May 12, 2014

Google Partnership — What is it and how did we achieve it?

Google Partner BadgeBack in November 2013, Google replaced its Google Certification Program with its Google Partners Program. Originally, if you worked in the paid search space you would take Google AdWords exams to achieve Google Certification. This meant you were deemed an expert in Google AdWords, making you a more attractive employee and giving your company a leg up on the competition. Companies proudly placed the Google Certified badge on their websites, letting current and potential clients know they were in fact certified by top search engine Google.

When Google replaced the individual certification program with the Partner program, it was to allow agencies and online marketing professionals a certification platform with free certification exams, access to “Google experts” and other members of the Google Partners community, as well as access to sales and marketing toolkits. But to become a Partner, your agency has to meet certain criteria. On its Partner site, Google says: “The Google Partner badge shows the world that Google trusts your company and that potential clients can too.”

Partner requirements

Achieving Partner status is not supposed to be easy. Your agency has to meet the following requirements:

  • Certifications: Show that you and your colleagues have advanced AdWords knowledge by getting certified in AdWords.
  • Best practices: Demonstrate that you’re maximizing your clients’ performance by implementing the recommended best practices in their accounts.
  • Spend: Show that your agency has a healthy amount of activity by meeting the Spend requirements across your managed accounts.
  • Company profile: Set up and complete your agency’s Partners profile

In January 2014, AB&C’s digital team began studying for the Google AdWords Basic and Advanced exams that concentrated solely on paid search. After passing both exams, we then studied for the next exam (which was not required to achieve Partner status; we had already done so) and passed the Google Display exam. This means we’re also experts in running display campaigns on Google’s Network. Next up is the Google Video (YouTube) certification, which was just added in late April.

But it doesn’t stop there. To keep our partnership status, we’ll have to retake the tests every year.

“Anyone can join Google Partners, but only trusted agencies can earn Google’s seal of approval and get listed on Google Partner Search, helping generate valuable new leads. Whether you’re a company of 1 or 1,000, quality is the key to becoming a Google Partner.”