SEO Certifications – Why they are NO Good!


It’s common for me to go through my Facebook Timeline and play quick games between my works as it allow me to get some fresh air and helps me improve my quality and productivity. A few days back I was going through the same process when I saw a person on Facebook offering SEO certification and claiming to help you become an SEO expert within few weeks and months.

Snake oil services in SEO are not new to me but this certification and SEO course program is something I couldn’t resist so I thought to research and write about it comprehensively. I will try to cover the opinion of other respectable SEOs so that you can have a better idea of what other REAL experts feel about these types of certifications.

My Take on SEO Certifications:

Google offer certifications like PPC and Analytics but as far as SEO is concerned, you will never find any proper certifications from Google or any other remarkable agency. Yes, tons of e-books, courses and other classes are available to help you become a better professional but certification in itself is a heavy word.

In my personal opinion, there cannot be any certification for SEO and this is because of the two significant reasons.

  • SEO is continuously changing industry:

SEO is mercurial in nature and it rapidly transform with time and to be more precise with every new Google roll out. So, let say that a tactic that you learned today might not work tomorrow or what if just a few days, after you finished your “Certified SEO COURSE”, Google (or other search engines) pushes up an algorithm that opposes what you learned and have been practicing.

I am not saying this is true for all but surely implement especially if you are using tactics like directories, forum comments and more.

  • There is NO certification in Creativity!

Keeping everything aside, one thing that has been bothering me mostly is “HOW CAN SOME ONE CERTIFY CREATIVITY? Creativity can never be proportioned and neither can it be compared on a scale. It is just based on one’s mental approach and how fluently your mind can bounce around from one thing to another.

SEO have strong connection with creativity as REAL Link building is all about it… link baiting, ego baits and more, which do not have any written formulas. It is all about state of mind and how well you can connect with your targeted audience.

There can be set-standards (on technical level), there even can be help and guides, one to one class but I don’t think there is any certification in SEO. People who are offering these kinds of services are highly questionable in my opinion.

I discussed the matter over twitter many of the great minds in SEO and below are there quick 140c type answers from two.

  • Don Rhoades

Don is the search engine-marketing savant at The Gonzo SEO, instead of using his 140c he passed me a meme that I would like to share with you people here!

  • Alison Groves

Alison is the product coordinator for Raven Tools; she also shares our opinion about it. She said,

“My opinion is that it doesn’t matter. Learn what you gotta learn, certification or not.”

I hope the message by her is pretty much clear!

Where should I start?

a question coming in the mind of many people who are interested in SEO or want to pursue SEO as a career.

My advice is not to go for any certifications because, any good company will not ask for the certifications but instead what matter is the knowledge that you posses and the how helpful you can be for them as a resource. I would highly recommend you to go for some SEO courses online if you are  really looking for some REAL SEO knowledge, but they are not certifications, neither they guarantee you to be an SEO ninja after pursuing that but it will only help you obtain some real and true knowledge about how SEO works!

If I had to select my favorite SEO courses online would have been Distilled U, Market Motive and SEObook Training. Even, if you find any knowledgeable SEO who offers one to one classes about SEO or is happy to answer your questions that is definitely also very useful.


About the author


By profession and by hobby I am a SEO Consultant, a search blogger and a link builder, all in one. I am writing across websites all the time, I love working with people from all over the world.


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  • Hi Moosa,

    I agree with you fully. From what I have encountered, there appears to be a lot of digital marketing courses which cover quite a large number of subjects e.g. SEO, PPC, Social Media etc….but I would really question how much someone can learn from these courses in such a short period of time.

    Having a certificate doesn’t mean a person is more capable than someone who doesn’t when it involves day to day duties of managing a campaign, working across teams within a business and being fully responsible for the success or failure of a project.

    At the moment I’m using DistilledU just for a general reference point. My on-going training though will come from actively reading on a day to day basis.

    It’s a pity that people new to the industry will pay for quite generic training/certificates when all they need to have is the passion and creativity to succeed.

    • My point exactly Mark!

      I think certification isn’t going to make a big difference, what really important is what you are learning in the practical life… day to day challenges over the real projects that let you and your clients earn real money!

      Distilled U is a good choice; few of my friends are doing this as well!

  • Yes! that’s true, I am working in this industry from past three and half years but still I am searching for things which i haven’t explored yet, I am doing job as a head of SEO team in my company but still I think, I am just like a single cell of SEO world. There is a lot of things to learn and when you are thinking that you will become expert Google roll out new updates and after the update you were still there where you have been 5 to 6 months before… I just love my Job 🙂 I know google will not permit me to become a certify SEO… 😉

  • Yeah definitely. I did have a few issues with DistilledU to begin with which I blogged about. Mainly that the content wasn’t being added on a regular basis to justify the $40 a month, but thankfully it has improved since then.

    I think the greatest learning tool as an SEO is to have your own website.

    No training programme can prepare you for what you experience by actively managing your own website.

  • Moosa,

    This industry does a fairly good job of regulating itself. Sometimes that leads to in-fighting among different camps of philosophy, but I have learned to largely ignore it and do my own testing. Have a few sites, push the envelope with some of them, expect to burn a few. Always learn the competition. You could have 2 WP sites with the same theme, same amount of content/pages in 2 different spaces and they probably won’t rank the same way because one is less competitive than the other. If you have questions, ask someone you trust, but don’t take their word for it. Try it out for yourself on a small scale, then if successful, roll it out as a full project. I’d also vouch for the SEO Dojo, where you can learn from a group of other SEOs via skype.

  • Moosa,

    I agree with most of the people here. The only way you truly learn SEO is by doing it and testing it yourself.

    It’s like when I passed my driving test and my dad said to me know you’re going to learn to drive.

    The industry changes often and therefore any certification program would require regular retesting and quite often you would be studying for a certification and BAM Google rolls out a new algo update.

    There are lots of great non-SEO books and courses out there that I think people should read though or attend on topics such as Marketing, Psychology, Business & Web Development that would stand them in a much greater stead than any SEO certification course.

    Just my 2cents

    • Thanks Chris for reading and sharing your comment on special request 🙂

      I really love the example of driving classes; I really think that REAL education starts when you enter in to the practical world and go through the tough times… may be its important for a good driver to go through some jam areas… 🙂

  • Good thoughts, Moosa – I think the notion of regulation and schooling is tempting to those who are interested and want to break in on the scene.

    But a lot of the technology is still growing and our industry and leveraged notions change on a weekly basis. I would definitely celebrate the notion of getting your hands dirty in doing some pro bono or intern work at first rather than pursuing a degree – if you can do the work and ‘get it,’ you’re going to be hired without a piece of paper.

  • I respectfully disagree with the main theme of this article. Although SEO is a constantly evolving field just like any other technology field, the basics always remain the same. The certifications are always about how profound you are in the basic abilities to do a particular job. It’s never about making experts.

    For me, the certification would mean that I have done all the learning of SEO basics and then start using my head for creativity and skill in SEO.

  • Hi Moosa,

    I get your sentiment around why bodies cannot teach SEO effectively. I happen to represent which is a certification provider for topics like Online Marketing. I completely agree with you that the subject is ever-changing and to deal with this, what we’ve done is reached out to experts around the world and got their topics onboard to ensure students get the most updated info out there. I would urge you to try out our free certifications and let us know how we can improve our product. We really emphasize on ensuring our content is relevant and I would love your opinion in this regard.

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