I have had a number of people ask me recently why I am a Google Certified Partner and what it entails. I just wanted to take a moment to explain how me being a Google certified partner is a benefit to my clients.
For the first few years that I was in business I hesitated to become a partner because I did not want to appear to be “owned” by Google. My clients interests are my interests and what I do every day is move my clients to better positions in the search engines. Just wanted to lay out some facts about what a Google Certified Partner is and does so you can understand why it can be a benefit to you.
Pass an Exam to be Certified: Google has a number of exams you can take and pass in certain areas. They cover a number of areas and the basics of certain advertising platforms or analytics. You need to pass a certain base number of these to be certified. I do find these exams to be a bit from Google’s perspective and you need to think a bit before you answer about what Google is looking for vs. what the correct answer might be for your client, but it is a good measure and refresher of the latest offerings from Google and keeps you up to date as you have to pass them every year and we all know how much Google changes on a monthly basis, let alone year over year.
You Don’t Have To Do What Google Says: Google will offer suggestions on your managed Adwords accounts. Not surprisingly suggesting you raise your bids or expand your budget. I don’t find their help all that useful but it is important to state that you don’t have to do what they say in that respect. As long as you manage enough budget and pass the tests and follow the rules, you continue to be a certified partner. If Google wants you to raise a bid or expand a budget, they don’t hold it against you if you don’t. I appreciate that.
Google does call you a lot and try to get you to sell Adwords: Yes they do try to call you and offer you help selling more Adwords. I only recommend pay per click if a client has the budget for it and it is a good tactic for what they are trying to do. I have turned away business because I knew pay per click would fail due to the condition of their site or what they were offering. A good ethical SEO still has their client’s interest front and center, and has to approach it as what is best from your client or even prospect point of view. Once you have enough business, the budget thresholds to be a partner are easy to reach and you don’t have to ever worry about upping budget to maintain your status. In the end, you have to perform for you client, not Google, or they won’t be your client any more.
Access to Google Support: The primary reason I am a Google certified partner is the access to Google help when things go wrong for certain clients. The biggest issue tends to be with Google local business listings. I have to deal with correcting issues with these almost every week and it is nice to be able to call Google and have someone fix it over the phone. Though their help system is always changing and at times the process is working much better than others, you can usually eventually get these things resolved. From troubles claiming a listing, removing incorrect information, correcting map flaws (I once had a client with a Brooklyn address showing up on the map in Trenton due to a Google map error). These can all be very frustrating and often business owners don’t know where to even start to get them fixed. I can often get them fixed within one call or at least be given a game plan from Google to get a resolution within that call.
Access to Google Information Early and On Demand: When new features or news is available, partners have access first and can build up a plan and get their clients accounts ready to seize that opportunity right away. If a new ad extension becomes available, often first adopters get a great boost from that. These are other benefits of being a partner that go right to the client.
So though it can be annoying fielding calls and emails from Google telling you to have your clients spend more money, in the end you still get to decide what is right, and you have a great line to support when something goes wrong with clients in the search engine world. It is worthwhile to have a relationship with a Google Certified Partner.