SEO an Issue for Small-Business Websites: BIA/Kelsey

The report also found the vast majority of SMB Websites are not compatible with mobile devices and will not render successfully on smartphones.

Many small and midsize business Websites are not as effective from a search engine optimization perspective as they should be in order to be found, according to SMB DigitalScape, a data collection and analysis engine developed by digital media and commerce solutions provider vSplash that gauges the state of SMB digital media and commerce. Deficiencies found on SMB Websites include lack of meta titles, privacy policies and keywords.

SMB DigitalScape reports that 74.7 percent of SMB Websites lack an email link on their home page for consumers to contact the business, and 65.7 percent of SMB Websites lack a form-fill option to enable consumers to request information. Additionally, 93.3 percent of these Websites are not mobile-compatible, and will not render successfully on mobile devices or smartphones. The latest analysis from SMB DigitalScape also indicates six out of 10 SMB Websites in the U.S. are missing either a local or toll-free telephone number on the home page to contact the business.

"The data coming out of the SMB DigitalScape engine certainly point to considerable market opportunity for SMB marketers and aggregators, as many SMB Websites today are deficient across multiple dimensions," said Steve Marshall, director of research with BIA/Kelsey. "As you go through the data, it becomes pretty clear that while the world is shifting to a social, local, mobile€”or SoLoMo€”orientation, most SMBs are just not there yet."

Along with the release of the latest, report, vSplash and IT research firm BIA/Kelsey announced a strategic partnership for the distribution of SMB DigitalScape data in the U.S. It has analyzed more than 1 million SMB Websites around the world in 14 countries, including 700,000 in the U.S.

A gap exists between attitudes toward social media and investment in social media among small businesses, a recent study by the Software & Information Industry Association found. The report, "Marketing in Today's Economy,€ the first SIIA publication to gather business-to-business sales and marketing tactics from industry executives, focused on their companies' use of email, mobile marketing and social media to build their brands, gain leads and improve customer support.

About 90 percent of marketing executives surveyed use social media marketing, and three quarters believe it has a positive impact on their business. At the same time, slightly more than half (54.5 percent) of the respondents said their company's marketing team spends less than 10 hours per week investing in social media. And further, 35 percent said they spend only one to five hours per week on social media marketing.