All the SEO Training Courses We Could Find

Post by 
John Crenshaw
Published 
May 7, 2020
W

ow! There are A LOT of SEO training courses out there. A year ago when I first started working on ours, I think there were 2 or 3. Now they're popping up all over the place.

So here's the deal: Obviously we have a dog in this fight and we think our course is pretty rad. But I tried to be as unbiased as possible in providing guidance to help you pick a course that's best for you.

You'll see below, I actually recommend other courses in quite a few cases. So check them all out and decide for yourself.

A little guidance in choosing

This depends on what you need, so I thought of all the people that might be reading this and what they might need. I've broken down what I'd recommend based on who you are.

You want the super basics fast, and ideally free

You just want a basic primer on SEO but you don't need to really execute.

Maybe you're a manager or an account executive and you just need some basic entry-level information but you don't want to read through a thousand blog posts and organize the information yourself. You want something super simple and ideally free to just give you the really basic info.

In that case check out one of the Moz trainings: Either the free Moz training on the Moz website or the free Moz course on Udemy. Moz puts out some good info.

You're an in-house or content marketer

You're a content writer, content / PR team, or an in-house marketing team. You control content on a website and you're trying to maximize the SEO visibility for that site and the content you're creating every day or content that already exists.

You probably don't have time to learn every little technical detail about SEO. You need training that's primarily content-focused.

If that's you, our course (UFO) is probably the best fit.

I spent 2/3 of my time for a full year designing an SEO training course primarily for content teams and in-house marketers.

It also includes a certification.

You're a small, scrappy startup without much budget (or an agency working for them)

SEO is really hard when you're a new organization. If you've decided you want SEO to be a key part of your growth strategy, and you have a budget, just hire us to help.

If you don't have the budget to hire help and you want to learn yourself, you'll need backlinks to get the results you're looking for. If that's you, I'd recommend Brian Dean's course.

Just be aware, you have a grind ahead of you. But hey, isn't pain what we signed up for as business owners?

You're an employee - you want to beef up your resume - you're paying

This is a tricky one. You definitely want a certification. Our course has a certification. So do the paid Udemy courses, ClickMinded also does.

If you're willing to put in the time, the Coursera course taught by Eric Enge in partnership with UC Davis would probably look the best on a resume.

If you literally just want to say you're SEO certified in the cheapest, quickest way possible, you might want to take one of Udemy's paid courses.

If you're somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum, check out our course (UFO) or the SimpliLearn course. They're both about the same price and both have certification. Ours will probably give you more actionable knowledge. SimpliLearn looks more corporate, which may be a good thing if you need that.

You're an employee - you want to beef up your resume - the company's paying

You probably want a certification.

You may be willing to travel or do in-person.

You probably have a bigger budget than if you were paying out of pocket.

BrainStation is probably your best bet if you want in-person.

Our course (UFO), ClickMinded, Coursera / UC Davis, or SimpliLearn if you want online.

Those all have certifications, although future employers may put just a little more clout in either the in-person training with BrainStation or the online training with Coursera / UC Davis.

You know a lot about SEO already, or you're an SEO pro

Whatup fam.

Honestly you should take Brian Dean's course first, unless you're already a backlink-building all-star. Then either Bruce Clay's course, our course, or all three. Those will all be good if you can afford them.

Brian Dean's course for link building.

Our course for SEO theory and how to think about SEO and content. How to prioritize, how to sort through all the fluff.

Bruce Clay's course for insight into enterprise SEO and networking (it's in-person). Plus, it's Bruce freaking Clay. You get to learn from an original SEO gangster.

And then maybe BrainStation's course for networking also. It's pretty long, which may be just what you want depending on your experience.

On to the Courses!

UFO SEO Training

This is our course. I'm obviously biased but I think it's pretty amazing. This took me 2/3 of my time for almost an entire YEAR of my life to put together. I arguably cared too much when I created this course. Story of my life.

I built this course to teach my team SEO because SEO is just taught wrong pretty much everywhere in my opinion. Everybody basically just regurgitates what they read online or heard at conferences.

Most SEO info out there is about ranking factors and meta titles and all this stuff that is certainly important, but it's not going to teach you HOW to actually execute on SEO.

You can memorize all "200 Google ranking factors" and you aren't going to be any closer to executing on an SEO strategy.

This course teaches you how to think about SEO from the user's perspective, not from the perspective of some automated Google algorithm.

And that's because Google's algorithm is just measuring users. So if you understand users, you basically future proof your SEO knowledge. If you make users happy, you make Google happy.

I created this course with content teams / writers and in-house marketers at established companies in mind. Those people will probably benefit most from this course. It'll really show you how to think about SEO and get 80% of the result with 20% of the effort.

