Written by Loren Baker –
Earning a degree is a good thing for some professions. After all, you wouldn’t want a doctor who learned his trade via YouTube videos taking out your appendix, would you? Of course not.
But for other professions, you can learn just as much, if not more, than a college curriculum’s worth online for a fraction of the cost. Search engine optimization is one of those things.
That’s not to say there’s no value in an SEO specialist earning a degree – any education is a good thing, particularly if it’s in a related field like computer science, marketing, or communications.
But as you probably know, the SEO field is in a constant state of flux. And it’s more than competitors tweaking their strategies to jump ahead of you; it’s also regular and sometimes major changes to Google’s search algorithm.
If you’re just getting started in SEO, you’re a mid-level professional looking to add tools to your toolbox, or even a seasoned veteran seeking the latest tricks, we’ve got just the thing.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best online SEO courses available, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
Free SEO Courses
SEO Certification Course (HubSpot)
A marketing and sales software developer, HubSpot always thinks of marketers’ needs. And that includes its SEO Certification Course. It covers the basics of SEO, including evaluating your current site, building backlinks, and performing keyword research.
Length: Under three hours for six total lessons
SEO Training Course: Learn How To Get Organic Traffic From Search (Ahrefs)
Another SEO software tools provider, Ahrefs, offers a free course for SEO beginners. This program starts from scratch, explaining why SEO is important and guiding participants through the basics of keyword research, page optimization, and beginning technical SEO.
Length: 14 lessons over two hours
Free SEO Training: SEO For Beginners (Yoast)
The makers of the popular SEO plugin for WordPress want to help you learn more about SEO with a free online course. Yoast’s program is designed to quickly equip you with the knowledge you need to impact your site’s ranking as quickly as possible positively.
Length: Two hours
SEO Training For Beginners (Shopify)
When it comes to ecommerce, Shopify is the big dog on the block. To help online retailers maximize their impact and revenue, Shopify offers free SEO training for beginners. With its focus on digital shopping, this course is ideal for entrepreneurs.
Length: 16 lessons in just over one hour
On-Page And Technical SEO Course (Semrush)
The makers of keyword research and analytics tool Semrush offer a course for intermediate SEO professionals covering on-page and technical SEO. Upon completion of this, you can test for certification.
Length: Seven lessons in one hour
Intro To Search Engine Optimization (WordPress)
Popular blogging platform WordPress offers an entry-level course to introduce you to the fundamentals of SEO. Content is available on-demand, and you will receive a certificate of completion.
SEO Basics (Conductor)
Conductor offers several free SEO courses, including SEO Basics, Paid & Organic Synergy, and Evangelizing SEO. All are intended to help you maximize your digital marketing strategy and increase search rankings.
Length: 1:30 for SEO basics
A Beginner’s Guide To Local SEO (BrightLocal)
Local SEO puts you in front of customers right when they’re looking for you – which means it’s really important. This course from BrightLocal Academy will equip you with the knowledge and skills to start showing up on those searches conducted in your neighborhood.
Length: Eight lessons + certification in roughly one hour
Google SEO Fundamentals (Coursera/University Of California, Davis)
This course, designed by UC Davis, will help you quickly get up to speed on the basics of search engine optimization. It includes information on developing a strategy, keyword research, and search behavior.
Length: 11 videos, eight hours to complete
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialization (Coursera/University Of California, Davis)
More in-depth than this previous one, this program will teach you how to perform competitive analysis, develop influencer relationships, and create reports on your findings.
Length: Five courses
Paid SEO Courses
Free is always a great thing, but if you’re looking for something a little more serious and focused, it might be worth your time to invest in a paid course. Here are some of the best ones:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Training Course (Simplilearn)
Simplilearn is an online “boot camp” educator. Its Advanced SEO Course is intended to prepare you for a role as a full-stack SEO professional. This in-depth program focuses on everything from the basics of the search field to advanced skills like off-page optimization, developing a content marketing strategy, and managing analytics.
Length: 58 lessons ranging from under five minutes to roughly an hour and a half.
Price: Self-paced learning – $1,199, online boot camp – $1,499
SEO Essentials Certification (Moz)
SEO software provider Moz offers a wide variety of training options through its Moz Academy. Of particular interest is the SEO Essentials Certification. This course is intended to provide you with the knowledge you need to get started in SEO, including developing an understanding of how search engines operate.
Length: Six hours of instructor-guided content
Technical SEO Certification (Moz)
Looking for something more advanced? This on-demand course is designed to equip you with the skills you need to take your technical SEO expertise from beginner to intermediate. You’ll learn about crawlability, indexability, accessibility, and site performance.
