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(This is the transcript from our new video so it may not read as well as a normal blog post would)
Hello. My name is Aleyda Solis. I am an international SEO consultant and I am happy, delighted to be able to share with you today about actionable recommendations.
Why actionable recommendations? Well, as a consultant, I find that sometimes the most critical part of my job is not necessarily identify the issues. It’s to actually recommend them to take certain actions to improve the initial situation, the situation that we have found in order to grow and achieve results, these actions that I have defined in order to achieve the goals we have for the process or the project.
I’m pretty sure that this is also an issue not only for SEOs, but digital marketers in general and for agencies and consultants, independent consultants and even in house specialists that need to get things going.
So one of the things that we can do in order to improve the situation and make it much easier to get the support, internal support and then also the actionability of our recommendations is to specify them in a way that it is fairly easy to understand and to establish certain elements and factors to help with an execution. And what I have found is that replying to the typical W questions, the what, why, where, who and when, this really, really, really helps.
So what I do is, first I do the outage, I identify certain elements that can be improved, certain areas. I recommend, I specify the recommendations and the actions and after I do this with every area, element, etc. that has an influence in the process that we’re executing, what I do is a summary of them with a table like this.
In this table, I specify each recommendation. Like for example if I had seen that the site has an issue. So I specify here the recommendation, the action. So to fix equalisation or optimise titles with relevant keywords, for example, include href line annotations because maybe the site is targeting to an international audience. However, they are not including href line annotations to specify the different versions.
So I start specifying each one of the actions or recommendations that I have provided and then I assign an importance. This is not an absolute but a relative importance to each one of these recommendations based on the type of impact they usually have in the activity happening. In this case, it’s an SEO type of product. So here, canon equalisation might be high. Titles might be high. This might be medium because it doesn’t necessarily affect directly the rankings.
You will assign here a relative importance and the status that you found. For example, here, fix canon equalisation maybe has . . . it was not at all implemented. Maybe older pages are canon equalising to the homepage or to certain categories or not to the right URLs, etc. And really, it’s directly affecting the indexation of this page so that the status that you have found is very low.
It’s very low implement, very low optimised. Here, optimisation, maybe it’s medium. Maybe it’s not all of the titles that have the issue. It’s not about really improving the much but just tweaking the titles a little bit. And then the status was, again, medium, maybe not so bad.
And then specify which areas are the ones that need to be changed or where you need to implement the actual actions because maybe if this is happening on the blog or certain obscure areas of the site, that really they are not highly visited, they don’t play a key role in the conversion path. They are not highly used by the visitors, maybe the priority for this will not be the number one.
So here the area maybe it’s the blog, maybe these are product pages or very important pages, the homepage and main categories. Based on all this and how critical it would be and how much growth we can expect from them, I will setup priority and expected priority, ideal priority based on what you have found.
For example, this priority for me is number one. It’s definitely the first thing that should be implemented in the process. Maybe this one is number two or number three or whatever you have found based on this other criteria of importance that is in the areas that are affected.
And once you set the priorities, they’re like, “Okay, I wish we can start with this . . .” Actually, what is needed to do this? So do you need technical support or is it also content, not only technical, technical and content. So you are likely needing support of stakeholders in the process, not only one person. So it’s important to specify those.
Sometimes it’s about, “Oh, we thought we were only changing the technical elements, not also the content elements,” but it turns out that you need to touch many things and you also need to get involved with not only content people but promotion people or PR people, etc. So it’s important to specify for each type of granular action. The best is to specify as much as possible and go very granular for each one of these types of actions and the type of person you will need to get support from.
Then based on that it’s like, “Okay, I can see the technical area or content resources that I will need,” so, then you will say, “Okay, so this is the person who’s going to be in charge is maybe Anna or this is Ben or this is X or Y.” So you know who directly you will likely need to go and get in touch with maybe. It tells you, “Look, it’s not person A but person B who’s also in charge or also involved in this particular area.”
And after all of this is assessed and you get the support and you are in touch with the person in hand there, the person in charge, they can tell you, “Okay, Aleyda, I can see based on your priorities this action here is very important. It’s very critical. It should be the first one, ideally. But because of the type of resources and the type of restrictions and because of the activities that the person in charge has at the moment, unfortunately the date of execution could not be today. It should be next week.” I wish it was everything like this.
So next week, so you put here the day, the month, the year, whatever here that you will be able to execute when you will be able to execute this, the recommendation and then for these older, maybe they tell you, “I have seen that for these ones, since this is not only technical but also technical and content, we can go ahead with the content part, for which you will need to collaborate with this other person and this other person has a very non-busy schedule and pre-scheduled.” So you will be able to implement that today.
So like this, you will be able to balance with the appropriate person the priorities to see how this fits with their actual schedule and how do they relate with your actual priority and how critical they are to get the things going. Based on this, you will be able to establish a calendar and establish actionable types of activities in a project management type of environment to get things going to specify the appropriate elements based on when they are going to be actually implemented.
So this helps a lot because you can see it’s the what, why, where, who, when right here, very easy to follow. Everybody is involved. If at some point you don’t get the support to implement something, it will be shown right here. If you haven’t been able to implement something for a long time, it is going to be shown right there. So really, for actionability I have found this to be really, really useful and hopefully it will be useful for you too.
This is going to be one of the aspects that I will cover in my next conference at Brighton SEO, where I will be sharing tips, tools, and advice in general to make your SEO audit and recommendations and it is really easy to identify opportunities and also drive change with them. Actionability is one of these big factors.
Thank you very much for the opportunity. Hopefully it is useful to you. If you have any comments, tips, anything that you would like to share, just let me know. I am @Aleyda on Twitter. Thank you very much.