Search engine optimisation (SEO) companies have been advised to limit their link building activities by an industry expert, in order to prevent Google from becoming alert to the strategy.

According to Sam Tilston, online marketing director for – an internet mail order business – such campaigns are of little use and brands would be better served by turning to "natural, high-authority website links".

He recommended that enterprises employ some journalists on their team so as to "get them to link to [them]", done through hiring "a good PR company".

Mr Tilston also stated that the search engine optimisation and PR markets appear to be merging.

"If you write a good article that gets picked up by the press, then it affects your search position," he said.

His comments follow a report by Econsultancy and Guava, which revealed that interest in the search engine marketing sphere appears to be growing, with 45 per cent of companies increasing their paid search budgets and 48 per cent indicating their return on investment in SEO has risen in the last 12 months.

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