Value of SEO Associations & SEO Certification?
Aaron Wall of Threadwatch points to a Jim Hedger article on SEO Certification programs like the Society of Internet Professionals and SEOPros and asks “What do you think of the idea of SEO qualifying bodies? Are they necessary? Will they be far more respected than something like SEMPO?” Mr. Wall’s question has led to a vibrant thread of responses on Threadwatch, which are definately worth reviewing and contributing to.
I personally see little benefit of SEO Certification for myself after 8 on and off years in the business, and feel that my certification comes via trial by fire, experience, living through Florida with client site rankings intact and years of established search rankings.
SEO is an ever-evolving field however, and with so many people entering the industry now from public relations, development and advertising agency backgrounds, the schools of thought seem to be a bit more decentralized than ever before as SEO itself is expanding since the reach of search engines have moved beyond establishing top 10 rankings to buzz tracking, reputation management, blog pulsing, and post search usability & findability.
The argument over the need for SEO Certification, which one Threadwatch member feels is nothing more than “some self appointed SEO “experts” justify charging people a few thousand dollars to make up a 3 page website because they are certified,”reminds me of a post made by John Scott of V7N a while back entitled SEMPO, SEM-NA & SOB SEO’s where John looks at SEMPO and SEM-NA’s business models and lends his opinon on what a SEO/SEM Association should bring to the Search Marketing Industry:
A truly useful SEO advancement organization will actively promote search engine marketing. For example, provide free literature to small business association membership outlining the benefits and possibilities of SEM. There are hundreds of professional business organizations – real estate professionals, Christian Small Business, Black Business Owners, Women Business Owners, ETC, ETC.
As it stands right now, the larger part of the world doesn’t even know what “SEO” stands for, much less are they aware of the dubious benefits to be had from engaging the services of an SEO. Provide useful and legitimately valuable information to these organizations and their membership, and the SEO gospel will spread.
Secondly, an organization of SEO professionals ought to pool the resources of members to fund legitimate useful research into search engine usage. Oddly enough, the one person who provides us with the best research into consumer behavior on web pages is not an SEO, but a usability expert.
Thirdly, a professional organization should not be party to SEO politics. SEMPO is one organization that is strongly “political”. And “political” is a euphemism for cliquey. If your only purpose is to promote a few select friends, don’t play like you intend to promote the industry.
Fourth, don’t go setting standards for SEO conduct. Some guidelines are restrictive to the point of silliness. It’s isn’t about policing members – it’s about promoting search engine marketing.
Fifth, make it full time. The biggest mistake I see is in having an organization run part time by folks who really don’t have time to commit to the organization. This industry is big enough to support an organization with a full time staff.
Again, here are the links : Threadwatch’s SEO Certification – Is There Any Value to It? and John’s SEMPO, SEM-NA & SOB SEO’s. Enjoy!