Want to learn more about SEO? Then you’ve probably checked out one of the many SEO certification courses you can find online. Everyone offers these SEO courses, from reputable SEO brands like Semrush to online gurus you’ve never heard of. That means that while some of them can be very valuable, many others aren’t worth the money.
If you’re unsure if marketing certifications are right for you—or aren’t sure whether you should purchase an SEO certification in the first place—then you’re in the right place. With more than two decades of search marketing experience under my belt, I’ve seen dozens of SEO online courses come and go. I’ve also spent time researching the top courses to make the decision process easier for you.
And because I run my own SEO agency, I can tell you when it’s worth investing in your own personal development (in the form of an SEO training certification) and when you’re better off letting the experts improve your rankings.
So, if you’re ready to learn more about SEO certifications, then let’s begin.
What Is An SEO Certification?
Before we dive into whether or not you should (or shouldn’t) get an SEO certification, let’s talk about what they are.
An SEO certification is a credential that a company, brand, or individual provides to verify you’ve completed their SEO course. Unlike a college degree or certificate program from a university, SEO certifications are not regulated. So, while plenty of knowledgeable people can and do create value-packed courses and reward participants with a certificate, there’s nothing stopping opportunistic individuals trying to make money by offering their own SEO course.
SEO courses offered by authoritative brands or thought leaders can be a great way to learn the fundamentals of SEO and show employers or clients that you know what you’re talking about and take your education seriously.
What Can An SEO Certification Do For You?
SEO certifications are a fantastic way for people who are new to the industry to learn the basics of SEO and prove to current and future employees that you have a solid understanding of the industry. They can also teach website owners and marketing managers to do simple SEO tasks.
Does that mean you need to have a certification for SEO to work in the industry or to be good at your SEO job? Absolutely not. Some of the most talented professionals I know haven’t completed any SEO online courses.
If you’re already familiar with SEO, then even the best online SEO courses probably aren’t worth it. Why? Because SEO evolves so quickly that no course will ever be able to keep up. The knowledge you gain may be out of data almost immediately.
The only exception to this rule is if you wanted to learn about a specific part of SEO that you weren’t familiar with. If you are an on-page SEO specialist, it may be worth getting a link building certification to make yourself more employable and expand your knowledge.
What Are Some of the Best SEO Certifications?
The best SEO certifications come from well-established, trusted brands in the industry. That’s because, as I mentioned above, there is no regulation on SEO certifications. If you want to improve your knowledge, better to learn from a prominent company. If you want to make yourself more employable, best to get an certification for SEO from a source your potential employer knows.
To help you decide which SEO courses to consider, I’ve analyzed the top SEO certifications from trusted brands. Below, I run through each of them one by one, detailing the course content, cost, and pros and cons.
I should point out that I’ve only listed courses that provide a certification upon completing the course. There are certainly other SEO courses (my own included) that provide excellent training without a certificate.
As you’ll see, the reality is there’s no one right SEO certification. Someone wondering “What is SEO?” may choose an SEO course aimed at beginners, while someone wanting to up their technical SEO expertise might choose another.
The right SEO certification is the one that works for your knowledge level, budget, and goals.
1. Yoast All-Around SEO Training
Cost: $99 per year (includes access to Yoast SEO premium plugin)
Best for: Anyone who wants a solid grounding in all aspects of SEO.
Yoast is one of the top SEO WordPress plugins, so it’s no surprise they offer an SEO certification—and a top-notch SEO certification at that.
By taking this affordable course, you’ll learn how to perform keyword research, write in an SEO-friendly manner, improve the structure of your site, and implement technical SEO strategies like site speed and security. The course also covers off-page SEO tactics like link building, UX, email marketing, and social media.
The course includes:
- Three hours of instructional videos
- Quizzes to test your knowledge
- Downloadable checklists
- A certificate
- A badge
- Access to the course and Yoast SEO plugin for one year
- Affordable ($99 for a year of access)
- Covers all the main topics of SEO
- Easy to navigate
- Doesn’t require a huge time investment
- Only three hours of videos
- Likely too basic for those with mid-level SEO skills
2. Clickminded SEO Specialist Qualification
Cost: From $999 for lifetime access to one course.
Best for: Students willing to invest time and money for a deep understanding of SEO.
Clickminded offers one of the best SEO courses, designed to get you up to speed as fast as possible. That makes it ideal for students who are willing to invest the time required to learn a new skill.
