Nearly half of small businesses could be missing out on their share of the growing online market due to poor knowledge of search engines.
A new report from Fasthosts shows that 49 per cent of small firms fail to submit their company’s websites to search engines.
Two-thirds of internet users told researchers that they only look at the first two pages of their online search results, Fasthosts said, meaning that many companies will never be discovered online.
Consumers spent over £19bn online for goods and services last year, and businesses that are not visible online are losing valuable revenue, the report warns.
The volume of online sales is expected to grow by 36 per cent this year, according to the Interactive Media Retail Group (IMRG).
"No business can afford to be invisible online, yet too many small businesses are," Fasthosts chief executive Andrew Michael said.
"I was amazed to see that small firms are not considering how much they personally use search engines when it comes to the importance of ranking for their own company. If you are not listed on Google, your website might as well not be online."
The study found that 89 per cent of internet users ranked Google as their search engine of choice.