Is the time right to standardize Search Engine Marketing?

When you purchase a light bulb you are confident it will fit your light socket because the standardizations established by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) are universal. Contrary, when you purchase SEO from an SEM firm no standardizations are in place, so how can you make a qualified decision as to which company is the best “fit” for your organization?

I think we can all agree assessing and selecting an SEM firm would be far easier if standards were in place. Similarly, it would be easier for us to “sell” our services if there were commonly accepted compliances.

The question is can we standardize the industry? Who/whom is unbiased and credible to take on the task? How can “experts” declare certain claims are ethical or acceptable while others are not?


Some SEM experts proclaim, “Never hire an SEM company who guarantees rankings. No one can predict how search engines rank Websites and it is simply not possible to guarantee rankings.” Does this mean we cannot guarantee top 10 ranking for fear of being considered “unethical” even though we have achieved top 10 rankings for 100% of our clients since 1996? We can make that claim based on empirical facts. Why should we not utilize this fact as a selling point because some experts disagree?

The question remains, who will decide these standards? I acknowledge ethical “white hat” agencies follow similar steps to optimize Websites, but do all firms achieve the same results? Certainly SEM firms offer different services, customer service, quality assurance and results.

Unfortunately, we hear horror stories daily from potential clients who have been mislead by shady SEM companies. Perhaps if standards were in place many of these firms would quickly go out of business and thus “legitimize” our industry.

I am in favor of standardizing the industry, but the jury is still out on who will formulate the standardizations. Equally as challenging is who will be responsible for updating the standardizations in our ever changing Web world? One thing I know, The InterCon Group will monitor the situation and challenge all inconsistencies!


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