Certificate of Completion vs. SEO Certification - Do not misinterpret a "Certificate of Completion" as an official "SEO Certification", that is where I feel the misnomer lies. It's fine to show that you are involved with continuing education in your chosen profession.
What isn't okay is for you to market yourself as a "Certified SEO Professional" or as being "SEO Certified" to the general public. Don't confuse the consumer of Internet marketing services by using official looking terminology along with images that have multiple meanings and could mislead them to believe that you have been CERTIFIED by an authority that may, or may not, be globally and officially accepted by the SEO industry as an authoritative certifying body.
While performing my research into the training and education programs offered by various resources online, I did manage to discover quality resources that appear to offer what I think are solid educational opportunities for both the beginning and novice Internet Marketer.
I am not affiliated with these educational and/or training resources. I've spent a fair amount of time perusing their offerings, taking advantage of sample coursework, etc. I cannot vouch for any of these organizations and/or individuals. For me, the coursework was very basic in nature and would be a good starting point for someone considering a career in the search engine marketing industry.
If you decide to embark on the road of acquiring these unofficial SEO certifications, do so knowing that some of your peers may frown upon those and, they may not. Our industry does not yet have a set of standards nor do we have an official governing body as of 2008 February. Before certification can become a reality, we first need to establish the framework for industry standards moving forward.
The first two resources listed below, the SEMPO Institute and the DMA SEM Certification Program, were the only two that appear to have "official endorsement" from the search engines themselves.
Admin Notes: I'll be honest and tell you that of the five or so members declined in 2007 for touting SEO Certifications, a few were doing it with their SEMPO Certificate of Completions. Don't get me wrong, we respect our peers at SEMPO and their ongoing efforts in the search engine marketing industry. The list of Course Authors reads somewhat like a "Who's Who" in the SEO industry.
I do believe a little more control needs to be in place in regards to how those completing your courses promote themselves with their SEMPO badges. We see that "you" clearly label it as a Certificate of Completion, thank you.
Admin Note: I know Ash from his longstanding membership with the SEO Consultants Directory. I'm impressed with his efforts in Australia and India in establishing a quality resource for education and training in the SEO industry.
Admin Notes: I'm browsing this site and I see four (04) names that I am very familiar with, three of whom I moderate with at WebmasterWorld. I figure, wow, and I didn't even know this existed, or I forgot. Either way, there has been no activity as of 2007 April. It just ceased to be fresh. What's going on? I'd like to know more so we can post here.
"The courses are offered entirely online, to be taken at a student's own pace, in a time-frame that suits them. You have the choice of taking a tutor-led Certification course, where a tutor is assigned to track your progress, grade your assignments, give you feedback and award formal certification should you qualify; or a self-study course, where all assignments and activities are to be self-graded and no certification is awarded."
Admin Notes: I spent hours browsing this site and performing research. I have a longstanding respect for Kalena Jordan and her team. You'll also find SEC Courses being offered through various college extension education and/or distance education programs.
Admin Notes: Bruce Clay and I have a little bit of history at the fora level. I have a great deal of respect for Bruce and his accomplishments. I may not agree with some of his past and/or present philosophies but I cannot deny that Bruce is probably the Grandfather of SEO.
Anyone with Bruce's level of knowledge in this industry is of high value from an SEO training standpoint. I would assume that those embarking on an SEOToolSet™ Training Course are in for a level of training they will appreciate and learn from.
Keep in mind that your certification means that you are certified by Bruce Clay, Inc. in utilizing their SEOToolSet™ products. It does not mean that you are a Certified SEO Professional or that you are SEO Certified, or whatever other creative title one might think up. Don't use your SEOToolSet™ Certification to mislead the consumer into thinking that you are SEO Certified.
Admin Notes: So far, the Search Engine Academy is the only resource I've found that is actually certified through an educational institution, the University of Southern Mississippi. You can choose to earn 3.3 CEU's for completing the comprehensive course.
Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for any of these SEO training courses but I am familiar with most of those behind the helm and one look at their online presence will give me a good idea of what you could expect to learn from them. Remember, you are only as good as those who train you and, there are no official certifying authoritative bodies in our industry as of 2008 February.
Obviously we've left out quite a few resources that have yet to be uncovered in our research and that is where we need your assistance. If you, or any members of your team are involved in an SEO training and/or educational capacity, please do let us know and provide us with the specifics of your courses/programs. If you are an instructor at one of the established online SEO training resources, send us your information and we'll get you on the list. Contact us with your suggestions.
We'll build an entire section for our visitors that list the resources that have been Peer Reviewed by our membership and business associates. If you are an individual consultant like many of us are, send me your information and we'll build a page for you and your services. Keep in mind though that you'll have to pass our muster first before being able to take advantage of this opportunity. If you are a member of the SEO Consultants Directory, you will most likely make the list. There may be exceptions.
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