Poll: SEO Certification & Standards Needed?

Apr 7, 2011 • 9:07 am | comments (17) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News

seo certificationSphinn has an excellent discussion taking place on if the SEO industry needs certifications and standards.

To be honest, there are various certification programs out there. None of them are backed by a centralized non-profit agency such as SEMPO. There is SEO training with certifications led by SEO companies and SEO conferences but not a accredited SEO certification from an organization that represents the SEO industry.

At the same time, there are no real standards for the industry as well. There are best practices, mostly laid out by Google but no standards to say what is allowed or not allowed.

The question is do we need them for our industry? Some may say we do and some may simply not want it for good reasons.

Here are two polls asking if we should have SEO certification and SEO standards. They are two different questions and thus require two different polls:

Forum discussion at Sphinn.

Previous story: SSL Validity A Factor In Google's Ranking Algorithm?



04/07/2011 02:19 pm

If we dont do it the goverment will!

Nick Stamoulis

04/07/2011 02:26 pm

One of my biggest concerns with the SEO industry is that anyone with a computer can set up shop and call themselves an expert. The Internet is flooded with consultants and companies that claim to know how to do SEO, but really don't have much if any experience. These guys burn businesses and give the rest of the industry a bad reputation.


04/07/2011 04:03 pm

Results speak for themselves :)

Simon Serrano

04/07/2011 04:10 pm

there's the SEMPO institute Also, I think the question should be "should SEO be standardized?" And how can we standardize an industry which is governed by black box algorithms (which are considered trade secrets)?


04/07/2011 04:30 pm

No and no to those... certification good ..


04/07/2011 05:09 pm

I think that W3C compliance and WAI standards should be applied and punished more liberally as compliance to these makes the web a far more accessible place for all users. It also would make our job as SEOs easier as we will be free to spend more time being involved in creating quality and revealing content than correcting poor development. Enforcing this kind of standard would serve to level the playing field for all companies on the internet. However... placing content on the internet, tailoring that content to be as close to the algorithmically generated 'ideal' for our chosen subject is a very creative process. Applying false restrictions to creativity is a recipe for disaster as we would end up being forced to produce identikit pages that would limit the creative process of the web and pave the way for massively skewed rankings that harm business success for the greater majority of businesses. In the same way that major corporations have a large influence (to their advantage) on the generation of legislations and business restrictions that serve to suppress the success of their competitors, so too applying heavy restrictions on the creative element of internet marketing and SEO will seriously harm the 'little man' of internet business.


04/07/2011 07:35 pm

The problem is that most SEO people hear the word "standards" and assume we're talking about tactics. That's NOT the case. Doctors have standards they must adhere to, but those standards don't tell them which tactics they have to use to treat patients. Lawyers have standards, but those standards don't dictate what tactics they have to use in the courtroom. Standards don't apply to tactics, they apply to PEOPLE. As a licensed REALTOR, my wife has agreed to behave according to a set of standards regarding professionalism, treating clients, etc. The standards don't tell her how she has to sell/buy houses for her clients. Until SEOs understand what standards are and do, the debate won't get very far.


04/07/2011 11:14 pm

With the rate of technology changing and the search engines changing, the certification/standards would also have to change. It's hard to keep something like this in a box just yet. I think things are still in flux.


04/08/2011 10:36 am

I think that SEO needs to be included into standardised marketing courses. FAR too many marketing teams don't understand SEO, and FAR too many SEO's don't understand marketing. Yet we're all supposed to be working together. University marketing degrees should include modules on the very basics of search. We argue so often that online & offline marketing don't sync up, and aren't viewed wholistically, yet from the ground up we're saying that they should remain taught independently. Basics covered in marketing degrees/postgrad quals, as PR and sales are. Specialisation thereafter as and when required. Ultimately proof of ability is in real-world results. The question over such results is, of course, how they were obtained, and this is why standards should come into place.

Luke Jones

04/08/2011 10:46 am

There should be a standard similar to W3C, but no qualifications needed.


04/08/2011 02:43 pm

I'm not in favor of "certification" because I've seen many private, SMB "SEO" companies and "SEO" tout their certification more than their marketing knowledge or any actual work. Just because you have a certification doesn't mean you know anything about SEO or what SEO is for. At the advanced SEO level, the good SEOs are more marketers than they are techno-geeks. But with certification, you create this artificial barrier whereby anyone can pay for a certification and lie lie lie their way into the hearts and minds of SEO prospects. These liars know NOTHING about marketing, but because they are good at lying, they make themselves seem important. I worked in a small SEO company where the idiot owner made a kid who's only SEO experience was copywriting - not marketing, not even keyword generation, just copywriting - and made him SEO sales manager. The kid also had no sales experience. So that kid thinks he's hot stuff - and is now an "expert" in SEO. So no - the proof is in the pudding, as one might say. Certification artificially benefits the know-nothings. The current system weeds the unworthy out and keeps them right where they belong.


04/08/2011 04:27 pm

No.. you can't certify good or bad content and onsite optimization. Every time you use "SMB SEO" in a sentence, you are supposed to pay me royalties Barry... didn't ya know?


04/08/2011 05:49 pm

Identifying SEO standards would require everyone to agree what was against Google guidelines and that's never going to happen. I might think outreach or sponsorship for xyz is totally whitehat while the cleanest of whitehats might call that link buying. Never going to happen and never can happen. Adwords is contained in a program, SEO is the whole web that can be manipulated in legit and non-legit ways.

Tim Dineen

04/27/2011 04:02 pm

NO they don't - most small business owners trust the lies that a small SEO shop might tell them since those folks are likely able to do a decent sales job when pitching something the small business owner doesn't understand in the first place. Any SEO schmo can rank when for XYX widgets and claim they know what they're doing - a month later their rankings might drop but they still scammed (or negatively affected ranking for) some business who believed them.


05/27/2011 05:47 am

It's an interesting concept but would never work for a variety of reasons.

Varina Brown

08/02/2011 06:23 am

 According to me, there is definitely a need of certification and standards..Without this nothing will work and for everything there should be a skeleton to help it to grow, and this skeleton would surely be the certification and the  standards for the SEO.

Jackson Browne

07/05/2014 09:30 pm

Certification absolutely separates true professionals from the hacks. Buyers should understand that they do have a choice.

blog comments powered by Disqus