This course covers a range of SEO strategies, including the basics of organic search, the best SEO tools to use, how to create an SEO strategy, on-page SEO, link building, and technical SEO. The course also offers lifetime access to several mini-courses about SEO for local businesses, Shopify sites, Pinterest, YouTube, and Amazon.
This is a full-featured Google SEO certification course, though it’s definitely a bit pricey. It’s ideal for agencies or companies that want to accelerate the onboarding of new and inexperienced employees.
- They offer team pricing ($899 per reusable license)
- 14-day money-back guarantee
- 6 other digital marketing courses to try
- Videos taught by leading experts
- A bit pricey for beginners
- Less brand recognition than other courses (Semrush, Moz, etc.)
3. Advanced Search Engine Optimization Program by Simplilearn
Best for: Professionals who want to take their SEO skills to the next level
Simplilearn offers one of the most in-depth and comprehensive SEO training courses on the market. This is an advanced course that will teach professionals and industry newcomers all of the skills and knowledge they need to become full-stack SEO professionals.
The course includes live online classes led by industry experts, 20 real-life industry projects to learn from, and covers all areas of SEO from keyword research and on-page SEO to link building and local SEO.
It also has one of the hardest-to-earn SEO certificates. Students need to complete 85 percent of the online course, attend all online sessions, complete five projects, and complete a simulation test with a score above 75 percent.
- Very in-depth curriculum
- Live lessons with industry professionals
- Covers the top industry tools
- 100 percent money-back guarantee
- More expensive than other SEO courses
- Not accessible to beginners
4. HubSpot SEO Training
Best for: Beginners or anyone looking to learn more about SEO and content marketing
HubSpot’s free SEO Certification Course is one of the most user-friendly certifications you can find online—and best of all it’s free. Over six lessons, 26 videos, and five quizzes, you’ll learn how to evaluate your site’s SEO presence, build backlinks, and use data to improve your site’s performance.
The course, which lasts for around four hours, is led by industry experts like Matthew Howells-Barby and Rachel Sheldon. And if you like it, there are plenty more free and premium online marketing courses from HubSpot, including Business Blogging, and Search Insights.
- Great introduction to SEO
- Completely free
- Certification from one of the industry’s most reputable brands
- Personalized training
- Not as in-depth as other SEO courses
5. Moz’s SEO Essentials
Best for: Beginners or those with limited SEO experience
Moz’s SEO Essentials certification is an on-demand, six-part course that introduces fundamental SEO concepts and helps you understand how to implement those new skills using Moz’s paid SEO tool, Moz Pro. This is one of the best SEO courses. It takes around around six hours to watch and includes a skills test at the end to verify your newfound SEO skills.
The course covers a wide range of SEO topics, including fundamental SEO concepts like how to perform keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and how to track and report SEO metrics. Each section requires you to complete tasks, which provides a bit of hands-on experience.
- Includes hands-on practice to solidify skills
- No need to have a Moz subscription
- SEO certification with great brand recognition
- Additional courses to dig deeper into the strategies that matter for your business
- Teaches how to use Moz Pro and no other tools
- No technical SEO section
6. SEO Fundamentals with Greg Gifford (Via Semrush)
Best for: Those who are new to SEO or want to make sure they understand the basics.
Semrush offers several certification courses, but this one stands out. Hosted by Greg Gifford, the Chief Operating Officer at SearchLabs, SEO Fundamentals is a short and free course that covers a wide range of topics. If you’re just dipping your toes into SEO or want to ensure you understand the basics, this is an ideal course.
This four-hour course includes 31 lessons covering topics such as how search engines work, link signals, technical SEO, on-page signals, international SEO, and local SEO. Each video also includes a quiz to make sure you’ve absorbed the lesson.
After completing the course, head over to their SEO certification test page to take the test and receive your certification.
- Totally free
- Covers a wide range of topics
- Taught by an industry-recognized SEO expert
- Certification from a renowned company
- Not as in-depth as other SEO courses
7. Google SEO Fundamentals by UCDavis (Via Coursera)
Cost: Free for the first 30 days; $59 a month after the trial period ends.
Best for: Anyone (including agencies) who wants a deep understanding of SEO.
Don’t let the title fool you, this is a great SEO course whether you already understand the basics of SEO or are a newbie who wants to learn the ins and outs of SEO. This is a more in-depth and longer course than others in this list. It takes 29 hours to complete and is structured more like a college course.
You’ll gain a deep understanding of how search engine algorithms work, learn how to create an SEO strategy, and learn strategies for keyword research, consumer psychology, and on-page SEO. The course covers SEO-related topics like social media, marketing, and mathematical optimization.
