In the ever-evolving world of search engine marketing, there has seemingly been one constant that SEM specialists can count on: Google runs this town, and if you want to make it in the biz, you’re going to need to stay on top of what this search engine powerhouse is up to on the daily.
From constant updates named by apparently throwing a dart at a zoo map to unveiling shiny new toys and add-ons for SEM fans to play with and present to their clients, Google is constantly changing and in turn, changing the industry as a whole. We just have to do our best to hold on and adapt. As the former voice-of-a-generation Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a changin’,” and learning how to change with them is what’s going to keep you and your business thriving.
One of the biggest contributions that Google has brought to the SEM game in the past few years has been the introduction of its AdWords Pay Per Click advertising model, a tool so crucial in driving traffic to companies’ websites that businesses have sprouted up all over the world with the sole purpose of helping their clients get the most out of every dollar they spend on PPC campaigns.
While anyone with a Google account and a computer can technically handle a PPC account, doing so effectively requires an in-depth knowledge of the model — knowledge that can only be obtained by passing Google’s grueling, to put it lightly, AdWords Certification Exam.
However, fear not, noble SEM specialists! Passing Google’s exam doesn’t have to culminate in Stress City, population you and a bathroom sink full of thinning hair: like any test, you just need to properly prepare for it.
Remember the SATs? It’s a Lot Like That, and You Aced Those Right? Right?
Just kidding, you won’t need a proof of ID, and the results of this test aren’t going to “determine your future.” First things first, you’re going to need to sign up for a free AdWords account, which can be done using your own personal Google account. From there, you can sign up for the Google AdWords Certification Program, which will provide you with a ton of free resources vital for nailing this test.
I should probably mention at this point that you have to complete two tests: the Advertising Fundamentals Exam, which consists of 90 questions that you have two hours to answer and must receive a passing score of 85%, or the Advanced Search or Advanced Display Exam, which is a little less stringent than the Fundamentals test.
Once you’re all signed up and have decided which secondary test you wish to take, it’s time to start hitting the books. It would be wise to study the Fundamentals material to tedium, taking as long as you like, weeks even, before taking the test.
Once you’ve got that under your belt, begin to study for the second test, as attempting to cram all the information pertaining to both tests at the same time might cause your brain to explode.
Keep in mind that both tests are open book, meaning you can take as many notes as you please to use during the exams, however you’ll be locked out of using the Internet while you’re taking the test, so you won’t be able to search for any of the answers. Not that you would, but in case you were thinking about it, you can’t.
Taking the Test
Once you feel adequately prepared for the test, set aside two hours of your day in a quiet, distraction-free environment and get cracking. Take your time with each question, read it over two or three times (some of them are worded in such a way as to try and trick you up) and try not to get yourself too worked up. Chances are, you’re going to fail the first time you take it; it’s not an easy test. Worst-case scenario, you fail, and you have to wait a whole week before you can take it again, but at least this time you have an idea of just what you’re in for!
So study up, take your time, take good notes, and good luck!
PCG’s team of SEM specialists are all AdWords certified. Learn more about our paid search services and how your business can be found for the right search terms!