5 reasons why websites still matter to local search in 2017

Why are we still having this discussion? Because data show that a surprising number of businesses still don’t have a website. Surveys from as recently as October 2016 find that close to half of all small businesses don’t have a website, and it’s not just solo work-from-home moonlighters, either.

Specifically, a Capital One survey of 400 small businesses  — its Fall 2016 Small Business Barometer Survey — found that only 56 percent have a company website. And only 53 percent of those were mobile-optimized. In other words, fewer than 30 percent of businesses surveyed had a mobile-optimized website.

Further, there is a fair argument that websites are no longer as effective in the local market. Technology and cost certainly are no longer barriers given the availability of subscription options for even the least sophisticated users and slick DIY platforms for those who don’t want to hire a freelancer or agency. Instead, the challenge is that websites must compete for relevance in a market with many other media platforms — social media sites, directories and review sites — that are often viewed as proxies for the face of the franchise.

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