Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the top skills needed by marketing professionals and business owners. But it’s getting more challenging every day to understand the ins and outs of this art form, which is a core part of the success of every brand with an online presence.
This article takes a look at the SEO courses and certifications that can increase your knowledge and enhance your career.
The Importance of SEO
Nearly 30% of global web traffic comes from search engines, and, according to a report from Statista, ever since Google introduced its search engine in 1997, it has dominated the search engine market, maintaining a 92.47% market share as of June 2021. Google's biggest competitor, Bing, only has 7% of the market, and Yahoo has captured 2.85%.
Clearly, when brands wish to optimize their websites for search, it's Google they're optimizing for.
Over the years, Google has made thousands of updates to its search engine algorithm, and the SEO techniques that were effective one year may no longer be useful the next. For website developers and marketing professionals, keeping up with the most recent changes in SEO is a required part of the job. Fortunately, there are many different SEO courses and certifications available to help one stay informed.
A 2021 report from HubSpot revealed that approximately 64% of marketers and 63% of brands actively invest time in SEO. With the difficulty and challenges of getting a website to appear on the top search engine results pages (SERPs), there is a lot of pressure to learn as much as possible about SEO tactics and strategies.
Jessica Zhao, CMO of Spacewhite, a low waste, non-toxic cleaning product provider, told CMSWire that SEO is something lots of small business owners don't think about, but it can make a huge difference in how fast they grow their business.
“When you're new to the scene you have lots of momentum — propel that by having proper SEO backing you up right from the start," she said. "For people contemplating a career in SEO, a free taster course is a perfect way to judge whether you're truly interested and excited by the prospect of learning more."
Related Article: No-Click Search Results: An SEO Debate Continues
Google Garage, along with Coursera and the University of California Davis, offers a four-week SEO Fundamentals course, which starts with an introduction to on-page SEO (11 videos), off-page SEO (four videos), technical SEO (seven videos) and finally, keyword theory and research (six videos).
Unlike many Google Garage courses, which are free, the Coursera SEO course requires membership to Coursera. The platform offers a 7-day free trial and costs $59 per month afterward.
Included with the Coursera subscription are 28 other SEO courses, including:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Introduction to Google SEO
- Advanced Search Engine Optimization Strategies
- Increase SEO Traffic With WordPress
- Brand Marketing and SEO Tools Using Wix
Greg Rose, chief experience officer at Intellum, a customer education platform provider, told CMSWire that Intellum partners with leaders in the tech industry, including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter, to deliver world-class customer education and certification initiatives.
Rose said that each of these programs must include:
- Exceptional user experiences that streamline the process of accessing the required educational content prior to the assessment/exam
- Deep understanding of the learner personas and the competencies each persona should acquire or improve during the certification process
- A clear strategic reason to offer a certification
- A scalable certification program that can grow and flex as the above things grow
HubSpot, which offers courses on a wide variety of subjects, including marketing, sales, service and more, partners with over 500 colleges and universities to align their curricula with industry expectations.
“HubSpot SEO Certification is a great choice for content creators, marketers and anyone looking to brush up their SEO skills on a tight budget," said Jon Buchan, CEO of Charm Offensive. "HubSpot Academy is a recognized name for offering certification courses in a variety of niches."
HubSpot’s SEO Certification Course is comprehensive, includes 24 videos and provides marketers with everything they need to become proficient at SEO. It’s broken down into specific topics, starting with an overview and introduction to the course, moving on through the basics, then into more specific aspects of SEO. The course takes approximately three hours to complete.Each of the lessons includes several videos, and most have a resource section that features slides from the videos, transcripts, links to mentioned SEO tools and websites and links to related articles and blogs. Once a student has watched the videos in each lesson, there is a short quiz to see if they have retained the information and then an opportunity to work through an SEO worksheet.
The exam includes 60 questions that are randomly drawn from a total of 73 questions, all of which are answered in the videos and transcripts. The exam takes about an hour to complete, though students are given three hours to finish it. Students must answer at least 45 questions (75%) correctly to pass and must wait 12 hours before taking it again if they do not initially pass.
Upon passing, students are provided with a digital certificate and can display the certificate on their LinkedIn profile or their website. The HubSpot SEO certification is valid for one year.
Related Article: What You Need To Know About HubSpot's SEO Certification
While LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com, is not free, it’s affordable enough that it should be considered by any student of SEO or marketing. It offers over 800 SEO courses, learning paths and videos on the subject of search engine optimization.
The learning platform offers a one-month free trial period. Afterward, a monthly subscription costs $39.99, or you can opt for an annual subscription at $26.99 per month.
Subscriptions to LinkedIn Learning also include LinkedIn Premium, and those who are already LinkedIn Premium subscribers receive full access to LinkedIn Learning at no additional cost.
LinkedIn Learning’s Become an SEO Expert program features 10 individual courses, including:
- Learning Local SEO
- SEO: Keyword Strategy
- SEO: Link Building
- SEO Foundations
- SEO: Videos
- International SEO
- SEO: Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
- Marketing Tools: SEO
- Technical SEO
- SEO: Ecommerce Strategies
Each individual course includes videos and exercise files. When students have successfully completed each course, they will receive a certificate that can be displayed on their LinkedIn profile.
“Certifications can be a great addition to any education program as customers who are proficient in your organization’s tools are likely to get much more out of them, leading to increased retention, loyalty and advocacy,” said Rose.
The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is used by nearly 10 million websites, more than any other SEO plugin for WordPress. Yoast Academy comes from the same folks that brought you the plugin and offers a free membership with several courses, including two SEO courses:
- SEO for Beginners: Includes What Is SEO, Content SEO and Technical SEO, each of which covers four topics, with quizzes at the end.
- Yoast SEO for WordPress: Meant for users of the WordPress block editor and teaches how to set up and use the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin.
The premier Yoast membership, which costs $99 per year, also includes courses on Local SEO, Ecommerce SEO, SEO Copyrighting, Site Structure, Keyword Research, All Around SEO, Technical SEO and more.
Related Article: How to Use Keyword Density in a Modern SEO Strategy
Alison provides over 4,000 courses, all of them free, and covers business, sales and marketing, health, language and construction. Alison offers several SEO courses with certifications, including:
- Fundamentals of YouTube Marketing and Search Engine Optimization
- Build WordPress Sites That Attract Free Traffic
- Introduction to Bing SEO — Revised
- YouTube Marketing and YouTube SEO Fundamentals
Each course includes several modules with multiple topics. The Fundamentals of YouTube Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, for instance, includes four modules:
- YouTube Hacks: Tricks and Features
- Creating High-Quality YouTube Content
- YouTube Marketing and Promotion Strategies
- Course Assessment
Once each course is completed, students will have the option to purchase a digital (or printed) certificate that they can share on social media, LinkedIn, etc.
Search engine optimization is a skill that has become an art form over the past two decades. As SEO has evolved, professionals have sought out SEO courses and certifications to keep their skills up to date, as well as to provide value to current and prospective employers.
With free and premium courses available for all skill levels, both SEO students and professionals can learn at their own pace.