Agencies that have at least one certified employee may qualify as Certified Partners now. The certification process will also change, with more training materials, harder tests that include application and best practices, and a new badge that includes a “click to verify” CTA. Individuals certifying will now have to pass two tests instead of one, according to Search Engine Land.
For large enough agencies, Google will be waiving the AdWords API fee. They’ll begin accepting applications for that program one month from today.
Google is also adding a searchable database of Certified Partners now, enabling prospective clients to search for an agency to serve their AdWords needs. For once, the database is totally opt-in (good job, Google!). According to Google:
Searches can be filtered by location, agency experience within a particular budget range, the types of services provided and the industry verticals an agency serves. Advertisers can then evaluate the list of Certified Partners that meet their criteria and contact the partners who seem best suited to their needs.
Clearly, Google is looking at the way they interact with agencies, and trying to make their AdWords offerings more friendly to their biggest clients.
What do you think? Will this change the way agencies and Google interact?