Shhhh!….the dirty little secret about sem seo certification



By David Temple

Back in the 20th century Danny Sullivan, a guy who seems to get ‘it’ long before most of us know what ‘it’ is, wrote an article about sem seo certification entitled “Promoters Call For Certification“. In that article he describes an open letter from Beyond Interactive, Mercury Seven, US Web and Web Ignite to the major search engines. These four firms were calling for the establishment of a certification program for optimization professionals from the search engines. After Danny gave his reasons why he believed certification wouldn’t be viable, he added, “Given this, it may make sense for the major search engines to consider experimenting with the GoTo model and accept paid links, especially for competitive terms”.

Tip # 1 – Whenever Danny Sullivan speaks, listen. Whatever he writes, read.

Google, Yahoo, MSN and others were listening to the tune of billions of dollars a year in revenue. In fact Google and Yahoo implemented their own certification programs, Google Advertising Professional and Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador, respectively. While these are not sem seo certifications, they do require general industry knowledge. They are in essence “pay per click” certifications and are based on Google and Yahoo’s systems. You can’t use one certification for the other.

Tip # 2 – With search engine advertising expected to grow 26% in 2006 get one or both of these certifications if you can.

So what’s the dirty little secret about sem seo certification? As you’ve probably already guessed, there is no such animal! How can you offer a certification in an industry that doesn’t have any standards. With that being said, there are some very good training programs out there regardless of whether they offer certification or not. Some seo sem training programs do offer certification like the new Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Certification Program in Search Engine Marketing. Matt Bailey, an instructor, explained that the certification is a DMA “training certification“. In my mind that means the DMA certifies that you have successfully completed their training and not that you are sem seo certified. High Rankings Search Engine Marketing Seminar® does not offer a certification yet interestingly enough Matt Bailey is also an instructor in that program. Of all the seo sem training out there only one offers what I consider a certification. It’s Bruce Clay’s and what he offers is an SEOToolSetâ„¢ certification. It’s his tool set so he can offer a certification.

Tip # 3 – Certification or not, find a good training program. You’ll definitely learn a thing or two.

Finally, why aren’t the sem seo associations like SEMPO, SMA-NA, SMA-UK, SMA-EU and others taking a stand on sem seo certification or training? Maybe they should develop their own certification or training programs. Rumor has it some may be in the works. Better yet, perhaps they should endorse other programs like SEOPros did with Search Engine College and SEO Research Labs. Even better, rate or rank some of the programs and perhaps add an experience component to the mix. Whatever they do, let’s hope they do it soon.

Tip # 4 – Make your sem seo associations take a stand on certification and training.

Want to know more? Simply type sem seo certification into your favorite search engine and mine, Google. Naturally, click on the first organic link but shhhh!…..don’t tell anyone, let’s keep it our dirty little secret.

[The above article is a submission for Marketing Pilgrim’s Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Contest. Each Monday in October, entries will be published and the most popular article of the week will qualify for the $5,000 grand prize. If you’d like to submit an entry, please view the contest entry-requirements and guidelines.]