No matter if you’re venturing into the realms of SEO tasks for the first time or you’re having a refresh on a site for the umpteenth time, you need to make sure that the tasks you outline are prioritized correctly.
There are a variety of factors at play, covering user interactions, crawlability, indexation and more – but where do you start?
Obviously each site is different as are their issues, but hopefully the outline below will help you work out where to start and how to make sure you’re spending the right time on the right tasks.
What To Prioritise
If you’re already getting traffic and results from certain pages, then the fixes on these should be a top priority.
Fixes should only enhance the rankings and traffic through to these pages, but make sure that you monitor traffic and benchmark the performance so your ‘fix’ isn’t detrimental. For example, if you shift the focus to a different keyword you could be removing a good traffic source.
This is harder to quantify and there are a lot of factors at play, but you should make sure you know what you want to achieve.
Extra pages or changes for lower volume but higher intent keywords are no brainers, but you should also bear in mind competition and see where the gains can be made. If everyone has the same idea in your industry you could end up spending much more than you get back.
Linked to the two factors above, you should make sure that you have the right focus and aren’t just going for vanity metrics. This also helps when you have well thought out and properly quantified KPIs.
Ability & Resource
Depending on your setup your in-house or external resourcing might not be able to handle your requests, or it may incur further charges. Making sure that you know what these are as an SEO is a good idea so you aren’t putting forward recommendations which have no chance of ever being implemented.
Following on from the last point above you might have different skill sets in your team to help you with different aspects. Managing this properly can give you a much easier ride.
A rough order of priority for this is fixing the crawling issues first, then onto the on-page factors, content and UX. This gives you the chance to succeed whilst the later fixes are updated and you go onto A/B testing and other extra parts.
All other fixes are pointless if you don’t actually get crawled and indexed. Make sure that you clear 404 errors, fix soft 404s and check other Google Search Console data such as canonicals and pages which you think should be indexed but aren’t.
Your title tags, meta descriptions, header tag structure and URL are the next level of priority. You’ve made sure crawlers are getting to the pages, so you can now focus on the relevancy to your chosen keywords.
Tweaks and improvements to content are important SEO factors, but they are still slightly behind the above. Make your writing natural and informative and avoid keyword stuffing. This shouldn’t have been an issue years ago, never mind now!
This is more reliant on the data you can collect from event tracking, heatmapping and A/B testing. You can go off best practices for UX when you start, but this real-world data is much more relevant to individual cases.
This may be a rough list for now but hopefully it gives you some better ideas for upcoming site fixes as well being a good base for explaining your work.