Google Adwords Certification: The Breakdown

April 19th, 2012 by Search Influence Alumni

Getting Google Adwords Certified can be an invaluable update to your resume. Why? With this professional SEO accreditation, you’re making sure you’re doing everything you can to increase your worth to your clients or company.

Whether you are planning to start a paid search campaign for your business or if you’re just trying to understand what your PPC manager is always talking about, Adwords certification is an extremely beneficial feather in your cap. However, don’t think you can just roll out of bed, think “I’ll get certified today!” and pass the test with ease.

To officially become Google Adwords Certified, you must pass both the Advertising Fundamentals exam and one advanced-level exam. Everyone on the account management team here at Search Influence has decided to take on the challenge to get individually certified.  Luckily we have two Google Adwords gurus, Anthony Coleman and Doug Thomas, to answer our never-ending questions while studying.

To make studying easier, Google has set up a Google AdWords Certification Program Learning Center, where you can find “lesson plans” for each Google Adword exam. Reading all the chapters (from start to finish) for each exam may be a bit time-consuming, but very worth it. I highly recommend the interactive e-learning lessons that are scattered throughout the chapters. Most e-learning lessons have quizzes to test your knowledge before taking the actual exam.

The first test is 113 questions with 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the exam. You must get an 85% on the first test, which cost $50, and you must pass the first exam before moving on to the advanced.  After passing the exams, you are certified for two years.  Don’t worry if you don’t pass the exam the first time: you can always retake it. However, you must pay the $50 fee each time.


You can become a qualified individual or a qualified company within the Google Professional Certification program. To qualify for an Individual Certification, you must pass both the Fundamentals exam and one of the three advanced exams.  Also, you must accept the program Terms and Conditions (which happens automatically by enrolling in the program).  Also, there is no minimum spend requirement to be Individually Qualified.

Doug and Anthony have already qualified Search Influence for a Company Certification. To qualify for a Company Certification, a company must have managed at least a $10,000 spend over 90 days, starting the day the AdWords account is linked to the My Client Center. The company must have at least one individually qualified employee and accept the program Terms and Conditions.

The Google Partner Search tool helps potential advertisers find a Certified AdWords Professional. People enter their estimated budget, along with the type of help they need, then Google compiles a list of certified professionals. Certified Partners receive a badge showing their qualification, while those who are Individually Qualified receive a certificate when they pass the necessary exams.

Tips for Taking the Exam
Study. This is easy to put off, but during the exam you’ll be asked a question that you would only know if you read the exam learning materials. Luckily, the study materials are broken out according to which exams they’re covered on.

• Take the exam in a quiet area with no distractions. Get out of the house with no family, pets or TV shows to divert your focus from the exam.

You cannot access any other part of your computer until you have completed the exam. Make sure you save and close everything you have open on your computer because once you start the test, it blocks you out of everything and you can’t pause the timer on the exam.

• One beneficial feature about the exam is that you can mark questions for review and come back to them later. I loved this because if I didn’t know the answer to a question, I marked it for review and moved on to the next.

Google is a tricky minx. I noticed when taking the first exam that some questions have multiple right answers, but Google wants you to choose the best right answer. Watch out for those questions and always go with your gut feeling.
You can sign up here to take the exam. Good luck!