As you start an SEO agency or freelance business, you may ask youself "what can I do to level up my SEO skills and provide more value to clients?"
An SEO certification and course will likely come up on your radar as the best option. In today's world, you can learn anything you want from the comfort of your own home. There are 100s of SEO courses available to you, and many provide a certificate of completion that you can showcase to clients.
But which course do you start with? Should you even bother with an SEO certification?
In this article, we'll be diving into both those questions, as well as listing the top 5 SEO certificates and courses available.
But first, let's start with the basics: what even is an SEO certification?
What is an SEO Certification?
SEO certifications are provided by educational platforms or brands. Typically you will take a course, complete an assessment or assignment, and upon successful completion, you'll receive a certification to show for your work.
Let's be clear about one thing - Google does not offer an SEO certification.
In fact, Google has previously announced they'll likely never provide any SEO certification for a variety of reasons.
Be skeptical of anyone claiming to be a "Google Certified SEO Expert"...there's no such thing. SEO certificates all come from third-party platforms.
Google does offer certifications for Google Ads, Display, AdSense, Google Analytics, and a list of other courses. Some of these are beneficial to complete as an SEO, but we'll discuss those more later.
Should you get an SEO Certification?
The short answer is: it depends.
You can be a successful SEO agency with or without a certification.
If you're already an established agency, an SEO certification isn't necessary. There are other ways to boost your credibility.
Results and experience will speak much more to a potential client than a certificate badge on your site. As an experienced agency, focus on writing client case studies that highlight your experience and skills.
However, if you're just starting your SEO career, courses and education are a great way to break into the industry and grow your business.
You need to master the skills and tactics in order to deliver results to your clients.
These 5 courses will help you level-up your SEO skills. Plus, a few include a certificate to help boost your agency's credibility. Let's dive in.
5 Best SEO Courses and Certificates:
There are a lot of SEO courses and valuable content available online that's available completely free.
Some courses can cost $100s (or $1000s!), but for those of you getting started, these free courses are all you need to master the essentials of SEO.
Moz compiled and uploaded Rand Fishkin's famous whiteboard Friday's into one easy-to-follow course - available for free on Udemy.
The course is a total of 3.5 hours of video content and breaks down the essentials of SEO. He goes into specific tactics, from link building to on-page optimization, as well as what the day-to-day of an SEO looks like.
If you're looking to understand the basics of SEO, start here.
Matthew Barby, Vice President of Marketing at Hubspot, hosts a mini-SEO course. While this one is a lot shorter, you'll still learn the essentials to building your organic traffic.
What's great about this course is it dives into establishing a strategy for your SEO.
In the first module, you'll learn how to find the right SEO strategy for your business. SEO isn't a "one-size-fits-all" strategy. You need to figure out what will work best for your business type.
BONUS: While signing up for Hubspot's Academy, check out Hubspot's Inbound Marketing Course too. This course comes with a certification at the end that you can list on your LinkedIn page or website.
While it's not directly SEO-related, it covers crucial skills every digital marketer should master.
SEO is more than tactics like link building and keyword research. You also need to define your audience, the stages of your funnel, what your end goal is.
The Inbound Marketing Course helps you establish these fundamentals.
While this isn't necessarily a "course", you should watch Brian Dean's YouTube videos on SEO.
Brian Dean of Backlinko is a well-known SEO expert. His Youtube channel has some of the best video content for learning SEO.
He launches a paid course each year, but his free content is also packed with value-bombs for learning SEO.
Specifically, I recommend watching his full playlist on Advanced SEO Strategies and Case Studies. He'll walk you through keyword research techniques and backlink building, all while including data from his own SEO campaigns.
As I mentioned above, Google doesn't provide an SEO certificate, but they do provide a number of other courses.
One certification every SEO should have is the Google Analytics Certification.
As an SEO, you need to know how to track and measure your results.
Google Analytics is one of the tools you'll use daily to track your website performance, and thus, one you should master.
The Google Analytics Academy is a series of videos that end with the Google Analytics IQ exam. Once you pass the exam, you'll receive your Google Analytics Certification, which includes a badge you can place on your website.
The ClickMinded SEO Course is led by the founder, Tommy Griffith. He's the previous SEO Manager of Airbnb and Paypal, and he knows SEO!
This course is for those looking to take your SEO to the next level, beyond a beginner introduction. However, it is the only course listed here that isn't free. The complete SEO course costs $997.
Get started with a sample of the course by signing up for the free mini-intro course to see if it's the right fit for you.
While an SEO certificate isn't necessary for your agency's success, you do need to master the skills needed to deliver results. These courses will give you the fundamentals needed to run a great agency.
You'll master everything you need to get results, all the way from strategy to individual tactics to managing clients.