Google Certified Partners have "demonstrated Google Ads skill and expertise, met Google ad spend requirements, delivered company agency and client revenue growth, and sustained and grown its client base."
The program itself is changing in June 2020 and probably not for the better. It had quality issues before (outlined below) but now the focus will somewhat be on optimising accounts to Google's recommendations to effectively help them achieve sales targets.
Anyway I digress, I subscribe to a number of forums across the web as well as regularly read industry newsletters and blog posts on Digital Marketing advancements. A post from a user asked about the use of negative keywords for his agency in Brisbane, Queensland's capital.
Negative keywords are an integral part of account optimisation, excluding irrelevant searches and ensuring the intent of the incoming user is aligned with the client's business. It's been around since day 1 and unless the so called SMART campaigns take over, it'll be around for a lot longer.
Whilst the matching of added keywords has loosened over the years, negative keywords have some pretty strict rules. A negative keyword will not negate plurals nor misspellings. So courses will not block course and course will not block courses, if they happen to be irrelevant incoming terms.
I did some Facebook stalking to find it was his agency and it advertised Google partner status. He's clients entrust him to manage and optimise their business' digital advertising campaigns. Given the negatives process should be performed regularly (monthly for medium sized accounts) I wonder how many times irrelevant terms are slipping through the cracks and costing clients big dollars.