On June 13, Google Websites will be one year old. It was created to satisfy the needs of the very small business to have an easy, fast mobile website.
In that time Google has managed to have had at least 2.2 million of the sites built. Given that Google also allows a business to purchase a domain name for these sites, and my measurements solely count the sites at business.site, the number is likely higher.
2.2 million is double the number that was reported in December and reflects a very consistent, steady growth of over 6000 new sites per day. Day in and day out for over a year and it really does add up quickly.
For a period in the first quarter of this year it appeared that growth had slowed but that was apparently temporary and over the past 3 months growth has again resumed.
The product was clearly created to serve the developing world and it is there that Google is seeing the most uptake. Four of the five countries with the most sites are in the developing world. During that period India stayed in the lead with 173% growth to 536,000 sites. Mexico jumped into 5th place growing an astounding 572% growth to almost 74,000 sites during the period.
For whatever reason, most of South and Central America have not seen the growth rates of Asia. Brazil which is an obvious and large market (pop. 207 million) saw only a 60% growth rate. So one has to wonder what Google did in Mexico to precipitate such a jump. (If anyone has an idea, let me know.) I doubt that the growth occurred without some intense promotional efforts somewhere in the supply chain.
|Country||Dec ’17 Total Pages||May ’18 total Pages||Increase since Dec.|
While the product is largely targeted at the “next billion” users of the developing world, uptake in Europe and the US has been consistent if not as great as India or Indonesia. When viewing Europe as a monolithic block it saw 111% growth over the past 6 months to 288,330 sites, putting them as a whole in third place behind India and Indonesia
|Country||May ’18 total Pages|
The product is ideal for the business that is just getting started and isn’t planning on building a full blown website and has perhaps just built a Facebook page. With the near zero organic reach of a Facebook page these days, it is arguable that a business in that category would actually do better with just a Google Website if they were to choose but one. In the US at least, Google has not aggressively targeted this population of very small businesses.
I recently explored two such new(ish) businesses in my community, The Spot to Be and Allegheny Adventures. While both of them had taken the time to create Facebook pages neither had even bothered to add their listing to Google Maps which I did do for them this past week.
If my anecdotal experience is any indication most of the new small businesses in the US, at least, have not gotten the memo. So while Google may offer these businesses better exposure to new customers, if these businesses don’t take the time or know about the need to create a listing, little will come of it.
It is tempting to compare Google’s Website’s effort to Facebook’s 80 million small business pages. On the one hand it is somewhat of an apples and oranges comparison as many SMBs use the GMB for their listing. That might make a better comparison although one that Google is still likely to lose if you are just counting heads.
On the other hand you might argue that given the significant and often free value that Google provides to the these very small businesses, that the deficit could be viewed as the possible upside for Google. And one that could be overcome with Google’s increasing communication efforts.Google Websites Passes 2 Million Websites Nearing its First Anniversary by Mike Blumenthal