If you’re looking to add another SEO tool to your arsenal, Surfer is a great option to consider whether you’re sick of overpriced software or simply haven’t found one that suits your website.
But you don’t want to invest money into a tool you’ve never tried before.
That’s why we put it to the test; to check whether Surfer SEO is worth paying for, and how it compares to other popular tools on the market.
In this guide, we’ll share:
- What Surfer SEO is
- The best features
- Whether Surfer SEO actually works
- How Surfer compares to other SEO tools
- How much Surfer costs
- Whether it’s worth the money
What is Surfer SEO?
Surfer SEO is a tool that helps you with your on-page SEO.
It’s geared towards writers, marketers, and developers who need to optimize a website on a page-by-page basis. The tool works by aggregating data about your competition, including:
- The keywords they target
- The links they have
- The content they write.
You can use Surfer’s SEO tool to optimize your blog, eCommerce, or service site.
It takes 500 ranking factors into consideration. The end result: valuable information that shows you how to optimize each page on your site.
What features does Surfer have?
As with any SEO tool, you need to make sure that it does the job you’re looking for.
That’s usually difficult when it comes to SEO since there are thousands of tiny elements that make-up a solid SEO strategy.
But the beauty of Surfer is that it offers tons of features inside one tool. That includes:
1. SERP Analyzer
Looking at the competition is a great way to start (or improve) any piece of content.
Why? Because it shows what Google thinks is the best fit for the query. It’s what they consider to be the best content for that keyword—and the content you’ll need to beat to take their spot.
Surfer’s SERP Analyzer feature helps you understand what the results page looks like for your chosen keyword, without having to do it all manually. It shows:
- Alternative keyword suggestions to include on the page
- The questions people want answering when they’re searching for that term
- The sites giving backlinks to those top-ranking pages
Search results pages can vary dramatically, though. That’s why Surfer allows you to toggle results by mobile/desktop and location.
If most of your visitors browse on mobile, for example, you can see the URLs ranking well on mobile that you’ve got to beat.
Plus, you’ll see how the SERP has changed over time. You can use this data to make your content futureproof.
2. Content editor
One of the most important SEO rules is to have a bunch of keywords that mean a similar thing. It’s the easiest way to tell search engines what your page is about—and what it should rank for.
Surfer’s Content Editor helps you do that as you’re writing.
You can write your content directly inside the editor. Then, in the right-hand column, you’ll see suggestions on how to improve your content, such as:
- How many words to hit
- Which keywords you’re missing
- Topics and questions to answer
You can also export to Google Docs or copy a shareable link for your team.
3. Keyword research
Speaking of keywords, you don’t have to add your content to the editor to find keyword suggestions.
The Keyword Research feature will do that for you, and present you with a list of keywords to consider when you’re optimizing each page.
This is great if you’re working on a site that needs to rank in other locations, too. You can change the location focus of your keyword search, which will show you keyword suggestions based on the search habits of people in a specific country.
There’s also a built-in clipboard to make a list of target keywords as you go. No more copy and pasting needed.
4. SEO audit
The final noteworthy feature of Surfer is the SEO Audit tool.
Type the page’s main keyword into the main search bar. Then, under the “comparison” section, enter your page’s URL. Hit “Audit” next to your URL:
You’ll see the SEO metrics for your page, and how it compares to the keyword you want to target.
For example, we added the keyword “SEO” and ran an audit for our “What is SEO?” guide. Surfer told us:
- The word count was in the perfect range
- We had the correct keyword density
- We should consider bolding more words
- Our page loading speed was great
This report should be your first port of call whenever you’re optimizing old content.
Does Surfer SEO really work?
Now we know what Surfer’s SEO tool can do, there’s one question still standing: does it really work?
We put Surfer to the test and found the things it’s great (and not-so-great).
Pros of Surfer
Let’s start with the good things about Surfer’s SEO tool.
First: it’s fast to load results. You don’t need to wait around for the reports to build-out; you’ll see them in less than five seconds.
Plus, I found Surfer super easy to navigate for people who aren’t into tech. And if you’re not unsure of how to use the tool, there’s a “how to use” link on the app dashboard to help you get to grips with it.
There’s also a Chrome extension if you don’t want to use the website. This lets you investigate on-page SEO elements whilst you’re on a website—without cutting and pasting the URL into Surfer.com.
