If you have worked with SEO, it is very likely you have heard of the tool SEMrush.
This company also offer courses in different aspect of online marketing through what they call SEMrush Academy.
I have taken several courses there myself, and in this SEMrush Academy review, I will give you an inside look, so you can see what to expect, and see if it is even worth the time to take these courses.
SEMrush Academy at a Glance
SEMrush Academy offers several courses. There is a lot of knowledge in the courses, but there is not a lot of training about how to use it practically. In general you do not get very good value for the time spent on the courses, but at least the courses are free.
What is SEMrush Academy and what does it offer?
SEMrush Academy is developed by the tool SEMrush, which is a famous tool used by online marketers working with among other things Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising.
I have used the tool a bit myself, and therefore received an invitation for their SEO courses. I am always interested in learning new things about online marketing and SEO and in keeping my knowledge updated, so I decided to give it a try.
SEMrush Academy offers courses within different aspects of online marketing.
I have personally only taken the SEO courses they offer, and this review will therefore mostly give information about how these courses are, and if it is worth learning SEO here. Most of the courses are however build in the same way, so you can still get a good idea about what the courses offer, even if you are mostly interested in some of the other courses.
First of all, let me make it clear that all courses at SEMrush Academy are free to take.
Some of the courses are aimed at teaching you how to use SEMrush itself, and the SEO courses I took of course also include information about how SEMrush can be used. If they did not also promote their own tool, they could probably not afford to offer free courses.
But before getting too excited about the thought of a free course, make sure to read the rest of this review. Some of the courses are many hours, so if you are not sure it is a good fit for you, you can potentially end up wasting a lot of time.
Let’s therefore look into how the courses are structured and what they offer.
Course structure and content
Each of the SEMrush courses have several parts. Once you click to enroll in one of the courses, you will be able to see the parts and the structure of the course.
The image above shows the structure and content of the SEO fundamentals course, which is one of the SEO courses I have followed there. The other is a technical SEO course.
Each part has several subtopics. You can see the subtopics by clicking the main topic.
For each part there will then be a video – usually the videos are somewhere between 3-6 minutes, so they are not very long. But when you put all the videos together for a course, it will be several hours. The technical SEO course is for example 4-5 hours.
You do not have to watch the videos. Below the videos you can read a transcript of what is being said. I found it a lot faster to just read the text and also found this more useful.
I honestly think the videos are a bit boring and mostly just a person sitting talking. There are once in a while a few examples showed in the videos, but I personally found it a better and faster way to learn to just read the text instead. But both options are there, so you can use the option that fits you the best.
After each video there will be some suggestions for further readings, and there will also be a short practice question to check, if you have understood what the course was about.
A lot of the further readings is of course links to SEMrush’s own blog, but many of the articles are interesting, and you will also find many links to articles on other websites.
So the courses are in general well-structured, easy to follow, and you can tell they have put a lot of effort into creating them. However, that does not necessarily mean they will be worth spending your time on, as I will get more into later.
But let’s first look at what will happen once you finish a course.
Will you get any certification?
Once you go through a course, you will at the end get a badge showing you have completed the course.
But you can also enroll in an exam for each course. You do not actually have to complete the course to be able to take the exam. So if you for some reason just want some kind of certificate and already have the knowledge, you can just go directly to the exam.
The length of the exam depends on the course. The exam for SEO fundamentals are for example 27 minutes and has 20 questions, and the exam for the technical SEO course is 40 minutes and has 34 questions.
The questions are however very short and multiple choice, so in most cases you will probably be able to take the exam a lot faster. I for example finished the exam for SEO fundamentals in around 7 minutes. You need 70% correct to pass the exam.
After you finish the exam, you will get a certification with your name on it.
I personally do not really find a certificate like this very useful, and the only reason I took the exam was to see how they do it. I do not really think a certificate like this proves anything, as you do not need any practical skills to be able to pass the exam. You just need to remember the theory your are told in the course.
But in some cases you might need some kind of certificate, and then you can get it at the SEMrush Academy.
Is SEMrush Academy SEO courses worth the time?
So now you know what the SEMrush Academy offers, but are the courses then worth taking?
I would say it very much depends on your previous experience and why you want to take a course like this.
I already have a lot of experience with SEO and have worked with it for a while, so I was interested in keeping my knowledge updated. I was interested in the technical SEO course to learn some more technical skills.
I however found a general issue for both of the course I have followed there – the courses are not hands-on at all.
You hear a lot of theory, but if you have no previous knowledge, you will not really be able to use the knowledge. It is mostly just some overall info about what you should theoretically do but without much info about how to practically do it.
This was especially my experience with the technical SEO course. There are a lot of things you need to know already to be able to use the info, but people who have that knowledge would not really need a theoretical course like this.
