What is Google AdWords?

The short answer: is how Google makes billions of dollars.

 

Long answer:  Google Adwords is the sponsored search results platform for Google.  These are the results that appear at the top and right side of a typical Google SERP (search engine results page).  These sponsored results account for approximately 35% of the clicks within Google.  By bidding on specific words/phrases that people are searching, we are able to target specific search queries made by Google users.In bidding, we only play if there is actually a click on our ad.

 

For example, we could bid on the term “help with online marketing

Why Des Moines

I like Des Moines, Iowa.  That’s right, I like it here.  

I like running my ecommerce consulting and online marketing business, eComegy.  

I like living within 20 minutes of everything in the city.  

I like having a vibrant downtown that has recently been revitalized.  

I like that I helped start a major music festival in Des Moines.  

I like that I’m helping to build a new $12.5 million homeless shelter in Des Moines.  

I like the great entrepreneural community that embraces start-ups like eComegy.

I like owning a house in (West) Des Moines with its low cost of living.

I like that the low cost of living allows me to travel many other exciting places.

 

There are  lots of reasons to like Des Moines.  And one big myth to de-bunk – it isn’t a sleepy, borning town in the middle of a corn field (although there are lots of corn fields outside of the city). 

 

This week Forbes Magazine supported my belief by naming Des Moines the top city in the USA for Young Professionals.  Read the full article here: http://blogs.forbes.com/morganbrennan/2011/07/12/americas-best-cities-for-young-professionals/

 

And the Des Moines Register reported on the this story with some quotes and a photograph of yours truely here:

 http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011107130341

 

80/35 music festival

eComegy is back!  Well, we never really went anywhere, but for the past week (really for the past few months) I’ve been helping with the coordination of the 80/35 music festival in Des Moines, Iowa.  In my role as board President for the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC – the non-profit that coordinates 80/35), I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of volunteers and produce a two-day music festival in the heart of Downtown Des Moines.

 

People sometimes seem shocked when they find out that I don’t get paid for my work with the DMMC.  While I don’t receive cash compensation, the intrinsic rewards of helping to coordinate an event enjoyed by tens of thousands of people, and engages hundreds of volunteers is more than money could buy.  As an added bonus, the connections I’ve made through  my work with 80/35 have also lead to a number of business opportunities (for example, the owner of eComegy client GuitarKitsUSA.com coordinates the Kids Zone at 80/35).

 

What makes you passionate? What do you do to give back?   Find this and attack it.

 

And to everyone who I’ve missed  call from, or forgot to email over the past couple months… its catch up time now!

IRCE 2011

I spent last week out in San Diego at the IRCE (Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition).  What exactly is that?  Well, it’s like kind of like the Super Bowl for ecommerce junkies (like myself).  This year over 7000 people attended – quite a bit more than the the first year I was at when less than 1000 attended.  It’s exciting to be part of an industry that is just in its infancy and growing at such a rapid pace!

 

Lots of great information from leading Internet companies like Google, Bing, PayPal and Amazon.  But the more interesting companies to visit were ones that you haven’t heard of like Payvment (Facebook Payment Solution), Trada (crowd-sourcing of PPC campaigns), and Shotfarm (free online image database).  Technology in the online marketplace is moving quickly, and it is difficult to decipher which new technology actually ads value to your site (increasing conversion rates) and which ones just look cool.  Over the next few months I’ll be contacting many of the companies I spoke with at IRCE to demo their offerings and hopefully try to weed things out.  I’ll keep you posted on what I find….

 

What does a Farmer or a Panda have to do with Google?

In the past month you may have read a lot of chatter about Google and their Panda/Farmer update.  So what exactly is it and how does it affect you (and your website)?

 

For starters, Google regularly updates its search algorithms.  It doesn’t necessarily tell the public when it does this and certainly doesn’t tell us what changes they are making.  In this latest update, a very large percentage of websites saw their rankings suddenly change – 12% by some accounts I’ve seen. The biggest movers (ranking wise) among websites were among what some call Content Farms (hence the “Farmer” nickname to the update). These are websites like EZineArticles.com which allow people to post articles about a specific topic. For years SEO Marketing companies have used these websites as a way to generate back-links to their websites. Apparently though, Google decided that many of these content farms didn’t really have that relevant of content.

