It’s been almost five years since we wrote about this topic and we thought it was probably time for an update. The key question is, of course, “Have things really changed in the last five years”? From an AdWords features perspective, a lot indeed has. However, in terms of resources, all you really need to pass the exam is still just the AdWords Learning Centre. However, if you want to be an AdWords Exam ‘ninja’, then these additional resources may prove useful:
1. The Official Resource
OK, I’ll start with the official resource. The AdWords Learning Centre is Google’s own training tool for AdWords; as such, it’s easily the best resource for obtaining information on all of Google’s ad policies in a clear and concise way. The Learning Centre breaks its course down into short sections, so it is easy to just do a bit at a time. There are also handy links prompting you to try out the lesson in your AdWords account, along with tips and links to related topics on each subsection. The exams and the Learning Centre modules have been updated this year, so they cover enhanced campaigns as well as the current interface.
2. More from the Horse’s Mouth
If you really want to stay up-to-date with Google’s feature upgrades, then it’s imperative you have a browse through the official AdWords blog to see what’s new. Whenever there’s a product update, the announcement is made via the AdWords blog. It’s also worth noting that exams aren’t updated frequently so they may not cover the most recent changes, making it even more important to follow the Adwords blog.
Advanced Google AdWords by Brad Geddes is a solid resource for getting a deep understanding of managing AdWords accounts, as is David Szetela’s Pay Per Click Marketing an Hour a Day. If you want an easy but in-depth introduction to AdWords, I’d also recommend Google AdWords for Dummies by Kristie McDonald. However, due to the nature of books, there are likely to be a lot of changes to AdWords and recent updates that won’t be covered. However, these books are very good at instilling a firm foundation on PPC basics. If you’re an advanced PPC professional, these books can help provide you with a refresher on some basics and workflow.
4. Learning by Doing
There really is no substitute to hands-on experience. No amount of reading will actually give you the necessary skills to be a half decent AdWords practitioner. It’s in the doing that you really get a grasp of the AdWords concepts. So, if you have had a decent amount of time working on an AdWords account, I’d suggest only focusing on areas you’re not too familiar with when doing your revision. For example, billing, video advertising etc. In other words, areas in the AdWords account that you don’t deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time checking out the WordStream blog and tools. They’ve also got a couple of useful guides on taking AdWords and other PPC exams:
6. PPC Podcasts
If you’re fed up of reading, there are other resources you can use. I’d recommend checking out webmasterradio.fm’s PPC-Rockstars, which has short podcasts on a variety of PPC issues.
7. A Heroic Resource
8. Paid Resources
Certified Knowledge has a good suite of resources, tools and community support for members. However, prices seem to be a tad bit pricey for my liking. I must admit, I’ve never subscribed to their membership, so perhaps I shouldn’t comment. However, judging by their course content, it does look well worth some research.
PPC Hero also has a subscription service to their pro memberships. This will give you access to all their tools and resources.
9. Quality Scores
Quality scores are one of the cornerstones of PPC account management. If you’re looking for in-depth information on them, then these resources will give you a thorough understanding of why they are important and what you can do to improve them:
- The Ultimate Guide to Quality Score: 15 PPC Experts Discuss the Nuts and Bolts of Google AdWords Quality Score and How to Improve Yours
- How Do I Improve My PPC Quality Score?
- 10 Ways To Increase Your Adwords Quality Score – A Mini Case Study
- Quality score monitor
Lastly, I’d highly recommend following the #ppcchat hashtag to engage with like-minded PPC professionals. This weekly Twitter chat attracts industry specialists who discuss, debate and share their thoughts on a wide variety of PPC topics. Hat tip goes to Matthew Umbro for founding and hosting these highly informative weekly chats.
Well, I hope this list has been useful for you! However, it’s quite possible that I’ve missed out a fair few other resources that I’m probably unaware of. I’d be really grateful if you could share any good resources you know of with us in the comments section.
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