SEO Tip #98: Are There Any SEO Certification Programs You Are Aware Of?

Matt Cutts: Nick has asked about industry certification, which is kind of a hot button topic. I’ll answer the easy question first, which is Google does provide certification for certified AdWords professionals. That is something that’s relatively simple. You can check that people are very competent with the program, they understand all the mechanics, the ins and outs, that sort of stuff.

Certification of SEO’s is a lot touchier as far as a topic. There’s a lot of SEO’s that would never like to see Google offer certification of SEO’s. Then on our side if you certified an SEO and then you found out that they were secretly changing and doing back cap stuff under hood that would be a really big headache as well. So I don’t think that Google has officially endorsed any SEO certification as far as I am aware of.

It’s kind of interesting because I’ve had at least one experience where there was an industry group that had taken in what we call a grand slam spammer. That is a spammer that violated every single one of our Webspam guidelines.

I remember going to that particular group of folks and saying, “Hey, these people really shouldn’t be listed as upstanding members of the community.” And they sort of said, “Well that’s not really our job to figure out. That’s sort of your job and all our job is is to sort of as this group.” That was sort of a bad situation.

It’s always tough when you are trying to assess how much you should trust an SEO, how much you should way their merits, and how much you should believe in their qualifications. Always think about asking for references. Always look at work they’ve done for past clients if possible.

Don’t forget to consider the source. Don’t forget to ask yourself how long they have been around, what sort of SEO do they offer, do they offer search engine marketing and regular organic SEO, and all those sorts of questions.

It’s a touchy subject because while it would be great to have some sort of certification that you could rely on so that every SEO with that certification would be completely would be completely ethical and you could completely trust them, it’s going to be tough to get to that point anytime in the near future.

In the meantime go in with your eyes open. Keep your gut check to yourself and sort of ask yourself, “Is this person explaining what they’re doing? Are they giving them nice amounts of explanation about all the different steps they are going to take? Do those steps make sense? Are they going to be good for our users?”

Those are the sorts of questions that you can ask. Google also has a tool on our Webmaster help pages with just a bunch of resources to sort of ask yourself whenever you are looking for an SEO. So that can be a helpful resource as well.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.