Prioritising SEO Tasks with Development Teams

Prioritising SEO tasks is key to being able to get work completed by a development team in an efficient manner.

Rather than just going “we need them all done”, or “they’re all a priority”, breaking your tasks into individual priority scores can help them gauge what’s most important.

A lot of guessing is involved, but I like to think of it as educated guessing.

Let’s break down task prioritisation, and how you can better request SEO work with development teams.

The ICE score

If you haven’t heard of it before, ICE scoring gives a simple way of scoring a task 3 ways, to give it a priority.

Impact – How impactful do you think a task will be?

Confidence – How confident are you of that impact?

Ease – How easy a task will be. Essentially the effort, but a reverse score.

Similar to the RICE scoring method, but one less variable!

The ICE score allows you to essentially create a sortable list of tasks.


How to prioritise SEO tasks

You probably have a list of SEO tasks required already, and just need to prioritise them.

Give each task a score out of 10, for each of the 3 variables – Impact, Confidence, and Ease.

Then add the score up, and that is your ICE score, out of 30.

Knowing what score each item variable requires comes down to experience.

Experience in implementing tasks.

Experience in working with developers and knowing what they say to different types of tickets.

The big thing here is, that it’s just a guess!

You don’t need to be accurate.

Since all the scores are based on what you know, you’re essentially weighing up each task against each other task which is essentially what we want.

If you really have no clue about the ease of implementation for a task, then you could sit down with the devs and ask them for a hand.

Let them give you the ease scores themselves after a high-level chat about each task.

It can always be edited later, which will reprioritise the tasks.


Breaking down complex tasks into simple ones

One of the fastest ways I found to get SEO work done was to make the complex, simple.

Take the large, complex tasks, and break them down into a few tasks.

The initial task should be seen as a ‘foot in the door’ task. What is the absolute minimum amount of work required, to achieve the result, with minimal negative results?

Any other “sub-task” related to that task can be seen as upgrades.

There are so many instances where you just need to get a little piece of the overall task complete and live. Then you can either reap some rewards, or make further related tasks more attractive for a development team to pick up by simplifying them.

Lots of “simple” tasks can sometimes achieve more than a single larger task.


Working with development teams

Depending on whether you’re in-house and working with an in-house dev team, or whether you’re agency-side working with an external team, it’s not a straight task list hand-off, unfortunately.

You’ll need to work with the development team, probably a product manager, and walk them through the tasks.

You might need to “sell” them on each individual task, if they’re that picky.

It really comes down to what information you’re giving them.

Are you just giving them a straight-up list of tasks and making them go to an effort to work out specifics?

Are you flagging everything as a high priority?

Are all the tasks complex, and will take a lot of dev effort to complete?

One of the easiest ways to get SEO tasks implemented with a development team, is to become gap-fill work.

Development teams may have a 2-week sprint, and complete the work on Wednesday or Thursday. They will be looking for something quick and easy to pick up, that doesn’t require a full sprint brief.

Have gap-fill tasks ready for them, so that they can squeeze in when they need them.

Make a product/development team’s life easier, and you stand a higher chance of having your SEO work pushed through.


If all else fails – cake.


Cake is an awesome way to sweet-talk your way to the top of a task list.

Who doesn’t love cake? And who doesn’t love people that bring them cake?


SEO task prioritisation template

Want a plug-and-play ICE scoring & task prioritisation template?

Grab my SEO task prioritisation sheet with the link below;

Just copy the sheet into your own Google drive, and you will then be able to list out your tasks.

I work in a separate doc for an audit, and then link through to that from this prioritisation list.

You could just add a description column, and provide full details here, but managing images/comments is a little bit harder in sheets.


Simplify and get the job done

Getting your SEO tasks implemented can be time-consuming.

Simplify them, and not only get more done, but get more done faster.

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