The 7 Best SEO Certifications [2022 Edition]

Gabriel Onyango, tech writer and contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

If you’ve been thinking about getting certified in SEO to boost your career, this is going to be your guide to finding the best SEO certifications out there. Whether you want to become an SEO expert or upskill in order to improve your website’s ranking on search engines to rank above pesky competitors, being certified can come in handy.

In this article, we go through 7 of what we think are the best SEO certifications in the market right now. Should you want to get right to it, here is a clickable menu to skip to your desired section:

  1. What is SEO?
  2.  Should you complete a course for an SEO certification?
  3. The best SEO certifications on the market right now
  4. Key takeaways

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of fine-tuning the factors that affect how content in a website is discovered by search engines, such as Google and Bing.

In a nutshell, when you type, “do flying carpets exist?” The web pages that show up on the search engine results page (SERP) have been optimized to meet your search intent through SEO. The order that the web pages appear on a SERP is known as its ranking—and we’re always looking to better our ranking (unless we’re already at #1, of course).

Search engine optimization falls into two camps:

  • On-page SEO: this involves optimizing factors such as titles and the URL structure, within web pages to help them rank on search engines. 
  • Off-page SEO:  involves optimizing factors outside the website which contribute to its ranking in search results. These factors include links from other websites or social media activity connected to the brand, for example when people are sharing an article from your blog on Twitter.

Should you complete a course for an SEO certification?

It all starts with getting clarity on what you want to do with that certification. As a guide, when you want to learn SEO to get a promotion or change careers, a certification in SEO is invaluable. It serves as an indicator of your competency. But for those looking to learn SEO and use the skills in growing a business, an SEO certification will shorten your learning curve compared to gathering information from different sources. 

As a discipline within the world of marketing, SEO remains lucrative as a career option. According to a 2020 review of 7,051 job listings on LinkedIn and Glassdoor by SEO education company Backlinko, the average salary for a U.S.-based SEO practitioner was $60,548 per year.

Here’s a screenshot showing what we found after a quick search on LinkedIn for open SEO roles. It revealed 60,145 open postings on the day of writing this article. 

Part of a job description for an SEO-related job.

So yes, an SEO certification is worth it, but your choice should be based on what you want it to do for you; do you want a career change? Are you just seeking to learn a new skill? 

The best SEO certifications on the market right now

In no particular order, here’s our list of the 7 best SEO certifications:

1. CareerFoundry’s Digital Marketing Program

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Duration:  4 months full-time (studying 30-40 hours a week) or 7 months part time (studying 15-20 hours per week)
  • Price: $6,900 (with discounts if paid up-front)
  • Ideal for: Beginners and career-changers
  • USP: Dedicated mentors and a job guarantee

One of the biggest worries of anyone seeking any type of certification is whether they can put into practice everything they learn. CareerFoundry’s digital marketing program does just that. While they don’t have a standalone SEO certification course, they have SEO modules within their Digital Marketing Program; giving learners a wholesome understanding of SEO in the context of digital marketing—which SEO is a big part of.

Created in partnership with industry practitioners, the program covers on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and Google Analytics. Learners are encouraged to put their new knowledge into practice through a capstone project tied to their lessons, in addition to completing portfolio pieces to showcase their skills to prospective employers.

Who is it for?

Beginners with no prior marketing experience and people in non-marketing roles looking to change careers into marketing will enjoy this course. It’s uniquely structured to support learners through their job transition with career specialists on hand.

How long does it take to finish?

The course is flexible; you can complete it in four months at 30 to 40 hours a week, or in seven months at 15 to 20 hours a week. It is fully online, with one-on-one access to a tutor who evaluates your assignments and a mentor to give feedback on your portfolio pieces—both of whom are industry experts.

This type of learner support is one of CareerFoundry’s USPs, alongside a job guarantee where learners can get their cost of tuition back if they don’t find a job in the field within 180 days of graduating.

How much does it cost?

The course costs $6,555 upfront, or $6,900 when paid under a flexible payment program ($2,100 lump sum and $600 a month for eight months)

Learn more:

Students working on a laptop towards their SEO certification

2. University of California (UC), Davis’ SEO Specialized Studies Program

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Duration: Six months
  • Price: $3,200 
  • Ideal: Beginners and existing marketers
  • USP: Delivered by practicing SEO professionals

Who is it for?