But it's not for everyone. If you're really small or brand new, and you're looking to use SEO as a major component of your marketing strategy, you will need to spend a lot of money or do some serious work in-house. Mostly in the form of building backlinks. If that's you, I'd take Brian Dean's course below.

  • Price: $599
  • Certification included? Yes
  • Time to complete: 11 hours of video, 15 chapters. Basically a long, intense weekend or maybe a couple weeks
  • Lifetime access? Yes
  • Course author & bio: Me (John Crenshaw). Peep me on LinkedIn here.
  • Target audience: Beginner to Intermediate. Content marketers and in-house teams. Pros looking for solid theory / foundation.
  • Reviews: Check the landing page for some testimonials

Brian Dean / Backlinko

I took this course way back in the day, although I don't appear to have access anymore so I can't say what the newer version is like, but version 2.0 was fan-freaking-tasitc.

If the new version is like the old one, it's definitely more on the advanced side. It's heavily focused on link building and using content to generate links. So, if you don't need that then this probably isn't the course for you.

But if you're a smaller company and you're pushing SEO as a primary marketing strategy and you're smart and willing to put in the work, this is probably the course I'd recommend because when you're new, SEO is really hard and backlinks are crucial if you want to outrank larger, more established competitors.

I'd also recommend this course for anyone who wants some more advanced link building training. So if you do SEO for a living or if you're in a hyper competitive niche and you really need link building to get that edge, this is a great course for that.

The version I went through probably isn't what most brands or established companies need - backlinks are typically not the primary challenge for those guys.

Also note that Brian follows the ole' internet marketer's playbook and only opens the course to new customers every so often so you have to join the waitlist and there isn't much info on the site about lessons or the structure of the course or even how much it costs or when you can take it. You basically have to subscribe and then just wait.

But Brian's stuff is definitely worthwhile.

  • Price: Unknown but I think I paid $2k for the original version back in the day
  • Certification included? No
  • Time to complete: Unknown
  • Lifetime access? Yes
  • Course author & bio: Brian Dean. Founded Backlinko.com. He ranks for a lot of hyper competitive SEO terms using his own strategies and he shares a lot of those with you in the course. He's definitely legit and this is a great course if you're looking to step up your backlink building game.
  • Target audience: Intermediate to advanced. Smaller to mid-size scrappy orgs or agencies. Not the first place I'd go for enterprise marketers unless you're in a really competitive niche and need to build backlinks to compete.
  • Reviews: No ratings / reviews on site

Bruce Clay's In-Person Training

This "advanced in-person search engine optimization training course provides intensive SEO training by industry veteran Bruce Clay, the recognized Father of SEO."

Bruce Clay is an enterprise SEO firm. They're pretty well-known and respected. I'd say if you're looking to actually DO enterprise SEO for a living, this might be a good course to look at.

Definitely expensive though.

  • Price: $2,750
  • Includes certification: Yes
  • Time to complete: 5 days in-person. Doesn't say how long but I'm guessing full days (8h)
  • Lifetime access: N/A this is a live course
  • Course author + bio: Bruce Clay https://www.bruceclay.com/about/
  • Target audience: This is billed as an advanced course. Probably more for SEO pros.
  • Reviews: No ratings available but I'm sure it's good. Bruce Clay's legit.

BrainStation

I don't know much about BrainStation but they seem legit.

They have a lot of testimonials from people at legit companies that have taken their training like Google and Lululemon.

Can learn online or in-person. Price appears to be the same either way.

Has 5 week or 10 week in-person training.

Online training is live so you can ask questions I assume.

Price is typically what you'd expect for any live training. Pre-recorded obviously tends to be cheaper than live, whether online or off.

This course also goes into analytics and SEM which is nice if you need that, but that's a lot of info and if you don't need all that it's pretty broad. You can't possibly learn SEM and SEO and analytics deeply in that time. But if it's really good you may get to an intermediate level of knowledge in that time. Plus, all this stuff is so intertwined it can be beneficial to keep your education broad.

  • Price: $3,150 (can also pay installments)
  • Includes certification: Yes
  • Time to complete: It's about 30 hours of live training. You can do it all in 2 days over 15 hrs or 10 weeks at 3h per week (total 30 hrs).
  • Lifetime access: The online version might have some sort of lifetime access but I couldn't find anything on that.
  • Course author + bio: No info
  • Target audience: Beginner to intermediate. Definitely geared toward a more corporate audience.
  • Reviews: None available

Coursera / UC Davis SEO Specialization Track

This is a 5-course specialization track on Coursera offered by UC Davis. The 5 courses that make up the specialization are:

  1. Intro to SEO
  2. SEO fundamentals
  3. Optimizing a website for search
  4. Advanced content and social tactics to optimize SEO
  5. Website optimization client report project

This seems like a solid course if you want to spend the time to get a good foundation and you want a recognizable name on your certificate.

