The charter is a joint effort by the industry bodies to educate marketers about search marketing, currently estimated to comprise 58 per cent of all online advertising expenditure in the UK.
The guidelines mark the first time that the IAB and the DMA have collaborated on search standards in the UK, and aim to establish best practices throughout the industry.
"We created the charter to help clients identify reliable suppliers that know, understand and demonstrate best practice within this fast moving industry, " said David White, chairman of the IAB search council.
"We have further plans for the charter that will include affiliate marketers, and will detail advanced search engine marketing techniques."
To conform to the charter companies must currently fulfil four criteria, with more to be added before the end of the year:
- The company must have at least two employees dedicated to search marketing
- The company must have search engine accreditation (from Google or Microsoft with more to follow) and have received official search engine optimisation training as relevant
- The company must have been trading for at least six months
- The company must be a member of either IAB UK, IAB Europe, DMA or Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organisation or the Association of Business to Business Agencies
All IAB and DMA members are being strongly encouraged to comply with the current criteria over the next few months, in the hope of attaining wide industry coverage before the end of the year.
"Together with the IAB, we hope to create a rigorous set of best practice principles that will set the standard for search marketing while being adaptable to change within the industry," said Robert Dirskovski, head of interactive media at the DMA.
Search marketing companies that adhere to the charter can declare their compliance with an IAB best practice icon on websites and promotional literature. The DMA is also looking at a similar compliance mechanism.
Both organisations are producing two follow-up sections on working with affiliate marketers and trade-marking in search engines.
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