The UC Davis SEO certification course is an online program aimed at people who want to start marketing careers in search engine optimization. It is separated into mini-courses that make it possible for advanced learners to skip SEO basics and quickly take a bite at more advanced levels.

How does it work?

The course is delivered as four modules.

  • Fundamentals of SEO
  • Optimizing websites for search
  • Advanced content and social
  • Advanced SEO strategies

How long does it take?

The program takes six months to complete.

How much does it cost?

You can take each of the SEO mini-courses at $800 per module or as a four-course package discounted at $2,720.

At the end of it, learners should have expertise in keyword research, link building, onsite, and offsite SEO strategies, as well as how to do technical site analyses and reporting.

The instructors are SEO professionals (the lead instructor is Fishbrain’s head of organic acquisition, Rebekah May) who deliver the course material over online lectures. Learners also engage in peer-to-peer activities and practical projects.

Students receive certification after completing at least three of the four mini-courses and the accompanying assessments, which include practical assignments and quizzes.

This course’s unique selling proposition is that it is developed in collaboration with an advisory board of multiple industry practitioners including Walmart’s SEO manager Scott Laughlin, former GoDaddy SEO director Kent Yunk, and Searchmetric’s chief evangelist Jordan Koene. It takes learners through an industry-led program, rather than an academic one.

3. Simplilearn’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Training Course 

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Duration: Self-paced, but capped at three months
  • Price: $429
  • Ideal: Marketers who want to upskill, or people in non-marketing roles with an interest in SEO 
  • USP: Very practical (learners complete 25 practice projects before graduating)

Who is it for?

This SEO certification is ideal for marketers (writers, marketing managers, and so on) who want to increase their skills in search engine optimization, and people in non-marketing roles such as sales, engineering, and business owners who want to learn a new skill.

It advances slowly from foundational SEO concepts, to advanced levels that include deep dives on using the SEO tool, Google Search Console. This course is suitable for beginners and people with existing marketing knowledge.

How does it work?

Learners can either take a self-paced learning route (with access to course materials, simulation tests, and 25 projects that use the skills learned) or choose a boot camp learning model, where you also attend live online training sessions by industry experts. 

The course content includes an overview of SEO foundations, including keyword research, local SEO, algorithm updates, on-page and off-page optimization. It then progresses to advanced hands-on deep dives, including how to plan a new website, digital analytics, and privacy.

To be certified you have to complete at least 85% of the course (those in the boot camp classes have to attend all live sessions within the batch they signed up for),  achieve a 75% score on one simulation test, and complete five practical projects.

How long does it take to finish?

This course is self-paced, but the online bootcamp learning model provides access to flexible online classes for up to 90 days.

How much does it cost?

The self-paced course is $320, while the online bootcamp costs $427.

4. ClickMinded’s SEO Course

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Duration: Up to six hours, with lifetime access to materials 
  • Price: $997
  • Ideal: Beginner to intermediate marketers
  • USP: Covers different types of SEO e.g. Amazon SEO and Pinterest SEO

The ClickMinded SEO certification course was created by former PayPal and Airbnb SEO manager Tommy Griffith, who has been in search engine optimization for a decade. 

The course takes the fundamentals of SEO, and applies them beyond traditional search engines like Google, to platforms like Yelp, Amazon, Pinterest, YouTube, and Quora.

Who is it for?

This course is ideal for people with a beginner to an intermediate understanding of search engine optimization. The original target audience was designers, data scientists, and engineers new to the SEO team at PayPal and Airbnb, but the course has been expanded to still be valuable to SEO experts looking to increase their knowledge.

How does it work?

The SEO certification is designed as a step-by-step walkthrough of SEO concepts, allowing learners to pick and choose where they want to start. 

It’s delivered as six sections: general SEO, local SEO, Shopify SEO, YouTube, Amazon, and Pinterest SEO, all with downloadable slides and quizzes. The course is self-paced with lifetime access to the content, and certification is given after completing a final exam.

How long does it take?

