UK Gets First Search Marketing Best Practices Charter
Barry Schwartz points us to some interesting news, revealing that the IAB & DMA have launched the first search marketing best practices charter in the UK. In order to comply and to be allowed to display the Best Practice Compliant logo on your Web site, UK search marketing companies must meet four basic requirements:
- They must have at least two employees dedicated to search marketing
- They must have search engine accreditation (from Google or Microsoft with more to follow) and have received official search engine optimization (SEO) training as relevant
- The company must have been trading for 6 months
- The company must be a member of either IAB UK, IAB Europe, DMA or Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) or the Association of Business to Business Agencies (ABBA).
According to IAB Search Council chair David White, the charter was created to make it easier for business owners to find a reputable search engine optimization company. We all know how hard that can be.
"We created the charter to help clients identify reliable suppliers who know, understand and demonstrate best practice within this fast moving industry. We have further plans for the charter that will include affiliate marketers and detail advanced search engine marketing techniques.”
I was particularly impressed by the charter’s second requirement, which states that search marketers must receive "official search engine optimization training". I’d love to know what classifies as "official" SEO training. With any luck, the IAB and DMA will get together and generate a list of acceptable training classes for search marketers to take. Making training a requirement is a great way to raise the bar for UK search marketers, and I’d hate to see that diminished by substandard SEO training programs.
Obviously, Bruce Clay has its own SEO Code of Ethics, which has now been translated into a slew of different languages. Additionally, we have our Code of Conduct. The two codes are meant to assure our clients that we’re working for them to the best our ability but without ever compromising our standards. The idea of keeping ethics in optimization is actually important enough to us that require search marketers to comply with it in order to become an SEOToolSet Certified Analyst. That’s why we perform audits on the pages of Certified Analysts regularly. We’re happy to train other people in the principles of search engine optimization but we want to know that those people are practicing in a manner that upholds the same values that we profess.
But do we care if all search marketers subscribe to our code of ethics exactly? Of course not. It doesn’t matter to us that you’re complying with our Code, as long as you’re complying with a code and promising that as a leader in this industry you’ll demonstrate ethics and good conduct. That’s what’s important.
And while I’m sure this charter will be revised and strengthened over time, the fact that it’s here today is a positive thing for search marketers everywhere. SEO is growing up and expanding to every corner of the world and it’s time for everyone to start demanding the same level of excellence.