Major search engine Google has a new online course aimed at helping small business owners and digital marketers improve their skills – Google Digital Garage. It covers everything a small business needs to know about using the web to promote their business.
While the Internet is awash with advice and many companies offering digital marketing training, this particular venture has a number of very appealing features:
- It’s Google themselves providing the training so you get a clear insight into how the search engine works.
- The system tracks and records your progress so you can learn at your convenience, dipping in and out when convenient.
- If you pass all the tests, including the final online exam you get a certificate showing that you have understood the lessons.
I have been through all the lessons, done the tests and the final online exam and am now in proud possession of a lovely shiny certificate from Google’s Digital Garage.
As I’m someone that that does digital marketing this did not present too many challenges, but I still learned something new. The level of the course is more targeted at business owners with a website who want to learn more about digital marketing. It would also be helpful for anyone starting out or wanting to improve or prove their skills in digital marketing.
Course format of the Google Digital Garage
The course is free. All you need is a Google Account which lots of people have already or you can simply sign up online at Google Digital Garage
Once you sign in at Digital garage you can start learning.
There are 23 topics altogether including useful subjects such as ‘Your online presence’, ‘Make search work for you’, ‘Get noticed locally’.
The full course covers all the main areas for promoting a business online from the very basics of getting online, social media, search engine optimisation, e-commerce, Analytics plus advertising options such as video, Pay Per Click and display network advertising.
Each topic is broken down into 4 to 5 lessons each, all delivered as 3 to 5 minute online videos. The presenters and examples are all British so I assume that it is tailored to language and location preferences. It never gets very technical and you get the transcript included so you can revise the material when you need it.
Each lesson is finished with a single questions to test understanding and further reading links for more information. There’s often a glossary of terms included. Once you have finished all the lessons on a topic then you get a topic assessment online test of about 6 to 10 multiple choice questions.
Completing the topics and lessons
Answer the topic assessment correctly and you get a little badge sent by email (here’s ours for ‘Sell more online’) so you get a small glow of achievement and then you can move on to the next topic.
Although each topic is independent, it’s better to work through them in the order they are given.
In total there are 89 lessons to go through which is about 6 hours of online video plus time taken to complete the online assessments.
The system does track and record your progress so you can dip into it at any time and resume where you left off. To get your certificate you need to complete the final assessment test which has thirty questions drawn from all parts of the course. This means it’s probably best to complete all the lessons within a month or two or you might have forgotten some elements and have to revise them.
It really is a thorough and comprehensive introduction that will help you promote your website or gain a better understanding of what your SEO company is doing and why. It will also equip you with the confidence and knowledge to ask the right questions and plan your digital marketing.
An example lesson here: Learn search engine basics with this
Update October 2019
Google has expanded the digital garage to include a wider range of courses:
Data and tech – with course titles such as ‘Programming for everybody (Getting started with Python)’, ‘Introduction to cyber security’, ‘Build your first web pages’.
Career development – which includes more general business and personal development course titles such as ‘Land your next job’, ‘Business communication’ and ‘Speaking in public’.
There is a huge amount of information here. Some certification is available but the course content is well chosen and useful to people working in or using digital. Some courses are provided by other providers and may require a new registration and payment.