The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will expand its remit next year to include search marketing services, it has been reported.

According to Econsultancy's Andrew Girdwood, although organic search results and user-generated content will still be outside the ASA's boundaries, it could still investigate search engine optimisation activities that may breach advertising guidelines.

One scenario suggested by Mr Girdwood that could draw the attention of the regulator would be undisclosed paid-for links, for example from bloggers, that could improve a domain's search engine results ranking.

He explained: "The ASA wants to ensure that paid-for links and other promotions are disclosed in such a way that the average consumer can see the relationship between blogger and advertiser."

Continuing, the expert speculates that the number of complaints about such promotions could see a huge increase next year after the ASA takes up its responsibilities in March.

The ASA has a mandate to ensure that marketers in the UK are not misleading the public in their campaigns across all media, including internet, TV and print promotions.

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