Whether you’re new to SEO and looking to learn about the industry or a seasoned vet who needs to reinforce their skill set, free SEO certifications can help. Not only will the right certifications give you a better understanding of how search engines work and how to create better content, but they’ll also show your current team and potential employers that you’re truly passionate about SEO.

An SEO certification confirms the successful completion of an online SEO course or training. It might be a PDF document that can be attached to a person's resume, but it might also be a badge to display on their LinkedIn profile. The point is to showcase their skills in SEO. It's a sign of expertise and acts as proof that the person has satisfied the standards to be deemed authoritative in search engine optimization.

And while there’s a lot of free information about SEO available across the web, certification is a great way for individuals who are new to the industry to demonstrate their competence and stand out from the crowd.

And, for those already working in the field, it keeps them engaged with current SEO trends and lessons. Certification can also enhance their credibility and advance their careers.

1.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialization by Coursera

Facilitated by the University of California – Davis, this in-depth, free SEO certification is one of the most comprehensive offerings on the list. It brings together five individual courses into a college-level certification program that includes instructor-led video and written content. Each course also includes several exams.The courses included in this certification are:

You can take all these courses individually, but the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialization brings everything together in one long-form educational experience.

Who should take this course?

Anyone looking to gain a more comprehensive knowledge of SEO and the industry as a whole.

This certification is one of the longest we highlight in this post, stating that it will take approximately 140 hours to complete the requisite modules and tests. That might seem daunting at first, but Coursera allows for flexible scheduling to complete this course—so you can work through the content at your own pace.

There are also hundreds of reviews available for this certification and the individual courses it requires.

Reviews of individual courses via Coursera

Once completed, you’ll have a working knowledge of the SEO industry and its impact on website design, content marketing, and analytics.

Update: Coursera offers this free for 7 days, but the course takes approximately 5 months to complete. You can assess (for free) whether this pacing and instruction style suits you before investing further. From their website: "You get a 7-day free trial during which you can cancel at no penalty. After that, we don’t give refunds, but you can cancel your subscription at any time."

2. SEO Training Course: Building Sustainable Traffic for Business Growth by HubSpot

This short certification focuses on the business impacts of SEO using Hubspot’s successful blogging strategy as the core example. As part of HubSpot Academy, you can combine this course with others in their catalog to build your understanding of the inbound and content marketing industry as a whole. The course itself is built around six core lessons comprised of 22 videos and three quizzes.

Who should take this course?

Beginners in the SEO industry who want to understand the impact it can make on their business.By focusing on the narrative of their own company, HubSpot can easily provide examples to support their educational material. It’s a great way to clarify the concepts they introduce and ground ideas in the real world.

As a leader in marketing education, HubSpot Academy has many positive reviews on sites like G2 and Capterra.

HubSpot Academy review via G2.

If you’re new to marketing and SEO, this course can be a great jumping-off point in your journey to a better understanding of SEO and how it impacts businesses across different industries.

3. Free SEO Training: SEO for Beginners by Yoast

Yoast is a WordPress plugin for managing various SEO aspects of your website. Their free SEO certification helps WordPress users and beginner marketers understand ranking factors from both a content marketing and technical website perspective. As a teaser for a paid certification, this course is really helpful at introducing larger concepts for you to look into.

Who should take this course?

WordPress users and beginner marketers looking for a quick introduction to SEO.

The free portion of this certification is an excellent way for you to get your feet wet with new concepts. As a CMS-specific tool, Yoast does tailor a lot of their content to a specific platform, but the ideas they introduce help frame the value of SEO for you. If you’re seeking out certification as part of your professional development, a free course like this can be helpful in justifying an actual purchase in the future.

Yoast is beloved by WordPress users, and their certification has received praise across the board.

Yoast certification review via Nozak Consulting.

This teaser course and the next certification are both precursors to a paid option, but still provide value when you’re getting started in the SEO industry.

4. SEO Training Fundamentals by ClickMinded

Another free introduction to a more extensive certification, the SEO Training Fundamentals course offers an overview of basic SEO and how it impacts the way visitors interact with your website. Created by Airbnb and PayPal SEO manager Tommy Griffith, this video-intensive certification focuses more on the ways SEO impacts website interactions with users.

Who should take this course?

Beginner to intermediate SEO professionals with an interest in how SEO impacts the way people interact with websites.

Both the free introduction and the full certification include a lot of personal experiences from Tommy’s career in SEO, providing valuable context for building your own career in the industry.

The reviews of this certification—both the free and paid versions—are generally positive, and the course shows up on many Quora “best of” lists. But the paid course seems to provide more value to people who are just getting started in their careers.

