This month's edition of Internet Retailer magazine features a survey that shows just how important search engine marketing has become. The reason? It's all about sales. Over 30% of online retailers surveyed said search marketing brings in more than 50% of their online sales. For virtual (online-only) merchants, the numbers were even more pronounced -- more than 40% said they got over half their sales from search marketing. This chart demonstrates: The popularity of search marketing shows no signs of lessening. Over 80% report that they will spend more or at least the same on paid search advertising. And the majority will be taking action to improve their natural search rankings, too. This is an important trend and one of the reasons I write from time to time about search marketing. Although the survey was taken by businesses of all sizes, a large number could be classified as small businesses. Search marketing is a strategy and technique that is well within the reach and budget of small businesses. Check out the Internet Retailer article for more on search marketing.