A major new study has identified that search engine optimisation (SEO) is considered by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK to be of crucial significance when it comes to their success in online commercial activity.
The research also reveals that social media such as Facebook and Twitter are also viewed by SMEs as playing a vital part in helping to optimise business success through the web.
The award-winning study – undertaken by the University of Surrey in association with accountancy firm Kingston Smith LLP – is understood to be the most extensive of its kind involving research into the views of SMEs.
Based on the opinions of more than 1,000 senior executives from businesses up and down the country, the survey also boasts the findings of 20 more intensive interviews and the comments of 13 focus groups.
When asked what was meant by business success, 89% of those surveyed said they equated the concept with improved customer satisfaction while, in each case, 86% of respondents said they viewed retaining customers and generating increased profits as indicators of such success.
The importance attributed to SEO and social media in the survey could be said to be all the more significant considering that each of these marketing techniques is cited alongside what might be seen as more conventional requirements for business success – such as the creation of a dedicated lending bank for SMEs, the securing of a competitive advantage through training and innovation and increased opportunities for the exporting of goods and services.