A report from MerchantCircle and Reply.com found that marketers consider SEO the one channel their business could not do without.

A report from MerchantCircle and Reply.com found that nearly one-third of marketers chose SEO when asked which marketing channel they value above all others. The company polled 2,500 marketers and found that most companies use SEO as part of a multi-channel marketing approach.

With 32.9 percent of marketers naming SEO as their most critical channel, 19.7 said most heavily rely on traditional marketing methods, such as direct mail, and 17.9 percent said none of the channels MerchantCircle named are their first choice.

Primarily, marketers enjoy the use of SEO because of its benefits on two fronts. The ability to target desired demographics with effective keyword strategies helps improve the quality of lead generation, as those landing on a website are likely looking for the type of information a business is providing.

Second, it will also improve a business’ standing as a thought leader, since SEO-friendly content marketing that boosts sites’ standing on SERPs will be informational and compelling for prospects to read.

The effectiveness of SEO campaigns is growing every day, as more businesses begin their research for new investments on search engines. Brafton reported this week that 61 percent of enterprise purchase decisions begin on search engines.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.