An SEO certification is more than just a test that gives you a badge or certificate to display on your website, showing that you have studied and been tested on certain digital marketing skills. It does show visitors to your site, and potential clients or employers, that you understand certain terms, and how SEO techniques affect the ranking of your website and each of its pages, but it can also be a way to establish yourself as an expert in your own right if you want it to be.
What is an SEO Certification?
When you do a course you do get a certificate to display on your website. It can mean different things though. Whether you write website copy, want to market your own website or products yourself, or do web design, the certification will be relevant and useful for you. Whether you go for a Google certification, or other SEO certification program, you should consider the course a serious study option that can open doors for you and your career.
In the world of SEO things develop and change incredibly fast, and just like a teacher, doctor or lawyer has to go through continued professional development, to stay at the top of your game in this industry you will need to invest time in developing your knowledge and skills regularly (at least yearly), and seek out information from the experts in the field.
Everyone from a boutique coffee shop that sells beans for roasting to a delivery company or accountant, charity, law firm or pretty much anything else you can think of needs at least one or more employee who can do some basic SEO work and get the results the business needs. That could well be you.
As each type of business is so different, it makes sense that there are different levels and forms of certification to choose from. You can choose from courses that are free, or at least free to trial, to courses worth potentially thousands of dollars. Courses might be a full diploma, taught in a classroom, or can include one single module niche, or any of these.:
- Website copywriting,
- Advertising and PPC (Pay Per Click)
- E-mail marketing
- Using Analytics and AdWords
- Ways to share your content and get links on websites that might boost your own credibility and rankings.
Even with Google partner certification, there’s no ‘regulatory body’ for SEO, so courses are usually associated with the brand, person or organization offering them.
There are also options for a simple one-time module that you complete and test on, to programs with training manuals of hundreds of pages, quarterly updates and refresher content, and ongoing skills tests. Before you decide to invest you will need to be clear on what your needs and expectations are. Some useful points to consider might be:
- Who is involved – Do you want certification from a ‘neutral’ provider or do you want to learn from, and be associated with, a well-known name in the industry who is teaching their way?
- Is it transferable- Will you easily be able to add on to your skills down the track, or will you be locked into one way of doing SEO?
- Budget – is the course to be paid for out of your own pocket? Is it an investment in your career or something you just need a basic understanding of to promote your usual business?
- Time commitment – are you going to want to stay upto date with changes to the industry, or is your long-term plan to build your business enough so that you can outsource to an SEO provider?
- Industry – even if you are working in the online world already, how much will an SEO or Google certification mean for your income? Will it be valued by the employers you want to work for?
You might consider becoming a certified SEO consultant if you are part of the search optimization team for a large corporate, are an entrepreneur with a startup or want to work for a company that offers search engine marketing services. How much of your own money to spend on certification will depend on your personal situation. Luckily, there are ways to ‘dip your toe in the water’ and try courses for free or for not too much money (or time).
What type of certification is out there currently
There are different types of training and SEO certification available already. You might want to get certified as an individual, or your whole company might be enrolled in an SEO certification training. The way you learn and the time commitment will be very different for each different purpose. Providers might be any of these:
- A traditional university, like University of San Francisco
- An digital marketing company like MOZ
- A web content curator or service like Hub Spot
- A well known industry expert, who has done SEO for a major company like Air BnB or Uber
There are course providers offering long training manuals, and tests, with lots or very little extra guidance, and there are also single focus modules that you can do in a short period of time, get tested on and forget about afterwards.Some providers might even create tailored content if you are in a large workplace. You could have access to refresher content every three months or so, or a monthly subscription where you have teaching ‘on tap’ and can ask questions anytime.
Some providers will also offer in person or web-based training to go alongside the course, and the hours of content can vary from 1-2 to more than 65+. Access to ‘FAQ’ sessions, or 24/7 e-mail customer service, are part of many SEO courses on offer, so think about how important those are to you. How good these are depends on the provider and how effective the questions being asked are, so at Course Peek we would encourage you to try asking questions of different providers.
Some training will be self paced, so you log on and do the modules or work through content in your own time, and others will have ‘lectures’ or a set time to complete the work and assessments. In most cases, you should be able to find a list of content, estimated hours to complete, and the name and background of the person behind the course.
Why bother getting certified? (Is it worth getting certified?)
Chances are if you’re reading this that you’ve already got a good idea of what an SEO certification might mean for your own career, or your boss could have asked you to get one! There are a lot of different applications for the skills you get, though. You are responsible for your own certification, and how you decide to use it, but we are proud to offer all the information that you might need to make your choice an informed one.
Choosing the right SEO course could be the start of a whole new exciting and successful career. If you start out knowing what you want to get our of your qualification, with a set budget and clear expectations, you will be in a much better position to make the most out of whatever certification you choose.
A study course could help in lots of different environments, even if you don’t work for an Internet based company already. Some people work better knowing that they are part of a group, and with deadlines, and others work best by themselves in their own time. You will find plenty on offer for each end of the spectrum at Course Peek.
Please let us know if you have any further questions or want to know more about one of the providers we mention. Good luck and happy course hunting.