My experience with the SEMrush Academy SEO courses was therefore that they are kind of in between and I cannot quite figure out who their target audience is.
Because for people that do not have any previous knowledge about the topic, the courses are too technical and use too many terms that would not make sense. And if you already have knowledge about the topic, there is not a lot of practical tips, but mostly just repetition of some theories.
I must however also say that they have put a lot of effort into the courses, and even though I have worked with SEO a lot, the SEO fundamentals course explained some things differently which was helpful to me. I just doubt it would have helped me much, if I had no previous knowledge of SEO.
The courses also have a lot of links to sources with more information. You can find a lot of valuable information here.
But overall, I think that the courses I have followed lacked some more hands-on methods and info about how to practically use the knowledge.
After having followed these two courses, I must unfortunately admit that I do not find it worth the time to spend several hours following the courses. I might still go to the courses to read some of the extra material they link to, but I do not think I will take a full course at SEMrush Academy again, as there are better ways to learn new skills in a more practical way.
Recommended: See My Top Recommended Way to Learn SEO
Overall, SEMrush Academy’s courses have both positives and negative sides. So let’s sum up the pros and cons to give you a better overview.
- Free to join
- You can get a certificate
- A lot of effort put into creating the courses
- No practical exercises
- Difficult to figure out the target group
- The videos are a bit boring
I think it is great SEMrush is offering these free courses. They of course do it to promote their own tool, but that is also fine. There is still some good information in the courses, and a lot of extra material you can read.
I however still do not quite feel it is worth the time. Mostly because it is more or less just theoretical knowledge, which I usually also like getting. But the way it is presented in the courses I took at SEMrush Academy was just not very useful, and I do not feel I got as much out of the time spent, as I usually get from courses that are this long.
In my experience there are better and more hands-on ways to learn SEO, so you develop practical skills at the same time. SEMrush Academy is however legit courses, and there is some good information in them. I will however personally probably in the future take courses other places instead.
If you have any comments, questions, or have any experiences with SEMrush Academy yourself, I would love to hear from you in a comment below.
Hey, nice review. I’m thinking about taking these courses for the knowledge these will provide but also to get the certification. Has your opinion of Semrush courses changed in the last 3 years?
I am honestly not really following the courses anymore as I have many other better courses I have access to that I focus on instead.
Can you please expand on those better courses and maybe share some links? That would be really helpful
You can, for example, check out my preferred course for this here.
Thanks for a good review.
As for me, I don’t have toolkit certificates of SEMrush Academy, but I use SEMrush toolkit, and the toolkit courses helped me to learn how to use them. About Fundamentals exam, I passed it without watching any lesson, so I think it’s for junior specialist or solo marketing managers (not SEO specialists).
But practice… you know, they could make something like Google Analytics Demo Account with their Merchandise Store. SEMrush has ebay/amazon and other demo domains inside of toolkits. But don’t you think a full demo account could be a good practice for Academy?
Thanks for the feedback Roger. I appreciate it and glad to hear you liked the review.
Yes, I actually think it would be a good idea of SEMrush to give people access to a full demo account while taking the courses – great suggestion. In addition to this it would be great to include some more practical assignments with the account and in general during the courses so the knowledge will be put into practice.
I totally agree with your thinking that there should be some sort of practical exercises. Now days if you are just looking for basic knowledge there are so many places to find it. However I am drawn to sites that will set up a learning experience that has different modes of learning like, audio, video, text, but then also reinforces your new knowledge by having you complete a task, exercise, or test.
Thanks for your comments Tom.
Yes a combination of knowledge and different other learning methods and exercises is definitely a great way to learn SEO.
Thanks for this very informative post. I’m still extremely new to online marketing, and I find that a more hands-on “how to” approach has served me very well, although I am sure that SEMrush provides value. Do you think that SEMrush could serve as a good refresher for experienced marketers? Something to remind them of certain principles they should be following? Thanks again for sharing.
The SEMrush courses can serve as a reminder for experienced marketers in some ways, and I got a few good tips out of following the courses myself. I must however say that it is not really worth the time you have to put in to get the info. There are too little info that is valuable, so it is in my opinion only really worth it, if you have a lot of extra time.
Great article, I heard lots about SEMrush, but the majority were about bad experiences, so it is nice to see such a good review.
My thoughts about it are that it is good you can have a free course, I will give it a try, however, I’m not totally convinced, so hopefully after these course, I could be more positive.
Thanks for the post, I will keep in mind what you said!
You have alternatives for it?
I would not myself call my review a very positive one. I think it is great SEMrush is offering free courses, but I did not get a lot out of the ones I have tried. Maybe I did not make that clear enough in the review. The courses have some good info but not any practical training. And I do not really think they are worth the time.
As an alternative you can check out my article about my recommended way of learning SEO.