Want to get Google Adwords or Bing Ads certified? These days, being certified as a Google Adwords or Bing Ads (MSN) Professional can be a great way to stand out in a competitive job market. Being officially certified is also a great way to assure your clients and colleagues you know what you’re doing.

For seasoned SEM experts who have taken these tests before, the certification process can seem self-explanatory and mundane. However, for anyone new to the PPC Industry, this process can feel like taking a cross-country road trip without your GPS. This article is for those of you in the latter category. Here you will find a roadmap to Google and MSN certification. Following these steps will ensure you arrive at your destination (being a Certified SEM Expert) without any “recalculating.”

Google certification is broken out into four tests: Fundamentals, Search Advanced, Display Advanced and Analytics and Reporting.  For each exam you are given two hours to complete approximately 100 questions.  Google doesn’t advise taking all four exams in one day, and each test costs $50.

Steps to becoming Google Certified:

1.  Join or sign in at the Google Certification Program (GCP) website.

2.  Study for the Fundamental, Search Advanced and Display Advanced Tests at the GCP library. The Google study guide for Analytics IQ can be found here.

  • The GCP and Analytics library contains all the content you’ll want to study and review for each specific tests.
  • Try to review all the content in these modules before taking each specific test.

3. Sign in and take each test in the Google Testing Center.

  • Here you will find tests you’ve previously completed with certificates of achievement and tests you have yet to take.


Google Test Breakdown

Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam:

The fundamental test covers the high-level aspects of AdWords.  This test is meant for people with a basic knowledge of PPC.

The test topics include:

  • Basic knowledge of AdWords
  • Basic account management
  • Campaign and ad group management
  • Keyword targeting
  • Ad formats
  • Language and location targeting
  • Budgets and bidding basics
  • Measurement and optimization
  • Performance, profitability and growth basics

Passing Score: 85%

Search Advertising Advanced Exam:

The advanced search exam tests your AdWords search knowledge at a deeper level. This test is for someone who has more than just a basic level of experience in AdWords.

The test topics include:

  • What was covered in the Fundamental Adwords Exam
  • Ad formats
  • Ad & site quality
  • AdWords tools
  • Performance monitoring and reporting
  • Optimizing performance
  • Advanced performance, profitability and growth
  • The AdWords API

Passing Score: 80%


Display Advertising Advanced Exam:

The advanced display test focuses more specifically on your knowledge of the Google AdWords platform’s display capabilities.  This test is for someone who has worked with and understands the strategy and optimization tactics for display campaigns.

The test topics include:

  • Display ads on the Google Display Network
  • Display ads on YouTube
  • Display and video ads on mobile devices.

Passing Score: 70%


Reporting and Analysis Advanced Exam:

The Google Analytics Reporting Test contains more technical questions about Google Analytics.  This test is for someone who has analytics experience and who plans on working in analytics with their clients.

The test topics include:

  • Performance monitoring and conversion tracking
  • Google Analytics
  • Optimizing Performance
  • Creating goals in GA
  • Analyzing funnels in GA

Passing Score: 80%

Important notes:

  • Google exams often contain questions on products and AdWords features that maybe out of date or not even exist anymore.
  • While Google constantly works on updating and creating new tests, you may very well see questions about things like the “Google Wonder Wheel”.
  • Your Google Certification is good for one calendar year.
  • You need to pass at least two of the Google tests to be considered “Adwords Professionally Certified”.
  • Google also offers webinars on a variety of Ad Words topics on an ongoing basis.  View their upcoming webinars here.


Bing Accreditation consists of three trainings and one exam, and the program is free.  However, to take the exam, you must have a Bing Ads account that’s been active for 30 days.  This test also has about 100 questions.

Steps to becoming a Bing Ads Accredited Professional:

  1. Make sure you are linked to a Bing Ads account that has been active for 30 days.
  2. Study for the exam here.
  3. To take the exam, Sign In or “Get Started” on the Bing Ads Dashboard website.

Important notes:

  • Your Bing Ads accreditation is good for one calendar year.
  • Once you pass the exam, your contact information is added to Bing’s Pro Directory.
  • Following your exam, Bing will email you your score and whether or not you passed.
  • The Bing Ads exam has questions where you have to actually click on areas of the Bing Ads UI to answer questions
    • A very cool type of test question but make sure you brush up on the UI before taking the test for these types of questions.


So there you have it, now it’s time to get your study on and pass those tests!  If you have your own search engine exam study strategies add them in the comments below.

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