Want to learn more about SEO? There’s a good chance you’ve seen dozens of SEO certification courses, ranging from offerings from top SEO platforms like Semrush to “experts” you’ve never heard of.
If you’re unsure if an SEO certification is right for you—or are struggling to figure out which course is the right fit—you’re in the right place. With more than two decades of search marketing experience under my belt, I’ve seen dozens of SEO certification courses come and go.
I’ve also spent time researching the top courses to make the decision process easier for you.
Before we dive into whether or not you should (or shouldn’t) get an SEO certification, let’s talk about what they are.
What Is An SEO Certification?
An SEO certification is a verification provided by a company verifying that you’ve completed their SEO course. Unlike a college degree or certificate program through a university, SEO certifications are not regulated.
However, they can help you learn the fundamentals of SEO and show employers or clients that you take your education seriously.
What Are Some of The Best SEO Certifications?
The best SEO certifications come from well-established, trusted brands in the marketing industry. That’s because, as I mentioned above, there is no regulation on SEO certifications. However, being certified by a trusted brand shows employers and clients that you’ve put in the effort—and they are more likely to trust that you know what you’re doing.
To help you decide, I’ve analyzed the top SEO certifications from trusted brands, including the content they cover, cost, and pros and cons.
The reality is there’s no one right SEO certification. Someone wondering “What is SEO?” may choose a 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.
Yoast All-Around SEO Training
Cost: $99 per year (includes access to Yoast SEO premium plugin)
Best for: Students who want to learn a little more than the basics of SEO.
Yoast is one of the top WordPress plugins for on-page SEO, so it’s no surprise they offer an SEO certification, and their certification is a top-notch choice.
You’ll learn how to perform keyword research, SEO copywriting, how to improve site structure, and technical SEO strategies like improving 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.
- Downloadable checklists
- 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
- Only three hours of videos
- Likely too basic for those with mid-level SEO skills
Clickminded SEO Specialist Qualification
Cost: $997 for lifetime access to one course.
Best for: Students willing to invest time and money for a deep understanding of SEO.
Clickminded offers a fast, in-depth SEO certification 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 that can make the most of their team pricing.
- They offer team pricing ($4997 for 10 reusable company licenses that let you access many courses.
- Can start for free to see if you like it.
- A bit pricey for beginners
- Less brand recognition than other courses (Semrush, Moz, etc.)
Moz’s SEO Fundamentals
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. The class takes 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, 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.
- 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.
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 Vice President of Search at SearchLabs, SEO Fundamentals is short and free but still 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 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.
- Not as in-depth as other courses.
Google SEO Fundamentals by UCDavis (Via Coursera)
Cost: Free for the first 30 days; $59 a month after trial period ends.
Best for: Anyone (including agencies) who wants a deep understanding of SEO, not just the fundamentals.
Whether you understand the basics of SEO or are a newbie who wants to learn the ins-and-outs of SEO, this is the course for you. The course 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.
- 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.
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 any one 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 ecommerce company.
Keep in mind, there is no Google SEO certification program, so all 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.
However, 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, you might wonder if you’re better off hiring an agency. Unfortunately, comparing the two is a bit like comparing apples to oranges.
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.
That said, it may be worth it to get an SEO certification even if you end up hiring an agency. You’ll be able to better understand the agency’s recommendations and how they might impact your business.
The best SEO certifications come from trusted brands in the SEO industry like Moz, NP University, Semrush, Yoast, and Courses.
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
No. Google offers several certification courses through Digital Garage, but none on SEO specifically. Google does recommend the Google SEO Fundamentals course offered through Coursera in partnership with UC Davis.
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, and check customer reviews.
Getting a Google SEO certification can launch your career forward; but it can also be a waste of time and money. If you’re just getting started in SEO, a certificate can help you understand the basics or gain more technical knowledge.
Just remember, there is no replacement for hands-on SEO experience.
Have you taken an SEO certification course? Did you feel like it was worth it?