Communicating with Google: Yesterday, the Google AdWords Agency blog announced the recent release of a new Google site, Google for Agencies, dedicated to "provide access to the programs, tools and resources" available from Google. So what are all of the tools available to agencies from Google? Here's my rundown:
Google AdWords Certification Program
To me, this is the macdaddy of all of the Google programs for agencies. If you're managing Google AdWords, you need to be certified in this program. To qualify for the program, you must take two exams (renewed annually) and manage at least $10,000 or more per quarter.
While I rarely have clients ask me whether our team is certified in Google AdWords, I think the program is valuable mostly because it provides recent updates on changes to the AdWords interface and gives you a personal goal or deadline so that you can make your regular training a priority.
Google Engage for Agencies
Google Engage for Agencies launched in January 2011 and is designed to help agencies use Google's various products. The Engage program offers several benefits, including a batch of 20 promotional AdWords coupons worth $100 apiece and vouchers for training exam fees. The program is free, but you must apply to join.
If you're not already following the various Google blogs, you defintely should be. And even if you primarily focus on one Google product, like Google AdWords, it's helpful to also receive information from other Google blogs about joint projects and new beta programs that are available. You can see a full list of Google's blogs here.
Some of the Google blogs I recommend following are:
· Google Merchant Center Blog (a must for ecommerce)
· Official Google Checkout Blog (another must for ecommerce)
And of course, there's the unofficial Google blog of Matt Cutts, which has often had breaking Google news or answers to algorithm questions.
As if that list alone won't keep you plenty busy, Google also has a few vertical- or industry-focused blogs which are helpful if you work in any of the industries covered. They include:
Google Twitter Accounts
In addition to all of these great blogs, many Google properties have their own Twitter handles and tweet from them regularly. Some of my favorites are:
And vertical- or industry-focused Twitter accounts:
· Google Grants (for nonprofits)
· Google SMB (small and medium sized businesses)
· Google Tech (for technology advertisers)
And there's much more out there. In addition to the blogs and Twitter accounts, there's also YouTube channels, Facebook pages and more. It can be somewhat overwhelming! But I find that being involved in the various programs, like Google AdWords certification, as well as following the blogs and Twitter accounts of several targeted Google properties or focus areas, I am able to better stay abreast of what's new, what's coming, and what I need to take advantage of as an agency.