Google Digital Garage
Digital Garage is a construct of Google’s marketing team aiming to teach business owners and individuals to become digital experts. These free courses are focused on helping small business build an online presence and to better reach their customers. Though, the topics can also be applied to other types of users. For instance, bloggers and marketing professionals in their early career stages might find a lot to like.
The Online Opportunity | Grade: C
- The introduction to the Googles Digital Garage was very brief and held little valuable information. The two videos are meant to prime you to receive more useful info later. In the military, they call it ‘telling you what they’re going to tell you.’ It can be easily skipped and you won’t miss much. Of course, you have to complete it if you want that badge!
Your First Steps in Online Success | Grade: C
- This section of videos is a broad overview of a number of topics which will be discussed in later videos. It is also focused more toward brick and mortar establishments than e-commerce entities. The info is very, very basic, but it would be great if you have almost no foundation in online strategy or general web knowledge. Again, they’re telling you what they’re going to tell you.
Build Your Web Presence | Grade: B+
- Here we go, folks. While the first video or two starts with some basic stuff, by video 3 the info becomes very helpful. In particular, this section stresses the importance of building a mobile-friendly site. The links in the action plan after the topic quiz are great tools. The Mobile Accessibility Test (part of Google Search Console) and Google Test My Site links are clutch. If you’re just getting started with your online strategy, it’s critical you make your site load properly on mobile devices.
Plan Your Online Business Strategy | Grade: B
- This section covers SMART goals, SWOT analysis, and KPIs. Each is very relevant, but pretty basic. If you’re just starting out, this is a good section to cover. For those with a little more experience, feel free to skip.
Get Started With Search | Grade: A-
- The six videos in this series were very useful. While still an introduction to search, the videos bring several great tools to your attention, most of which are extremely necessary to dive into. In addition to a broad overview, they delve into how search engines actually work. This is something that I think is paramount. If you want to beat a system, you need to learn the rules of the system first.
Get Discovered With Search | Grade: A
- There are five videos in this section and all but the first one are worth watching. Heck, even the first one isn’t irrelevant. This section focuses on finding good keywords, how to choose long-tail keywords, and has some great advice for getting started. Also, they provide some good resources for further study. Use Google Analytics and Search Console to find out which topics your audience likes.
- Pro-Tip: use KWFinder to find keywords which are easier to rank for on a search engine. It also provides synonyms and related terms which maybe be even easier to rank on the first page.
Make Search Work For You | Grade: A
- While there are only three videos in this section, each is packed with useful information. This section contains a lot of nuts and bolts of your SEO strategy. It gets into the weeds a bit, which is perfect for actually implementing an SEO strategy as opposed to just talking about doing so. The international SEO information was particularly interesting, as most SEO sources seldom mention the topic. This is one of the better videos from Google’s Digital Garage.
- Pro-Tip: I suggest using the YOAST WordPress plugin. You can track your page and post SEO quality and use this info to make better keywords, meta descriptions, metatags, page titles, headings, and page copy. Actually, it does pretty much everything these videos tell you to do, apart from the international SEO strategy.
Be Noticed With Search Ads | Grade: A-
- These videos dive into SEM – Search Engine Marketing. From SEM auctions to developing a good keyword, the information presented is very useful. In particular, choosing a keyword that has relevance, traffice potential, and low competition. Even if you don’t end up using paid ads in your strategy, knowing how they work is important.
Improve Your Search Campaigns | Grade: A-
- The final section in the search topic, these videos get into landing pages, negative keywords, google’s keyword planner, match types, and conversions. There is quite a bit of good information regarding match types and conversions in particular. Worth the twenty minutes it will take you to complete.
Get Noticed Locally | Grade: C+
- These two videos are really only intended for brick and mortar stores or local services. The business directory information would be useful if you’re just getting started. Beyond this, I would say this section is skippable for the majority of people. The info is very surface level. Come on Digital Garage!
Help People Nearby Find You Online | Grade: B-
- The videos in this section have pretty general information, nothing too fancy. However, if you’re lost and don’t know where to start advertising for your local business, it can be a good focusing exercise.
Get Noticed With Social Media | Grade: B-
- More introductory than anything else, if you’ve never heard of social media before, start here. There is some useful info if you’re trying to decide which social media platforms to use based on your business type. If you’re a social media native, you can skip over this section without hesitation.
Deep Dive Into Social Media | Grade: A-
- I only give this section an A- because for a ‘deep dive’ I expected a little more. Still, this is the kind of information you need to hear when getting started building a social media plan. Scheduling posts, social media management tools, paid ads, etc.
