Goodbye to Google Certification Program & Hello to Google Partners
Google recently decided to replace the Google Certification Program with a new program for digital agencies and online marketers: Google Partners.
This revamped certification system will bring few changes comparing to the former program. The most remarkable change is that taking exams and getting certified now onwards will be free of charge (previously it was $50 per exam).
There are other few changes but in general it remains the same thing for certified professionals, so no big news here:
1. Company profile. You will still be able to connect your certified profile to your company account.
2. Historical data. Your exam history and Google AdWords certification status will transfer to Google Partners once you join using the same Google account.
3. Your certification remains valid. Obviously any certification that you got through the Google Certification Program will remain valid through the expiration date.
4. Get certified. If you aren’t certified yet, you will need to get a Google Partners account in order to get the certification.
As for the certified individuals, there aren’t massive updates for current Google Certified Partner companies:
1. Partners account required. A Partners account will be needed in order to manage a company profile on Google Partner Search: Both individual certifications and company profile will be managed using the same Partners account.
2. Google Partner Search list. Currently certified Partners will remain on Google Partner Search lists until November 13, 2013. After that date any partner company that want to continue being listed on Google Partner Search must qualify for the new Google Partner badge. Current certified partners won’t automatically qualify for the new Partner badge.
3. The AdWords badge. Using the old Google AdWords Certified Partner badge is not permitted after November 13, 2013.
These updates won’t bring major changes to the way online marketers use and understand Google’s certification program. The most meaningful change is probably that now onwards taking Google certification exams is free of charge: this will result on more agencies getting their employees certified and more freelancers & self-employed online marketers getting the certification. As a result of this there might be a higher competition for current industry players, but also more buzz and awareness about Google AdWords services.