Out With The Old, In With The New: Google Partners Replaces Google Certification Program

google-adwords-certified-partner-logo1Google 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.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Search Marketing: General | Top News


About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com, SoftwareCEO.com, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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  • http://www.makovision.com Don Mak

    Does this also apply to the Analytics Ceritifcation? Or AdWords only? The email I received from Google was unclear.

  • Keith Penn

    @Don I’ve got the same question. It looks as if the Analytics certification is untouched by this, but the motives Google has for making these changes also apply to Analytics so I’d expect that program will being following the same path soon.

    I wrote my take on Google’s motives “AdWords certification is now harder to keep” here: http://searchcerts.com/2013/09/23/adwords-certification-is-now-harder-to-keep/

  • Nicole Buergers

    I’m still confused on how Premier SMB Partners are differentiated.

  • Adrian Walaszek

    It’s about AdWords only. New certification program has been already rollout in Canada and Poland.

  • http://www.makovision.com Don Mak

    Yeah I’m in the middle of studying for my Analytics Cert.


    So, I’m a little hesitant to complete it if I have to study for another test in a few weeks, or months, or even 10-12 months from now. Also, the current “official” training materials – screencasts, etc. – are all pretty outdated from the current interface and they don’t seem keen on updating them anytime soon.

  • Keith Penn

    I doubt they’d make you retest (they’re not making Search or Display certified people retest). But you don’t want to be the last guy to pay $50 right before the fee is lifted and it’s free for all!

  • Vimal Kumar

    What’s about individual aspirants? Now how an individual take the AdWord Exam and receive the certification. please explain.

  • Sweta Srivastava

    When it will be applicable for India? i am very much excited about this :D

  • http://www.ipassexam.com/ Helen Brown

    Hi Vimal

    You can take the exam as an individual, and the exams are now free. I’ve written an article that covers the complete steps for the sign up process http://www.ipassexam.com/page/adwords-study-guide. Also, you may want to read about the changes to the exam and interface since the move to Google Partners http://www.ipass-ppc-exam.com/big-changes-for-adwords-partners-exam/. I hope this helps you :)

  • Alax Swan

    Hello Vimal,

    You will have to pay for Individual exam but for partner exam it is free. I was also searching for same kind of problem and i found that in free exam you will only get badge for company no certification, so according to me if you want to show your certificate then go for paid one.

    There is post at http://www.zealousweb.com/blog/should-i-go-for-new-google-adwords-partner-certification/

    Here you can get Pros and Cons about this new Google partner.

  • Matthew Perez

    I have seen Google post on 30th September about new Google Partner program. There i have found it’s a free program now. I have created account in Google Partner and still it shows all three exam free.

  • Alax Swan

    @Matthew Perez yes you will have to pass two exams (fundamental exam compulsory)and you will only get badge no certification like paid exam.

  • DavidOgletree

    How do we prove we are certified now? My old links no longer work. I used to link to a page that shows that I made 97% on my tests. I liked being able to show that.

    I had to take another test because the test I took 11 months ago did not move over. I took the reporting advanced test. Of course the advanced search test was easy I passed it without studying. I would like to be able to show I passed that test.

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