By:Mark Angeletti, Published:2003-11-10

The Sith – an ancient cult that uses the Dark Side of the Force – Once they were mighty Jedi of the Republic, brothers in the Force, but corrupted with the never ending pursuit for greater power it turned Jedi against Jedi until they began to destroy themselves.

Sorry to all the non-Star Wars fans for that, but if you frequent enough Search Engine Optimization (SEO) forums what you are likely to see is two self-proclaimed SEOs locked in a heated battle doing their level best to discredit and slander the other.

I have visited over half-a-dozen different forums and a common theme that reverberates amongst them is: SEOs have a difficult time getting along.

Like a bunch of beauty contestants all in the same room, there will be more accusations and finger pointing than you can shake a stick at – How did you get here? What makes you think you’re so special? Those aren’t real. Ok maybe not that last one, but you get the point.

Side Note: The saying, “shake a stick at” dates back to August 5th 1818 -at least, so far as the Oxford English Dictionary knows-it records in the Lancaster Journal of Pennsylvania dated 5 August 1818: “We have in Lancaster as many Taverns as you can shake a stick at”.

In this article I will pose theories as to why SEOs have such a difficult time getting along. No doubt this article too will end up in some forum with two people squared off arguing different sides.

Let Me See Your Credentials

Often times in these forum squabbles you will see more jockeying for position than you saw in the movie “Seabiscuit”. It inevitably gets to the point where each party feels like they have to share their resume.

I pose that one reason there is so much intolerance is that anybody can claim to be a Search Engine Optimizer. There’s no credentials like that of an MCSE or CCNA that shows you have put in some time learning Microsoft or Cisco products.

The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) credential is the premier certification for professionals who analyze the business requirements and design and implement the infrastructure for business solutions based on the Windows® 2000 platform and Microsoft server software. This credential is given only after an individual has passed 7 different tests given by a Microsoft certified testing center.

The MCSE credential often gets criticized as being just a paper credential that doesn’t prove you know anything or have any real experience – I can tell you as someone who taught MCSE classes for 3 years for the leading computer training company in the world that while it’s true that it’s no substitute for real world experience it at least is some sort of proof that you put in the time to learn some key elements of the Windows® operating system and network topologies.

SEOs don’t have an aptitude test of any kind. This leaves it wide open for people to debate on what exactly is an SEO or a professional SEO for that matter.

So let’s try to define what an SEO is and what makes one professional.

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