Google Says No to SEO Certification

A challenge facing businesses is selecting with confidence an agency they can entrust to run their search marketing.

On a daily basis many businesses get bombarded with unwelcomed pitches from a bewildering array of self-proclaimed experts aggressively touting for their business. For a lot of people this is a major source of frustration and regrettably a reason why many view the search marketing industry with disdain.

Google runs certification programs for their AdWords Paid Search and Display advertising services, and also Google Analytics. Individuals and agencies need to have undertaken Google training and passed associated exams before Google will endorse them with certification which then regularly needs to be renewed to stay certified. Using the services of someone holding such certification provides a level of reassurance that they have at least attained a minimum level of competency. Of course, the normal distribution curve applies amongst those certified and so as a customer your mileage will vary, but at least it’s better than nothing.

Selecting an SEO company is even more difficult than picking someone to run your paid search advertising. The complexities of SEO means that to most people it’s a confusing and arcane subject they struggle to understand. And many simply don’t want to – after all, it’s hardly the most exciting topic in the world. However, whilst good SEO can do wonders for a business, the sad reality is that there are many snake oil salesmen and downright bullshitters preying on buyer ignorance.

Consequently many businesses requiring SEO services would love to see Google provide a certification program for SEO professionals. This would help them separate the wheat from the chaff when considering who to hire for SEO.

The bad news for such businesses is that this won’t happen. Google spokesperson Gary Illyes stated this week that, whilst Google has repeatedly given serious consideration to starting a certification program for SEO, it has decided the cons outweigh the pros and so Google won’t being providing SEO certification.

Why should you care?

If you’re in the market to hire an SEO company the above won’t be welcome news. However, back in 2010, Matt Cutts who headed up Google’s anti spam team explained why Google didn’t offer SEO certification and offered some helpful alternative guidance.

Google also offers some specific advice about hiring an SEO firm which you can read here.   If you’re thinking of hiring an SEO company this is worth reading and highlights things to watch out for, along with some questions you can ask to help ensure you make the right choice when making your selection.

Click here for more search marketing news.


The latest news about web marketing, SEO, PPC Advertising & Web Analytics. But only the stuff that matters from a New Zealand perspective. Delivered to your inbox each Monday.

If you found this useful, please tell your friends.

About the Author Mark Sceats

Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting. Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations. Outside of work, his interests beyond his family are running, snowsports, diving and fishing (badly).

follow me on: