The research conducted by online news release and coverage monitoring company, webitpr, said that of the 101 respondents queried 99 per cent said that online presence was either important or very important.

It was also revealed that 90 per cent believed online coverage had become more vital to their clients within the last year.

Search engine optimisation (SEO), archived data and the potential reach of the internet were all cited as reasons that internet presence and online marketing had become so vital.

Chief executive of webitpr, Adam Parker said that although he believed Web 2.0 had caused many in the PR sector to sit up and take notice – the results still came as a shock.

"Not too long ago, SEO as a PR tool would have been relatively unheard of among the PR industry," he said.

"If this is a true reflection of the entire industry then it should be cause for alarm as the technology continues to move forward and the tight grip of the traditional media continues to loosen."

Earlier this week Silicon Republic suggested that in the last decade online advertising had become a primary resource for marketing for many businesses.

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