While pay per click (PPC) advertising has long dominated the Web, new research shows that more businesses are using search engine optimization (SEO) practices to attract new business. On April 3, Social Media Examiner, a social media marketing firm that specializes in social media sites, revealed that 68 percent of the more than 3,500 social media marketers it surveyed indicated they were planning to increase their SEO efforts this year.

Even though this figure was down 3 percent from 2011's findings, only 43 percent of the respondents indicated that they were planning to increase their PPC advertising. In addition, the study found that this increase was not limited to a certain types of businesses.  Social Media Examiner's research found that 67 percent of business-to-business (B2B) and 62 percent of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers said they were likely to increase their SEO use.

While SEO marketing is rising in popularity, email still dominates the internet marketing landscape, according to the study. In total, 87 percent of the respondents indicated that they use some form of email marketing, 20 percent more than the percentage of social media marketers that are taking advantage of SEO.

But, studies have called into question the effectiveness of email marketing; due to low response rates and the high risk of irritating customers, some businesses have had difficulty turning on new business through this type of marketing.

By comparison, one of the reasons for the rise in popularity of keyword integration through SEO is likely its lower cost and long-term effect. For example, business owners in Minnesota can turn to a local internet marketing company that uses state-specific keywords to attract business, allowing companies to hone in on their desired geographic with greater ease.