Trade body the Internet Advertising Bureau has based a best practice charter on four key planks, which will be added to before the end of the year. Companies operating in the search marketing arena have until the end of the year to conform to the criteria.
To qualify for the best practice scheme search marketing firms will be required to dedicate two employees to search marketing, having gained official search engine accreditation from Google or Microsoft.
The firm must have been trading for six months and should be a member of one of the trade bodies for the sector: IAB UK, IAB Europe, the Direct Marketing Association, the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organisation or the Association of Business to Business Agencies.
The IAB consulted with the DMA in producing the guidelines. Companies that comply with the terms will qualify to use a best practice icon in all promotional material.
The joint effort is part of a drive to improve standards in the search marketing arena, which accounts for the majority of online ad spend.
Further developments are expected before the end of the year and the IAB plans to introduce two more sets of guidelines for affiliate marketers and trademarking in search engines.