 

So how does this affect you? It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t submit to these types of sites, but it does mean that they won’t provide as much benefit as they did before. Additionally, it reinforces what you should have already been doing – providing quality, in depth content on your website or on relevant websites that link back to yours (not just any unrelated website).

 

And about the “Panda”? Apparently someone at Google is named Panda and they are the individual who did a lot of work on the update.  

 

We’ve been Juiced!

 

 

 

First off, I want to recognize all the amazing work the Silicon Prairie News has done promoting the Des Moines and Midwest technology and entrepreneurial scene.  Anyone who does not following their publication is really missing out.  I am honored to be featured on their website, along with this week’s edition of Juice Magazine in Des Moines.  Here is a snippet of the article, you can visit either DMJuice.com or SiliconPrairieNews.com to read the full thing

 

“Justin Schoen won’t build your e-commerce website.

 

That is to say he’s not a designer. Though his business is helping businesses market themselves online, don’t assume he’s all about Web design.

It’s a point of confusion the University of Iowa graduate and MBA student is quick to clear up. Schoen, 30, uses firms like Websiteforge (an all-in-one e-commerce business that he consults) to do design work for his clients. But getting people to come to your site, or in some cases just enticing them to walk in the door of your business – the real marketing mojo that can’t be coded in a week – is where Schoen makes his mark.

 

… “

 

 

www.eComegy.com is ALIVE!!

Well it only took 6 months, but finally eComegy has a home on the web – www.eComegy.com.  A good way to start this off is explaining a little bit about what you will and wont find here…

 

You WON’T find:

– Lots of graphics, flash, fancy designs

– A unique menu layout

– Links to random websites

– A list of all the marketing/web/SEO blogs I follow

 

You WILL find:

– A website with that has lots of informational text that can be crawled by the major search engines and explains what the website is about

– Simple menus that look a lot like most other websites, and are easy to navigate

– Links to my clients so I can help increase the number back links to their website and show off the work I’m currently doing

– Links to relevant information that matters to you, the retailer.  I know you’re busy so I’ll sort through the clutter for you.

 

In the coming months I’ll explain more about these and other Do’s/Don’ts of the online world – this is just the beginning, so stay tuned.  Thanks for visiting and I look forward to working with your company in the future!

 

-Justin

 

BIZ Lunch Presentation

Last month I was the featured prentor for the BIZ (Business Innovation Zone) lunch talk at the Greater Des Moines’s Partnership.  Instead of the regular PowerPoint presentation that I’ve done in the past, I used a cool online tool called Prezi.  There was a little bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, Prezi is a cool tool (if you do too much spining around it may make your audience dizzy though).

 

Here is a link to the Prezi if you want to see how it works:

 

http://prezi.com/2v2nuzin6zlc/21611-biz-presentation/

 

Or the full presentation.  It is a good top-level view of SEO and Online Marketing.

 

Justin Schoen: Search engine optimization: improving your visibility in 2011 from Business Innovation Zone on Vimeo.

Mobile Web Purchasing

Mobile web seems to be the “next big thing” according to all the hype I’ve seen over the past two years.  Despite the significant investment that some of the larger ecommerce players (aka Amazon, Wallmart, Sears) have made, it still represents a very small percentage of total web sales.  Additionally, smart phone penetration is still reletively small in the US (17% was the last figure I saw).

 

An article in today’s USA Today about mobile web discusses some of the parallels between mobile shopping today, and online shopping 15 years ago.  While I still think that mobile purchasing being adopted by the mainstream is a ways off, utilization of mobile websites and mobile applications is increasing used to assist with offline purchasing decisions. 

 

So do you need a mobile site?  Yes, and No.  If you are a small to mid-sized website (less than $10M) sales I don’t think a dedicated application or mobile website would be the most immediate of your concerns.  But – when building your website, you should be conscience of how it looks on a mobile web browsers.  You should also be sure to setup your Google Places (and Yahoo, Bing) so the Google Map application shows your information correctly.  In the next 2 – 5 years I think you’ll see more adoption of mobile shopping and smart phone usage… so stay tuned…