But arguably the best part about Surfer is the built-in content editor. Other SEO tools don’t offer content editors inside their platform; you’d have to pay for another tool like Clearscope or MarketMuse (which are pricey on their own.)
The downside of Surfer
There’s no doubt that Surfer is a good SEO tool. However, there are a few downsides to consider before adding it to your toolkit.
The first is the fact there isn’t a free trial. But even then, you start testing whether it fits your SEO needs with a 7-day trial.
It’ll set you back $1, and you don’t need to add your credit card to sign up. (You can’t get automatically charged after the trial ends.)
Surfer is also pending a lot of features. The referring URLs, anchor profile, and visible subpage reports are “coming soon.”
Finally, it’s worth noting that there’s a limited number of queries based on your price plan. This can look appealing at first glance, but you might run out of queries quickly—especially if you’re working on a large site.
How does Surfer SEO compare to other SEO/content tools?
There are hundreds of SEO tools to choose from, each with their own set of features (and price points.)
Let’s take a look at how Surfer compares to some of the most popular.
Surfer vs. Ahrefs
Ahrefs is one of the most popular SEO tools that Surfer is competing with.
That’s because Ahrefs has a reputation for being a great SEO tool for websites of any size. Their Site Explorer is superb for analyzing existing pages—but Surfer is better for creating new ones.
You can add your content to get specific suggestions.
The URL analyzer is better on Ahrefs, too, because it shows a bunch of useful metrics like:
- Domain Rating (DR)
- How organic traffic changes over time
- The top pages on a site by traffic value
- Backlinks pointing to the domain
…But the sheer volume of data can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re new to SEO.
On the whole, Surfer is the better choice for the content and optimization side of SEO. That’s because the content editor helps beat competitors, and guides you through writing the actual content.
(With Ahrefs, you’d have to do it and wait for the SEO results to appear.)
Surfer vs. Moz
Moz is another popular option if you’re looking for SEO tools.
Both Moz and Surfer have very similar features, but the biggest difference is the content editor.
Moz has a page optimization report that gives suggestions on what your content should include. However, it’s just keywords; you can’t see changes in real-time.
Surfer, on the other hand, gives real-time suggestions as you type the content. It also compares it against your competitor’s content structure to check you’re on the right track whilst you’re writing—not afterward.
Surfer vs. MarketMuse
Whilst MarketMuse isn’t an SEO tool, it’s the most similar comparison to Surfer’s content editor tool (the feature that makes it 10 times better than most traditional SEO tools.)
MarketMuse is very expensive and it doesn’t have the other SEO features you probably need—like Surfer’s keyword research or site audit tools.
You’d have to pay for MarketMuse and a separate SEO tool, like Ahrefs or Moz, to get all the features Surfer offers.
How much does Surfer SEO cost?
As we mentioned earlier, there is no free trial for Surfer. You can get a 7-day trial for $1.
For ongoing plans, pricing starts from $49.20/month. This basic plan includes the features we’ve mentioned.
The full package starts from $165.80/month. With that, you’ll get the option to white-label your SEO reports, making it a superb way for agencies to share results with their clients. (Either way, it’s still tons cheaper than Ahrefs’ most similar plan.)
Their Chrome plugin is totally free and you don’t need an account.
Is it worth the money?
In short: Yes! Surfer is cheaper than other SEO tools and is just as good—if not better.
Plus, you’ll be able to find a plan that suits you without breaking the bank.
Freelancers and small businesses would do fine on the basic plan. Agencies, eCommerce websites, and huge blogs have more than enough features to take care of their site on the Pro or Business plans.
Ready to master your SEO with Surfer?
As you can see, Surfer is superb SEO software to add to your toolkit.
Regardless of whether you’re a small blogger or running a 5,000-page eCommerce website, you’ll find their features useful.
The best part? You can see whether it offers the features you need with their $1 seven-day trial.
If it does, there’s no risk of falling in love with a product that you can’t justify the price tag for. Pricing for Surfer is incredibly affordable—especially when it acts as content optimization and SEO tool all in one.
How Gael Breton Escaped Client SEO & Built a Full-Time Income Through Affiliate Marketing
Who Gael Breton and why should you listen to him? Well, first Gael is a tremendously talented affiliate marketer who specializes in building “authority” websites. Gael got his start in the SEO agency world and transitioned into owning his own properties. In this discussion, you’ll learn: How Gael started and grew his first SEO agency …
Defining value stream management for SEO agencies business owners
- Value stream management is the practice that helps businesses to determine the value of the software development process.
