Online search keyword prices in the US have soared 19% over the last year, reports Fathom Online, which publishes a monthly keyword price index.

According to the researcher, demand for keywords has increased, and publishers have not been able to keep up with the demand. Online adspend has risen by 27% during the first six months of this year, says the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Prices in many ad categories have risen sharply. Keywords for consumer services, including education, fitness and entertainment, jumped 78% from September 2004 to September 2005. Consumer retail went up 44%, and consumer travel and hospitality words rose 42%. Wireless grew 12%.

Sectors with the longest experience of online marketing are benefiting from more stable pricing. Automotive remained almost flat with 2% growth, while Finance/mortgage increased 7%.

Pricing in the broadband and triple-play (telecom, broadband and internet) service sectors decreased 14%, reflecting consolidation within the business.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff