People are often willing to tell you they are a great driver, right? Even if they’re not. The proof is in the pudding, if you’re sitting in the car with them and they’re mounting the curb and running red lights, chances are they’re not exactly a model of neighbourly motoring. No one has ever whipped out their driver’s license to prove that they’re a good driver – that little card doesn’t prove that they won’t give you whiplash.
So, let’s take that analogy and apply it to the mean streets of search marketing. If you are looking for an agency or consultancy to work on your PPC, you may have noticed that an AdWords Certification – just like the driver’s license – has absolutely no bearing on the ability of the particular agency.
What is Google AdWords Certified?
The Google AdWords certification is considered to be a ‘professional’ course that Google offers to those who can demonstrate basic ability in the realms of AdWords. An AdWords certification apparently allows individuals to demonstrate that Google recognises the fact that they have taught individuals to manipulate their search engines.
Passing the Google AdWords certification test is a minimum indicator of competency, designed to show that the recipient should know how to navigate the AdWords interface.
What Does It Actually Teach You?
When learning to drive you’re taught the acronym: D, S, S, S, M – this stands for: doors, seat and steering, seatbelt, mirrors. After this is complete the final checks should be performed and the engine should be started; imagine if the instructor stopped at this point. It leaves a huge gap in your knowledge, i.e. the ability to drive.
The Google AdWords exam has the same basic flaws. It isn’t a course designed to formulate a highly skilled user, though it is often billed as such. In actual fact, it is a simple, basic overview of the system and the application to the users own situations. The course defines the absolute minimum; showing you D, S, S, S, M but not how to change gear, apply the gas or when to use to the brakes.
It Doesn’t Tell You About the Potential Pitfalls…
…and why would it? Google after all are trying to sell you on the benefit of their products – it would be like selling a product and leading with the disadvantages of owning it in the first place.
Think of driving a car (again) with no fuel gauge; you’re lacking a very important piece of equipment that gives you vital information. While it is something that is fixable, it may well cost you valuable time and finances.
These learning curves exist in PPC also, and unfortunately for some they can be completely catastrophic. Most come in the application of keyword match types and mistaken campaign targets and settings.
It’s Easy to Cheat
We’ve all taken an exam in our lives, and experienced that dread associated with it. However, if you were told this exam encompassed the phrase ‘take home test’, would you feel quite so nervous?
No, you wouldn’t.
And the reason for this is that you know that you could cheat if you had a mind to and absolutely ace it with no issues. For those who have actually cheated on a test, can you remember anything after you copied down the answer? Doubtful.
And this is exactly what the Google AdWords exam is – a take home test. Even as recently as 2015, you weren’t able to open any tabs on your browser during the test. This is no longer true, you’re able to search through Google Support pages for the answer to the questions.
So remember this: the self-proclaimed ‘Google Certified Expert’ could well have completed their test in between surfing Facebook on their phone and taking the bins out. Being Google certified means that someone once got at least a 80% pass rate on their exam. Is this something you want for your outsourced marketing efforts; someone who has been officially certified as bang average?
The results speak for themselves; the proof is in the pudding after all and no piece of paper will be the saving grace for any underperforming marketing company.