A Shropshire internet expert is warning businesses to be aware of invalid certification badges when choosing a marketing agency to manage their Google advertising. Helen Culshaw, Director of Ascendancy Internet Marketing in Shifnal, says many online agencies offering Google AdWords services are displaying out of date accreditation badges. She said: “Many internet marketing agencies are still displaying certification badges from the previous scheme which ended last year. It was replaced by a new Google Partner scheme in November and agencies certified under the new scheme have been issued with new badges to display on their website. However, it’s proving to be very misleading for business owners who are not aware of the changes and are searching online for a trustworthy agency to manage their Google AdWords campaign. Many will see the old certification badge on an agency’s website and assume it is trusted and certified by Google when actually it isn’t and the badge should have been removed.”
When Google introduced its new Google Partners scheme it made the criteria tougher for agencies to qualify for certification, and the majority of agencies who qualified for the previous scheme did not make the cut to become a Google Partner. “It’s important that businesses are aware of this and it’s my understanding that Google itself intends to clamp down on those agencies still displaying the old badges in due course.” Ascendancy Internet Marketing is one of only four agencies in Shropshire which is currently listed on Google Partner search and it is the only one which advertises itself as offering Google AdWords services to SMEs with a monthly budget of £500 or under.
Google only gives Google Partner certification to agencies with a proven track record of best practice and customer service standards, and where staff have passed the appropriate examinations. There is also a minimum spend requirement, to ensure that agencies have experience of running a significant number of AdWords accounts. “Here at Ascendancy we were one of the first businesses to qualify under the new Google Partner scheme, and we have an excellent track record of managing AdWords accounts,” explained Ms Culshaw. “AdWords is a core part of our business, not a bolt-on service. Advertising on Google doesn’t work for every business, but for many, it’s a key source of new business. In order for a business to discover how well it could work for them, it’s important to ensure they are working with someone who knows how to get the best out of the system.”
As well as running and managing Google AdWords campaigns Ascendancy, which is celebrating its 10th year in business, also specialises in website design and development and search engine optimisation. As well as running the business Ms Culshaw is also a visiting lecturer at Birkbeck College in London, as an expert speaker on internet marketing and web related topics.