- By managing value streams, you can improve the flow of value to your SEO agency and monitor the software delivery lifecycle.
- Mapping value streams will help you improve visibility throughout the whole software development cycle.
- You can enable value stream management by defining real-time metrics, creating a value stream map, enabling cross-team collaboration, connecting different processes, and automating the workflows.
With the scope of the competition on the market, the delivery of SEO options is becoming harder than ever. To stay competitive, all processes within the software development cycle must be optimized to their best.
If you’re looking to improve the workflows in your SEO agency, consider implementing value stream management. To help you get started, we’ve created this ultimate guide to value stream management. After reading, you’ll get a better idea of what is a value stream and how you can start managing your value streams by creating maps.
What is value stream management (VSM)?
To define the concept of value stream management, it’s important to understand the fundamentals. Let’s cover the basics and define key terms before moving further to discuss value stream management for SEO businesses.
A value stream refers to every step of the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC), from the product idea to the production and tools required to deliver your software to the customers. To help you visualize the concept, here’s an example of a value stream for product (not software) development.
In other words, a value stream is a series of activities that build up the value of your SEO software. Value is defined by something a customer gets, like high-quality software, in a fair period of time for a fair price.
Source: Maaw info
Value stream management (VSM) refers to the process of optimizing processes from the very point when you conceptualize an idea to the time when this idea is in production and generating revenue. To put it simply, VSM allows you to manage your SEO software development process from idea to cash.
The benefits of value stream management for your SEO agency
Value stream management enables SEO software companies to deliver higher quality products faster and more efficiently than their competitors while significantly reducing risks. Besides, proper implementation of VSM enables the following benefits.
- VSM helps you find and address the limitations of your workflows. By mapping out all stages of the software development process, you can identify potential limitations and blunders.
- VSM enables you to deliver higher quality SEO solutions. By optimizing development processes, you can deliver better quality products.
- VSM allows the continuous development of your agency. By investing in optimization and VSM, you can guarantee the success of your business in the long run.
- VSM helps you to make the overall flow of information across the entire process visible to people who normally manage separate functions, processes, and departments.
How does value stream mapping work?
By now you should understand that value stream management allows optimization of all development processes, from the first time an idea of a product is conceptualized to the moment when the product is produced and launched in the marketplace.
Within value stream management, many capabilities feed that process. Value stream mapping one of these capabilities.
A value stream map refers to the visualization of all critical steps in the SEO software development process. Value stream maps include a description of each stage and information, like the time, the volume of work, and spendings dedicated to each of the stages.
By creating value stream maps, you can analyze the current state of your processes and improve your product based on the series of events that take your SEO solution from the initial concept to the finished product your customers receive. To put it simply, value stream mapping allows you to identify where you’re adding value and where you’re wasting it.
Besides, creating value streams allows you to categorize activities into high priority vs. low priority items. This way, you can prioritize and triage some processes in favor of others.
How can you enable VSM?
In order to optimize your SEO software development practices and tools, you need total visibility throughout the whole development cycle. Likely, you can achieve this by mapping value streams.
Not particularly sure where to start? Follow these five steps to enable value stream management for your SEO agency.
1. Defining real-time metrics and objectives
Defining real-time metrics is the first step toward enabling value stream management. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to define metrics which leads to misleading results and inability to assess the effectiveness of their VSM efforts.
Choosing the right objectives allows you to understand what’s happening in the development and identify where value is “leaking” in the process.
Here’s a list of metrics to help you get started:
- The development cycle time
- The overall volume of change (before and after VSM)
- Lead time (LT)
- Process time (PT)
- Percent complete & accurate (percept of time when the software is received by users in the correct and ready-to-use form)
Collecting these metrics is paramount for the successful evaluation of your VSM efforts.
2. Creating a value stream map
After you’ve defined the key metrics and objectives, you can start studying your workflows. Create a map (either physical or digital) that explains each step of the software development process, from conceptualizing an idea to delivering the final product to customers. This way, you can see the distribution of resources within your software development cycle.
Here’s a great example of a value stream map.
3. Enabling cross-team collaboration
Value stream management requires you to enable cross-team collaboration. Rather than testing business analysts separately from developers and other teams, you want to optimize the workflow across all of these teams.
