New statistics show that the amount of people clicking on paid search listings is dropping as organic traffic is increasing which makes proper search engine optimization (SEO) more important than ever.

According to online analysis company Hitwise, for the four week period ending May 9, 2009, paid search traffic made up 7. 25 percent of all search engine visits. This is a 26 percent drop from the same period last year.

Heather Hopkins, senior online analyst at Hitwise, says that this decrease is "at the expense of organic traffic."

However, as Hopkins notes in a blog post on the company’s website, the number of people using search engines is not dropping, meaning more people are likely clicking on results from companies that use search engine optimization (SEO).

"Referrals from search engines continue to climb but the proportion of clicks going to sponsored or paid listings is decreasing. This is no doubt a result of cutbacks in marketing spend due to the recession."

This appears to be part of an ongoing trend as companies abandon pay per click strategies for more cost effective options like search engine optimization (SEO). A survey last month from Internet Retailer found that 55.3 percent of respondents reported plans to increase search engine optimization (SEO) spending while only 24.2 percent plan to increase their spending on paid search.

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.