The team here at Hanapin Marketing has recently become a certified company in Google Adwords, Yahoo! and MSN AdCenter. In this post I’ve listed the top three search engines and how to become a certified individual or company. I’ve included information such as benefits, costs, how to access the learning materials, tips on taking the exam and requirements to becoming certified.

Why should you or your company become certified? Credibility of course! Being a certified member of the top three search engines says quite a bit about your knowledge and experience as a search engine marketer. There are also additional benefits like for Google Adwords, you get higher value promotional credits that can be applied to new client accounts. Once you’ve passed the individual exams you will receive a logo saying that you or your company is certified. The logos can be used on your website and various other locations to show to prospective clients you are certified.

Tips on becoming certified:

  1. My first tip is to STUDY! This is easy to put off, but I guarantee you that during the exam you’ll be asked a question that has nothing to do with actual management of your PPC campaigns and someone would only know this answer if they read and studied the exam learning materials. Most of the search engines provide a ‘classroom’ where you can read or watch flash videos of topics varying from editorial guidelines to billing to how many users search the internet every day.
  2. My second tip is to make sure that you have a full hour dedicated to taking each exam. Also that you experience minimal interruptions while taking the exam. Some of the questions put you through scenarios you may encounter in a PPC campaign – you may have to think about the best way to go about finding a solution to a problem or the best way to set up a successful campaign.
  3. My third tip is, don’t cheat! If there are several of you that need to take the exam, don’t cheat! Honestly, it won’t gage whether or not you really know the information being asked in the exam or not.
  4. My fourth tip is with all three exams you can have the learning center open while taking the exam. Use the learning centers but, be watchful of your timing, it could take you a few minutes to look up an answer. You can also use the search engine interfaces and help sections to find an answer if you need to.

In the rest of this post I can take you through the steps of becoming certified in each search engine (Google Adwords, Yahoo! Panama & MSN Ad Center).

Google Adwords Professional

google ind

You can become a qualified individual or a qualified company with the Google Professional Certification.

  • Learning Center: What’s really great about Google’s learning center is you can view lessons either in text or flash, plus they have quizzes you can take for each lesson to test your knowledge before taking the actual exam. To access Google’s learning center visit the following link:
  • Costs: $50; There is a fee of $50 to take the exam. If you fail, you will have to pay another $50 to re-take the exam.
  • Questions & Timing: There are a little over 100 questions and you get 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the exam. You will need a score of at least 75% to pass the exam.
  • Requirements for Individual Certification:
    Manage at least one AdWords account (yours or someone else’s) in My Client Center for 90 days. Build and maintain at least US$1,000 (or your local currency equivalent) total spend for your or your team’s My Client Center account during the 90-day period.
  • Requirements for Company Certification: Have a billing and mailing address in a country where company qualification is available. Employ at least two Qualified Individuals in the program. Individuals must be qualified under the main company-registered My Client Center account and not their own account. See the requirements for becoming a Qualified Individual. Build and maintain the minimum 90-day required total client spend (spend requirements vary by country) for the company’s My Client Center account. To sign up and take the exam click here.

Yahoo! Ambassador

yahoo cert.

  • Learning Center: In order to view the learning materials you must sign up and pay the $50 first. To access Yahoo’s learning center visit the following link:
  • Costs: $50; There is a one time fee of $50 to take the exam and view the learning materials. If you fail, you do not have to pay another $50 to re-take the exam.
  • Questions & Timing: There are only 80 questions and you get 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the exam.
  • Requirements:
    The Yahoo! Ambassador program is for web professionals and individuals who currently manage or want to manage multiple Sponsored Search accounts on behalf of clients. Unfortunately, the Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador program is only open to individuals and businesses operating in the United States or Canada at this time. To view the learning materials and take the exam, sign up here.

Microsoft AdExcellence

msn cert.

  • Learning Center: The Microsoft AdExcellence learning center is similar to Google’s. There are text and flash versions of lessons .To access MSN’s learning center visit the following link:
  • Costs: $50; You must pay the $50 in order to take the exam. If you fail the exam, you will be asked to pay the $50 each and every time you take the exam.
  • Questions & Timing: There are 100 questions and you get 1 hour to complete the exam. You must pass the exam with at least a score of 80%.
  • Requirements: This program is currently available only in the United States. You must be an active AdCenter member. To register for the MSN exam, click here.

With each exam you take, you will be immediately notified of your score via the confirmation page. Each program will give you minor details on the categories you passed or failed. You may not see a list of questions you failed due to security issues. Good luck!