4. Connecting multiple processes, teams, and tools
Now, as you’ve created opportunities for all teams to work together, you should find a way to answer the following question. How do you make sure that all of the work that your employees are doing, the value streams of their development, map to your priorities?
To answer this question, you have to evaluate the workflows and roles of each team regarding your objectives and priorities.
5. Coordinating and automating workflows
VSM tools allow you to embed governance into existing system development cycles. In other words, some platforms allow you to automate the value stream management processes.
Tom Hayes, a VSM advisor at the Guerrilla Agency shares his expertise,
“By coordinating and automating workflows, you can continually improve your SEO solution and ultimately achieve better results.”
The bottom line
Value stream management is different from other approaches because it’s focused on the idea that everything that happens to your customers, from the idea to the delivery, is important and needs to be managed in a holistic manner.
By implementing VSM in your SEO agency, you can better understand your system development cycles and workflows.
Implementing value stream management is easier than it may seem. You can start by mapping value streams and defining your main objectives. Moreover, there are many platforms that will make the VSM process easy and personalized for your SEO agency.
How to Get 4,000 Watch Hours on YouTube (FAST!)
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to get 4,000 watch hours on YouTube.
Since I began my journey on YouTube in 2017, I’ve accumulated 59,000 watch hours:
And if I was able to do it with my cringe-worthy videos, then you can too.
So the first question is:
What Happens When You Get 4,000 Watch Hours on YouTube?
There is one simple reason why every YouTuber wants to reach 4,000 watch hours: to make money online.
Once you reach that threshold, you can apply for the YPP. Then you can start showing ads on your videos if you’re approved.
Now you’ll need lots of subscribers and views to make a full-time income from YouTube ad revenue. However, it’s an excellent supplementary source of revenue.
For example, I’ve made $5,596 from ads since getting monetized.
That equates to about $303 per month or $10 per day. The best part is that it’s a 100% passive form of revenue. You get paid every time someone watches one of your videos.
It’s not a massive amount of money.
It’s dead last as far as revenue sources in my company.
But it’s “passive,” which it’s pretty awesome.
Now the truth is: There is no such thing as passive income. You still need to produce quality videos consistently.
Otherwise, your audience will lose interest, your engagement will drop, your views will drop, and ultimately, your ad revenue will fall.
There’s nothing passive about the work you have to do to maintain and continue to grow on YouTube.
Now I want to let you in on a little secret:
The real reason why you should aim for 4,000 watch hours isn’t just for ad revenue. You should do it because you’re building an engaged audience.
As Grant Cardone often says, “money follows attention.”
So remember when I said YouTube ad revenue is a small part of my company’s revenue? That’s true.
However, YouTube traffic is now my third biggest source of revenue for my training course, Gotch SEO Academy.
So with that out of the way, here is a 7 step process to reach 4,000 watch hours on YouTube:
1. Find PROVEN topics
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead: you can find proven content ideas and then put your twist on it. Here’s how:
Go to YouTube and enter a keyword related to your industry. In this example, I’ll use “fashion.”
Take note of the topics that have produced lots of views. Now open a few of the channels.
If the channel has a lot of subscribers (> 30,000), then click on the “Videos” tab.
Then sort the videos by “Most Popular” to find topics that are proven to work:
Repeat this process for every channel in your industry until you’ve built a nice database of topics.
2. Qualify (and Prioritize) Your Topics
You need to be strategic with what types of videos you create if you have a new channel. If your channel is established, then you can target more competitive topics. There a few ways to qualify topics, but VidIQ will do most of the work:
Step #1: Download VidIQ
Step #2: Go to YouTube and search the topic you’re interested in.
VidIQ will show you a “Score” for the topic.
Ideally, you should only target topics with a high score. A high score is when the topic has substantial search volume but low competition.
I recommend adding the score next to each keyword in your database. Then you prioritize your topics by score.
3. Develop Your Strategy
At this point, you should have selected a keyword target. Now you need to develop a video strategy.
Here are a few questions to ask when developing your strategy:
How long should your video be?
Examine the top 10 videos for your topic and create an average. You should then aim to exceed the average length.
What are some commonalities and differences among the top videos?
I recommend watching the top 5-10 videos and taking notes.
- What do you like?
- What do you dislike?
- What are some unique things they’re doing in their videos that you can incorporate into your videos?
This is the most critical part. Dedicate time to studying their videos because that’s the first step to beating them.
