Nearly-three quarters of SMBs will have social media marketing campaigns in place by 2012, and half will employ SEO to boost business.

Small businesses are taking to the web to market products and services, and in 2011 it seems they will be investing in search engine optimization and social media marketing. The latest American Express OPEN Small Business Search Marketing survey reveals that search and social channels are increasingly priorities for SMB marketers.

The survey found that nearly half of SMBs have social media marketing campaigns in place (44 percent), and 28 percent currently use SEO tactics to boost their rankings in natural results. Both of these channels will see gains in 2011, as 29 percent of respondents say they plan to add social and 22 percent will add SEO to their marketing techniques.

This means that nearly-three quarters of SMBs will have social media marketing campaigns in place by 2012, and half will employ SEO to boost business. The competition in this realm will really be heating up – demonstrating significant progress from 2009, when eMarketer reported that only 38 percent of small businesses had a company website (compared to 86 percent at present).

Intensifying competition means marketers – with businesses of all sizes – will want to consult experts to give their brands an edge this year. In fact, as Brafton has already reported, the American Express survey found that 56 percent of SMBs want help with search marketing. Brands seeking SEO assistance should kill two birds with one stone and also ask about ways to integrate their search marketing with social media. As Google's Matt Cutts says, social media marketing will enhance SEO efforts this year.

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.