A number of recent studies have shown that search engine marketing (SEM) budgets are increasing, but a new survey finds retailers in particular are using search engine optimization (SEO) in droves.

The new figures from Internet Retailer, shows that while retailers have long been using search engine marketing (SEM), more are turning to search engine optimization (SEO) as the economy continues to struggle.

According to the study, 55.3 percent of retailers plan to increase spending on search engine optimization (SEO) with only 8.8 percent intending on decreasing spending.

It appears that the increases in organic search are taking funding away from paid search as companies are looking for ways to cut budgets and still see return on investment. In contrast to the organic search numbers, 30 percent of retailers said they intend on cutting spending on paid search with only 24.2 percent looking to increase those figures.

"These numbers clearly show that retailers are turning their attention more to optimization to improve natural search results than focusing on getting the best keyword mix in paid search," says the survey.

One recent forecast from eMarketer found that organic search is expected to continue to grow. In 2008, $1.4 billion was spent on search engine optimization (SEO) with another $12 billion going to paid search, but according to eMarketer analysts, that gap is expected to shrink in coming years.