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How SEO & Social Media Are Killing Your Conversion Rate

ATTENTION: Join us on 5/30/2013 for a FREE live webinar on Turning Likes Into Sales.

If your website isn’t generating enough leads for your business, the first thing you may attempt is to increase visitors through search engine optimization or social media marketing.

Unfortunately, this could be one of the costliest mistakes you can make.

Why would driving more traffic to your website be a waste of money, and how does it drive down your conversion rate?

Your conversion rate is simply the number of visitors who take a desired, measurable action at your website (sign up for your email newsletter, fill out your contact form, call you, etc.) divided by your total traffic.

(Um, I was told there would be no math.)

Increasing traffic to a website that doesn’t convert well—that doesn’t turn visitors into customers—is just throwing money away.  And it can decrease your conversion rates by sending even more traffic that doesn’t convert.

Improving your conversion rates

Let’s say you’re responsible for revitalizing a rundown hotel with a limited budget. If you spend all of your money on advertising you’ll probably attract more guests. However, once they arrive and see the cockroaches, smell the musty furniture and interact with your surly staff they’ll be beating a path for the door (and leaving nasty reviews on TripAdvisor.)

Instead, if you pay the exterminator, fumigate the furniture and retrain your staff, the few guests who do stay at your hotel will book again, tell their friends and give you a good write up, leading to more business.

Likewise, you should focus on improving your website before spending money on attracting more visitors.

The place you should start is with Google Analytics. Take a look at your Exit Pages report. You can find this under Content > Site Content in the left hand menu.

This will show you the last page people visited before they left your site. In a perfect world, no one would leave before filling out your contact form. Pages with high exit rate percentages are musty furniture. Either throw ‘em out or fix ‘em up.

You should also identify pages with high bounce rates. Bounce rates measure the percentage of visitors who visit only one page on your site before leaving. Bounce rates are the cockroaches of websites.

To find these cockroaches visit the “Pages” report, which can also be found in the Content > Site Content submenu. Click on the “Bounce Rate” column to re-sort the report. Look for pages with high bounce rates AND high page views to tackle first.

What’s wrong with these pages?

Are they slow loading? You can check the load time of pages on your site with Google Analytics. Just visit Content > Site Speed > Page Timings.

Is the copy persuasive? Does it focus on the needs of your ideal customer? Does it clearly explain the benefits of your product or service to your visitor? If you haven’t yet, check out The 11 Commandments of Writing Web Copy for Non-Copywriters. (Email registration may be required.)

Is the design or photography of poor quality? Confusing layout and navigation is a hurdle to lead capture. Mediocre or generic design, coupled with poor quality photography can cause trust issues between a new prospect and your business, causing people to click the back button.

Are you forgetting to ask for the sale, or not giving good direction? I’ve read great, persuasive copy before, but then reached the end of the page and wasn’t sure what to do next. Perhaps you’ve had the same experience. This is a conversion killer.

One of the simplest ways to fix this is to include a call-to-action at the bottom of Every. Single. Page. And possibly once or twice within a page if it’s warranted.

What’s a call to action? It’s simply a request for your visitor to take a desired action and help them move down the sales funnel. On websites it can often be a link that leads them to another page, your contact form or other lead capture tool.

Once you create your calls to action, especially if they send visitor to a contact form, you can configure Google Analytics Goals to track your conversion rate. This will provide even more insight to where your highest converting traffic is coming from.


To improve your conversion rates, the first thing you should do is improve your website. Use Google Analytics to uncover underperforming pages and address those pages first.

Measure your success by configuring Google Analytic Goals for all your lead capture opportunities. 

Once you see improvement in your conversion rates, you’re ready to invest time and money in search engine optimization and social media marketing, and start driving more qualified traffic to your site.

If you’d like a website review, or help improving your conversion rates, please contact flyte new media today.