Introducing SIINDA's Digital Sandbox, a new blog series

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SME Websites in Europe are not very good, and we have the research to prove it!This post is the first in a series of blog posts that will highlight key findings from the 2018SIINDA Landscape study which looked at almost 40,000,000 data points across eightcountries and 400,000 SMEs to provide insight into the quality of their online presence.Subsequent posts will focus on SEO, Social Media and the six industry sectors included inthe study.
The study used Silktide’s proprietary technology to look at the critical areas of Websitebuild quality, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) factors and Social Media presence. Thesefactors all impact the “discoverability” of SMEs and their engagement with new andexisting customers.
This first post focuses on only three data points that highlight SMEs lack of involvementwith their websites: Use of Analytical Tools, Frequency of Updating, and MobileOptimisation.
With the dominance of Google search, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple it is vital thatbusinesses have correctly built and optimised websites and that their presence on socialmedia is meant to ensure their visibility where customers are searching.
1. 60% of websites across Europe do NOT have an analytics tool to understand visitorbehaviour on their site.
A basic Marketing course will tell you to understand your customers and what motivatesand interests them, but this seems to be lost on many SMEs. After investing money inbuilding a website it only makes sense to determine if there is an ROI associated with itin terms of visitors and conversions. A business owner might say “it doesn’t work for me”but how do they know?
Even the most basic information such as where site visitors come from, what words theysearched for, and what pages did they view, is all lost without analytics. Businesses aremissing an opportunity to find ways to engage and capture new customers.

Germany’s ranking at the bottom of the list, with only 31% of the sites studied havinganalytics, is particularly surprising when considering their position as one of the mostdeveloped internet markets in Europe. One would have expected them to be one of thehighest on the list.
2. 71% of websites have not been updated within the previous 60 days, and 46% of themhave not been updated in over a year.Websites are an extension of a physical location and are often the first and most frequenttouch point for a brand, meaning updates are of utmost importance to a consumer. It ishard to imagine that a business cannot say something new at least once a month. Simpleexamples that a company could do are highlighting promotions, new products, openinghours, completed jobs and testimonials.
Not updating indicates that many businesses are not fully engaging with their website as a"living" marketing tool. Why they are not thoroughly engaging is more challenging todetermine. It could be that they do not have the time or training to make the changes orthe person building the site did not explain the importance of updates.
A lack of fresh content can be a handicap when trying to improve organic ranking onsearch engines. "Active" websites with frequently refreshed, and relevant contentgenerally rank better on search engines.

3. More than 37% of websites analysed are NOT optimised for mobile phones or tablets.Despite a barrage of coverage about the increased number of searches on mobile phonesand Google's statements about using mobile optimisation as a significant ranking factor –some businesses still have not got the message.
Going back as far as a research study in 2012, Think with Google highlighted that 50%said that even if they liked a business, customers would use them less often if the site wasnot mobile optimised.
In looking at the data, we see that Switzerland and Ireland have got the message with74% of the sites in each country being mobile optimised. However, Czechia and Slovakiaare both considerably behind and drag down the overall European average.
Mobile phone penetration does not account for this difference so some other factors mustbe in play.

It is possible that many of these are older sites and have not been built using responsivedesign which most modern website building software has as a default feature. To checkthis theory, we looked at the various CMS/Website builders used in those markets. Itturns out that only 21% in Czechia and 30% in Slovakia used any of the 200 mostcommon website builders compared to a European average of 42%. While it is probably adream to reach 100% mobile optimisation, using any of the most common websitebuilders would significantly increase this number.
SummaryWhat emerges from just these three data points is that many businesses are not evenmanaging the basics of their online presence. It seems as if they believe building thewebsite is enough, but in a world that relies heavily on accessibility on a variety ofdevices and not just computers, this mindset has become obsolete.
A big problem is without Analytics they do not know how many customers they aregenerating from their site and, more importantly, how many customers they are losing.Many studies have cited that business owners lack the time and the skill to manage theironline presence. This knowledge is a real opportunity for digital agencies to not just buildan online presence but to also build a plan that actively engages the business with theironline presence. Utilising service calls to add content such as images or testimonialswould be a simple way to start. Google Analytics and other tools can also broaden thediscussion on what actions can help business leverage their online presence.
Many business owners use Facebook in their private lives and are aware of the ease ofupdating via desktop or app. They are, therefore, more comfortable with the basics of
posting business information and there is also the immediate feedback of "Likes","Shares", and "Comment". The same is not often true for websites which are seen as morecomplicated to update and manage. Creating a process – either DIY or a DIWM – for thecustomer and educating them on the importance of these actions is even more critical forany digital agency to retain customers.
While almost every business owner knows they need a website, there is a great deal ofeducation needed so business owners can learn how their online decisions can help orhurt their business.
To participate in the SIINDA Landscape survey and evaluate your market please contact. SIINDA support is available for SIINDA members.

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