Where to invest: Website or SEO?

Invest in website or seo
Ryan Irving

When it comes to deciding how best to invest your marketing budget, how would you know which is the best strategy for your business?

There are a plethora of marketing strategies available but the two I’d like to discuss today are creating a new website vs. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

The reason for this and the inspiration for this post came about from a conversation I had with a contact last week.

We’ll refer to her as Jane for the sake of this post.

Another of my awesome MS Paint drawings

Jane wasn’t getting any enquiries from her website and naturally, she wanted to improve that.

After meeting with a handful of digital experts, Jane was left confused.

A couple of companies recommended SEO to drive more traffic to her website and generate more leads for her business. They added that her website looked good and unless she was changing the branding, there was no need to change the website itself.

Another business said that actually, Jane needed a new website which retained some of the look and feel because she was happy with that but was built from the ground-up on better planning to encourage more conversions from the traffic she was already getting.

Given that she can’t afford both at this stage and pricing, relationship and trust aside, how on earth is Jane supposed to know where to invest her precious marketing budget?

Decide based on facts, decide based on data

Like so many digital-marketing-related challenges, the solution can often be found simply by looking at the data.

Data which is available to everyone and is free. There is no excuse for making such impactful decisions without understanding the data first.

So what ‘data’ exactly am I talking about?

To know which metrics to look at, we first need to clarify the questions we need the data to answer.

Jane needs to understand whether an SEO strategy (increasing volume of traffic to her site) or an improved website (converting more of her existing traffic) is going to get her the results her business needs.

In order for Jane to make an informed decision, she needs to understand what’s currently happening on her existing website; how much traffic does she currently get? What percentage of her website visitors are enquiring about her services?

A quick review of Google Analytics will give Jane the answer to both of these questions.

How many visitors does my website get?

To find this out, head to your analytics account and click ‘Aquisition’ in the left-hand menu and then ‘Overview’.

Google Analytics shows us the previous 7 days of data by default so next, we need to change the date range to give us a little more understanding. In the top-right, click on the date range and change to something longer like ‘last month’ or ‘last 30 days’.

In the screenshot above, we can see that a total of 1,067 people have visited Jane’s website in the past month.

We can also see that around half (569) of those people found Jane’s website via a search engine.

Jane’s company provide B2B services so, on the surface, this seems OK but not fantastic.

SEO could be an option for generating more traffic but we first need to understand how hard the current website is working to convert the existing traffic into clients.

What is the conversion rate of my website?

To figure this out we need to do a simple calculation:

(number of conversions / number of visitors) x 100  = conversion rate

Website Conversion Rate Calculation

Jane believes she receives around 2 enquiries per month on average.

We already know that her website received 1,067 visitors last month and we believe this to be a typical month.

So, with these numbers, we can use the above formula to calculate her current website conversion rate as follows:

( number of conversions / number of visitors ) x 100  = conversion rate

( 2 / 1067 ) x 100  = 0.19%

Jane’s current website is converting visitors into enquiries at a rate of 0.19%

For a service provider website, this is really, really low!

Conclusion: Website first, maybe SEO later

Just by doing some very top-level investigating, Jane is able to make an informed decision on what’s best for her business.

Jane now knows that her website already receives a sufficient amount of traffic but her website is simply not working hard enough to convert these visitors into enquiries.

This doesn’t mean that Jane should write off SEO as a strategy but it does mean that improving the conversion rate of the website should take priority.