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The field of search engine optimisation (SEO) continues to expand as more companies invest in attracting the UK’s ever-growing online market.

According to estimates from Econsultancy, SEO in the UK marketplace was worth £436 million  in 2010, up 16% from 2009.

Ofcom Communications Market report show there has been a distinct increase in the amount of people who spend their time searching for and downloading relevant online content for personal use.

UK online trends

UK internet users now spend up to seven hours a day on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, with 30% of smartphone users using social media apps to stay connected.

Today, social media represents the second-most popular online activity, falling only slightly behind sending and receiving emails.

With linking and sharing such an important aspect of search marketing, those figures illustrate a huge SEO opportunity, and hint at the sheer amount of hours individuals spend online.

Traditional marketing down

It appears that businesses investing in offline and traditional forms of marketing channels such as TV or print media are now adjusting their budgets and campaign strategies to focus more on Search Engine Optimisation, with SEO and paid search campaigns becoming the larger focus for most companies due to the increasing importance of search and the level of performance.

“The focus has been cutting back on main media advertising, direct marketing and below-the-line activities and reallocating that money toward sales promotions and the internet, both of which are often cited as a means to quickly grow sales,” Chris Williamson, chief economist and author of the Bellwether Report, said in a release.

SEO benefits

Employing search engine optimisation campaigns for any business requires the commitment and agility to develop an engaging and dynamic site that consistently produces fresh and valuable content that retains existing readership and successfully engages with new visitors.

Companies need to focus and work on their on-and-off-page optimisation strategies to boost their search engine result rankings while maintaining a commitment to quality, reader-friendly content.

Measurable return, increased conversions

Paid search and SEO techniques backed up by high-quality website content gives businesses and organisations the best chance to capitalise on increased search activity.

That increased activity represents a burgeoning market that many companies are yet to tap, while the easy application of metrics and analytics to the field enables marketing departments and agencies to closely follow where they achieve the most success, and adapt their search marketing approach accordingly.

By concentrating on quality as well as the science of search, there are also knock-on branding benefits as goodwill is developed and websites become trusted, go-to destinations.

“Overall, the natural search market continues to thrive in the UK, as SEO has been shown to be a shrewd long-term investment which delivers a measurable return by driving traffic and increasing conversations,” says Econsultancy’s 2011 SEO Agencies Buyer’s Guide.

“It is also often said to have additional benefits for organisations, such as aiding branding and online visibility.”

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