Well, it’s official. I am now allowed to call myself a Google Adwords Qualified Individual. If somebody told me 10 years ago that I would have to actually study for something like this I probably would have laughed and thought you were crazy.
I finally got around to taking the Google Advertising Professional Exam. I passed with flying colors, scoring an 88% on the 100+ question test. Unfortunately I missed a few questions about international PPC, which I don’t have any experience with. What, you didn’t know that if you have a billing address inside of Ireland and provide a valid VAT registration, you don’t need to self-assess VAT charges? Now you do. Geez. Come on. Everybody knows that Google will automatically charge your account the Irish VAT rate. How could I have missed that question? More importantly, why would I need to know that as a U.S. based advertiser?
Having worked with Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and MSN AdCenter for the past few years, I thought I knew just about everything from hands-on experience and staying on top of the blogs. I expected to be able to skip over most of the Learning Center contents and knock the test out in a day or two, but after dutifully watching the first few tutorials I realized how valuable the information is. I’ll even admit to watching a lot of the tutorials more than once, just to make sure I completely understood each tiny little detail. They were well organized and very thorough, although some sound a little repetitive. Possibly because they were created at different times, but I’m not sure. Finally, after about 10 or 12 hours (spread over a couple of weeks) I was ready for the exam.
The test itself was disappointing. It was administered through a 3rd party site, but I still have to fault Google for the ambiguous questions that really didn’t make any sense. I stopped counting ridiculous questions at 9 or 10. I thought about writing them down, but I’m sure there is a clause against republishing them that would come back to haunt me. Many seemed very subjective, and more than one had HTML errors resulting in visible “/FONT>” tags being displayed after a question or answer. Not to mention the inconsistent formatting of the fonts to begin with. No two looked alike. It might be worth a few hours of a Googler’s time to re-take the current version of the exam and work on some refinements.
All in all, the learning process was beneficial to me as a search engine marketer. Sure, a “Google Certified” logo looks nice on my homepage and PPC advertising page, but the real value is in knowing that I can provide additional value to clients and run even more efficient and effective campaigns than I could before. Next up is Yahoo’s Search Marketing Ambassador training and certification. I’ll report on that one when completed.