Discover The Possibilities of Mobile | Grade: D+
- The only thing you need to know from this section is that you should use a website with a responsive layout and that creating a mobile app is an option. Move on to the next set of videos!
Make Mobile Work For You | Grade: C-
- Not a ton of information that isn’t common sense. Highly skippable.
Get Started With Content Marketing | Grade: A
- If you’re just starting out with content marketing, this series of videos is very relevant. However, if you really want to do a deep dive, I suggest you read the book Content, Inc by Joe Pulizzi.
Connect Through Email | Grade: B+
- This section is a good overview of email marketing. There are a couple of neat tidbits, and overall it is pretty quick. If you decide email marketing is for you check out this resource too. It is a much more in-depth guide to email marketing for the beginner.
Advertise on Other Websites | Grade: A-
- This module gives a basic run-down of search vs display advertising and the situations in which you’d use both types of ads. It’s a quick section, only about 15-20 minutes, and is one I wouldn’t skip.
Deep Dive Into Display Advertising | Grade: A-
- This really is a deep dive into display advertising. It delves into the sales funnel, display ad networks, and retargeting. This is a great companion to the previous module and has some of the more useful information in this course.
Make the Most of Video | Grade: B
- This is a long module with very little information that isn’t common sense. If you’ve ever watched a video on YouTube and seen the adroll at the beginning, you get where this module is going. If you want something more advanced on the topic of video marketing, check out this resource instead.
Get Started With Analytics | Grade: B-
- Google Analytics is a powerful tool if used properly. This module is a brief overview which lists out a number of features of Google Analytics and which metrics you should worry about, but there’s much more to it. If you’re totally new to analytics, I would watch this module. If you are familiar at all with the site and want to learn to be a power user, go through the free Google Analytics Academy.
Find Success With Analytics | Grade: B
- If the previous section scratched the surface of analytics, this section picks at the scab but not much more. It discusses market segmentation and SEM marketing a bit, but it is still all 10,000 foot view stuff. If you really want to get into it, I would go with Google Analytics Academy.
Turn Data Into Insights | Grade: C+
- Not a lot of useful information in this module. The one area that is not simple, common sense is the heat map. Here is a good resource to learn more about how heat maps can help your website.
Build Your Online Shop | Grade: C+
- This module is skippable. A Google search and 5 minutes will be better and quicker. If you’re looking for which E-Commerce platform is best for you, check out this resource. In my opinion, Shopify and the Woocommerce plugin for WordPress are the best options. Shopify is meant for ecommerce from the beginning while WordPress is easy enough to implement at an intermediate skill level.
Sell More Online | Grade: B-
- This module is quick but still not worth your time. Go for this resource instead. Both Woocommerce and Shopify have tutorials which are highly relevant to your situation rather than the generic overview you get with this module. Skip!
Expand Internationally | Grade: A-
- There’s actually a lot of useful information in this module, the last in Google’s Digital Garage. International expansion isn’t a topic most beginning ecommerce companies get into right away. Until you’ve got your home market down pat, it’s hard to want to introduce more complexity to your business. This module is a good guide which provides a few of the issues you’ll need to consider if you choose to go this route; things such as taxes, translation, shipping logistics, colloquialisms duties/tariffs, etc.
That’s all of them! It’s important to note that the information presented after the videos and knowledge checks is just as or even more important than the videos themselves. Digital Garage did a good job of providing great visuals in their videos, which makes absorbing the information that much easier. There are also several great links and helpful tips in the action plans. Take advantage!
One last note: the final exam is 40 questions and draws from a pool of more than 200 questions. It isn’t too hard, but if you fail you’ll have to wait a while to get back in and take it again.
Which Google Digital Garage Topics Are Worth It!?
If you’re only looking to watch the most helpful videos, here’s my list of those which, in my opinion, have the most to offer:
Depending on your industry, your mileage may vary. However, based on my experience in a product-based small business and blogging, the above topics are the very best of Google’s Digital Garage.
The Digital Garage itself seems to be targeted to the extreme novice, but some of the modules venture into the intermediate range. In fact, it is a great way to get a broad overview of the subjects, perhaps to understand where you currently fall short and where you should direct future attention. It would also be good for managers of digital marketers who don’t necessarily have all of the detailed experience of digital marketing. It gives a person enough knowledge to basically know what they’re talking about, but not enough to strike out on their own and be successful.
If you’re a completionist like me, you’ll end up with a nifty certification from Google Digital Garage for the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing. Neat!
Have you taken the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course? Was it worth it to you? Comment below to let me know!
Accelerate Your Learning
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