AUGUSTA — Lazy Acres Farm in Farmingdale grows more than 50 varieties of flowers and sells them in bouquets, but someone searching Google to find bouquets for a wedding probably would not know that.

Google employee and volunteer Dayo Owoyemi worked Thursday with Sarah Lutte, who owns Lazy Acres Farm with her husband, Mark, to change that.

During a free, daylong Grow with Google workshop at Lithgow Public Library in Augusta, Owoyemi, a New York City resident who volunteered his time at the event to work one-on-one with business owners and nonprofit organizers to help them ensure they can be found by Google users, noted Lazy Acres Farm did not come up when he searched Google for “flowers near me.”

He suggested Lutte add florist as a service the farm provides so flowers buyers will be more likely to find her farm, which also specializes in pork products from pasture-raised pigs.

Owoyemi also showed Lutte how to use Google analytics to see how many searches and visits the farm’s website gets through Google, and when those searches and visits took place.

Searches and visits to the site increased in August, he noted, which Lutte said made sense because that is when she and her husband made an increased push of their pork products on social media.

Lutte was one of about 100 Mainers to take part in Grow with Google workshops Thursday at Lithgow, with nonprofit organizations participating in the morning and business owners and job seekers  in the afternoon.

Both groups were taught digital skills meant to help them increase their presence and the chances someone searching Google for the product or service they offer can find them.

Matt Weber, a Google trainer based in Florida, emphasized most people using the internet are not necessarily looking for a certain business. Instead, they are looking to solve a problem, whether it be finding a gift or locating someone to fix a car. And most consumers do not want to click through a bunch of web pages or home pages citing businesses’ credentials.

Businesses’ descriptions on the internet should provide “less chest-thumping and more helpful copy,” Weber told about 45 attendees at a workshop session.

“Remember, people go to the web to solve a problem,” he said. “People are looking for something very specific. You don’t want to drop them off at your home page. You want to drop them off at the page that is most applicable to what they’re looking for.”

Jamie Vachon, a senior program manager for Google in Cambridge, Mass., a native of Sidney, where she still has family, and a graduate of Messalonskee High School in Oakland, hosted the event and said a 2018 economic impact report by Google indicated 3,600 Maine businesses generated $560 million in economic activity using Google’s search and advertising tools.

She said Maine’s many small businesses can improve how they engage with the rest of the world by learning digital skills like those shared during Thursday’s workshop and in one-on-one sessions with Google experts.

“Growing up in Maine, there were a lot of small businesses that have that great, community feel,” Vachon said. “We’re here to help bring digital skills and training to anyone interested in learning more. My mother is a small-business owner, so I’ve seen firsthand how important it is to stay on top of trends to be competitive.”

Sarah Schultz-Nielsen, director of Lithgow Public Library, said while libraries still have plenty of books for people to check out, providing access to and information about how to use the internet have become a large part of their mission.

She said all Maine libraries provide free Wi-Fi access, and most also provide help getting online. She said one of Lithgow’s core missions is providing opportunities for community members to gain new abilities that will help improve their lives.

Maine State Librarian Jamie Ritter said Maine libraries are working with Google to help fill gaps in people’s digital skills, and help Maine businesses and nonprofits succeed.

The stop in Augusta was part of a nationwide Grow with Google effort to bring in-person workshops to job seekers and small businesses across the country, according to Google. Specifically, Grow with Google aims to help address the skills gap by preparing Americans for middle-skill jobs, which typically require technical knowledge but not necessarily four-year degrees.

Since launching in October 2017, Grow with Google has provided in-person or online training to more than 3 million Americans.

While the event itself was free, workshop tips included suggestions that business owners buy advertising on Google.

Weber said he considers online ads “an absolute must” for businesses seeking to “get in front of” people who need specific products or services.

In a question-and-answer session following his presentation, Weber was asked what determines what businesses show up on Google and Google Maps when someone does a search.

He said major factors determining that are a business’s proximity to the searcher, its relevance to the search and the digital prominence of the business.

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