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7 Best SEO Certifications: Are They Worth It?

I’m going to give you a hypothesis on the answer to the main question: Is getting an SEO certification worth it?

This is every SEO professional’s favorite answer.

It’s true: it depends! (If it wasn’t, this article would be much shorter.)

SEO certifications can be useful if you’re new to the industry or building your skills in different disciplines.

But do you need a specific certification to be successful? Probably not.

Certifications and courses are great for developing your basic skills and familiarizing yourself with industry tools. But SEO is changing so fast that experience and testing are often the best teachers.

Experienced SEO professionals who can prove results don’t need certifications for the work they already do.

But you could still find something useful in the right training. Everyone needs to improve.

Let’s take a look at which certifications might be the most valuable for your time or money.

Is there an SEO certification?

There is no single widely recognized SEO certification. There is no SEO degree or common curriculum – which can seem daunting if you are trying to learn how to get into SEO.

But it makes sense.

SEO is a huge discipline that requires many skills and involves many people.

Developers, designers, writers, marketers, data analysts, influencers, salespeople, managers, and other professionals all have something to add to the SEO industry.

There are tons of ways to contribute and many entry points.

However, the academic community seems to be more interested in it lately. Certifications offered by colleges began to appear.

Should you pay for an SEO certification?

Many companies offer their own courses and certifications. But, these can be expensive.

The short answer is: pay for what you learn, not the certificate.

With the number of free resources available, from SEO beginner’s guides to advanced SEO strategy guides, I wouldn’t advise paying big bucks for the basic certification.

The certificate itself is probably not what will move the needle for you.

This industry cares about what you can prove — and for the most part, all a certificate proves is that you can Google the answers to multiple-choice questions.

On the other hand, the courses themselves can be extremely valuable when they go beyond the basics. If there’s a course you want to take and think you’ll gain useful skills from it, it’s definitely worth paying for.

So rate a certification or course based on the actual educational value you get from it.

I also noticed that many paid certifications come with a specific premium SEO tool. So they are probably worth it if you commit to this tool.

My advice is to check out the free content first. If you like what it does and feel like you would get real business value from the course or certification, then go for it!

Is Google SEO Certification Worth It?

Learning new skills and tools can propel your career and help you earn more. Additionally, a series of specialized certifications can create an impressive LinkedIn profile and resume.

If you’re new to the industry, certifications can help you prove your knowledge to land your first clients or jobs.

Unfortunately, if you’re hoping for official certification from Google, it doesn’t directly offer anything that matches that description.

However, it offers certifications in all of its tools. It also offers a variety of digital marketing, career development, and data courses — though not all of them come with certificates.

If you browse through the Digital Garage, you’ll also find courses from non-Google providers like Coursera and educational institutions.

Google resources are useful in their granularity.

You should be able to tell which ones are relevant and useful to you quickly. Not all of them will, but you should at least consider taking tool-specific courses.

Classes are categorized by duration, skill level, and whether you’ll get a digital certificate upon completion.

At the time of writing, they’re all free – so there’s really no reason not to check out something that interests you.

A Google account with a healthy selection of completed certificates can be useful if you lack real-world experience with the tools.

Additionally, Google partner organizations often require Google certifications.

7 Best SEO Certifications

This list includes some of the most popular certifications that bring great value to the learning process. I focused on free certifications first, but we’ll talk about paid courses that might be worth it later.

1. Google Digital Marketing Fundamentals Certification

This one isn’t technically an SEO certification but does offer SEO modules, including modules on search ads and local search.

  • Level: Beginner
  • Hours: 40
  • Main learning outcomes: Analytics, business strategy, SEO, SEM, content marketing and several other essential aspects of digital marketing
  • Price: Free
  • Number registered: 300,000+
  • Learn more here.

2. Google Analytics 4 on Skillshop

If you’re going to use Google’s tools, there’s no better teacher than those who created them.

Plus, getting certifications for all the tools you use regularly is a great — and quick — way to communicate your technical expertise.