What’s your title?
Did you know that 80% of Internet users don’t read past the headline? That principle applies to YouTube as well.
If your headline (title) doesn’t drive any curiosity, it won’t do well on YouTube.
You need users to click through on your video. And your title is a big piece to that puzzle (along with your thumbnail).
I recommend writing out at least ten different headlines. Then, run each headline through the AMInstitute headline tool.
There are many frameworks for producing curiosity-driven headlines. However, the ones that tend to do the best include numbers.
What will you need to produce the video?
Not all videos are created equal. Some require big budgets, while others will only need your phone.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you use to produce your videos. What matters is the quality of the content you’re providing in your video.
Ensure the audio and video are at least at the level of your competitors, and you’ll do just fine.
What’s your deadline?
Deadlines make projects real. Set a deadline and stick to it.
4. Create the Video
I have a simple process for creating videos that you can steal:
Script out the entire video
I know. Some people hate this idea because they’re afraid of being robotic.
However, most people go off the rails if they don’t follow a script.
Scripts keep your videos efficient and easy to consume. The goal isn’t to waste the viewer’s time.
You want to give them the information they need in the fastest time possible. A script is that solution.
I recommend including some of these key elements into your script:
- Mention your target keyword in the first line and last line of the video.
- Use open loops at the beginning of the video. An example of an “open-loop” is when I say, “Make sure you read this entire guide because tip #6 is fundamental to your success on YouTube.”
- Insert pattern interrupts (like I did above).
Did you know that video editing experts recommend changing shots every 3-10 seconds?
Watch any TV commercial. Notice how frequently the shots change. You should do the same.
It’s super hard to keep people’s attention, so you need to use every tool at your disposal.
Watch this video under tip #6 to see pattern interrupts in action.
Record your video
If you’re doing a talking-head video, you’ll need a teleprompter. Now just turn the camera on and record.
If it’s your first time, it’s going to feel like hell. That’s okay. It gets easier.
Just remember that no one is watching you.
That camera is no different than speaking to a wall. It has no emotions and no judgment.
So that means you have permission to be yourself without any consequences. The cool part is that YouTube users like people who are themselves.
So, hit record, be yourself, and add value.
Edit your video
You can do it for free with iMovie or a paid editing software like Premiere Pro. You can also hire a video editor on UpWork.
5. Optimize Your Video
Before you upload your video, you need to optimize it. I recommend including your target keyword in the filename. Now upload your video, and it’s time to optimize it for YouTube’s organic search.
Here are a few quick tips:
- Include the keyword in the title and first sentence of your description.
- Write an in-depth description. Aim for > 100 words for your description. Make sure to include variations of your primary keyword as well.
- Include your keyword in your tags. VidIQ will give you tag recommendations based on the topic.
I also recommend looking through the top videos for your keywords. Copy the tags they’re using.
Add an end screen. You should always try to get users to watch more of your videos.
This will quickly grow your watch time.
6. Promote Your Video
What I just showed you is about 50% of the process. The other 50% of the process is to promote your video.
Here are a few quick tips:
Leverage your email list.
Your email list is the most valuable asset for growing ANY channel—especially YouTube. If you don’t have an email list, I HIGHLY recommend you start building one. It is the most crucial marketing channel online (in my opinion).
Leave thoughtful comments on other channels in your industry.
Take note of when popular channels publish in your industry. Then, be there to drop an intelligent comment on every new video.
This will help you build a relationship with the creator. And it will also help drive users to your channel.
I showed you a simple process for creating an awesome YouTube video.
But here’s the deal: creating one video isn’t enough.
There’s a high probability that your first video won’t do well. That’s why you need to stay the course and keep publishing.
You will get to 4,000 watch hours as long as you keep producing.
The key to reaching 4,000 watch hours on YouTube is to GET STARTED. Then, it’s to keep producing valuable content.
There are no secrets.
Well, maybe some.
That’s why I created a brand new training program called YouTube SEO Academy. I’ll be opening enrollment soon.
In the meantime, download our free YouTube video promotion checklist.
- How Gael Breton Escaped Client SEO & Built a Full-Time Income Through Affiliate Marketing
- 6 Simple Videos Anyone Can Make for Social Media
- Defining value stream management for SEO agencies business owners
- 9 Tactical Video SEO Tips to Improve Your Content Performance
- How to Get 4,000 Watch Hours on YouTube (FAST!)
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