I blogged about a few search engine marketing certification programs earlier and grabbed some info from their respective web pages. I thought it would be a good idea to get a closer look at of some of those and ask a few questions that might not be answered on the website and okay, some that were answered. SEM SEO certification and training closeup willl be a regular feature on this blog and I decided to start with Search Engine College. I sent a few questions to Kalena Jordan , Director of Studies at Search Engine College and Web Rank CEO and here’s what she said. (I broke it up into two parts).
Q: When did you start Search Engine College?
In May 2004. You can read our press release about the launch.
Q:Why did you start Search Engine College?
We recognized a gap in the market for an online training facility where persons could learn search engine optimization techniques and other search engine marketing subjects from experts in the industry. The concept of SEC was initially thought of by my husband, (now SEC’s Director of IT and Course Development), who noticed how often I was receiving and answering the same questions from confused webmasters about how to make their sites search engine friendly. My husband suggested that I make my replies available to everyone by creating an online course for newbies about search engine marketing. He introduced me to Moodle Open Source course management software as a way of delivering the material (moodle.org).Over the years, I had also been asked regularly if I knew of any online institutions that offered courses in search engine optimization. I didn’t, so I got together with some industry colleagues and Search Engine College was born. Now anyone with a PC and an Internet connection can go and learn this stuff for themselves, no matter where they are in the world.
Q: Why did you choose to offer a certification?
There has been debate within the search industry for nearly 10 years about the lack of industry-regcognized certification for search engine optimization and related skills. We have watched with concern as hundreds of inexperienced or dodgy SEM companies start up each year and dupe unsuspecting clients out of thousands of dollars and devalue the reputation of the search industry due to their unethical and unprofessional tactics. There are many unscrupulous SEO firms in operation that rely on the ignorance of webmasters and simply spam the search engines for short-term results, take the money and run before the spammy tactics catch up to the client. Associations like SEMPO (SEMPO.org) offer an industry and trade organization for professionals in the search industry, but not accreditation for SEM firms. Although they do display a code of conduct for members, as they state on their home page, membership in SEMPO is not a guarantee of a particular firm’s capabilities, nor does it signify industry approval or disapproval of their practices. Apart from the recent efforts made by SEOPros.org there is still no widely recognized industry Certification for search engine experts!
I would say a large percentage of SEM start-ups or in-house SEO/SEMs make genuine mistakes, have a lack of experience and use out-dated retro spam techniques to optimize web sites, not realizing the penalties they could attract for their employers/clients. THEY are a major target market for Search Engine College. We feel it is the rampant lack of education in the industry that is the most damaging and the most preventable, not the SEOs using black-hat methods or the unethical SEM firms. Those type of companies will always exist. But ignorance can be curbed via education. That’s why we started SEC. No risky search engine optimization techniques or “spamdexing” methods are taught in our online classes. Only ethical and acceptable methodologies are taught, based on the webmaster guidelines published by the search engines themselves. Although it is still early days, we would love to see Search Engine College certification recognized industry-wide in the near future.