Consumers can’t find smaller shops online, as start-ups urged to improve SEO

Established brands appear to dominate online listings with three in five consumers believing online searches favour the bigger stores

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UK small businesses and start-ups are being urged to improve their SEO as consumers can’t find them online, according to a report by 123 Reg.

A survey of 1,098 UK adults revealed that three in five believe that online searches favour bigger, established brands – forcing independent shops to lose out on potential custom.

Birmingham and Manchester were shown to favour bigger brands the most – as just one fifth of all shops and services searched in these city centres were small businesses.

In contrast, four in ten of the businesses listed online in Glasgow and Sheffield city centres were independent stores.

According to further research using Google AdWords Discovery, independent DIY stores, bike shops and coffee shops are more likely to edge out their larger competitors online, while smaller pharmacies and bookshops still have work to do in order to achieve a better search ranking.

Nick Leech, digital director at 123 Reg, said:

“Much like the modern UK high-street, the online high-street has become all too similar, largely because bigger businesses outperform small independents in local SEO. Small businesses have a tough fight on their hands to compete with the big boys, but there are easy ways for them to win.

“The key is to be visible wherever people are searching, and for this you need to have a good search engine ranking and ensure you are included in all the relevant local directories.”

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