Nearly half of Inman News readers who responded to a survey about Web advertising said they use search engine optimization to gain online exposure to home buyers and sellers.

About 49 percent of readers use search engine optimization, which is a combination of techniques that aim to increase a Web site’s relevancy and gain high rankings in a search engine’s “natural” results.

About 15 percent of respondents said they use Google’s paid search program, which enables advertisers to create a text ad and bid on keywords that are relevant to those ads. An additional 14 percent use Overture’s paid search program.

Paid search ads through Overture appear on Yahoo! searches. Yahoo! bought the company last year. Google’s paid search ads appear in the sponsored links section of its search results pages.

There are more risks involved with search engine optimization techniques than paid search methods, according to search engine gurus. For instance, some search engine optimizers (SEO) use techniques that may get a Web site knocked from the rankings altogether. Experts suggest advertisers ask SEO companies to disclose the risks of the tactics they employ.

Other respondents of the Inman Pulse survey listed e-mail and snail mail campaigns, and newspaper Web sites as other methods they use to advertise online.

Here are the complete survey results:

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