Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a "necessary marketing practice" for brands which want to succeed, an expert has stated.

Jeannette Kocsis, vice-president for digital marketing with promotions firm Harte-Hanks, made her comments to eMarketing & Commerce online magazine, suggested that any company which relies on the internet for its leads or sales will be aware of the importance of ranking highly.

She suggested social media has begun to affect search engine results, partly thanks to blogs and other user-generated content linking to websites or appearing at the top of search engine results themselves.

Those seeking to promote their websites effectively as social media becomes increasingly important should ensure their online presence offers a good user experience and accessible content, Ms Kocsis continued.

"Marketers should keep in mind the basics of search engine optimization and social search, monitor industry developments to understand search influences and provide a good website user experience to help deliver excellent user reviews," she urged.

Recently, Matt Bailey, founder of online marketing consultancy SiteLogic, commented that marketers looking to spread brand awareness through social networks must participate and not just advertise.

He said it is important firms which want to use social media contribute opinions and discussions if they are to avoid making users feel "violated".