Twitter LinkedIn Google+
WP Greet Box icon

Welcome back, visitor!. You might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for online marketing info as Todd posts it.

Switch Reading StyleNighttimeDaytime

Re-Upping Your Google Adwords Certification – Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 14 years and 34 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

Google Adwords Professional LogoIf 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:

  1. You can use ONE exclamation point in ad text
  2. You can use superlatives like "best" if they are backed up by a third party
  3. 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.
  4. Embedded match allows the ad to appear on all variations of the keyword except for the exact match of the keyword.
  5. Embedded match utilizes phrase match, exact match, and negative match.
  6. 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
  7. In Google analytics – Use the Product Merchandising reports to see which keywords resulted in sales of a certain product.
  8. In Google analytics – Pages with the highest $Index are those pages which were commonly visited prior to high-value conversions during the same visit.
  9. 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.
  10. When editing keywords using the Find and Edit Keywords Tool, the AdWords system considers the edited words as new keywords.
  11. Site Exclusion is applied at the Campaign level.
  12. 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:

Do you have any special tidbits you picked up recently on Adwords or PPC in general?

More information about Todd Malicoat aka stuntdubl.

Twitter LinkedIn 

  • Dave Davis

    Some good advice there .

    Some additional tips:
    – Use the keyword grouper tool on already grouped keywords to create even more adgroups and write different ad copy for each one. This will help improve quality score.

    – Always create duplicate campaigns to run on the content network only.

    – Always turn ad optimization off at the beginning to split test your ads.

  • avi

    love that your diving deeper into the world of paid! great post todd.

    a few tips off the top of my head.
    -you need not tag your adwords campaigns if tracking using GA. Just make sure Autotagging is selected. If using a non-google analytics tool, you must tag.
    -the google url tagging tool is very handy for creating YSM, MSN, and other ppc campaigns as well.
    -profit off mispellings! the kw “manhattan real estate” may sell for $2, whereas “manhatttan real estate” might sell for a nickel. both have the same user intent, yet you can buy the click for a fraction of the price.
    aaron has a wicked tool @ for generating massive lists of mispelled keywords.
    -mine the tail. mine the tail. mine the tail.

  • Adam Sharp

    Yup, I was skeptical about getting any benefit out of the test. But I started doing the quizzes in my free time, and was getting stumped ~25% of the time. So I’ve made a doc with all my missed questions, been studying them in my free time, exploring more new features.

    I’ve learned about some useful features, but one of the biggest benefits is being more familiar with the system when working with clients/employers. There’s nothing worse than stumbling around and trying to find something while doing training/demonstrations.

  • Alex

    Thanks for the tips. I look forward to finishing up and getting my Adwords certification within the next few months..

  • Stephan Miller

    I’m glad I stopped by to find this post. I have yet to become certified with Google. It’s on my list to do, but something always eats my time away when I think I’ll have a chance to take a run at it. But this gives me some motivation.

  • Wilson Chua

    Yup. started to prepare for my recertification today. Here are my notes for the upcoming exam:

    Compared to 2 years ago, Google adwords now supports video and local ads too.

    A maximum of 50 image ads can be uploaded, while each account can only have a maximum of 25 ad campaigns.

    Per AdWords policy, you must NOT include a display URL in the image you upload

  • Wilson Chua

    In addition, i received this email:

    New! Ad Formats lessons: Visit the ‘Creating Ads’ section in ‘Setting up an Account’ to learn about the latest ad formats (including local business ads, mobile ads and video ads).

    Updated AdWords Policies lesson: Find changes to our policies and guidelines.

    Updated Report Center lesson: Discover the latest about the newest report types and variations.

    Updated MCC lesson: Wondering about MCC alerts and when your stats are updated? It’s covered here.

    Updated AdWords Editor lessons: Learn the latest about this free, easy-to-use account management application

  • Pingback: The Adventures of PPC Hero - Heroic Feats of Pay Per Click Management : 25 Possible Reasons Why Your PPC Campaigns are Failing

  • Pingback: Google Adwords certification - Chargeback Forum

  • Dan Shipe

    I agree that 75% percent of the practice exams are easy. There is only 25% that is challenging. I honestly wish it was harder, because it seems everyone and their uncle has the certification these days.