When it comes to improving SEO performance, few elements come with as much complexity as technical SEO recommendations. These changes can impact various aspects of a website such as basic functionality, design/UX and conversion rates, so even the smallest of technical adjustments needs to be carefully considered and justified.
This can often make it difficult for SEOs to see their recommendations prioritised, or even implemented at all, and this often comes down to lack of understanding for the wider implications of what certain changes will have.
For that reason it is essential that a prioritisation roadmap is put together which accounts not only for the positive SEO impact that the recommendation will have, but also the expected cost (in both money and time), opportunity cost, complexity and implications for the wider business.
Very often SEO recommendations are put forward without these considerations, and assigned a priority based purely on SEO impact. This is short-sighted as it means that “high priority” actions, which might cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to implement, can take a long time to push through. This is often at the expense of less impactful, but more agile and easily actioned recommendations.
To combat this, and provide more carefully considered roadmaps to our clients, at connective3 we utilise the ICE Scoring Model. ICE stands for Impact, Confidence, Ease, and enables us to come up with a prioritisation scale that accounts for multiple factors.
I (Impact) – The level of improvement that we’d expect the technical fix to have
C (Confidence) – The level of certainty that the fix will have the desired impact
E (Ease) – The level of effort required to implement the fix
When it comes to SEO recommendations, this is usually all we care about. We want to drive growth and will propose fixes that remove any ranking blockers for the content, or significantly improve the overall health of the website.
This is a difficult one for SEOs because there are so many factors in play, but based on experience and knowledge we can make a judgement on how likely it is that a fix will have the desired impact.
Something that is often overlooked is the client’s internal workflows and resources. They may need to pay for a third-party company to implement what has been proposed, or negotiate a position with an internal team who have a backlog of other work from various areas of the business. The Ease metric takes this into consideration when prioritising.
By adopting these scoring metrics, we work in collaboration with our clients to consider the different factors that affect whether our change will be implemented. Each action receives a score from 1-5 (from low to high) against Impact, Confidence and Ease.
Let’s look at two distinctively different SEO recommendations…
Firstly, we notice that a host of pages on a site are missing a page title. This is something we would want to rectify, and we might score it as follows:
Impact = 3 (some ranking and click-through rate benefit but unlikely to accelerate our rankings)
Confidence = 4 (there are very few ‘unknowns’ with page titles)
Ease = 4 (writing and uploading these can be done quickly and easily)
Combined score = 11
However, a change such as rewriting URLs in order to provide more structure around the site architecture could be scored like this:
Impact = 5 (significant ranking improvements due to better content discovery and PageRank flow)
Confidence = 3 (experience shows this would work, but is not guaranteed)
Ease = 1 (this requires a huge investment in terms of migrating content)
Combined score = 9
If we were looking at these two recommendations on Impact alone, then the URL restructure would be at the top of the list with a score of 5, however due to the significant investment required, it does not score as highly and therefore sensibly we would prioritise adding page titles in the short-term.
The ICE Scoring Model can be applied to other areas of SEO too – from determining which keywords to target, landing pages for optimisation and backlink targets. Enquire today about our SEO services to find out how we can help grow your brand.