Almost 60 per cent of small firms in the US do not make use of search engine marketing strategies, new research has revealed.

Microsoft surveyed 400 small business owners and found that this is in spite of the majority of respondents believing that consumers carry out online searches for the product categories they are involved with.

A quarter of those polled said they thought search marketing was too complicated, with 35 per cent indicating that they would take up the services of an internet marketing agency to help them with the task.

"By investing in paid search marketing, small businesses can track online sales and determine the return on investment for their campaigns, while at the same time boosting traffic and visibility for their websites," commented director of adCenter at Microsoft Advertising Brian Boland.

Almost half of small firms that use the web to promote their offerings see their revenues increase by a fifth as a result, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

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