SEO has literally climbed mountains since the early nineties that it didn't want to climb. It has reached the pinnacle of bad publicity and bad reputation. How did all of this happen and how can you, as a new site owner or a small business owner find the right SEO company to help you to accomplish what you need to?
SEO as a whole has some inherent issues that need a little work before they can legitimately even begin to offer certifications. First of all, there are no real standards for SEO companies to adhere to that have been laid out by any single group of experts. In part, that's because the industry is so fast moving forward and no one can figure out who the actual "experts" really are.
Any company on the internet and beyond today can call themselves an SEO expert and typically do. A basic regard, a simplistic understanding of how Google works, how it ranks the websites, and how the Webmaster Guidelines read, and you've got yourself an expert in the making. Most of them are something less than expert, but how in the world do you prove that?
A single book on SEO written by another self-proclaimed expert, and another one is born. There are very few classes, nominal college level classes, and literally no methods of certification that are out there. Everyone who is anyone has had some kind of SEO experience and it qualifies them, at least in their own mind, as an SEO Expert.
Guidelines-ways to pick an SEO expert for people who are hiring those experts too, are literally non-existent. It takes nothing more than a low cost website and a domain name to set yourself up as an expert in SEO and convince an unsuspecting company or individual that you are.
The Lack of Qualifications needed to work in SEO makes it easy for anyone to go into the SEO business and hundreds, if not thousands of people a day are doing just that.
So, who are the experts? How do you choose the right guy --or girl--for the job. Of course, the person with ten years under their belt online, who has written and built links and built up sites to a higher level, is going to have better qualifications than the person who has read a book and who terms themselves an expert.
Can that person with one year experience actually do a good job? Surprisingly, sometimes the answer is yes. Usually, however, it's not your best option. Many of those people have chosen to enter the industry in such a rapid time span, without a great deal of experience because they found that SEO was "easy money."
In many cases, when you use them, what you're getting isn't actually SEO. It's gaming the search engines, or manipulating things that should not be manipulated. It's like playing roulette with your website. For a while, those things may work, but rest assured that just like every other high profile failure that you've seen in the news, your website will eventually fall down the SERPS as fast as it came up.
Many people feel that if they seek out an SEO organization and select from their members, they are bound to find a quality and reputable SEO company. Odds are that you might find one, but realistically, it's probably not going to be any different than seeking one out on the internet.
SEO organizations really don't afford their member companies a lot of benefit, so don't expect that just because someone is a member of an SEO organization or group that you're going to get a qualified and quality SEO company. That isn't always the case. Many companies who are doing remarkable work out there aren't members of the organizations because they simply don't reap any real benefit from joining.
Yes, quality SEO Companies are difficult to find and a cost effective one may be even more difficult, but they are out there. The issue is that, without some viable way to sort the good from the bad, and some means of certification for authentic SEO experts, without standard pricing and many other things that the industry is in need of, it's really hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys in SEO. In many cases, the good guys, the really good guys-- are losing out to the black hat practitioners because they simply can't afford to compete, so it's a tightrope walk to find a quality company.