The instructor, Eric Enge, is pretty well-known in the SEO space. He's got a YouTube channel with a bunch of SEO videos here.

Like I said, this completion certificate is probably going to sound better on a resume since you can probably name drop Coursera and UC Davis, so if that's what your after, consider investing the time in this long specialization.

  • Price: Free 7-day trial. Coursera's no longer free apparently. Bummer, but specializations never were. Now it looks like it's $49 / mo for both the course and certificates w a 7-day free trial. I'm guessing you pay until completion.
  • Includes certificate: Yes
  • Lifetime access: Yes
  • Course authors / bio: Rebekah May from Lead Qual, Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting
  • Target audience: Beginner to intermediate
  • Reviews: Each course is rated on Coursera differently, ranging from a 4.5 - 4.8 star rating for each

ClickMinded

ClickMinded is an SEO training course created by Tommy Griffith, former SEO manager at Airbnb.

I've personally taken this course. It's good. It's basic, but it's good. It won't give you anything life-changing or really change the way you think about SEO but if you're looking for the basics presented in a good way from someone with experience at one of the most well-known unicorn startups in the world, this is a good one. Tommy also has other courses besides just SEO (copywriting, SEM, etc).

  • Price: $497
  • Includes certification: Yes
  • Time to complete:
  • Lifetime access: Yes
  • Course author + bio: Tommy Griffith
  • Target audience: Beginner to intermediate. Def geared toward people with little to no prior knowledge but also includes some intermediate level topics.
  • Reviews: They have a few testimonials but no reviews listed on site.

Moz Free SEO Beginner Guides

A free online SEO learning center covering a wide range of topics. This is pretty well-done if you just want no frills basics and you don't need a certificate. They also have a 1-hr guide to SEO as sort of a quick intro or refresher course if you're short on time. This is not all video. It's some pre-recorded video, some text-based content / guides, and links to some blog posts on the Moz site.

  • Price: Free
  • Includes certification: No
  • Time to complete: Unknown
  • Lifetime access: Yeah no signup required
  • Course author + bio: Moz...several authors for various content pieces.
  • Target audience: Beginner. Although it does include some basics on link building. That's an advanced topic but it can help to know about it if you need that.
  • Reviews: No ratings / reviews available on the site.

Moz Free SEO Course on Udemy

Basic intro to SEO from Moz on Udemy. I believe it's a collection of their Whiteboard Friday videos. The value here is they've organized everything for you already so you don't have to sort through hundreds of Whiteboard Friday videos on the Moz blog.

  • Price: FREE
  • Includes certification: No
  • Time to complete: 7 chapters, 18 videos, 3h 25m
  • Lifetime access: Yes
  • Course author + bio: Moz is an SEO software company
  • Target audience: Beginner. Good intro to the basics but probably won't help you get any serious work done.
  • Reviews: 4.3 (15,924 ratings)

Hubspot Beginning SEO Training

This course was created by Hubspot and is taught by Hubspot employees.

It's basically a lead gen tool for Hubspot. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just something to be aware of. Like the saying goes, if it's free then you're the product.

It might be really good though. Hubspot definitely rocks it in SEO.

  • Price: FREE
  • Includes certification: No
  • Time to complete: 1h 35m / 6 lessons, 22 vids, 3 quizzes
  • Lifetime access: Yes
  • Course author + bio: She's a team manager on Hubspot's acquisition marketing team, so obvi this course is created specifically to gen leads for HS. Still, HS does great with SEO so there may be some good info in there.
  • Target audience: Beginner to intermediate. Although there's a chapter on link building, which I would consider a fairly advanced topic in SEO and not really something you should jump right into unless you really need it. Most brands don't need to prioritize building backlinks. But if you're a startup or a new or small company or the underdog in your space, then backlinks are going to help a lot.
  • Reviews: They don't list reviews or testimonials on the course page.

Yoast Beginner Training

This is a free course from Yoast. Joost de Valk founded Yoast, which I believe was what he called his super popular WordPress SEO plugin but he's since practiced a little concentric diversification and grown that business into a few different areas. They now have a training program you can subscribe to for $499/yr that includes all their different training courses, but you can take this one for free apparently.

  • Price: FREE
  • Includes certification: No
  • Time to complete: 2 hours of video. They say you'll want to commit 12-16 hours if you're brand new to SEO.
  • Lifetime access: Yes
  • Course author + bio: Just says "the SEO experts at Yoast." But doesn't name anyone in particular. Sort of like Hubspot in that regard.
  • Target audience: The site states this is beginner training.
  • Reviews: No ratings - they have a couple testimonials on site but no stars

SimpliLearn Online Training

SimpliLearn is an online training company focused on digital marketing and technology. I don't know much about them. They do appear to be legit. They have some partnerships with Purdue and IBM. They do have a course taught by the Purdue University Dean of Science, so do your own research but at a glance they look legit.

