Google Partners Program
The Google Partners program is a certification system offered by Google to trusted online marketing companies. Here’s how the program works.
What is the Google Partners Program?
The Google Partners program is an online database filled with online marketing companies that have been hand-picked and individually certified by Google.
Today, that database includes 5,000 companies from all over the world.
All of these companies can be recognized with the Google Partners badge, which looks like this:
Here’s how Google describes the importance of that badge at their official Partners website:
“The badge recognizes companies that excel with Google’s products. Their businesses are healthy, their customers are happy, and they use Google best practices.”
Partners must follow strict eligibility requirements. Most importantly, they need to stay up-to-date on Google’s products and services by passing a Google-administered certification exam every 12 months.
How to Find a Google Partner
Google makes it easy to find a Google Partner. It starts with a visit to https://www.google.com/partners
From there, just click on the Find a Partner link. Google will automatically find your location. Then, you choose what you need help with, either:
-With advertising online
-With a website
-“I need help with both”
If you know the specific agency with which you’d like to work, then you can type the agency name into the search bar at the top of the page.
If you don’t know the name of the specific agency, then Google will recommend a list of agencies in your area (or, if you don’t care about agencies in your area, then you can view the best agencies from around the world).
How to Join Google Partners
You can join Google Partners from here: https://www.google.com/partners/
You read and agree to those terms and conditions, then connect your AdWords account to the Google Partners program. Before joining Google Partners, you’ll need to meet four requirements:
-Company Profile: You need to create and complete a Partners company profile so that Google has the required information to list your company on Google Partner Search.
-Certification: You need to become certified in AdWords to prove your knowledge. At least one of the members of your agency needs to be AdWords certified, which means you need to pass the AdWords Fundamentals exam and one additional advertising exam (either Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Advertising, or Shopping Advertising). You can learn more about these exams here.
-Spend: You need to meet the spend requirement across your managed accounts “to show that your agency has a healthy amount of activity”. You need to have spent at least $10,000 USD (or equivalent in your local currency) in total AdWords activity over the last 90 calendar days. You must also have Spend activity on at least 60 of the last 90 calendar days. And, your AdWords manager account needs to be at last 90 days old.
-Best Practices: You need to implement the recommended best practices in your client accounts “to demonstrate that you’re maximizing their AdWords performance.” For this step, Google will review your client accounts to make sure they’re performing well. For example, it will check your Search Network performance to make sure you’ve added negative keywords, sitelinks, ad extensions, phrase match keywords, broad match modified keywords, ad scheduling, etc.
Individuals vs. Agency Certification
There’s a difference between becoming AdWords certified and earning a Google Partner badge.
-Individuals can get AdWords certified (including standard or advanced certification). You can display a personalized certificate issued by Google.
-Agencies get badged. If your agency meets the requirements for Partner status (as listed above), then you’ll be allowed to display the Google Partner badge. You’ll also be promoted by Google through the Partners program.
How to Communicate your Certification
Google has strict rules about how you talk about your certification. Here are their three main guidelines:
-“ You may only refer to yourself as certified if you, personally, have passed the certification exams. It's not enough for a co-worker to be certified or for your agency to be badged.”
-“You can refer to yourself as “certified” as long as your certification remains in effect. After the expiration date, you won't be able to refer to yourself as “certified” until you pass the exams again.”
-“You're allowed to mention your certification on your resume, business cards, LinkedIn profile, and other social media profiles. Keep in mind that Google Partners logos can only be used in accordance with our usage guidelines.” You can view Google’s badge usage guidelines here.
Those Badge usage guidelines are pretty straightforward: you cannot change the aspect ratio or colors of the badge in any way. You also cannot display the badge no illegal websites, or websites that promote gambling, adult content, alcohol, and other activities that Google doesn’t like. This is much different than Facebook PPC vs certified Google Adwords experts.
Once you’ve joined the Google Partners program, you’ll need to pass a certification exam every 12 months to prove to Google that you’re up-to-date on the latest programs and policies.