If you’re working on your SEO strategy, perhaps in the middle of an SEO audit, you’re going to need to prioritize everything based on your goals and strategy.
SEO audits usually create tons of new tasks, so deciding what order to do them in can make a huge difference.
It wouldn’t make sense to start fixing broken links or adding missing meta descriptions if there were opportunities that could have a higher impact, possibly even with less effort.
In this post, I’ll explain the concept of an SEO score, and how to leverage it for better prioritization.
The impact/effort approach:
Before you go making up scores for various SEO tasks, it’s important to understand the concept of an impact/effort matrix.
This is a planning tool often found on agile teams that allow people to prioritize a range of tasks or ideas.
It’s a simple methodology that’s easy for people to get on board with.
I like to use this concept when planning SEO scores. Basically, the idea is to assign a numerical score based on impact and effort, I usually do 0-100. So the best possible score would be a 100 for impact and a 1 for effort.
First, I’ll explain the different quadrants of an impact/effort matrix, and how it relates to SEO. Then I’ll explain how I tie this into an SEO score to prioritize efforts.
Highest impact, least effort
The goal of prioritizing SEO tasks is to estimate which efforts have the most potential gain by completing them. Usually for SEO, the potential gain is referring to traffic potential, but it can also represent other goals and KPIs outlined in your strategy, or even urgent issues that need to be fixed.
It’s also important to consider the effort required to achieve that goal. You wouldn’t want to start working on a project that would take 3 months to complete if you can get a higher ROI from a project that would take 3 weeks.
Estimating impact and effort allows you to map things out on an Impact Effort Matrix and tackle the high-impact, low-effort tasks (easy wins) first. This method of prioritization creates the most ROI from SEO efforts in the shortest amount of time.
High effort, high impact
These tasks are real challenges, but they pose a high ROI potential. They will often require considerable investment and collaboration with various teams like developers, product managers, and marketers.
Bringing these larger efforts into light allows you to brainstorm solutions, and start planning how to tackle these larger projects that could take months or years to accomplish.
High-effort, low impact
Also known as “thankless tasks”, these are efforts that are time-consuming and don’t produce much value.
You might have a few of these, often due to technical constraints. However, using an SEO score allows you to prioritize much more profitable activities.
Low effort, low impact
These tasks are easier to do but still won’t provide much impact. Again, sometimes these are necessary due to technical constraints.
It’s still important to keep track of low-effort and low-impact tasks because they need to be repeated often, you can probably automate it.
Assigning impact and effort scores
Whether you’re working in Notion, a spreadsheet, or a different tool, assigning SEO scores is relatively straightforward.
You’ll need a number range for impact and for effort. Then you assign a score to each task.
The scoring methodology is up to you.
You can base your scores on info gathered from a brainstorming session, a myriad of analytics and data, or by collecting stakeholder opinions.
What’s important is that you come up with a scoring system that is agreed upon.
Calculate your SEO score
In my example, the SEO score is just Impact minus Effort, but you can come up with your own scoring system for this too.
Visualizing your Impact Effort Matrix
Once you have SEO scores for your tasks, it’s easy to create an impact/effort matrix visualization. You can use a fancy tool like Miro or an old-school whiteboard and sticky notes.
Prioritize SEO tasks with my Notion Template
My SEO Roadmap Template makes it easy to assign an SEO score and prioritize tasks.
You can get my SEO Roadmap System for Notion on Gumroad.