Search engine optimisation techniques such as keywords are subject to the same regulations as internet adverts, according to two industry bodies.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Office of Fair Trading have issued a set of guidelines to internet marketing services, which emphasise the fact that words used to trigger ads will be judged similarly to ad content, Pinsent Masons’ Out-Law News reports.

Furthermore, sponsored links must be in line with whatever search terms are used and the website that is generated as a result of the keyword must be in accordance with expectations created by the linking word.

Both organisations advised "firms [to] be mindful of this when purchasing – or instructing media agencies to purchase – search terms on their behalf from search engine providers".

Previous research by the FSA in 2007 discovered a widespread breach of marketing regulations throughout the financial sector – which could have been a prompt for the creation of the new industry checklist.

Marketers were recently given a professional level plan by KeywordDiscovery, which added more features and reports to its research tool.

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