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Are there any SEO certification programs you are aware of?

Are there any SEO certification programs you are aware of? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Matt Cutts: We have a fun question from Nick Y in Vancouver, Britsh Columbia. Nick Y asks: “There are a lot of ‘air quotes’ “SEO Experts” ‘close air quotes’ that preach myths that you have debunked here. Are there any industry certification programs that you are aware of?” Okay, so Nick has asked about industry certification which is kind of a hot button topic. So I’ll answer the easy question first, which is: Google does provide certification for certified Adwords professionals. That’s 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 more touchy as far as a topic. There’s a lot of SEO’s that would never like to see Google offer certification of SEO’s. And then on our side, if you certified an SEO and then you found out that they were secretly changing and doing black cap stuff under the 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. And it’s kind of interesting because I’ve had at least one experience where there was an industry group and that industry group had taken in what we call a grand slam spammer. That is a spammer who had violated every single one of our Webspam Guidelines. And 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-that’s not really our job to figure out. That’s sort of your job and all our job is, is to sort of act as this group.” And that was sort of a-a bad situation. So it-it’s-it’s always tough whenever you’re trying to assess how much you should trust an SEO; how much you should weigh their merits; how much you should believe in their qualifications. So always think about asking for references. Always look at work that they’ve done for past clients, if possible. Don’t forget to consider the source. Don’t forget to ask yourself: “How long have they been around? What sort of SEO do they offer? Do they offer search engine marketing and regular organic SEO?” All those sorts of questions. So it’s a-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 that had that certification would be completely ethical and you could completely trust them, it’s gonna be tough to get to that point anytime in the near future. So 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 that they’re going to take? Do those steps make sense? Are they gonna 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’re looking for an SEO. So that can be a helpful resource as well.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: