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SEMPO Institute Launches Agency Certification Process

Agencies Can Further Validate their SEM Expertise via Institute Training on Best Practices and Certification Based on Employee Participation

Wakefield, MA, May 1, 2008 - SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, www.sempo.org, today announced its online distance learning division, SEMPO Institute, will begin providing formal certification of training to search engine marketing (SEM) agencies, effective May 1, 2008.

"SEMPO Institute is the pre-eminent training organization for best practices in all aspects of search engine marketing and advertising. The Institute certification process will provide interactive agencies that participate in our program with a means of showing they are up to speed on current SEM strategy,” says SEMPO Chairman Dana Todd.

"The courses and certification program are open to all search engine marketing, advertising, public relations, and interactive marketing agencies – basically any firm that needs to know best practices in search engine marketing in order to serve their customers well,” says Todd.

Agencies can qualify for the formal certification after 20 percent of their search marketing staff completes at least one course in SEMPO Institute training. Online courses available are Insider’s Guide to Search Engine Marketing, Advanced SEO and Advanced Search Advertising. Agency employees must take at least one of the courses and pass at a score of 75% or higher in order for the agency to qualify for certification, explains Katie Donovan, SEMPO Institute Business Development Manager.

"In doing market research and talking to agencies we found a real desire to have an ‘instant differentiator,’ a seal of excellence that would help an agency distinguish itself against the competition by showing that a significant number of its employees are highly trained and skilled in search engine marketing” Donovan explains. "Agencies told us they liked the idea of certification, given the strong reputation the Institute and SEMPO as a whole have in the marketplace.”

Benefits
SEMPO Institute is offering a Gold Seal level certification for agencies in which 20% to 49% of their search marketing employees graduate from a course. There is also a Platinum Seal level for 50% or more employee participation and certification. Each agency application costs $250 and is valid for one year, after which agencies can re-apply. If there is turnover or attrition, agencies will participate in required additional training to maintain the minimum 20% employee participation requirement. The application cost is waived once a year for SEMPO Circle members.

Once an agency is certified, they will get a seal in electronic GIF form that they may use on their websites, blogs, email programs and other interactive media.

"We love the idea of SEMPO Institute certification. The demand for search engine marketing and optimization continues to increase as marketers realize, that when it comes to ROI, it is second only to email. Certification provides our agency with yet another means of competitive differentiation," says Steve Curtin, Vice President of Search Engine Optimization at Zeta Interactive based in New York.

"Also, agencies need to have a consistently high level of search knowledge in order to deliver the results their clients demand. We have found the SEMPO Institute learning program to be a great source of both basic and high-level knowledge. Having a certification seal adds even more value," says Curtin. "It's a great sales tool for us."

About SEMPO Institute
SEMPO Institute is a non-profit, online career development organization, whose purpose is to educate and train professionals in the growing field of search engine marketing. Supported by SEMPO, SEMPO Institute’s courses are developed by experts in search marketing and then peer-reviewed for accuracy and best practices. Since its first course in January, 2007, SEMPO Institute has educated more than 700 individuals in search marketing. SEMPO Institute’s courses are available to SEMPO members and the general public. For more information, please visit www.sempoinstitute.com or call +1 (781) 876-6214.

About the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO)
SEMPO is a global non-profit organization serving the search engine marketing industry and marketing professionals engaged in it. Its purpose is to provide a foundation for industry growth through building stronger relationships, fostering awareness, providing education, promoting the industry, generating research, and creating a better understanding of search and its role in marketing. Representing thousands in over 30 countries, SEMPO has over 720 members. It represents the common interests of companies and consultants worldwide and provides them with a voice in the marketplace. SEMPO’s education and outreach initiatives are sponsored in part by Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Superpages.com, SMX and Search Engine Strategies.

 

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