Many people have wanted to see some kind of certified SEO program on the search side of things, similar to the AdWords certification that requires AdWords experts to pass an exam on the pay per click platform.
During yesterday’s Hangout with Eric Enge and Mark Traphagen, he was asked if we would ever see a certification program. But the answer was no, although it had been discussed a few times.
Yeah, we were thinking a lot about this, a lot and then a bit more, and then we always end up with the conclusion that no we shouldn’t. There are many reasons why that would be a good idea, but there are way more many reasons why that would be a bad idea.
If we endorse SEOs, then that would also mean that we would have to perhaps train them which would be nonsense, first of all it wouldn’t be scaleable to train that many people. Second, if we do go down that path, then we will have to hire more people, which costs money, and we would have to get that money back somehow so we would have to ask for money. Search doesn’t ask for money for anything, there is already a conflict there.
There were tons of things that we brought up against this, my short answer is no we will not have that anytime soon, and that is it.
Just in case you weren’t clear about what the “search doesn’t ask for money for anything,” he later clarified on Twitter that it means that SEOs “don’t actually pay google anything to be in the search results.”
There could also be the liability issue. Just because someone passes an SEO certification exam doesn’t mean that they will follow those rules when it comes to SEO on a client site… they could go for the quick and easy “point a ton of cheap, low quality back links” route for short term gratification. And if this happens, you would bet those upset clients would try and go after Google to “fix” the mess since the SEO was certified by Google.
And even in the AdWords program, there are still issues of people showing the badge and not following best practices, or implying their badge means more than it really does.
I would be pretty surprised if Google ever decided to start up any kind of certification program for the search side of things. But I do think we will continue to see them build out tools and advice they make available to webmasters through Search Console.
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