Three to six hours depending on the parts of the course you choose to access.

How much does it cost?

$997, but is also accessible as part of a bigger digital marketing course that bundles it with six other marketing courses for $1,997. 

5. The Digital Marketing Institute’s SEO Certification 

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Duration: 12 weeks (7-13 hours of content) 
  • Price: $445
  • Ideal: Small business owners, marketing professionals
  • USP: Large alumni support network (200,000+) for graduates

How does it work? 

The Digital Marketing Institute’s SEO course comes in a bundle of five modules, which wraps with a multiple choice exam at the end. After passing the exam, learners receive an associate-level SEO certification.

The course modules include:

  • The fundamental principles of SEO
  • Problem-solving and improving website ranking
  • On-page optimization and content performance
  • Off-page optimization and local SEO
  • SEO strategy and how to measure performance

How long does it take to complete?

Learners have a maximum of 12 weeks to go through 7 to 13 hours of content before taking the certification exam. 

How much does it cost?

The course is priced at $445, but can be paid in three installments of $185 a month. In addition to the course, learners get a free Digital Marketing Institute membership (with access to a 200,000+ member commmunity).

6. Moz Academy’s SEO Essentials Certification

  • Mode of study: Onlinehttps://academy.moz.com/path/seo-essentials-moz-certification
  • Duration: Six hours 
  • Price: $595
  • Ideal: SEO beginners and intermediate marketers
  • USP:  Practical as Moz has a suite of SEO tools ‌learners use within the course

How does this work?

This course is divided into five modules:

  • Fundamentals of SEO
  • Keyword research (using the Moz keyword tool and competitors)
  • Page optimization 
  • Link building
  • SEO reporting and analysis

It is instructor-led and combines theory with practical tasks that utilize online tools such as Google Analytics and Moz. Learners take a quiz in each of the five sections, topping it all with an exam that earns them an SEO certification.

How long does it take?

You will need about eight hours to complete this course: six hours of content and two hours of tests. Access to the course material expires after one year but, by then, the hope is that you’d have SEO knowledge dripping from your fingertips.

Who is this SEO certification for?

It is suitable both for beginners and experienced professionals, because the content covers SEO basics all the way to practical advanced concepts. 

What’s the cost?

$595

7. HubSpot Academy’s SEO Certification 

  • Mode of study: Online 
  • Duration: 2 hours, 24 minutes 
  • Price: Free
  • Ideal: Marketers and content creators
  • USP: Bite-sized and to the point

What does this course cover?

HubSpot is a well-known customer relationship management (CRM) company that built its business via content and SEO. Their SEO course is practical and hones in on how businesses can scale SEO.

 The course covers:

  • The fundamentals of SEO (what search engines and web crawlers are, how they index pages, and how to create an SEO strategy)
  • Technical on-page SEO (internal linking, meta descriptions, URL structure, etc.)
  • Keyword research 
  • Backlinking as an SEO strategy and how to scale it
  • Website optimization
  • SEO analysis and reporting

How long does it take?

The course length is listed at two hours and 24 minutes exactly—a bit longer than a feature-length film! It’s spread over six lessons, with five quizzes, after which learners are certified. It is ideal for marketers and content creators curious about incorporating SEO into their day-to-day work. 

Key takeaways

All these SEO certifications have unique value propositions and are structured to serve different audiences. They vary in price points, level of instructor/mentor support, length of time to completion, and level of competency achieved after certification.

To determine which is best for you—and your career aspirations as a search engine marketer—try to match your goals and requirements to what each SEO certification offers. That way you’ll be able to make a decision that best fits you.

Interested in seeing whether or not digital marketing is the field for you? Why not try out this free, self-paced digital marketing short course? You may also be interested in the following articles:

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to digital marketing with a free, self-paced short course comprised of five short tutorials.

  2. Take part in one of our FREE live online digital marketing events with industry experts.

  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out what it takes to become a job-ready digital marketer in just 4-7 months—all backed by the CareerFoundry job guarantee.

  4. This month, apply for the Women in Tech Scholarshipworth up to $1,260 off our full Digital Marketing Program. Offered to the first 100 women who enroll, book your advisor call today.

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