Businesses which are not achieving first-page status on a search engine are in need of optimisation, according to one expert.

Shane Mathews, business researcher at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, says that not enough companies are aware of how important search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing (SEM) can be.

Speaking to the Courier Mail Mr Mathews said: "If you’re not on the first page, you are nowhere."

He adds that small businesses in particular could be losing out to their competitors simply because they do not know how best to use SEO and SEM.

The newspaper also states that this is backed up by Silvio Ferrero, an Australian Google Adwords specialist who states that the search engine represents a great way for new businesses to conduct market research.

"I would go out and advertise with Google Adwords and within a couple of weeks I’d have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t and if there is a market or there isn’t a market," he said.

Last month a spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses said SEO and SEM were "vital" for business and that companies should not rely on visitors stumbling upon their site.

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