It's not often that you can find a gift handed to you on a silver platter, but the Google AdWords Professional training program may just be such a gift.
For those who aren't yet familiar with it, Google AdWords is Google's online advertising program. Advertisers place their ads on Google's network so that they appear for targeted search engine keywords within Google's search results (and the search results of Google's partners) and/or on web content pages that accept Google ads. In most cases, advertisers don't pay anything unless and until their ad appears and someone clicks the ad.
The Google AdWords program has been wildly successful and is the online advertising outlet of choice for millions of advertisers. The AdWords program has wide appeal for all types of businesses - from the very small home business to large Fortune 100 corporations.
Managing a Google AdWords campaign mainly involves:
- Keyword selection to determine which search terms to target.
- AdWords campaign setup - groups of ads using various versions of keywords and ad text.
- Creating dedicated landing pages where those who click the AdWords ads end up. While this step isn't necessary, it's much more effective than steering someone to the site's home page.
- Writing one or more versions of ad text - the actual copy that displays in the AdWords listing.
- Managing the campaign budget, testing ad variations and monitoring results.
How Google AdWords Knowledge and Skill Can Help You Create a New Career or Home Business
The industry that caters to setting up and managing Google AdWords campaigns is known as search marketing, or SEM industry. While technically, search marketing may mean both organic search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC), many in the industry still refer to paid search as SEM and organic search as SEO.
As you might expect then, search marketing is a subset of Internet marketing. Many people (myself included) operate home businesses as Internet marketing firms. Some offer only SEO, others only PPC, and some offer both because many potential clients want both SEO and PPC and they want them to work together. Having this knowledge along with some experience provides the basis for an Internet marketing services business - a business that is in high demand. With this skill set you may also be able to find work at home or in an office working for an agency or you might freelance your services through freelancing sites such as Guru, eLance and others.
The Google AdWords Advertising Professionals Program
Google will even help you get started in your new online advertising career. Google's Advertising Professionals program provides free online training so you can learn the ins and outs of AdWords and pick up tips on what works and what doesn't. Because other advertising programs, such as Microsoft's adExcellence programs are mostly based on the same concepts, becoming certified in Google AdWords opens the doors to successfully advertising with other platforms, too.
The Google AdWords Professional program is available in two levels:
- Individual - Perfect for the home business entrepreneur because you don't have to have assistants, partners or employees.
- Company - Requires two qualified individuals in the Google Advertising Professional program.
The rest of this article discusses the program for Individuals.
Google AdWords Individual Professional Requirements
Google outlines the steps required to earn the Google Advertising Professional designation as an individual:
- Sign up for the program successfully and be in good standing.
- Agree to the program Terms and Conditions
- Pass pass both the Advertising Fundamentals exam and one advanced-level exam.
Google has removed the requirement that you manage a minimum $1,000 ad spend in the 3 months prior to being certified. However, now you have to pass 2 exams instead of just one.
Google Advertising Professional Program Costs
In order to pass the exam and learn the ins and outs of Google AdWords, Google's free online Learning Center provides you with access to detailed information on setting up and managing Google AdWords campaigns. Lessons are available as either text or multimedia, are completely online and free of charge. In essence, then, training to become a Google Advertising Professional costs nothing.
The exams are administered by third-party Google training partners online and cost $50. In addition to the AdWords Fundamentals exam, one of the following three exams is required:
- The Search Advertising Advanced Exam covers intermediate-to-advanced best practices for managing AdWords campaigns.
- The Display Advertising Exam covers intermediate-to-advanced best practices for advertising on YouTube and the Google Content Network.
- The Reporting & Analysis Advanced Exam covers intermediate-to-advanced best practices for maximizing account performance using Google Analytics, Website Optimizer, the AdWords Report Center, and other analysis techniques.
What You Get with Google AdWords Certification
Probably the most important thing you get when you become a certified Google Advertising Professional is credibility. Google allows you to display the Google Advertising Professional logo on your website.
Google calls it the Google Advertising Professionals program. I call it a great opportunity for a new career or home business in an already-thriving and still growing field - pay-per-click advertising.
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