ICE Score: Decision and Prioritization Framework

Today I’m talking about my favorite speaker at CM SEO, Jared Codling.

He’s my favorite not only because of the substance of his talk but also his messaging. 

He’s a funny guy, who knows his shit, and doesn’t hold anything back.

To get a clear picture of who he is, go check out his old site that he used for consulting:

The main thing he covered was a decision-making framework called ICE.

See, Jared is a growth hacker. 

Growth hackers aren’t typically SEOs, so he views internet marketing differently than us.

Which I love.

ICE stands for:

Impact - how much impact will this have on your business?

Confidence - how confident are you that this change will help your business?

Ease - how easy is it to implement?

You score each of these on a scale of 1 - 10. 


Score of 1 means little to no impact.

Score of 10 means high impact i.e. big boost in revenue.


Score of 1 means you have no idea if it’s going to work or not.

Score of 10 means that you sure as shit know it will work. 


Score of 1 means it’s hard to implement.

Score of 10 means it’s easy to do. 

There are a million things to do at any given time to ~potentially~ improve your website. 

In the beginning, this is fairly easy for us SEOs. 

  • Write content. 
  • Build links.

But what about after that?

Internal link audit?


Start capturing emails?

Sell info products?

Update content?

Digital PR?

The list goes on and on.

And if you’re like me, you get overwhelmed.

Then you overthink.

Then never get anything done thanks to paralysis by analysis.


ICE allows you to systematically and objectively decide where you should focus your efforts for the next week, month, quarter, or year.

Get a list of your ideas and assign a score of 1 - 10 for each letter mentioned above, and then whatever has the highest sum…


Once done, you come back to the drawing board to figure out what to implement next. 

I believe the best way to teach someone is by showing, so let’s give an example:

My Sh*t Affiliate Site

One of our sites got hit by the September HCU.

And I mean bad. 

Like wtf. 

Went from making $30,000 a month to $10,000.

No bueno.

So what actions do we take? 

Well, I came up with a few.

  1. Build more links
  2. Update content
  3. Add images and improve user experience

My ICE grading looks like this: 

1. Build more links

I gave this a low impact and confidence score with a high effort to implement.


This site is a DR 60 and juiced up. 

I really don’t think links are the issue here. 

Also, we don’t have a link building team for this site so the effort to get one built is high/medium. 

2. Update content

This is the winner due to the high impact it would have along with my confidence in it. 

However, the ease of implementation (effort) is pretty low.

See, the Helpful Content Update was all about… well… de-ranking sites that weren’t helpful.

Looking at our site with an objective lens, it’s clear that this didn’t fit the bill and content needs to be updated.

I’m highly confident that updating our content will bring back our rankings. 

And if we can get those back, the impact is moving from $10,000 per month back to $30,000.

That takes the sites value from ~$350,000 to $1,000,000. 

$20,000 per month might not seem like a big impact for big brands, but it is for affiliate sites.

Now, the effort is high here because we have to rewrite 100+ articles.

Not only that, we have to retrain writers to our new standards, update templates, etc. 

It won’t be easy, but again, it’s the clear winner.

3. Add images and improve user experience

This is a close second. 

We don’t have any images on the site and I’m sure this is hurting the user experience. 

People are visual and LOVE seeing products before buying. 

I’m pretty dang confident that adding these to our reviews would give us a boost.

However, I’m not that confident on the impact it would have on the business. 

Images are great. 

But people are reading your article and thus your words need to be your focale point.

Updating your words will go farther than adding images, IMO. 

I also gave this a medium effort rating because I don’t want us using stock images.

I don’t think that shit helps. 

I’d much rather get custom images that show purchasing factors.

If you’re writing about running shoes and are recommending a product, don’t just paste a generic product photo that you grabbed…

Show them images of buying concerns and factors.

  • The elevation of the heel. 
  • The texture. 
  • Etc.

That being said, custom images are harder to get than stock photos. 

And definitely take longer. 

We would need to get products shipped to us.

Do some staging. 

And take photos. 

Not as easy as hitting “right click + save”, but I do think it could be worthwhile.

Just not right now. 

- - 

There you have it! 

The ICE prioritization framework.

Big shoutout to Jared for turning me onto this. 

And thanks for the great talk.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

P.S. No framework is perfect. Test it out. See if it helps. 

And stop using it if it doesn’t. 

Keep using it if it does. 

This is not a silver bullet to your business.