A certified Google SEO (Search Engine Optimizer) would find a lot of work from the title alone, similar to the early days of networking when a Certified Novell Engineer could write his own ticket. But don't look to the Internet behemoth to create such a certification any time soon. Google doesn't want to put its name behind someone who may be unethically tweaking search results. It makes sense. Even Google has to keep an eye on its own from exploiting the huge amounts of data they've collected. The company recently fired a Site Reliability Engineer for snooping on and harassing four Seattle boys he had met.

According to Google's Matt Cutts, the company has learned about fake white hats. He cites specifically "an industry group (who he is careful not to name) has taken in a grand slam spammer and that spammer had violated every one of our web spam guidelines. And I remember going to that one particular group of folks and said, 'Hey, these group of folks shouldn't be listed as upstanding members of the community' and they sort of said, 'well that's not really our job to figure out. That's sort of your job.'" So if Google is not offering a SEO certification, how does a qualified SEO specialist stand out from the pack?

Take the advice Google offers a business that is looking for a qualified SEO and reverse engineered it. Google suggests:

Always ask for references. Always look for work they've done. Ask how long have they been around. Find out what kind of SEO they offer; Is it search engine marketing or regular organic? Find someone who will show their work and explain what they are doing all the way through. Look for results from previous clients and have them explain how those results where achieved.

So to reverse engineer and make the client happy: Show the work, explain what you are doing all the way through, and be as transparent and ethical as possible in your dealing with the client.

Maybe the best way for you to stand out is to have you business show up on the first page of a Google search for SEO engineers. If you can't get yourself up there, how can you get the client there?

--Dino Londis