Google launched its new Google Partners program yesterday, a certification platform that provides agencies and online marketers with free certification exams, access to “Google experts” and other members in the Google Partners community, along with sales and marketing toolkits.
After the initial announcement was published on the Google Agency Blog, an addendum was added, clarifying that the new certification “experience” on Google Partners will replace the Google Certification Program beginning November 13.
According to a report on Search Engine Round Table by Search Engine Land news editor Barry Schwartz, advertisers that are part of the Google Certification Program were alerted to the switchover last month when they received an email from Google stating, “On September 30, 2013, Google will begin replacing the Google Certification Program with a new and improved experience for agencies and online marketing professionals — Google Partners.”
While the Google Partners announcement on Google’s Agency blog offered general details about the program, Schwartz’s post outlined the following specific changes to the existing Google Certification Program:
- Starting September 30, Google Certification Program account access will be read-only.
- From now on, advertisers must have a Google Partners account to take exams and receive certifications.
- Exams and certifications are now free versus the previous $50-per-exam fee.
- Google Certification Program exam history and AdWords certification status will transfer to a Google Partners Account as long as a user joins Google Partners with the same Google account they used for their Google Certification Program account.
Schwartz noted that Certified Partner companies must qualify for the new Google Partner badge to remain listed on Google Partner Search after November 13. Also, current Certified Partners will not automatically qualify for the new Google Partners badge, and use of the “AdWords Certified Partner” badge will not be permitted after November 13.