Businesses who want to attract people to their website will struggle without search engine optimisation (SEO), according to one expert.

A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has suggested that SEO and online advertising is vital to business and companies should not rely on customers stumbling upon their site.

David Thorp, director of research and information at the FSB said: "Investment in search engine optimisation is vital and without it most businesses will struggle to generate the traffic needed to justify its creation and maintenance."

He added that although many people were familiar with the term "Google it" it was important for businesses to do all they could to optimise their online presence.

"Although there will always be those who accidentally stumble across your website, if you are looking to attract new customers you need to invest in search engine optimisation to drive customers to your website."

A recent survey conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau found that 66 per cent of the adult population of Great Britain had internet access.

It also estimated that online advertising in the UK was valued at £2,015.8 billion for 2006 – an estimated 11.4 per cent of the advertising industry.

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