Postponed because of the May 22 tornado that struck Jefferson City, a condensed version of "Grow with Google" took place at the library Monday.
Between 25 and 35 Google staff members were scheduled to offer training at Missouri River Regional Library to students, teachers, entrepreneurs, job seekers and developers on May 23. Chaos following the overnight storm caused organizers to delay the event.
Instead, Grow with Google speaker Dave Delaney, of Nashville, offered three programs intended to help 38 people attending to create their own economic opportunities.
During "Reach Customers Online with Google," Delaney instructed the group on improving how customers find local businesses online. He also provided tips on promotion using Search Engine Optimization (using key words to increase traffic on websites and web pages) and Smart Campaigns (using ads to promote small businesses) in Google Ads.
Another program — "Power Your Job Search with Google Tools" — was a workshop intended to help job seekers discover and track opportunities through Google Search.
An afternoon workshop for beginners — Digital Skills for Everyday Tasks — was intended to help people learn about Gmail, Google Sheets (online spreadsheets) and Google Slides (online presentations), and to stay organized.
The MRRL listeners represented students, church staff and entrepreneurs operating plumbing, yoga, music, heating and air conditioning, and other businesses.
There are "micro-moments" when people need to find a service in a hurry, Delaney said during the first presentation. He showed a video produced by Google that included moments when young folks first became parents, had a small child cut their own hair, realized they needed a larger vehicle or simply dug their car out of a snowdrift.
Those were all moments listeners could relate to, Delaney said.
And those were the types of opportunities the business owners needed to take advantage of.
Delaney then encouraged members of the group — if they hadn't — to Google their own businesses and see how it appears through the search engine.
He told them to study the related searches that appear at the bottom of the page and take note of the terms they contain.
"If the terms are on your website, people are more likely to find you," he said.
He also demonstrated how to use a Google Chrome Inspect Tool to see how the sites appear on any devices.
More and more often, when people need a service, they are searching for it on their mobile devices.
"Check for mobile compatibility," Delaney said.
Businesses whose customers oftentimes find them via mobile devices, definitely want to optimize the mobile experience, he said.
To help businesses appear in organic searches, he said, their sites should be optimized for mobile devices and have relevant and original content, logical organization, good page titles and descriptions, optimized images and fast load times.
"Nowadays — more than ever — it's really important that things load quickly," Delaney said.
Grow with Google is a 50-state initiative aimed at helping people from nearly all walks of life improve their digital skills. It partners with libraries to deliver digital-skills training to job seekers and small businesses.
It is intended to help people use a suite of free Google tools and curricula on a daily basis.