55% Say There Is a Need For SEO Certification

Apr 26, 2011 • 8:39 am | comments (15) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News

seo certificationEarlier this month we asked you to take two polls in one post, we asked do you want SEO certification & standards.

Yesterday I posted the results of the SEO standards poll, which showed most SEOs want SEO standards. As we covered yesterday, 65% of the SEOs out there said yes, we SEOs need SEO standards.

But when it comes to SEO certification only 55% of SEOs feel we need it for our industry. About 43% said we do not need SEO certification in the SEO industry. The results are pretty different from when we asked about the SEO standards need in the industry.

You would have thought the results would have been similar but no, SEOs do make a distinction between having standards versus an industry standard for certification.

Forum discussion continued at Sphinn.

This post was written earlier and scheduled to be posted today.

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04/26/2011 01:11 pm

The problem is, how do we have a set of standards when the entire practice is almost frowned uppon by the very people (Google) we would look to in order to provide them. I'd personally welcome a certification standard for SEOs but again, without the full support of Google (unlikely) who would decide what is the standard and who would run the tests? As it is, we pretty much self regulate ourselves (all be it trying to dodge the Google bullet) with the odd exception and I don't see how that would change under a certification program. If it helped customers and businesses identify an SEO company who stuck to some core values then it certainly could help the industry, but I stick by the point that it would have to be Google itself who ran this, tested it and issued certification and perhaps that is a step to far for a company who don't really like the idea that we try to manipulate their search results...

Richard Smith

04/26/2011 01:56 pm

I love the idea of a best practices, but it is complicated when the best practices tend to act against a moving target of algorithms that are veiled in secrecy. also... it's not enough to have an SEOd website. Having a properly optimized website that is geared towards engaging a conversion should be step one. All the work of SEO is probably pointless without it.

Nick Stamoulis

04/26/2011 01:57 pm

One of my biggest complaints with the SEO industry is that anyone can claim to be an expert, so I do feel the industry needs some sort of standards to adhere to. The problem is figuring out what those standards are and who enforces them. How do you create guidelines for an industry that is constantly evolving?

Uri Lederman

04/26/2011 02:17 pm

There are some tremendous similarities between our industry and the "home improvement" industry. I sometime say "Anyone can pickup a hammer, knock on your door and say that they can build a deck" In online marketing (specifically SEO) anyone can build a site and call themselves an expert... Are their standards for the "Home Improvement" industry?? how is that working out?? Certifications??? That is comical for me as this industry changes so rapidly.. I chuckle every time I see some e commerce management certificate or 2 year online marketing MBA program that took 2 years to create the curriculum.. Buyer beware I say... it is a shame that the good companies need to deal with customers bitcheness after the fact.. but that is just our industry... :-( Deal with it... :-)

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04/26/2011 02:44 pm

Yes just like any php and all other languages, there must be SEO certification. So that on the basis of that people can prove that they are SEO Experts.


04/26/2011 03:41 pm

You don't need a certificate to be an expert. Some of the best coders on the planet lack a degree or a certificate. Your work should be proof of skill, not some test written by some clueless goons. The SEO field is so dynamic you'd have to be an idiot to write anything more than a basic test or theory. In programming, the same project can be coded an infinite different ways, there are an infinite number of solutions and techniques in SEO. The only people I see requiring certifications and standards are those that don't have the qualifications or confidence to do the work and want to validate their skills. We must always remember that just because someone has a certification, it doesn't always mean they are competent. My certification is my work.

Michael Martinez

04/26/2011 04:03 pm

The industry IS evolving but there are some best practices which have remained true for many years, such as: 1) Be transparent with your clients 2) Know and understand the search engine guidelines 3) Begin an SEO campaign with keyword research 4) Develop a plan that looks at both on-page and off-page factors 5) Implement the plan 6) Monitor and report on results 7) Make adjustments as required 8) Identify and explain risks to clients 9) Mitigate risks as much as possible SEO standards should not be equated with "which techniques or tools are best" but rather with "which practices define what we do best".

Jonathan Adkins

04/26/2011 07:59 pm

Having a degree in a related field helps. I.e. Computer Science, Marketing, Human Factors Psychology. Becoming Google Adwords certified, also is a decent indicator. People who take the time to obtain any type of degree or certification are doing it because they want to distinguish themselves and win business. I doubt a high percentage of people not knowing what they are doing would even bother with the time investment for this. Yes, Certifications would be great. Even on a basic level. I mean, people still go for the MOUS and A+ certifications..


04/27/2011 12:22 am

Certification is just an anticompetitive practice meant to raise the barrier of entry in a field, as well as to provide income and jobs (classic rent seeking behavior) to whatever organization administers the certification. The vast majority of professions out there today that have certifications or licensing requirements flat out do not need them.

Liza Shulyayeva

04/27/2011 01:12 am

I'm not against SEO certification, but I would not go out of my way to get it. I would also be very hesitant to trust anyone who claims to be the definitive teaching/certification body on SEO as it is such a dynamic and ever-changing industry. I would sooner do a course in web development, communications, and/or other related fields, all of which can help to expand my skill base and versatility as an SEO professional. If some sort of industry-recognized SEO certification became available I would still probably do it for the sake of the title...eventually...when I came across some spare time.

Tim Dineen

04/27/2011 03:46 am

Standards and certification are two totally separate things. Having the entire industry agree to what standards we'll abide by is not reasonable, I fear most wouldn't abide by any constraints even if they claimed they would... But having a certification process by which people could be acknowledged for having attained a certain knowledge level is quite suitable for our industry (any industry) especially since we've now had a strong decade plus of growth. It IS time for some level(s) of certification for the SEO industry - certification of knowledge, not standards!

Mark Asciak

04/27/2011 06:26 am

My thoughts exactly!

Jim Ajfdhak

04/28/2011 02:27 pm

Well said. I agree as well


05/10/2011 10:23 am

well said Fedor. i totally agree with you.

SEO Chester

06/06/2011 09:45 am

SEO is a fast changing game, to standardize it at any level would be almost impossible to impliment!

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