articles with my Surfer Content Editor link, and when chatting with support, I was told that they wouldn’t be able to process any more orders where a Surfer link is included.
They said it was because not enough of their writers are trained on using Surfer’s editor. However, they did say they’re working on implementing a solution next year’s Q1 to accommodate customers that want to use Surfer’s editor link to order content from them. I’m assuming this will bump up the price a bit for article orders – which from a business perspective, I can 100% understand.
And the last example I can share is a freelance writer I’ve been working with who was fine with using the editor at first, but after a few articles started providing feedback. His feedback, in summary, was that it was taking longer than he’s comfortable with using Surfer’s Content Editor to write articles with at his going rate. And that he’d have to increase it if he is to continue using the editor.
So, in conclusion, the old phrase “time is money” certainly applies here. I’m sure I won’t be the last Surfer user that gets this type of feedback.
It’ll be up to your marketing budget if it's worth outsourcing with a Surfer's Content Editor link as more and more writers get accustomed to the tool and start bumping up the price for using Surfer's editor instead of a traditional writers brief.