If you’re going to be managing an SEO campaign, it’s best you have some formal training in the art of search engine optimization.
While it’s not necessary to major specifically in SEO at a university, you should at least be seeking some higher education, specifically digital marketing certification courses and advanced training classes.
Careers in the SEO industry can be lucrative, and the industry has a demand for experienced professionals who are trained in the subtle content tweaks that it takes to raise a website up from obscurity into the world of page one visibility.
But why do you need to take a course in the first place? Can’t you just learn on the job? Is it truly important to invest in SEO training? And if you do want to train, what are some of the best free and paid courses that you can take to further your knowledge?
Why Beginners Should Take SEO Courses
Much like any technical profession, SEO requires a lot of training. It is no longer the new kid on the marketing block (like social media), and it has become essential for content marketers to have a working knowledge of SEO and how it works.
That’s because SEO is a complicated and evolving process which combines elements of content writing with web design to create a layered and multi-faceted campaign that must be constantly managed and nurtured.
If you’re looking to have a career in the SEO industry, you need to develop an intense focus on Google’s search algorithm and how it changes over time. Google is constantly shifting its parameters, so as an SEO professional, it’s up to you to adapt the content of your clients to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to maintain and enrich their ranking.
You have to understand how Google judges sites and how to stay ahead of changes the company makes.
This is true whether you’re new yourself or you have a new team member joining your company who needs more training.
To that end, training courses are perfect for beginners to learn practical knowledge and test themselves before being thrust into a position they’re not prepared for.
Failing to provide accurate training for an SEO specialist could lead to major mistakes being made which negatively impact the overall campaign. Unfortunately, the penalty for such an occurrence is usually that the person is terminated.
Remember, every job involves extensive training whether you’re a plumber, WordPress developer, or a Wall Street executive. Why should a process that has become the backbone of the marketing industry be any different?
The Importance of Investing in Training
When looking at the world of search engine optimization, it’s easy to question why you should have to invest your own money into training classes. When you break down the numbers, you’ll find that paying into an SEO future can be a very smart investment based solely on your return.
SEO courses vary in costs (more on that in a moment.) However, most of them are either free or cost up to $1,000. While the latter figure might make your legs wobble, it’s important to look at the industry as a whole before making a snap judgment.
SEO Specialists are in high demand in today’s market. The industry is booming, with a 43% increase in SEO jobs from 2017 to 2018. The better the education you have, the more likely you are to land a high paying SEO job.
How high paying?
The average base salary of an SEO specialist is reported by Glassdoor to be $65,200 per year. That means if you get a good job in the SEO industry, you can make your initial coursework investment back in less than one week.
The Top SEO Training Courses of 2019
Now that you understand why you should be taking a training course to enrich your SEO career journey, it’s time to figure out what kind of courses are out there.
These courses vary in price, starting at no cost whatsoever all the way up to expensive university classes. We will go through each of these chosen educational pathways to ensure that you are making a decision that fits your needs and your budget.
Moz: SEO Training Course
Moz’s SEO training course is filled with a lot of advanced knowledge. It is primarily a beginner course offering two paid plans.
The first and more expensive option is a full SEO fundamentals certification course priced at $599. It provides foundational knowledge which prepares students for common SEO projects. It is led by instructors. These lessons focus on keyword research, page optimization, link building, and reporting.
As far as the workload and time commitment, this course features six hours of video content broken into five lessons, along with quizzes and a final exam.
You can easily tout your successful completion of Moz’s SEO course because you will receive a certificate of completion at the end of your work. This makes it far easier to show a potential employer and makes a great resume attachment.
The other option is priced at $199 and it focuses on local SEO training. It focuses on six components of local SEO strategy, teaching students how to prioritize optimizations on a local level. It does this by covering how to audit web pages and business listings in order to be listed on map results. The course provides a Local SEO checklist that can be tailored to future clients on an individual basis.
The course is self paced, meaning students have the ability to work at their own speed. All purchases grant access to the video course and materials for a period of one year.
The reviews for Moz’s SEO Training Course are mostly positive.
As for accessibility, Moz’s course can be completed on mobile platforms, including iPhone, iPad, or any Android device.
ClickMinded is a premium SEO course that is priced at $487. The difference between ClickMinded and many of the free services on this list becomes apparent when you look at the large amount of content that it offers.
ClickMinded’s SEO course includes more than five hours of content split between 66 different lectures. That’s a lot of course time, making for a complete educational experience.
