When you type into an online search engine the name of the book you want or the shoes you covet, the sites that pop up aren't really random. The retailer at the top of the page, or perched in a high corner, probably paid for the privilege.

This increasingly popular strategy, known as paid search-engine marketing, helped rocket sales for the 2005 holiday season up 30 percent from 2004 for online retailers.

Also providing a boost: the increasing number of consumers with high-speed Internet services, the wider variety of goods available online, improved customer service, shipping deals and on-time deliveries.

That's according to the analysts and retailers assembled Tuesday morning in Atlanta for the Shop.org First Look 2006 conference, an event sponsored by the e-commerce trade group.

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