With many online retailers seeing a rise in traffic and sales over 2008 while brick and mortar stores saw sales decrease, it’s no surprise that search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the top priorities for internet retailers in the new year.

In a recent survey from Internet Retailer, 72 percent of respondents said that search engine optimization (SEO) was a top priority for them this year.

"The fact that retailers are listing site optimization as their top design objective is very telling," said David Wertheimer, director of strategy for Alexander Interactive. "It says they want to create images and write text that do a better job of making them stand out on Google and on the other major search engines."

Internet retailers also appear to be planning on adding content to their sites in the near future with 31.7 percent saying they will add blogs or forums to their site and 43.3 percent intending to add video or streaming media.

A vast majority of respondents – 82.4 percent – said they do not currently have an online community. However, 64 percent said they intend to launch a microsite or online community within the next two years.

The findings match a number of studies over the last few months that find that while traditional forms of marketing will sag in the poor economy, online marketing like search engine optimization (SEO) will see gains over the next few years.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.