In the recent blog “8 Predictions for SEO in 2012”, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz predicted the rise of a serious certification program. I believe that there is a real need for our industry to identify and support a serious certification program; however, I have not seen any organization dedicated enough to establish themselves as an industry leader. Institutions of higher education need to start preparing their students for the “real world”. In my opinion, colleges and universities are doing a poor job of identifying opportunities to integrate traditional marketing knowledge and skills with today’s internet marketing environment.

There are several organizations that offer certification programs, but I am not sure that they can keep up with the changes or obtain a consensus between fact and fiction. Case in point: Several members of our team at DaBrian Marketing Group have taken courses provided by SEMPO Institute, but we have not been notified of what the latest updates were to the course information. As of February 21, the SEMPO Institute closed up shop for their certification program.

The colleges and universities need to introduce their students to internet marketing as a whole. Within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you will have a difficult time identifying colleges or universities that offer an internet marketing course as part of the undergraduate marketing curriculum. This extends to web design and development area of study, as graduates often lack basic SEO knowledge.

There is a serious need for education within our industry from the university level as well as alternative methods. Even as an adjunct professor, I don’t expect a student to be an SEO expert, but I would expect them to know the marketing fundamentals for an online marketing campaign. At the same time, internet marketing is not just SEO, PPC, and Social Media. We need to align the traditional concepts to internet marketing beyond business or marketing. These concepts should be accessible to IT graduates as well. Internet Marketing is not just for marketing people anymore, but it’s now IT, Public Relations and Math. We need to start demonstrating the crossover of these disciplines within our industry. It starts with us and we need to reinforce the need for education in internet marketing and encourage the progress of certification programs.

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