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If you earned your Google Adwords certification close to when the program was launched, it’s about time to re-take your test, and prove you’re still qualified. If you’re like, me, and don’t do a whole lot of PPC, this could be tough. (I mainly do basic audits as a value add to SEO consulting). I retook the test late last week, and thought I’d put together a quick post on some resources for learning adwords more effectively, and help for taking the test. Many folks will likely be retaking the test soon, since it’s 2 years after the program launched, and it is a requirement to retake the test to maintain your status.
Firstly, you should probably study a little bit. The Adwords learning center is really impressive now. Since I’ve done my fair share of google bashing, I must take this opportunity to say that whoever is in charge of the learning center is doing a kickass job. It’s jampacked with information in both text and multimedia form that is really helpful for improving your adwords skills. There has been a TON of updates in the last few years in terms of functionality, terms of service, and add on tools and services to the adwords program. The learning center really helped me to wrap my mind around some of these that I had ignored when they were launched (hey, they launch something new weekly if not daily – there’s only so much time in a day to check out the new stuff).
Some of the things I learned while studying in the Adwords learning center and taking practice quizes:
- You can use ONE exclamation point in ad text
- You can use superlatives like "best" if they are backed up by a third party
- When you opt-out of the Google search network, your ads still show on Google search results pages, but do not show on Google’s search partners.
- Embedded match allows the ad to appear on all variations of the keyword except for the exact match of the keyword.
- Embedded match utilizes phrase match, exact match, and negative match.
- In order for a site-targeted image ad to appear on a page, its CPM must outrank the eCPM of the top four keyword-targeted text ads
- In Google analytics – Use the Product Merchandising reports to see which keywords resulted in sales of a certain product.
- In Google analytics – Pages with the highest $Index are those pages which were commonly visited prior to high-value conversions during the same visit.
- Tagging your links helps to get information in your reports about your various marketing efforts. Analytics offers 5 campaign tracking variables. The 5 predefined variables which Analytics offers are Campaign, Source, Medium, Term, and Content.
- When editing keywords using the Find and Edit Keywords Tool, the AdWords system considers the edited words as new keywords.
- Site Exclusion is applied at the Campaign level.
- The Keyword Grouper in the Adwords Editor regroups keywords from one ad group into more granular ad groups
Secondly, take all the practice quizzes. The are very useful in gauging the areas you might be weak (I realized there is a lot of cool functionality in G analytics that I hadn’t used at all). Many of the questions are almost identical to these.
Thirdly, when you’re ready to take the test – open a few browser windows. Open your adwords account, the learning center, and a tab or two to do searches. You can find a lot of answers that you may be up in the air on this way. Being able to look stuff up is one of the real benefits of taking a test online. My retention skills aren’t always that great, but my search and find skills rock. There’s also questions about where stuff is in an account that you can double check by opening your account. You can also search for parts of the questions and find them on various google FAQ’s, or look up the respective topic in the learning center which is very well organized.
Fourthly, after studying for a day or two, you should be able to cruise through about 70% of the exam without thinking twice about the questions. However, you need a 75% to pass, so take your time on the rest. In the prometric test, you can mark items for review later. Cruise through the 60 – 70% of the test, and don’t waste time on those you don’t know. Take your best guess, and mark it for later. With this approach, you should be able to get through the entire 111 questions in about 30 – 45 minutes tops. You’ll then have anywhere from 20 – 40 questions to revisit, research, and answer with another 45 minutes or so to finish. Use your time effectively.
You’ll find out your results at the end of the test. I ended up with a 90%, and was pretty happy with that from a couple days of review, and fairly minimal hands on experience.
More resources for learning about effective PPC marketing with Google Adwords:
- Google Adwords blog
- PPC tools
- Shimon Sandler – PPC guru
- Brad Geddes aka eWhisper – Adwords genius
- Andrew Goodman – paid search legend
- WMW Adwords library, and forum
- Adwords forum at SEW
Do you have any special tidbits you picked up recently on Adwords or PPC in general?