WTFSEO EXCLUSIVE: Google* has just offered up an alternative to disappointed SEO Experts who have been longing for the search engine giant to issue certifications to those desperately in need of thought leadership recognition. After first declaring that Google “has no plans” to develop an SEO certification course program, this latest move is seen as an olive branch to those frustrated gurus who feel that a signed piece of paper is essential to their business.
Although Google has no plans to offer a certification course, they did develop a super secret algorithmic process for determining who can be an officially recognized SEO Expert. To do this, Google also revealed that they’ve pushed back several user improvements so that they could take the time to do this for the SEO community. Like many algorithm changes, most SEO experts didn’t notice this one but here at WTFSEO, we have a direct relationship to Google and Google specifically told us that certification involves these primary steps:
1) Attend at least one industry conference in the last two years.
It doesn’t matter who puts it on or where it is. Who’s speaking? Irrelevant…..Depth and Breadth of Content? Also irrelevant. What matters most is if the conference name has the one of the following words in either the main or sub-title:
To demonstrate that you’ve met this requirement, Google told WTFSEO that you should not only keep your conference lanyard, but wear it when meeting with clients (or internal teams if you’re an in-house SEO). It’s also a good idea to take a picture of it in case you need it. As a side note, Google also mentioned to us that you should post that lanyard picture on your G+ page (Google didn’t confirm the G+ piece, but our WTFSEO contributor suspects it’s because they’ll reward you for using their product).
2) Read at least 5 blog posts about SEO.
Google told us that a certification candidate should read at least 5 blog posts a quarter about SEO. Just read the blog posts and borrow (don’t steal, Google doesn’t like that) some of the more insightful quotes and statistics and use them for your own purposes. Fact checking the blog post or seeking another opinion is not a requirement at this time.
For proof of completion, all Google requires is that you either:
a) Share the post in your social media profiles. The easiest path, of course is to post it to G+. Of course your customers or co-workers won’t likely see it there, but Google will.
b) Quote the posts in your presentations to clients, prospects, or internal teams. Post that presentation on Slideshare.
Complete either of those two for proof and Google will find you per their algorithm update.
3) Regurgitate Other Experts on Social Media
For example, on Twitter, you need to retweet compelling industry one-liners and articles posted by speakers from the search conference (that you actually attended) and writers of the blog posts (that you’ve actually read – or at least the headline). Additional consideration is given if you add your quick expert insights to the tweet. For example, just before the “RT”, put one of the following:
- “TOTALLY Agree!”
- “What I’ve been saying –>”
- “THIS –>”
4) Know your buzzwords:
In your communications and social media conversations, use a minimum out of five of the following ten industry buzzwords and technical terms (in no particular order):
- Canonical (You’ll probably butcher the pronunciation so just stick to written communication on this one)
- Penguin (not the zoo animal or Batman villain)
- Panda (not the zoo animal or Chinese restaurant)
- Hummingbird (you didn’t notice, but it’s there)
- Headings (not to be confused with “be-headings”)
- RankBrain (Read our exclusive interview here)
- Machine Learning
- SERP (not to be confused with SLURPIES)
- Bot or Spider or Spiderbot
- RankHeart (Probably the most important one, but Google was being coy with us and didn’t confirm. Read about it here. )
Do these four things and successfully and you’re in the 85% percentile – which meets the minimum requirements for a certification. To get your certificate, all you have to do is do is complete the four tasks listed above – that’s it! As you read this, Google is out crawling the web (like right now) for evidence that you are indeed an SEO Expert worthy of certification. Therefore, if they deem you worthy, you will get the signed certificate sent to you. If you do not receive a certificate, that means that Google either does not deem you to be an expert in their top secret double probation algorithm, or they just haven’t found you yet.
Advanced Certification Qualifications Also Announced:
Additionally, if you meet the following conditions, Google will now give you an advanced certification form:
1) Start your own blog.
From what Google told us, it’s OK if your blog is not original or simply repeats insights that other blogs have already written about. Just make sure you use a slight twist like “in our experience” at the beginning of a paragraph. If no one actually reads your blog, that is irrelevant. Google just wants you to blog about SEO – like a lot to show that you’re a thought leader.
2) Speak at an industry conference.
Even if you’ve only been an SEO for a few months, you’re probably still an expert who’s qualified to speak to an audience of eager and less experienced SEOs who also feel they belong up on stage. Google told us that they give additional consideration to speakers who practice poor hygiene habits and swear a lot during their presentation.
The advanced certification is different that the regular one in that you have to apply for it. True to Google’s reclusive nature, they have not provided instructions or a link to apply for the Advanced Certification and you’re left to find it on your own – if you are worthy.
“If you truly are worthy of advanced certification, then you will know exactly where you go to apply, otherwise you’re not really worthy” said Google in an exclusive WTFSEO Interview. It’s clear that they want the advanced certification to go to only those who are truly worthy.
There you have it. With this olive branch to SEO’s, Google showed that they really do care about this particular group of marketers.