Monday, April 27, 2009

How to become a SEO Official

There's no official certification or accreditation because there are no official standards in the SEO field. However, there are a couple of organizations that require members to adhere to what they consider to be ethical practices, so being listed by them is seen by many as a strong indicator of professionalism. We know that as a general rule of thumb, as long as you get high rankings without tricking the search engines, you can pretty much say you're an SEO if you want. But its becoming more evident that at some point, the industry is bound to become important enough for regulation, either self imposed or externally.

Although there is no certification to become a professional search engine optimizer, how do you become an official SEO? If you truly dig deep for an answer, search engine optimization is not much different than any established profession. Whether it be doctors, engineers, lawyers or plumbers there was a time when there was no formal certification available and then came some institution proposing to certify them for their skills. Who knows, perhaps there will be a university that comes up with a Bachelor of Search Marketing and once the first graduates hit the job market, there will be a scramble to get that qualification. The point here is that in today’s web savvy world search engine optimization is a necessity for any business. This is because every business today needs the internet to keep up with consumer demands and its rival competitors. In order to get the most exposure over your competitors businesses must rank higher in search engine, and at last the need for SEO is born.

Look at the history of SEO. At first, hardly anyone even knew that you could optimize for search engines, except possibly some spammers. Then, almost overnight, everyone suddenly discovered SEO, and many people became overnight "SEO"s. Lots of software, How-to books/sites, and forums have come out. The result is that nearly everyone is an SEO now. Many website designers and web hosts have just "tacked it on" to their current offerings.

We cannot deny that it’s a required skill for almost anyone dealing with the internet. In order to make a good living, today’s web hosts will have to learn the basics of SEO as well as how to avoid unethical practices. Software will also start coming out that is SEO aware providing database driven site software that has friendly URLS as standard, and keyword density checkers in addition to word count tools and spell checkers. The basic SEO is taught as a standard part of web design and copywriting courses.

At that point, will we need certification? No one can know for sure but internet consumers already want to make sure that they really are dealing with a professional. So one can only conclude that companies will hopefully begin hiring people with SEO experience and will begin to ask for some sort of certification. It's the same with almost any industry. If the experience is great then that's what executives hire on, but certification makes the human resources department comfortable so most people starting out need some sort of degree.

The moral of the story is that while it doesn't require a degree right now to perform regular SEO functions, it may one day soon for those who haven't already been doing it for years and are looking for a position in the Corporate World. The issue today is that there are simply not enough courses one could take at college. To make matters worse there is not enough students taking interest in these courses due to the stigma associated with the profession that it's a dead end career choice because of all of the offshore outsourcing. For now the people making a living doing it can only come to peace with the fact that just by simply working and surviving honorably in the profession is enough to call themselves an official SEO.

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