Smaller companies need to take advantage of search engine optimisation (SEO) if they are to attract customers to their website and boost their online sales, an industry body has said.The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) warns that without developing a website to feature specific keywords to encourage a more prominent position on search engines then a great number of business opportunities will be being lost.Popular ways of boosting SEO include adding a regularly updated news feed or weblog which focuses on keywords likely to be used by potential customers."For many SME businesses, investment in search engine optimisation is vital, and without it most businesses will struggle to generate the traffic needed to justify its creation and maintenance," said David Thorp, CIM director of research and information. "Although there will always be those who accidentally stumble across your website, if you are looking to attract new customers you need to invest in search engine optimisation to drive customers to your website. "Whether this is done in-house or through specialist agencies very much depends on the circumstances of the business and the staff skills you have at your disposal," he added.The Federation of Small Businesses reports that only 18 per cent of small UK firms currently sell online, with many of those who choose not to primarily concerned about security risks.© Adfero Ltd