In an increasingly digital age and a slowly recovering economic climate, consumers like to do their homework online to find the best deals before buying. In fact, a report by Forrester Research shows that 70 percent of U.S. consumers research products online before making purchasing decisions.

With this in mind, businesses should remember the value of search engine optimization in getting their listings viewed by prospective clients. Moreover, American marketers may be interested to know this is already a top consideration for a number of their international competitors.

In a trend that could cross the pond, a recent survey conducted by eConsultancy shows that UK businesses are increasingly allocating their marketing dollars toward SEO. According to the UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report, the proportion of companies planning to increase their SEO spending in the next year has jumped substantially, with 60 percent of firms anticipating increased SEO budgets.

Nearly half of the respondents (47 percent) say they will increase their SEO spending by up to 20 percent within the next 12 months. Another 8 percent claim they will increase their SEO budgets by more than 100 percent over the course of the next year.

U.S. business owners are likely already on their way to boosting SEO budgets in 2010. According to a study released by Practical eCommerce last month, more than 95 percent of business owners believe SEO is important for their enterprises.

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.