ClickMinded SEO course review via reddit.

As another free introduction, taking this course can be the first step in your professional development and a way to show your employer that you’re serious about educating yourself in the industry.

5. SEO Fundamentals Course with Greg Gifford by SEMrush

This is an introductory course on SEO from SEMrush, an SEO and PPC analytics tool. Structured to include video lessons, reading materials, and quizzes, this four-hour course covers the basics of SEO, how search engines work, on-page SEO, and more.

Who should take this course?

Beginners who are early in their SEO careers.

This certification helps you build competency across several aspects of SEO. But that doesn’t mean the course is only for newbies. By structuring the course into eight separate modules, SEMrush makes it easy for more seasoned professionals to hone in on specific sections they need to brush up on.

Reviews on their site, as well as sites like Product Hunt, say this certification is not only helpful, but also enjoyable.

Review for SEO Fundamentals via Product Hunt.

Having a presenter with real professional experience is great because it lends credibility to the content and anchors it in the evolving world of SEO.

6. Technical SEO Course with Bastian Grimm by SEMrush

Here’s another free offering from SEMrush, but this one is focused more on the technical side of SEO than a straightforward fundamentals course. This five-hour course dives deep into internal linking, crawling, indexing, log files, and more. Following the same structure as our first certification, this course is also broken into eight easy-to-digest modules.

Who should take this course?

SEO marketers and website designers who understand the basics, but need more technical knowledge.

This is very much a next-step course for marketers and developers. You need a solid understanding of how search engines work, ranking factors, and basic SEO fundamentals for the content to be valuable. Whether you’re a marketer optimizing a website or a designer building out a new page, these courses help you ensure the content you create has the best possible chance to rank well.

Reviews of this course say it’s one of the best technical SEO-focused certifications available today.

Reviews via reddit.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge even further, the SEMrush Academy includes additional free certifications on other fundamental aspects of SEO, as well as SEMrush’s tools. It’s a great place to learn with lots of resources all in one place.

7. Advanced SEO Strategies and Case Studies by Brian Dean of Backlinko

Brian Dean is a well-known expert in the SEO community, and his yearly courses fill up quickly. This YouTube playlist is a crash course in advanced SEO techniques and, paired with his skyscraper guides, is incredibly valuable for learning SEO. In this course, Brian breaks down keyword research, internal linking, and user signaling to help people level up their SEO strategy.

Who should take this course?

SEO professionals who want to brush up on various advanced techniques.

As an additional learning material on top of Brian’s yearly SEO training, this playlist of videos provides up-to-date strategies on link building, traffic generation, and keyword research. There is a lot of feedback for these videos as well, with reviews in the comments of his YouTube page.

If you’re planning on signing up for the waitlist for Brian’s yearly training, these videos can provide you with a great introduction to the kind of content and advice he provides.

8. SEO Certification Course by eMarketing Institute

This free SEO certification course uses a different format from the others we’ve featured so far, relying strictly on an e-book as the written course material. Once you’ve downloaded the 156-page e-book, you’ll have access to eMarketing Institute’s assessment test, which you can take at any time.

Who should take this course?

Beginners who want to learn more about the fundamentals of SEO.

If you’re already working in the SEO industry, try taking the test before working through the course material. If you pass, you can move on to a more advanced certification and get a better idea of where you need to focus your studies.

This course is part of a larger marketing curriculum from eMarketing Institute, which is very popular in the job-seeking market.

eMarketing Institute reviews via Indeed.

If you’re just getting started or want to share a basic SEO resource with your team, this certification can be a valuable first step in a new marketer’s education.

9. Google Analytics Learning

These courses will be more centered on wider performance metrics within Google Analytics. It's not solely an SEO course, but knowing how to work with the GA platform makes it a valuable piece of SEO learning. Now that Google is moving to its Google Analytics 4, it makes sense to learn about the updated features from their newest courses.

Skillshop Courses on Google Analytics 4

Google does not offer a specific certification for SEO specialists. However, they do provide recommendations for SEO courses that could improve one's knowledge and showcase their expertise in the field. Additionally, Google has a learning platform called Digital Garage that offers courses in digital marketing, career development, and data analysis. These are valuable lessons for anyone looking to expand their knowledge in the field.

Understanding their tools is a core competency for anyone in the content and digital marketing industry. Google will capture much of the data you’ll use to make decisions about SEO.

Getting Your Free SEO Certifications Is Just the First Step

With a working knowledge of SEO, you set yourself up to create better content that attracts the right visitors to your website. That content also has more ranking potential and will appear correctly in the SERP. As you continue your SEO education, make sure you’re seeking out the most valuable and up-to-date information possible.