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By Carl Weinschenk

A survey was released last week by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization that quantified the level at which search engine marketing is growing. The growth, the survey suggests, is especially strong among small companies.

The survey, which was conducted by IntelliSurvey, found that North American companies spent $9.4 billion on search engine marketing last year, a 62 percent increase from 2005. The firm says that spending will reach $18.6 billion by 2011.

There were a lot of interesting numbers to consider. For instance, three-quarters of advertisers say they can afford a "mild" increase in paid placements going forward. In-house SEM efforts are growing, the survey says, and it is taking budget from other marketing initiatives—especially off-line efforts.

From a small business perspective, however, the most intriguing passage in the Promotion World story was a quote from SEMPO research chair and board member Kevin Lee. He says that much of the sector's growth is being generated by startups and SMBs that have incorporated SEM into their basic business model.

It's nice to see a position that we've long held—that SEM, SEO and related activities are keys for small businesses—validated. Indeed, the survey suggests that SEM has been accepted as a core task by small businesses. It's no longer seen as the nice add-on it was perceived to be in the past.

Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.


Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.
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