My guess is this course is fairly basic. They have a chapter on duplicate content which is probably not something I'd focus an entire chapter on these days, but what the hell do I know? I'm just some guy on the internet.

  • Price: $499
  • Includes certification: Yes
  • Time to complete: They don't say but the course outline has run times listed...looks like maybe very roughly like 10 hours or so.
  • Lifetime access: Yes
  • Course author + bio: Matt Bailey - President of SiteLogic, Author. Here's his LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattbaileysitelogic
  • Target audience: Doesn't say but looking through the lessons, it definitely appears to be beginner to intermediate
  • Reviews: None on site

Boulder SEO Marketing Webinar

This is a free 60 minute webinar SEO training. Obviously, you can't learn much in 60 minutes, but as an introduction to SEO, assuming it's live (and it looks like it is), it might be pretty useful. It looks like it's put on by an SEO company in Boulder. The webinars appear to be live on specific dates that align with conferences.

  • Price: FREE
  • Includes certification: No
  • Time to complete: 60 minutes online, live
  • Lifetime access: N/A
  • Course author + bio: Boulder SEO Marketing
  • Target audience: It's billed as a 60-minute intro to SEO
  • Reviews: They have some video testimonials on their website but no ratings or anything. But hey, it's free and it's 60 minutes.

Udemy Free Course

I actually went through this course a bit because I was curious what a free Udemy course was like. It's about what you'd expect. Not terrible, it's just that nobody's going to put a ton of work into a free course, so this appears to be a mishmash of presentation videos from other courses or presentations this author created.

Video 3-27, for example, ends with him saying he's going to show you how to do something in the next video but then the next video goes into a completely different topic.

But hey, it's free and maybe you'll learn something.

  • Price: FREE
  • Includes certification: Udemy doesn't offer certification on free courses (find a paid course over there if you're just looking for cert)
  • Time to complete: 2h 33m of videos
  • Lifetime access: Yes
  • Course author + bio: Eric Schwartzman (https://www.udemy.com/user/ericschwartzman/)
  • Target audience: Beginner
  • Reviews: 4.3 stars (2123 ratings)

Lynda.com / LinkedIn Training

Lynda has a wide variety of SEO training lessons, but this isn't really an SEO training COURSE per se. Lynda (now LinkedIn learning) just has this landing page but it's really just a collection of a number of courses related to SEO, SEM, analytics, etc. You can subscribe to LinkedIn learning to access all their courses. I don't believe they offer certificates right now.

  • Price: $29.99 / mo
  • Includes certification: No
  • Time to complete: N/A See description. This isn't really an organized course per se. It's more a collection of lessons that you can pick and choose from and take at your leisure.
  • Lifetime access: No - only while subscribed
  • Course author + bio: Depends on the course but most of these were created by Lynda or people contracted by Lynda before Lynda was bought by LinkedIn and turned into LinkedIn learning.
  • Target audience: Beginner to intermediate. I skimmed the courses and the topics all look like beginner to intermediate topics. That's typically what you find on Lynda. Good quality stuff in my experience but I've never taken their SEO courses.
  • Reviews: No ratings / reviews on site

Neil Patel

This is a free course Neil put together on YouTube, although it's not really an organized course. His course page is just linking to his YouTube channel, so he's just trying to grab traffic for "SEO training course" and send it to his YouTube channel. Right on. To each his own. I have it here in case you want to check it out:

  • Price: Free
  • Includes certification: No
  • Time to complete: It's unclear. The page on his site about the course just links to his YouTube channel, which has all of his SEO videos.
  • Lifetime access: It's publicly available on YouTube so yes.
  • Course author + bio: Neil Patel (https://neilpatel.com/about/)
  • Target audience: Unclear. His course page just links to his YouTube channel, which has all his SEO videos. I think it ranges quite a bit. Probably call it intermediate to advanced.
  • Reviews: No rating avail on site

Others

  • This course from Market Motive is, at a glance, the same thing as the SimpliLearn course above but it's $100 more expensive.
  • This Udemy course is free, but I'd probably just take the Moz course if you want free.
  • I was going to link to a Springboard course, so you may find that online. They've got some questionably aggressive marketing tactics though and their SEO training course is literally just a bunch of links to other peoples' YouTube videos that you have to sign up in order to access. I also read an unfavorable Reddit post. Just my opinion, but I'd steer clear.

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