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Prioritising Technical SEO Work

3 min read

David Dungan,  SEO Manager

by David Dungan, SEO Manager

Technical SEO is a critical part of most SEO projects because it addresses how well search engines are able to crawl and index your website content.

Prioritising technical SEO work can be a daunting task. Following the completion of an SEO audit, it can be hard to separate tasks that are ‘nice to haves’ from those that will move the needle in terms of performance. It can be even harder to get approval for development work that nobody thought was needed.

Well the truth is technical SEO improvements can have a significant impact on your search engine visibility, website traffic and conversions. The following methodology is something we use here in Core and hopefully will help you to prioritise your own technical SEO tasks.

1. Severity of Issue

Try to prioritise work that will have the greatest impact. This usually means identifying the most severe issues and fixing them first.

It sounds obvious, but how do you identify these issues?

Issues that are not having a ‘real-world’ impact sometimes get prioritised over those that are.

Just because an issue reoccurs a number of times doesn’t mean it is affecting visibility or traffic to your site. Sometimes an error isn’t actually critical, even though your SEO software says that it is.

Try to prioritise issues in terms of impact by matching issues to the following ‘real-world’ problems:

1. Preventing crawling/indexing – The issue is preventing pages from being crawled or indexed by search engines, so these pages cannot appear in the search results.

2. Triggered/could trigger penalty –  The issue has triggered a Google penalty for breaching webmaster guidelines or has realistic potential to do so.

3. Impacting visibility/ranking – The issue is preventing a page from ranking to its full potential.

4. Impacting search appearance – The issue is affecting the appearance of a page in the search results and is therefore impacting click through rates.

Next, look at what pages on your site are being affected by these issues.

2. Affected Pages

Issues that affect your traffic-driving ‘landing’ pages should be prioritised over those that affect other pages on your site.

You can usually live with Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions or Data Protection pages not performing well. However, issues that impact your homepage or main product/service pages are far more important to address.

So, group issues by what pages they are affecting:

1. Site-wide issues – Affecting all pages across the site.

2. High organic traffic – Pages appearing on page 1 and driving significant organic search traffic.

3. High traffic potential – There is significant search demand but they’re not ranking on page 1.

4. Low traffic potential – These pages do not have an obvious search intent and therefore are unlikely to drive much search traffic.

3. Implementation Effort

The final step is to gauge the effort involved in implementing a recommendation. You’ll be able to complete some tasks easily through the website CMS (Content Management System). Others will involve more time and resources such as writing, design or development work.

1. Low – You can implement changes quickly within the CMS.

2. Med – You’ll need a web developer, designer or writer.

3. High – There’s a lot of work involved including additional resources.

4. Not possible – Changes are not possible within the current system and will need to be postponed until an upgrade/migration.

Deprioritise more difficult and time-consuming tasks in favour of easier tasks or quick wins.

Your web developer will often need to confirm how much work is involved, but you should have a pretty good idea before consulting them.

4. Bringing It All Together

Finally, you will need to create an ‘SEO Task List’ with a separate column for each of the criteria above. This will allow you to assign a priority level to each task based on these criteria.

What you may find is that tasks you had automatically prioritised before, are lower on the list because their real-world impact is actually less than first thought.

Taking this approach will allow you to focus on tasks that will have the most impact allowing you to work more effectively and efficiently.

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