Some years ago Google introduced Partner badges for individuals and organisations who demonstrate a high level of knowledge and expertise with Google Ads (their Pay Per Click channel). To get Google Partner status you need to take several courses and pass all their timed exams with a minimum score of 80%. Plus you must have a Google Ads account and have run multiple PPC campaigns through it hitting a minimum spend threshold which is eye-wateringly high. You also need to re-certify every 12 months. Needless to say it takes hard work and a lot of skill to get – and keep - that badge.
Google Partner status has NOTHING to do with SEO.
You do NOT become a Google Partner because you are good at SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or manage SEO for other people.
I am not a Google Partner but I do have a certification as a Google SEO Marketer through the College of Media & Publishing, an accredited international college. I am not certified directly by Google – because Google don’t certify for SEO - and I have never claimed to be.
When I introduce myself I always say: “I’m a certified Google SEO Marketer” and NOT a “Google certified SEO Marketer”. The distinction is quite clear, is 100% accurate and positions my credentials appropriately.
Let’s face it, if Google did offer an SEO certification no-one would spend any money on Google Ads and bang goes their profits.
Of course there are always those con-artists out there who claim they are certified by Google for SEO. They slap the Google Partner badge onto their marketing material to give the impression there’s some sort of relationship between them and Google.
There is no such thing as a Google SEO Partner
If you are ever approached by an SEO agency or consultancy who wave a Google Partner badge at you, then please take a long, hard look at their services. If they also offer PPC then its odds on are they are legit. If all they offer is SEO then look them in the eye and ask them some very tough questions. Such as “Show me the evidence, mate”. (Always always ask for evidence of their past SEO successes anyway, especially if they’re making guarantees).
Bona-fide Google Partners will have access to their current (i.e. not more than one year old) certificate through their Google Ads account and should have no problem showing it to you via the link. A logo or badge on a website or business card is NOT proof.
Please be on your guard when dealing with direct approaches. I’ve seen too many business owners left out of pocket with nothing to show for it. Don’t let that be you.
You can see more about the Google Partner certification process here. Or contact me if you’d like to discuss all things SEO.