A new survey has identified a strong commitment this year among businesses to greatly build on their investment in marketing via search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media networking sites.

The survey, by Brightedge, reveals that 72% of respondents intend increasing their SEO marketing spend in 2012, whilst 26% aim to at least maintain their spend in this area at its 2011 level.

The survey also shows that 98% of respondents intend including a social media presence as part of their marketing arsenal. 83% said they were seeking tools to help them to better interpret marketing-related data from social media to harness what they acknowledge as the latter’s power to drive search engine rankings.

Perhaps one of the most interesting findings from the survey, however, is the apparent shift in cultural attitudes towards SEO. No longer, the survey reveals, are businesses merely dipping their toe in the water of SEO. 78% of respondents said they were actively looking for professional assistance in devising a global SEO strategy. 70% of respondents say they already have SEO strategies operating in more than one country.

As Jim Yu, CAO of Brightedge, explains: ‘As enterprises and brands have developed ways to understand the value of organic search, they’re expanding their footprint.’

The survey also revealed a strong desire among respondents for increased access to sophisticated monitoring technology for their SEO activity, with maximum reliability and the capacity for expansion as and when required.