Spending on search engine marketing (SEM) will be unaffected by the wider economic slowdown as firms attempt to deliver greater financial returns on their online strategies, according to a new study.

Data from E-consultancy suggests that over 60 per cent of companies expect to pay more for both paid search and organic search engine optimisation (SEO) during 2008.

Nine per cent of companies polled spend over £1 million on paid search a year, while 16 per cent of firms spend at least £50,000 on SEO during the same period.

Lucy Cokes, manager of study sponsor Neutralise, suggests that increased spending is indicative of firms realising that investment is needed to drive online sales.

She said: “It is fantastic to see a greater understanding of the benefits of a well managed search marketing campaign and budgets being increased accordingly across both paid and organic search.”

Google was ranked overwhelmingly in first place for providing a return on investment, with 89 per cent of respondents claiming the search engine delivered the highest traffic quality.
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