As the search engine optimization industry grows, SEO certifications are becoming a popular topic of discussion among both SEOs and clients. Are certifications in search engine optimization worth it, and if so, what professional benefits do they provide?
In this blog post, we’ll look at the professional certifications available for SEOs and digital marketers and their professional benefits. We’ll also look at the large variety of SEO training programs on the market and their benefits for SEO novices.
Are you completely new to SEO? The SEO industry is constantly changing, but most of the fundamentals have remained the same for years. Check out ClickMinded SEO Training to learn the fundamentals of SEO from Tommy Griffith, SEO at Airbnb.
Why most SEO certifications aren’t worth it
Over the last four years, a variety of changes have occurred in the SEO community in order to crack down on obvious exploits. The well-known Penguin and Panda search quality updates launched by Google threw most of the SEO world on its head.
Despite this, most of the SEO certifications offered by large corporations and private colleges still teach the fundamentals of SEO from a pre-Penguin perspective. Much of the material they teach is out of date, ineffective, and sometimes even dangerous.
Beyond this, the value of professional SEO certifications is debatable. SEO divisions at large corporations generally value hands-on experience and practical knowledge more than qualifications, especially since SEO is such a rapidly changing practice.
Instead of taking professional SEO certifications, it’s a far better idea to take specific courses that help you learn SEO. Our SEO Training course is a great start for a career in the search engine optimization and online marketing industry.
There is no official Google SEO certification
Has an SEO consultant ever told you they’re Google Certified? If so, they’re either not telling the truth, or they’re referring to a certification offered by Google that doesn’t have anything to do with search engine optimization.
Although Google does publish best practices for SEO, it doesn’t offer any certificate or professional designation for search engine optimizers. In fact, Google offers very little in the way of advice for SEOs, since much of SEO is contra to Google’s policy.
Have you been approached by an SEO consultant that claims to be certified in SEO by Google? If so, ask to see their certification. They may actually have an Adwords professional certification, which – while useful – isn’t a certification in SEO.
Google does offer online marketing certifications
Although Google doesn’t offer any search engine optimization certification, it does offer a variety of qualifications for Adwords experts. Until 2013, Google’s program was called Adwords Certification. It’s since been renamed Google Adwords Partners.
Becoming a Google Partner is a smart idea for SEOs, particularly those that work in digital marketing agencies. Since the skills involved with Adwords often translate to success in SEO, passing the Google Partner exams is a useful learning process.
Google has several requirements for individuals or agencies interested in becoming Partners. As well as passing Google’s Adwords certification exams, Partners need to send a minimum Adwords balance and follow Google’s best practices.
Do you work for an agency that does both SEO and Google PPC? If so, getting Partner status can be an intelligent, fruitful investment. Enroll in our Adwords for Beginners course to get started learning the skills required to become a Google Partner.
The benefits of becoming Google certified
While the Google Partners program isn’t directly related to SEO, the benefits offered by Google Partners membership don’t exclude SEO. Being a Partner shows that your SEO agency follows Google’s best practices and is directly involved with Google.
This makes you more trustworthy, making it more likely that clients will select your business to manage their SEO and Adwords accounts. It also indicates a knowledge and understanding of keyword research – an important component of SEO.
Finally, becoming a Google Partner allows your agency to list itself in Google index of trusted third-party partners. This can be a useful source of leads for your agency, especially if you offer both SEO and Adwords search engine marketing services.
Using online courses to learn SEO skills
Are you interested in learning SEO? The basics of search engine optimization are surprisingly easy to learn, and you can pick up the fundamental skills required for SEO success in as little as a few days.
In fact, SEO can be simplified down to two concepts: authority and popularity. The most authoritative your website is, combined by its level of popularity, result in its search engine rankings and overall search visibility.
Authority is determined using links, PageRank, and other variables. Popularity can be determined by Google using a combination of links and social signals. Read our blog post on content and link building to learn more about the foundation of SEO.
Our Real World SEO: Essentials course covers the basics of SEO, giving you all of the skills you’ll need to optimize your website for low to mid-level keywords. You’ll also learn about KPIs and the results-driven side of running an SEO campaign.
Keeping up to date with SEO best practices
The SEO industry is constantly changing, and what worked in 2010 might not work as well in 2014. In fact, the SEO industry is changing so rapidly that what worked in 2010 might damage your website if you use it as a tactic in 2014.
Because of this, it’s important to stay up to date with the best practices of the SEO industry. As well as reading Google’s official guidelines and the popular SEO blogs, this means taking an attitude of lifelong learning towards SEO.
Our course, SEO Enigma, will keep you up to date with the best practices for success with SEO in 2014. From social signals to mobile SEO, learn about the trends affecting the SEO world today, and how you can prosper in a constantly changing industry.
Staying up-to-date with SEO also means keeping track of the fields linked to the SEO industry. With guest blogging and journalistic outreach playing such a major role in modern SEO, keeping up-to-date with public relations tactics is also important.
If you’ve always taken a narrow, results-focused approach to SEO, switching over to the public relations mentality can be tough. Enroll in our Branding, Public Relations, and Social Media Rules to Live By course to master the combined art of PR and SEO.
Building a professional SEO track record
Finally, one of the most important aspects for current and continual success within the SEO industry is a track record. If you have clients that can vouch for your skills, even a total lack of certifications is unlikely to hold you back.
Developing a track record of success requires three characteristics, all of which are important for success in SEO in general: the ability to work hard, great networking skills, and hands-on, technical knowledge of SEO.
Develop the first skill – the ability to work hard – by mastering time management and productivity. When you can organize your day to maximize your output, you’ll find it easy to build a roster of satisfied, loyal SEO clients.
Our course, Mastering Productivity For The Busy Professional, will teach you the secrets of staying productive while working online. With YouTube and Facebook just a click away in your office, it’s a must-have for productivity success online.
Networking skills are more difficult for develop, especially since the SEO industry is so distributed. It’s hard to make professional contacts, and even harder when you’re accustomed to working online, often from a remote location.
Master the art of networking and discover new SEO opportunities with our course, Leveraging Links: Business Networking. Designed for digital professionals looking to enhance their careers, this detailed course makes networking nice and simple.
The final skill in any professional SEO’s toolkit is hands-on knowledge. Without the skills and experience to improve your clients’ rankings, no amount of networking or hard work is going to give you the SEO consulting career you want.
Our course, ClickMinded SEO Training, teaches you exactly how to build a powerful search engine optimization formula that you can use to produce results for yourself, your agency, or your clients.
Becoming a professional SEO
With the Google Adwords certification, a well-rounded knowledge of SEO, and great networking skills, you’ll be able to become marketable SEO professional within both agency settings and as an independent consultant.
Since the SEO industry is constantly changing, the importance of certifications is far less than the importance of staying up to date with trends and tactics. Nonetheless, having professional certifications can give you an advantage when marketing your services to clients and potential employers.
Would you like to start a career in SEO? As well as using the resources listed above, make sure you read our list of SEO tips and our SEO checklist. These, combined with the right attitude and level of focus, will help you excel in the highly competitive and challenging search engine optimization industry.