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Website own goal for UK’s fastest growing companies


The websites of the UK’s fastest growing companies are losing sales, according to new research from BT Business and Latitude. Analysis of the websites of the Real Business Hot 100, which tracks the country’s fastest-growing small firms by sales over the past four years, reveals that almost half (46.43%) are shutting out potential customers through missing web pages (404 error).

Despite a good sales track record, detailed analysis of the business websites found that only 84 of the Hot 100 companies had a registered website, with the remaining 16 kicking off an Internet missing persons list. Most firms are simply ignoring the opportunities of an effective web presence.

The analysis also reveals that only 3.57% of these firms, which together pulled in sales of £4.3bn and boast profits of £280m, have a search engine optimised website, indicating that more than 95% are closing the door to potential customers on the web. The study found that 9 out of 10 from the Hot 100 did not make their website easily indexable for search engines and 41.6% do not tell the search engines what their pages are about (misuse or no use of tags).

Commenting on the research, Ivan Croxford, general manager digital marketing services, BT Business, said, “These companies are top of the class for sales performance but at the bottom when it comes to capturing potential customers online. By ignoring the opportunities that the Internet brings they’re disadvantaged in the current climate and are not equipped with all the tools available to market themselves and attract and retain customers. As more and more are looking online to conduct their daily lives both personally and professionally, these businesses are really missing a trick.”

The websites were scored across a range of measures that assessed how well optimised they were, this included checking their domain settings, whether the site could be easily accessed by search engines and whether the correct meta tags are in place.

A successful site will typically feature a comprehensive review of its code structure, content and linking strategy to ensure maximum chance of appearing higher than its competitors in search rankings., the website of Claire Young, former Apprentice finalist and entrepreneur, was evaluated by the BT SearchSmart team. The findings showed that the company’s web pages were missing vital keywords and not search engine friendly. Claire has since updated her site and says; “Making some really simple changes and following the BT SearchSmart recommendations for a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign generated over 2000 targeted visitors to my website, it was a cost effective exercise that brought quick results and more potential customers.”

Notes to editors
* The survey was conducted by Latitude on behalf of BT Business and included analysis of 84 of the Real Business Hot 100 (UK’s fastest growing companies of 2008) – the other 16 had no website registered.

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About Latitude
Latitude is a leading digital marketing agency who deliver their expertise in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), social media, online display advertising, affiliate marketing and conversion analytics to clients including Tesco Personal Finance, Virgin Games and Toys R Us. Our whole approach is built on performance, and our conversion analytics expertise ensures that, once visitors get to your site, they convert from prospects to customers. We are confident that we can demonstrate a significantly better ROI on your marketing spend than you’re getting at the moment. In fact, we’re so confident that we offer many of our clients performance-based pricing,


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