Keyword Surfer is probably the best FREE keyword research tool out there IMHO and is a lot better than some paid keyword research tools like Moz.
Plus, it’s easy to use and install. It’s pretty much everything a beginner needs to start ranking their site on Google ❤️.
In this ultimate guide, I’ll quickly go over what Keyword Surfer is, how they get their data, some of its features, and its pros and cons.
And most importantly, I will show you how to use keyword surfer to find good keywords and do a thorough competitor analysis to select only the easiest keywords.
Keyword Surfer is a 100% free Chrome Extension developed by the guys at Surfer SEO. It helps people reveal the search volume and CPC of keywords and analyzes the sites or competitors’ ranking for the keyword.
Some of its great features include:
- Check search volume and CPC: Reveals the monthly searches and the CPC of a keyword right there on the SERP.
- Generates keyword ideas: Generates a list of related and keyword variations for a keyword and gives us the percentage of sites in the SERP that’s also ranking for these.
- Word count checker: Checks and displays the word counts of all the ranking articles right there on the SERP.
- Keyword collections: Allows us to save unlimited keywords to a collection that we can view at any time or export to CSV.
Unfortunately, Keyword Surfer is only available for Google Chrome and can’t be installed in other browsers like Firefox or Safari.
On the plus side, installing Keyword Surfer is a piece of cake that only takes a minute. Here’s how you install it:
- Visit the Keyword Surfer extension page on Chrome Web by clicking here.
- Click on the “Add to Chrome” button.
- You’ll get an alert box from Chrome asking permission to install the extension, click allow.
- This will automatically install and add the extension to Chrome.
That’s it. If it’s not automatically switched on, click on the Keyword Surfer extension that’s next to the address bar and to turn on its functionality.
Now for the most important part, using Keyword Surfer to find easy keywords you can rank for. First up, make a list of seed keywords for your niche. The niched down these are the better.
Next, open up Chrome and type in your seed keyword. You want to now try putting in question words like why, how, can, do etc.. in front of it and Google will suggest keywords.
For example, I’ll take lawn mowers,
It’s going to show me a lot of long tail keywords. You get the idea right? Just try different combinations to get different suggestions.
Next, search one of these long tail keywords and Keyword Surfer will show its SV and CPC. It will also show you its variations and related keyword ideas on the right, and the word count and keyword in content below the ranking site’s title as shown below.
🔥 Pro Tip: I would choose a keyword with over 50 searches and would ignore the CPC. If most of the articles ranking have 2000+ word counts, I won’t go for it either.
On the keyword ideas tab, we can see some potential keywords that would be good for H2 and H3 subheadings. In this example, I see about 5 keywords that can be used as subheadings.
Traffic count and “title changed” features are also something I ignore because the first one is irrelevant and ‘title changed’ is never accurate.
If you are using a content optimization tool like Surfer SEO (paid), MarketMuse (freemium) or Kazan SEO (free), you don’t need to worry about overlap % and the keywords in content. But if not, try to match the average keyword in the content count and make sure to include all the keyword ideas with 50%+ scores (and are relevant) in your content.
And finally, you can add these keywords to your collection by clicking on the checkboxes next to the keywords.
🔥 Pro Tip: I won’t be able to dive deep into SERP analysis in this post, but try to select keywords that have at least 2 or more forums or user-generated sites ranking and nothing after the first page targeting your keyword in their title.
Now that you know what the tool is, how it works and some of its features, let’s look at the pros and cons of using Keyword Surfer.
Let’s check out the Pros first. 👍
- Great Tools For Free
Keyword Surfer offers so much for free. The data it shows is organized and enough to plan an entire article. This is really great for beginners who are not ready to invest in SEO tools yet.
It shows the search volume of a particular keyword along with related keywords and the percentage of other sites in the SERP that rank for these, thus giving us good semantic terms and subheading ideas on which we should focus on.
The word count and keyword in the content feature also let us plan out the article quickly and help us determine if it’s worth going after the keyword.
Keyword Surfer is ‘stupid fast’. It shows you all the data and keyword ideas in a matter of seconds!
Plus, the results are shown right there on the SERP!
If I were to do the same thing in SEMRush, it’s going to take a bit longer but if we factor in the time it takes to load SEMRush and open the keyword magic tool, it’s going to take way longer.
Keyword Surfer is not without its cons 👎 . Let’s look at some of these quickly:
- Only Works On Chrome
- Data Is Not Accurate
- Surfer Removed Features In The New Update
Keyword Surfer is a Chrome extension so it can only be installed on Chrome and doesn’t support other browsers.
This is one of the reasons why I don’t use Keyword Surfer much. I switched to Firefox a few years back for privacy concerns.
Well, this applies to all the keyword tools currently available. Keyword Surfer and all other tools show false search volume data.
There’s a really big difference between the real number of searches and what these tools show. Only trust GSC and analytics! But for that, you need to rank for it, unfortunately.
Additionally, the word counts of ranking articles it shows are inaccurate most of the time. (sometimes there is a huge difference, like 500+).
The traffic it shows for domains is also wrong. I got a site doing 10K monthly organic hits and keyword surfer shows it as 203! This leads me to think a lot of 0 volume keyword it shows probably get some searches.
Keyword Surfer used to have a lot of features in its earlier version that save bloggers like us a lot of time.
Something I personally miss a lot is its ability to show the search volume of all the Google auto-suggested keywords right when we are typing on the search bar! 😢
It also used to have correlation graphs and a really cool free editor which is like a mini version of Surfer SEO where it would show us all the nlp words and phrases the pages on the SERP for this keyword had.
Keywords Everywhere is Keyword Surfer on steroids!
Both of these have the same model, but Keywords Everywhere has a lot of extra features and it works on Firefox ⚡.
The main difference between Keyword Surfer and Keywords Everywhere is that Keyword Surfer only shows us SV, CPC and Keyword Ideas while Keywords Everywhere shows all that, plus competition levels, historical trend data of a keyword and page-level metrics.
Plus, it can be used with Google Search Console, Analytics, Youtube, Etsy, and a lot more.
However, unlike Keyword Surfer, it is NOT free and costs $10/100K credits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Keyword Surfer Safe?
Yes, keyword surfer is safe to install. It has over 400,000+ installs with a 4.6/5 rating and there are 0 reviews with security-related complaints so far. Plus, it’s featured on the Chrome web store which means Google has reviewed its safety.
Where Does Keyword Surfer Get Data From?
Surfer gets keyword data from a third-party database provider whom they haven’t mentioned which probably means they are buying from another larger SEO tool and not from Google AdWords.
Why Is Keyword Surfer Not Working?
Make sure you don’t have other extensions that are messing with it and that you have a stable fast connection and not on a VPN. Try restarting your browser/computer as well. If that doesn’t work, create a new chrome profile and just install surfer and it should work.
Is there Keyword Surfer available for the Safari browser?
No. It is only available for Chrome.
Can I install it on the Firefox browser?
You can’t install because it’s only available for Chrome.
I highly recommend trying out Keyword Surfer if you are a beginner and not ready to invest in serious SEO tools. Don’t listen to the ‘gurus’ out there when selecting keywords because if you do it wrong and pick hard keywords, you will struggle to rank and it will cost you resources.
We looked at how to use Keyword Surfer along with its pros and cons and how it compares with Keyword Everywhere and I hope it gave you a good idea.