Companies investing in search engine marketing are boosting their spending on value-related search terms in order to capture more web traffic and improve their conversion rates, new research shows.

According to CRM Daily, data from comScore reveals that searches including value-related keywords such as "coupons" rose by 161 per cent in December compared to the same month last year as consumers sought out bargains.

Similarly, searches containing the word "discount" also rose by 26 per cent to 7.9 million over the 12 month period.

In response, internet marketing teams have increased the amount they spend on these search terms to ensure their ads appear as sponsored links.

CRM Daily reports that spending on these keywords was up 30 per cent in the final quarter of 2008 compared to the same three months in 2007, according to figures from Google.

"Search is very much a barometer of the times," said John Burke, director of industry development at Google.

Research firm MarketingSherpa said recently that value and special offers should be at the heart of internet marketing campaigns aimed at small and medium-sized businesses in the current economic climate.

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