This one is particularly relevant for anyone who used Google Analytics.

GA4 brings changes and new features, so you need to keep up!

  • Level: Beginner to advanced users
  • Hours: Approximately one hour per lesson
  • Main learning outcomes: Analyzing your website and its performance with GA4
  • Price: Free
  • Learn more here.

3. UC Davis Search Engine Optimization Specialization

University of California, Davis offers this specialization in SEO.

This is a series of five lessons culminating in a capstone project.

Of all the options, this is probably the most time consuming. It is also the most intriguing.

  • Level: Beginner-intermediate (two or more years of industry experience)
  • Hours: About 120 – six hours a week for five months
  • Main learning outcomes: Keyword research, marketing, SEO, how search algorithms work, competitive analysis, SEO reporting
  • Price: Free
  • Number registered: Approximately 120,000
  • Learn more here.

4. HubSpot SEO Certification Course

HubSpot’s Academy is legitimately cool. It’s all free and online, much like Google’s learning resources. It is also easy to search for certifications on various topics related to digital marketing.

  • Level: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Hours: Just over 2
  • Main Learning Outcomes: Keyword Research, Link Building, Website Analysis
  • Price: Free
  • Enrollment: approximately 250,000 (all Hubspot Academy, not just this course)
  • Learn more here.

5. Semrush SEO Basics Review

Semrush structures its courses and certifications a little differently.

It lists courses separately from exams.

If you’re confident in your knowledge and up for a challenge, you can pass the exams quickly and get certified.

Or, you can take as many courses as you want before tackling a single exam.

Alternatively, you can skip the certification exams if you don’t care and just want to learn.

This certification exam is associated with a course of the same name, but Semrush offers several SEO-focused courses and certifications.

  • Level: Beginner Intermediate
  • Hours: Examination – about 30 minutes. Course – Four hours.
  • Main learning outcomes: SEO Basics, Technical SEO, Ranking Signals, Mobile SEO
  • Price: Free
  • Learn more: ExamCourse

6: Ahrefs Complete SEO Course for Beginners

I cheat a bit with this one. There is no certification at the end of the course, but as I said before, I can be skeptical about the value of the certifications themselves alone.

So you won’t get a digital certificate for adding your LinkedIn profile, but you can still brag about it.

I like this one because it’s not nonsense; it’s a youtube playlist. Easy access, at any time.

  • Level: Beginner Intermediate
  • Hours: About two hours of videos
  • Main learning outcomes: SEO basics, link building, on-page SEO, technical SEO
  • Price: Free
  • Learn more here.

7. Paid certifications

I cheat again; I decided to group paid certifications here. Trusted names in the industry offer them, so you’ll likely get a lot of value out of them.

But if you’re new to the industry and just looking to get started, consider saving them for later.

Moz Academy

The Moz training academy includes a variety of courses.

There’s a free course to get your feet wet, but certifications cost $395 or $595.

Moz offers a robust learning center where you can get a lot of information from these industry veterans.

Complete Yoast SEO Training

Yoast is the ubiquitous WordPress SEO plugin.

If you’ve worked on digital marketing content, you’ve probably come across it.

His training is an annual subscription model for $99 per year. There’s a free course you can try to get started.

Conclusion

There is a key difference between a course and a certification. Not all courses are certified. Some of the best don’t.

Certifications have their uses. These are quick ways to demonstrate your skills to employers and clients – and if you don’t have a lot of experience, they can serve as proof of your skills.

Getting certified in specific tools is great for your resume if you work with them. An at-a-glance list of your certified tools is impressive and helpful!

But the content you learn is far more important than the digital certificate. You shouldn’t skip a course because you don’t get certified.

In fact, a digital certification by itself is not particularly impressive.

Don’t let this deter you from seeking learning opportunities. Digital courses, both free and paid, can be essential in your career.

You can learn new skills, keep pace with the industry, and earn higher rates with the right application of knowledge.

Don’t focus on getting an SEO certification. Focus on learning SEO.

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