Archive for the ‘SEM’ Category

November 4, 2010 - Posted by Nicole Arena

Yesterday, I watched my first of a series of webinars on Google’s AdSense program.  AdSense is a pay-per-click advertising system from Google. Websites can sign up to display AdSense ads on their pages and be paid for every click made on the ads. Already learning about AdSense has complemented my knowledge of Google’s AdWords.  Understanding AdSense gives me insight into what display network partners are expecting from ads I create on AdWords, as well as what I can expect from those web pages that display my ads.

The webinar I watched was AdSense Optimization Best Practices which covered four topics:

1. Optimizing Placements and Color Palettes

2.  Increasing Coverage

3. Tracking Performace

4. Making the most of AdSense

In the optimizing placements and color palettes section there was two important things to remember in my opinion. First, place ads where they perform the best. Ads are most likely to perform when they are placed “above the fold” [area on the screen before a user has to scroll down the page] or embedded in the content. Second, remember to take into consideration what users are trying to accomplish from viewing your site and where their attention is going. This will make you better understand where to place ads.

  The most important thing to remember to increase coverage is to make sure your ad formats are opted into displaying both text and image ads.  This will increase the number of ads competing to appear on your site and increase your revenue potential.

 To make the most of AdSense, I learned to use AdSense For Search; which is essentially putting a “custom search” Google toolbar on your website. There was one statistic that they provided that made me understand why this is so important. If users can not find what they are looking for, 80% will abandon your website. Of those, 50% will turn to search engines. The custom Google toolbar on your site will bring up a separate window so the user does not navigate away from your page. If a user clicks an ad in the new window you capture the additional revenue.  By using AdSense for Search you not only profit, but keep the user on your site longer and improve user experience.

 I’m planning on learning more about profiting from placing ads on websites. Can’t wait to share all the cool new things I’m learning!

October 22, 2010 - Posted by Nicole Arena

On October 19, 2010 I received my individual qualification in Google AdWords Certification Program with a specialization in Search Advertising.  The process was somewhat more challenging than I expected and I am proud of myself for this accomplishment.  Now I would like to explain to others how I became qualified and offer some tips to those planning on getting their own certification.

I decided to get my AdWords certification to develop a more detailed understanding of SEM.  Since Google is a powerful force in the world of SEM, I figured it was the best place to start. My first bit of advice about the AdWords Certification is to make sure you thoroughly go through all information they provide for you. The tests you take are very comprehensive and require that you have a superior understanding of all AdWords processes and tools.

 In order to become individual qualified you must do the following:

  • Pass the AdWords Fundamentals Exam
      • Passing Score 85%
  • Pass one of the three Advanced Exams
    • Search Advertising Advanced Exam
      • Passing Score 80%
    • Reporting and Analysis Advanced Exam
      • Passing Score 75%
    • Display Advertising Advanced Exam
      • Passing Score 70%

Each exam is 120 questions and has two hours allotted for completion.  The test are not free, each AdWords test costs USD $50. If you fail an exam, you must wait seven days to retake the test and pay the test fee again. The certification is vaild for 2 years after the passed exam date.

The information to pass the exams is available to you in the AdWords learning center. In total for both exams, I spent approximately 50 hours studying the learning center materials.  It will be helpful if you can actually use the AdWords interface to practice, but it is possible to pass the exams from just the information in the learning center. Throughout the learning center there are also e-learnings and videos which supplement the material. I highly recommend you do every one available.  

To the topics covered in the AdWords Fundamental Exam are:

  • Overview of AdWords
  • Getting Started with AdWords
  • Account Management Basics
  • Campaign Management Basics
  • Ad Group Management Basics
  • Overview of Ad Formats
  • Ad Formats, Guidelines and Best Practices
  • Overview of Targeting and Placement
  • Keywords and Keyword Targeting
  • AdWords Language and Location Targeting
  • Placement Targeting for the Display Network
  • Overview of Bidding
  • Overview of Budgets
  • AdWords Polices
  • Ad and Site Quality
  • Overview of Optimization
  • Optimizing AdWords Campaigns and Ad Groups
  • Optimizing Websites and Landing Pages
  • AdWords Value Proposition
  • Selling The Benefits of AdWords
  • Maintaining Client Relationships


The Search Advertising Advanced Exam contains almost all the topics on the Fundamentals Exam but adds the following topics:

  • Location Extensions
  • Invalid Click Issues
  • Overview of AdWords Tools
  • AdWords Editor
  • Overview of Performance Monitoring and Conversion Tracking
  • AdWords Reporting
  • Conversion Tracking Basics
  • Optimizing for Greater Conversions
  • Overview of Managing Multiple Accounts
  • Managing Multiple Accounts with My Client Center MCC
  • Using AdWords API


I would love to discuss AdWords with you or give you examples of possible test questions.  Just leave a comment or send me an email.  Now, I plan on learning more about Google’s AdSense. I will let you know how that goes !

To find my Google AdWords Certified Individual Profile Page :



Confirm my status in the directory by visiting

Click –>  ”Search for individuals who have passed a Google Test”. –> Nicole Arena