I used to be an AdWords Certified Professional or AdWords Qualified Individual or whatever it’s called. I took the test three times and passed easily. But I won’t be taking it again.
The first reason was one of timing. I last took the test in 2009, and it was supposed to be good for two years. Then in 2010, Google announced that they were completely overhauling the testing procedure, and everyone had to take it again. (They even provided vouchers to cover the cost) But I didn’t have time to mess with that; I had three clients doing major site overhauls in the last half of 2010, and when I took my last test, it was supposed to be good for two years. No reason at all Google couldn’t just say the NEXT time we were due for tests, you have to take the new ones and be done with it. So that reason was just plain stubbornness on my part.
But the second reason is the real reason, and that is that Google provides absolutely no incentive for me to become certified. They don’t send me leads. They don’t give me advanced technical support. They used to give me $100 vouchers for new clients, but now everyone including my cat gets vouchers; I have a pile of them on my desk this minute – as I’ve said many times,
Google AdWords Vouchers are the AOL CDs of the 2000’s
All Google gives me is a logo that I can pin to my website, and the dubious honor of saying I passed a test that (as far as I know – I’ve not seen the most recent version) is not proctored and can be easily passed by anyone who can open one browser window in the Learning Center and another in which to take the test.
Not being certified certainly hasn’t affected my ability to attract clients. I get inquiries every week, and not one person has ever asked if I had the certification (which is how little it means to the civilians). I actually get a lot more traction out of five years worth of posts on WebmasterWorld – a much better indication of my PPC knowledge and expertise.
So why should I bother? I can’t see a reason. Can you?