For many of us, something just won’t get done the way we want it done unless we do it ourselves. SEO, unfortunately, can easily fall into this category. While working with SEO experts and agencies is a great way to learn more about the industry and improve your website’s success, many want to become that expert. Every website or company owner has a background in some particular department, and as SEO continues to evolve, this is a great place for a boss to have a solid background.
The problem is that higher education options are somewhat limited. Many of those working in SEO agencies have been learning on the job for ten years; but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some formal higher education options out there for those who want to earn that real certificate. While practice and experience is going to be key in the industry, a little bit of extra formal training certainly never hurts.
SEO Certifications and Programs to Consider
Higher education typically refers to programs in a college or University, but in this case it can also refer to programs where you earn a certificate of completion and/or achievement. There are many scam-type “certifications” out there revolving around SEO, so it’s important to really do your research and make sure your money and time are well spent.
Below are a few different higher education routes you can take, all of which are from reputable sources that offer quality courses/programs:
- Bruce Clay SEO Training. Bruce Clay has been in the SEO game for nearly 17 years, and he has created several different SEO programs you can complete. He offers a full course-load of classes for 4.5 days at either a standard or advanced level. Once you register, you get perks such as a 12-month membership to tools such as SEOToolSet ®. There are different discounts available, but generally the program starts at $1795.
- SEO WebConference & Certification Training (from SEMPO). SEMPO stands for “Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization” and they offer training courses each year. Experts such as Eric Enge, Bill Hunt, and SEMPO President Chris Boggs are a part of this year’s program that offers a 5-week online-only certification training.
Other notable programs to consider:
- Moz Academy. Despite the fact that the name sounds very official, the Moz Academy is actually just a series of several different video lessons that get right to the point. Moz (formerly SEOMoz) is one of the most respected websites and companies in the SEO industry, so being a part of their academy is great. You have to be a Moz subscriber, but you can start a free 30-day trial if you want to check it out first.
It’s important to remember that getting SEO certified means more than just bragging rights. Sure, clients are going to love hearing about where you went and got your training and it will make you look good, but it’s about finding the formal education that is really going to teach you what you need to know. It should help your business in the end.
So Is Higher Education SEO Really Worth It?
For many, no, an SEO certification really isn’t worth it. Clients are not quite at the point yet where they are looking for any type of certification because higher education in SEO isn’t currently popular. Because Google isn’t offering anything for SEO (unlike PPC and analytics work), certifications aren’t always taken as seriously as they are in other industries. Still, it’s good to know your options and determine what is best for you and your future. Below is a video from Matt Cutts from 2010 that still rings true today. It explains why SEO certifications are problematic for the search engine:
Have you been through a formal SEO program in the past? Would you recommend it to others? Let us know your experience and your thoughts in the comments below.
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