Google states that UK small businesses promoting themselves online are growing four times faster

The UK national press has reported on Google’s new scheme that is being tested in Liverpool, to help businesses on Merseyside to get online.  They report UK small businesses who have invested in getting a website developed and promoted online are growing four times faster than those who have not got a presence online.

Not to be confused with businesses who have internet access at their business premises, the benefits to small businesses here (according to Matt Brittin, MD of Google UK) focuses on having a website and enabling customers to find them online.  Hardly surprising for a business such as Google, where search is still a key component of their brand and services.

This move has met with a largely positive reception in Liverpool , with other UK cities due for similar support once Google has tested this process of ‘going deeper’ with businesses in one city.

Brittan said, “”It’s all about developing the ecosystem. We care about the internet’s potential to do good and we think that if we can make it a better place for businesses and consumers, the rest will follow. The UK is good at this stuff. It is the worldwide leader in e-commerce, but it is time to start thinking bigger”.

Google is certainly on a charm offensive here at the moment – the UK represents one of Googles largest advertising revenue markets.    It appears to be working with papers referring to Google as ‘lending a hand to small businesses’, conjuring images of the Mountain View company being more of  a ‘big brother’ to small businesses, rather than as the more predatory and all-encompassing business some media quarters have painted them as more recently. The ‘do no evil’ mantra seems to be coming to the fore at present, with the webs ability to achieve good cited as a main reason behind Google’s latest initiative.  This follows on Chairman Eric Schmidt’s appearance at the Edinburgh Television festival last month where he heaped praise on the British television production professionals.

Not surprising for a web marketing business such as ourselves we welcome Google’s attempts to connect with small businesses in the UK to demonstrate to them in greater depth just how important it is to get your business online.  We are able to offer our new clients free advertising on Google to get you started once we have developed or redesigned a website for you.  Advice on running and setting up pay per click advertising effectively is also proving to be important.

Contact with our customers and potential customers has suggested that whereas Google still drives more traffic than any other medium to their websites, this appears to be the case in particular where we at Harborne Web Design have paid great attention to getting the content right in the first instance, driving natural, as well as paid for, traffic to small business websites.

Initiatives by Google in conjunction with the government to help people get their small businesses online with a template-style website have met with more mixed results.  Despite being a low cost way of getting started online, traffic levels and technical knowledge still appear to have created barriers to entry, with some business owners telling us they are not happy with how their existing free web presence looks and that they feel it gives a negative impression of their business.  So we have been asked to consult with people running businesses to improve the professional image, presenatation, technical coding aspects and content of small businesses websites, particularly in and around Birmingham.