Local Media presents vSplash audit of 100,000 UAE SMB websites at Gitex 2012
- United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, October 16 - 2012 at 16:52
- PRESS RELEASE
Local Media, the Dubai-based company offering online and directory listings and a one-stop shop for business search and media services, in partnership with vSplash, is presenting the findings of the first quarterly audit of UAE small and medium-sized business (SMB) websites during Gitex 2012.
Highlights from the audit show:
- Two-thirds of websites do not have a contact form or address on the homepage;
- More than 90% have no video content embedded;
- More than 90% have no links to social media platforms;
- More than 80% have no local address on the website;
- Practically no websites are mobile ready or have a shopping cart.
UAE media reported an estimated 200,000 SMBs operating in the UAE; and more than 80% of private sector companies in the UAE in the small to medium class; the UAE Ministry of Economy reported that in 2011, 60% of UAE GDP was generated by SMBs.
Additional findings from the current audit included:
- The state of UAE SMB websites is substandard - a preponderance of websites do not even meet a minimal level of robustness and do not follow accepted best practices.
- In spite of the explosive growth in social and mobile platforms, most SMB websites are barely scratching the surface of these two important realms.
- SMB websites are hugely sub-optimized from an SEO standpoint, costing businesses critical organic search rankings.
- SMB websites do not provide users with a satisfying, supportive experience.
According to Local Media, the indications for UAE SMBs are potentially serious, as these website deficiencies clearly take an economic toll on SMBs.
Andrew Thomas, managing director of Local Media, commented, "On the whole, SMBs in the UAE are simply not leveraging the web the way they should be. Given the web deficiencies, a key question will be whether it is even worth 'fixing' a subpar website, or whether it makes more sense simply to create a new website. This question will need to be resolved by individual SMBs and their service providers. It is a critical question for Dubai and the wider UAE, which aims to develop a knowledge economy and is already successfully attracting new companies to the country and supporting local start-ups, especially across the many free zones. With online and social media growing strongly in the region, these SMBs risk falling behind their own customers."
Local Media and SMB DigitalScape
SMB DigitalScape by vSplash is a powerful data collection and analysis engine that gauges the state of SMB digital media and commerce. Local Media is the exclusive distributor of SMB DigitalScape data in the UAE. The current audit analysed six criteria in assessing the state of SMB websites in the UAE including robustness, discoverability, social, localisation, mobile and ecommerce. These criteria are defined as follows:
- Robustness - Adherence to numerous standards and best practices and key functions and content affecting usability and user experience, such as contacts, contact form.
- Discoverability - Key features that drive the SEO performance of the website, measures Google page rank.
- Social - Identifies links, widgets for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, presence on YouTube, Foursquare and other leading sites; looks for presence of video embedded in website.
- Localization - Looks for markers that tell search engines (and users) that this is a local business (local phone number, address, map); audits website presence in key local directories, including Google Places, online directories; checks for consistency in SMB listings information.
- Mobile - Assesses website's optimization for discovery and display on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices; looks for auto-redirect when mobile optimized site exists.
- Ecommerce - Identifies the ecommerce capabilities on a website.
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