- Offers more in-depth training than other courses
- Led by a professional university lecturer
- Charged monthly, so you can cancel at any time
- Get access to all of Coursera’s classes
- Longer than other courses (29 hours)
- Doesn’t appear to cover link building or technical SEO
8. Google Analytics 4 Certification from Google
Best for: Everyone who uses GA4 for SEO
Google Analytics 4 isn’t easy to get your head around. But this course on Google Analytics 4 from Google should help. Over a five-part course, you’ll learn how to acquire, analyze, and action data and insights in Google Analytics 4—and you’ll even get a certificate at the end of it.
The course consists of over 4 hours of video, as well as a 1.3-hour online assessment to earn your certification. Google keeps track of your progress, allowing you to dip in and out of the certification as your time allows. By the end of it, you’ll be using GA4 like a pro.
- Free course
- Provided by the creators of the software
- Comprehensive curriculum
- Can be time-consuming
- Only focuses on analytics and not SEO strategies like keyword research and link building
- Very long assessment to get certificate
Why SEO Certifications May Not Be Worth It
SEO certifications can be useful for people who want to learn about SEO; however, they aren’t always worth it. In fact, most expert SEOs you know probably don’t have a certification.
For example, I don’t have an SEO certification. Crazy, right? As I said before, SEO certifications are not regulated by an independent agency, so the quality varies from course to course.
Here are a few other reasons SEO certifications may not be worth it:
- Most employers won’t care if you have a certificate—they care if you can deliver results.
- Classroom learning doesn’t always translate to real-life challenges.
- SEO changes fast, meaning some courses might be outdated before you finish them.
- Not everything you learn will apply to the site you work on. For example, the SEO strategies used for a small, local bakery are very different from those for a large e-commerce company.
Keep in mind, the only Google program is about GA4—so all SEO courses are taught by people outside of Google.
That said, SEO certification can help you learn SEO faster in a structured format, which is appealing to many students. They can serve as a foundation for building strong SEO skills. But to be successful you need to pair an SEO certification with real-world experience.
SEO Agencies vs. SEO Certifications
If you’re considering getting an SEO certification to improve your own website, you might be better off hiring an agency.
Hiring an SEO agency gives you access to SEO experts in all areas of SEO, including local, technical, international, and on-page SEO. Depending on the agency’s size, they may also have PPC experts, content marketers, data analysts, and project managers.
An SEO certification will give you a baseline knowledge of all the different types of SEO, but you won’t have the same knowledge as an expert with 10+ years of experience.
Unless you are going to be executing SEO marketing strategies on a monthly basis and are willing to dedicate hours each week to your ongoing SEO education, then it’s probably faster and easier to hire an SEO agency.
Some of the best-known and most respected SEO certifications are offered by organizations like Moz, Semrush, and Yoast.
While the course material varies from class to class, you can expect to learn:
– What SEO is and why it matters
– On-page SEO best practices
– Local SEO
– The basics of technical SEO
– Link building
– Keyword research
Not directly related to SEO. Google offers a course about how to use Google Analytics 4—which is free—but it doesn’t offer anything SEO related.
I recommend choosing a course from a trusted name in the industry. You’ll also want to ensure the course covers the topics you want to learn about, is affordable, and has good reviews.
An SEO certification is a type of recognition provided by an organization to an individual who has passed an online SEO course and demonstrated a firm grasp of industry knowledge and techniques.
There are plenty of organizations that offer free SEO certificates. These include HubSpot and Semrush. Free SEO certifications aren’t always the most in-depth courses, however. In some cases, you may be better off paying for an advanced course.
No there are no Google certifications about SEO. They do, however, offer certifications related to Google Ads and Google Analytics, which can be essential tools in an SEO professional’s toolkit
There are several benefits to undertaking SEO training online. An SEO course is a great way to kickstart your SEO career and learn the fundamentals of the industry. It is also an effective way for other digital marketers to expand their skill sets.
Additionally, certifications can add credibility to a professional profile, indicating expertise in the field. This can lead to career advancement by making you more appealing to employers and clients.
Getting an SEO certification can teach you the basics of SEO and help launch your career. But it can also be a waste of time and money unless you are committed to a career in SEO or digital marketing.
If you just want to gain technical knowledge to improve a specific aspect of your website’s SEO, then you may be better off hiring an expert SEO agency. They can deliver the results you need without you having to sit through hours of online videos. And because they are industry experts, they are much more likely to get the results you desire, too.
Have you taken an SEO certification course? Did you feel like it was worth it?
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