Length: Three hours of instructor-led content
SEO Competitive Analysis Certification (Moz)
Yet another Moz Academy course intended for intermediate to advanced SEO professionals, this on-demand program will teach you how to identify and analyze your competitors’ SEO campaigns, conduct audits, and evaluate your rivals’ social media presence.
Length: Three hours of instructor-led content
SEO Certification (ClickMinded)
An online continuing education platform for marketing professionals, ClickMinded offers an SEO certification course designed with busy professionals in mind. It will teach you the basics of search engine optimization, and upon passing the final exam, you’ll be awarded certification. It also includes lifetime access to five mini-SEO courses.
Length: Three to six hours
Price: Single courses from $997
Advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Certification Training (Market Motive/Simplilearn)
This in-depth SEO course goes far beyond the fundamentals, helping you take your skills to the next level. A bigger time investment than some courses on this list, it is intended to be a comprehensive course on all things SEO.
Length: 25+ hours
Price: Self-paced learning for $1,199, online boot camp for $1,499
SEO 101 (DistilledU)
Learn everything from basic skills to advanced concepts in this online university. SEO 101 focuses on how search engines work and the skills and principles you need to know to improve your ranking.
Length: Eight modules over 32+ hours
Price: $40/month paid monthly; $33/month paid annually
SEO Training (Bruce Clay)
Bruce Clay programmed the world’s first webpage analysis tool. Now, he’s sharing his expertise in search engine optimization via SEOTraining.com. This exhaustive course is learn-at-your-own-pace and features everything from beginning SEO training to advanced tactics.
Length: 15+ hours over 48 videos
Price: $1,495 for a one-year membership
SEO Basics (SERanking)
This structured online course is designed to walk you through every aspect of SEO and show you how to make it work for you. SERanking also offers a course on Content SEO to further expand your knowledge.
Length: 41 lessons over six hours
Price: Basic subscription starting at $39.20/month
The (Non-Techie) Marketer’s Guide To SEO (MarketingProfs)
This program is designed for people who don’t have degrees in computer science or related fields. It breaks down how search engines work and gives you specific steps to help you maximize your ranking without needing to learn a coding language.
Length: Seven lessons, 60-90 minutes each
Price: $595 annual subscription
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) And Marketing (University Of California, San Diego)
Learn the basics of SEO and how to structure your website in this online course from UC San Diego. You’ll gain practical experience performing the duties of an SEO specialist while learning to use various online tools.
Length: Three credit hours
Search Engine Optimization (University Of Phoenix)
Learn to perform competitive analysis, create a keyword strategy and develop a crawler-friendly site architecture in this online course. This program will provide you with a solid understanding of SEO tactics and best practices.
Length: Three credit hours, five weeks
Search Engine Optimization (University Of Cape Town)
This online course will equip you with work-ready skills to allow you to take on an SEO role with confidence. In addition to a practical understanding of best practices, you’ll also receive an industry-recognized certificate from Africa’s top university.
Length: 10 weeks with 10 hours per week
Foundations Of Search Engine Optimization (University Of Toronto)
Learn to perform competitive research and develop SEO strategies in this micro-course. You’ll gain a thorough understanding of how Google works and learn best practices to help you climb the rankings.
Length: 15 hours
Price: $559 Canadian
The great thing about the internet (aside from the fun of optimizing websites for search engines) is the absolute wealth of information it brings you. Here are a few other resources you can use to learn more about search engine optimization:
LinkedIn is more than a professional networking site – it’s also a great place to learn.
At the time of writing, there were 521 SEO-related videos and courses available. And with such a large number to choose from, there’s sure to be something of value for every skill level.
Online tech learning platform PluralSight is a great way to learn new skills – including digital marketing and SEO.
A great place to earn tech certifications, you can even use it to learn to code if you want to add that to your growing set of web skills. A free trial is available, and then plans start at $299 per year.
Another learning platform dedicated to helping you level up your skillset, Udemy has a number of SEO videos.
Each video lesson is sold separately, but this gives you the benefit of choosing exactly which aspect of SEO you want to learn more about. Courses start at $14.99 each.
Skillshare SEO Courses
Skillshare offers a wide range of original videos on a variety of creative and tech topics, including, you guessed it, SEO.
It’s a great place to brush up on the fundamentals or focus on a specific area for improvement. Prices start at $159 per year for teams.
A Great SEO Never Stops Learning
One of the best things about working in SEO is that no two days are ever alike. And as long as Google keeps tinkering away with its algorithm, trying to fine-tune search results, there will always be a need for a skilled professional to help websites climb the rankings on search results pages.
The course discussed runs the gamut from free courses for absolute beginners to detailed classes on one specific aspect of SEO.
Just remember, no matter how long you’ve been doing it or how good you are, your education is never done. Keep learning – it’s the only way to ensure your website gets the ranking it deserves.
Featured Image: GaudiLab/Shutterstock