Companies are continuing to invest in search marketing through the recession but many are still in need of assistance when it comes to optimising their sites and improving the performance of their landing pages, a new survey has found.

The poll by predictive marketing firm [x+1] found that 65.4 per cent of firms intend to maintain or increase their spending on search engine marketing (SEM) in 2009 compared to 2008, with 13.1 per cent planning to increase their investment by over 20 per cent.

Another 48.6 per cent of companies said the economic downturn had not affected their SEM budget.

However, while 20 per cent of those questioned gave SEM a high rating for driving traffic and increasing conversions, less than one-quarter (21 per cent) were happy with their organisation’s ability to optimise their site for keywords and to channel searchers to their landing pages.

Furthermore, only 23 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with their capacity to continuously improve their landing pages’ performance in response to keyword searches.

These firms could benefit from using online marketing services provided by a dedicated search engine optimisation company, the report said.

David Dalka of Search Engine Watch recently commented that quality search engine optimisation can "dramatically transform" a company’s profitability.

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