I am happy to say that I now possess a Certification in Advanced Search Engine Marketing Strategies. Yes, I can hang a piece of paper on my wall signed by an instructor verify that I not only spent the time in class but that I passed their SEO test. But what does that mean to the rest of the world?
Well lets relate this to my favorite subject, Pest Control. The State and Federal governments mandate that technicians be licensed in order to apply pest control products in and around structures for the purpose of controlling pests. The above license requirements vary by state. Some states requiring hours spent under supervision of another authorized and licensed technician. Some states require so many hours in a classroom training environment. Some states require continuing class room time to renew licenses. And all states that I am familiar with require a successful completion of a state exam. But does that mean that every state licensed pest control professional does the same work? Does being state certified equate to being able to control pests?
An SEO certification is a little different in that there is no governing body mandating the completion of a SEO course prior to advertising that one is a SEO Guru. There are no regulations for an SEO expert. The value of a SEO certificate is determined by the course given and the individual’s application of the principals taught in that course.
With a State certified pest control technician I can at least assume that the technician is aware that he should not clean out a spray nozzle by putting it to his lips and blowing. (Yes this was an actual question on a state pest control exam.) With a certificate in SEO there really is no guarantee as to what they might know.
Even with the lack of a standard for SEO certification, one should be able to assume the following standards are met:
1- Knowledge that Black Hat SEO may get you banned from search engines.
2- Understanding of the bare essentials in meta tags for a page: Title, Description, Keywords.
3- Understanding keyword rich content, and now a days, LSI or better said subject related content.
My opinion, those are the bare minimum standards that an SEO certificate should insure.
As for hiring a SEO team, does having a certificate make a team any more qualified?
Yes, to some degree a certificate verifies that someone has at least a general knowledge of SEO. Yes, it attests that they have some SEO training.
No, having a certificate does not insure that an individual is more qualified then another non-certified SEO guy. The only credible measurement of an SEO’s ability is their portfolio.
Since there is no governing body or recognized standard an SEO certificate does not insure anything. However, if all things were equal then I would take a certified SEO guy over a non-certified SEO guy.