Google services are used by a lot of agencies, businesses and freelance marketers. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can set up a Google account for themselves or a client but just because they can does not mean they know what they are doing. Google helps lawyers see through the clutter to find reputable partners who have the knowledge and expertise to get the most out of Google services. Here are 7 reasons lawyers should use an agency that is a Google Certified Partner.
For an agency to reach Google certified partner status1, they must have at least one qualified individual on staff that has become certified in select Google services (i.e. Google Analytics and AdWords). These exams are administered by Google and cover the latest in account creation, management and best practices. The agency must also meet minimum spend management requirements. This proves that the agency or individual has experience managing large ad spends. Google certified partners are listed in Google’s Partner search database.
Google’s Certified Partner designation tells lawyers who the knowledgeable and experienced Google product specialists are. It is also a strong indication that the certified agency has happy clients with accounts that are performing well. Certified partners have earned the right to display the partner’s badge on their site. This is a piece of social proof that can help attorneys wade through all the noise on the internet. The designation is like a seal of approval from Google that an agency knows what it is doing. Any agency or individual can claim that they are an expert at AdWords and Analytics (and it is difficult for lawyers to verify that claim). If an agency is certified, that badge is proof that they know what they are doing when it comes to Google services2 and they do it well.
Google certified partners are given rigorous testing on different platforms. As part of the certification process3, applicants must demonstrate that they are maximizing their client’s campaign performance. They have to do this with actual accounts so it is not just filling in bubbles on a test. In other words partners have to use real-world examples to demonstrate that they have made a client’s account successful before Google will certify them with partner status. Google even reviews client accounts to ensure they are receiving good service.
Marketing an attorney website on AdWords can be very competitive4. If you (or an agency) are not careful, it is very easy to burn through a lot of cash with little or no return. CPC prices in less competitive markets can approach 50 dollars per click not to mention more competitive markets. AdWords is a great investment but only when your entire conversion funnel is well-optimized5 and you have a knowledgeable professional at the helm of your campaign. Check out the suggested bid data from July of this year (2015) for personal injury related terms in Chicago.
Google Analytics is an excellent tool for marketers to get actionable insights out of a website. Even AdWords has a robust reporting interface that marketers can use to get all kinds of information on campaign performance. Google Partners are tested to make sure they are leveraging best practices in both data collection and analysis through Google Analytics.
Without careful configuration, it is very easy to make the data coming from a website misleading or completely un-usable6. There is nothing worse than finding out 6 months to year down the road that all the information you have been collecting cannot really be used. Google Analytics certified partners are tested on things like account setup and configuration, interpreting reports, measuring different campaigns and all the subtleties that go along with data analysis through Google Analytics.
An agency certification through Google is only good for about 18 months. That means at the very least a partner has some of the most recent knowledge of Google products. Conversely, a person who has used AdWords or Analytics a few times 4 years ago would have a lot of trouble understanding best practices for a current account. One thing lawyers should be asking their agencies (that are not certified) is how fresh their knowledge is.
Much like everything else related to technology and the internet, Google’s services change almost monthly with more significant changes happening over the course of many months. New features are added that make the service better and other features that may not be as useful are sometimes discontinued or changed beyond recognition. Certified agencies are up to date, fresh and “in the know” about the latest features and upgrades to Google services.
There are some lawyers that do a lot of their own marketing and they do a great job at it. There are many more that want to focus on what it is they do best, practicing law. Of course you can find professionals who are not certified to manage your accounts (of which there are many) but a Google Certified partner adds that extra peace of mind. You can rest a little easier knowing that the person managing your accounts has been vetted by a trusted authority.
We should point out that just because someone is not certified does not mean they are a bad choice to manage your accounts. If you work with an agency or individual that is getting you good results using Google services, that is proof enough that they know what they are doing. If you are a lawyer new to marketing your website through Google, a great way to know you finding an expert is by searching Google’s partner database7.
Google Certified partners (like Attorney Rankings8) are privy to new products, services and features that come from Google before anyone else. For example there may be beta features partners get access to before they are rolled out to all AdWords and Analytics users. They also have access to additional sources of knowledge as well as a members forum where they can get ideas and information on how to better manage their client’s accounts. In other words, Certified Partners are “plugged in” and have access to knowledge that non-certified professionals do not get.