At this agency, we make a big deal out of being a Certified Google AdWords partner. The bar is set pretty low these days to become a certified partner, but when I first got in, you needed to manage at least $100,000 over a 90-day period, pass the certification tests, and have at least two people within the agency who were certified. These restrictions have loosened a bit now though.
Although I’ve been managing Google AdWords accounts since 2003, and founded my agency in 2005, I first became a certified agency about 7 years ago. I was incredibly excited when I passed the $100k threshold, and have been proud of our ongoing growth ever since. (note that from $100k per 90 days when I was first certified, the latest amount is $3.2 Million in 90 days). Now we have 13 people currently working for us who are certified (it shows 16 but a few of those are employees who went to grad school or moved and haven’t disconnected themselves yet). Plus we’re one of the only Certified Women Owned Businesses (WBENC) who specializes in SEO and SEM.
To become certified in Google AdWords you need to pass at least two tests: the Search Fundamentals, and one other test depending on the certification. This can be Advanced Search, Reporting, or Display. There is also Google Analytics Certification, which is different. We have 19 people certified in Google Analytics.
Why you should hire a Google AdWords Certified Partner:
- It shows that the agency stresses training and mastery of the entire suite of sophisticated tools that Google AdWords is comprised of.
- It gives a clear picture of the people within the agency who are managing PPC programs, and whether it actually is a specialty for the agency. But I’ve found recently that some agencies are cheating – they’re having some people take the exams for other people, or are taking them all as a group. You should still ask to get a list of who within the agency manages PPC on a regular basis, if they’re internal or outsourced contractors, and also if they’re certified.
If you’re looking for a SEM agency or someone to manage paid search or Google AdWords only, consider searching for and questioning the status of a Google Certified partner.