On top of explaining the basics of SEO to you, ClickMinded will also walk you through the use of 14 different SEO tools.
There are almost 3,000 students enrolled in the program, and it gets great reviews all across the board. ClickMinded fits in well with a busy schedule as it is a self-paced course. There is no need to worry about wasting your money as the course comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
That means an SEO beginner who starts the course work and then determines that this is not the career path for them can opt out and receive a full refund within the first 30 days.
Like most of the courses on this list, you can get a certificate of completion at the end.
SEO Certification Training by MarketMotive
MarketMotive’s SEO Certification Training program entails 25 Hours of learning. It also features educational materials including downloadable workbooks. What’s more, the course is updated on a quarterly basis to reflect the current state of the SEO industry, so you’re not getting fed any outdated information.
There are periodic quizzes designed to test your knowledge throughout the course, and it comes with a seven-day money back guarantee.
Speaking of money, MarketMotive’s course comes in two differently priced tiers. The self-paced version of this course is offered at $599. You can also take a live online classroom version of the training program at $999.
Another great feature which gives you a lot of bang for your buck is unlimited support in a responsive “ask the instructor” format. This program ensures that you’ll never sit there confused with no one to help you.
At the end of your training, you will receive a certificate of completion to prove that you took this course.
University of San Francisco – Advanced Search Engine Marketing Certificate Program
This is the only program on this list that is offered from an actual university. This is a certificate program offered through the University of San Francisco, and as such, it is the most expensive item on this list at $1,980 for one course.
The course features eight different SEO related topics, each one composed of six different lectures, meaning you’re getting a lot of content for such a hefty price tag.
Coursework for this program also includes preparation for the Google Ads Certification exam, which is a huge deal in the marketing world. Receiving Adwords certification is a massive feather in your cap and makes you more appealing to businesses, not only to manage their SEO efforts but also to run Google Ads on a pay-per-click basis.
Online Marketing Institute: SEO Certification
Online Marketing Institute offers an SEO Certification program that is composed of five different parts.
On top of coursework, a final Exam is available after all of the classes have been completed. Your knowledge is constantly being tested in this program with a short quiz which follows each lesson.
This is another certificate program, providing proof of completion at the end.
The online marketing institute offers two different ways that you can pay for this service. The first is a monthly fee of $67, or if you have the money upfront, you can pay a lower cost of $859 one time for the entire course. This is perfect for students who don’t have as much disposable income on hand, allowing them to pay as they go until the course is completed.
While you are left to your own devices to complete the course, there is a time limit in place. You are given a period of six months to complete all of the classes and the final exam immediately following your enrollment.
It should also be noted that these classes all vary in terms of timing. Each class is somewhere between 20 and 70 minutes in length.
Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
This is a free SEO guide offered up by Google. Note that it is described as a guide and not a course. That’s because this is an educational chapter-based tutorial and not an actual course with classroom work.
Google gives you 12 “chapters” to read through in order to enrich your knowledge of the SEO process and how it works.
They go into detail explaining the process offering a very basic take on what SEO is and how you can get started on optimizing content.
It should also be noted that this tutorial covers Google only, so if you’re looking to optimize content for Amazon, Apple, Bing, or Yahoo, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
As this is not a course, there is no certificate of completion offered at the end and no testing. The entire tutorial can be completed in one sitting. While this is not the best route for forging an education in the SEO field, it is a good starting point. What’s more, you’re being educated by Google itself, which is huge.
It is highly recommended that SEO specialists review this content, even as an extra boost to their education following the completion of a certification program.
QuickSprout is another tutorial, not an actual certification course. As such, there is no completion certificate at the end of it.
It is a free tutorial with Neil Patel serving as one of the authors. This is a good continuation tutorial for people who are ready to move beyond the basics of SEO. It covers a lot of the more advanced topics like link building and aspects of technical SEO.
The QuickSprout Tutorial features nine different chapters that are written in a very conversational and easy to understand tone. It is highly recommended for anyone looking to deepen their knowledge following a certification program.
Technical SEO is becoming more important as websites become more advanced. Link building has always been one of the most complicated aspects of modern SEO so its best to get as much training and information on it as you can.
Industry experts all agree that a career in SEO is a positive move for young professionals. To better your chances at landing a lucrative SEO career, you should invest in a certification course or, at the very least, consider going through some of the free tutorials mentioned in this article.
Doing so could be the first step on your journey to a fulfilling career that is in demand.