5 Best SEO Certifications in 2023

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Since university degrees in SEO are rare, certifications are a popular way to prove your knowledge or expertise in SEO. However, the problem is that such certifications can be provided by anyone.

So if you want to take an SEO certification, you want to make sure you’re completing those where:

  • The course material is comprehensive, accurate, and actually teaches you the

    Are SEO certifications worth it?

Let’s be straight: 

Most SEO certifications aren’t worth it.

Here are a few reasons why.

1. Most employers don’t care about SEO certifications

We asked 15 SEO hiring managers for the skills and requirements that they deem important when hiring an SEO specialist. In all, 86% said that SEO certifications aren’t important, with the rest saying that they’re only somewhat important.

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Not one hiring manager said they were very important. 

So if you want an SEO certification to add to your resume and LinkedIn to attract job offers, I have bad news.

2. SEO certifications don’t guarantee a good SEO education

Getting an SEO certificate doesn’t necessarily mean that you learned anything useful. It just means that you learned something

So don’t let the allure of a certificate cloud your judgment when learning SEO. If the syllabus doesn’t look helpful, don’t bother.

3. SEO certifications only teach you theory, not practical skills

Knowing the theory only gets you so far. 

If you want to become an SEO expert, our advice is to start a website as soon as possible after learning the basics of SEO. Getting your hands dirty and trying to rank a website will teach you more than an SEO certification.

4. SEO certifications take a lot of time

There are 13 hours of material in Google’s SEO Fundamentals certification

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That’s not a negligible amount of time. You could spend that time building and ranking a website. And it’s probably a better use of your time if you already know the basics of SEO.

5. SEO certifications often have bad questions

Look at this question from an SEO exam:

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Google actually recommends you use hyphens rather than underscores in URLs. So it’s not a true or false question.

Here’s another question, this time from Google’s SEO Fundamentals certification:

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You can see we got the answer wrong. If we must guess, the correct answer is likely “optimizing site keywords.” But that’s a terrible answer—it sounds like something you’d see in 2009, not now.

If you are a hiring manager and see such questions in the quiz, will you trust the certification? And by extension, will you trust the knowledge of the person with such certifications? 

Probably not.

6. SEO certifications are too easy to pass

For most certifications, if you failed the exam, you could retake it shortly after your initial attempt (between 0 and 12 hours).

This sounds great if you’re a “test taker.” But since most questions are multiple-choice, it’s only a matter of time before you pass the exam via trial and error or Googling. 

This diminishes the value of your certification. Imagine if it was this easy for college exams. The job market would soon become saturated with graduates, and degrees would lose much of their value.

7. SEO certifications are often just marketing ploys

Passing an SEO certification gets you a certificate (and sometimes a badge too). You can show this off on your resume, LinkedIn profile, or website. That raises brand awareness for the creator of the SEO certification. 

This is probably why many of them are easy to pass. Passes lead to brand awareness.

Here are some commonly asked questions about SEO certifications.

What is an SEO certification?

An SEO certification is awarded to a person who passes an assessment after completing an SEO course. 

The proof of achievement, either in the form of a certificate or badge, is what differentiates an SEO certification from an SEO course. 

Is there a Google SEO certification?

Kind of.

Google offers a free “Fundamentals of Digital Marketing” certification through the Google Digital Garage. It includes 26 modules, ~14 hours of material, and covers many aspects of digital marketing—with three of them solely dedicated to SEO. It’s accredited by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University.

If you’re looking to learn Google Analytics, there’s also the Google Analytics Certification.

Should you pay for an SEO certification?

Judge the course by its material, not by the certification. If the course contains material you didn’t know before or can likely teach you new skills, then it’s worth paying for.

Final thoughts

Most SEO hiring managers see certifications as unimportant when hiring SEO specialists. We agree.

So here’s our advice:

If you want to grow your SEO knowledge, find a good SEO course (here’s our free one) and then execute what you learn.

If you want to get a job, do the same thing because results speak louder than an “SEO certification.”

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter (X) or Threads.

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