14 April

LinkedIn Showcase Pages, Why it’s a Good Thing.

LinkedIn Showcase Pages, Why it’s a Good Thing.

Samantha Murphy

By: Samantha MurphyBayshore Solutions Digital Account Manager

Every marketing professional knows that the best way to spend your time and advertising dollars is to make sure you are targeting the right audience with the right message.

Email marketing has always been a great platform for this. Email marketing gives the ability to create targeted email lists that in return, allow us to tailor our messaging to the right audience. (This method has proven to increase engagement with higher open rates, CTRS (click- through-rates), and conversion rates.

Now, a new platform is enabling this same marketing tactic. LinkedIn has given us the ability to segment our audience through showcase pages. Showcase pages are extensions of your LinkedIn company page, designed to help break out different sections of your business.

Why is this helpful? You can now drive engagement with a dedicated page, with an audience who is 100% relevant. Just because someone followed your company page, does not mean that they are interested in every single product or service that you have to offer.

Each showcase page can have its own messaging and audience. For example, if you are a staffing company that focuses on 5 key industries such as, technology, retail, healthcare, insurance, and engineering, you can break each one of these industries out into its own showcase page.

Here, you can target your messaging to each industry. For example, you can post healthcare news, candidates, and jobs on the healthcare showcase page, instead of your broad company page. This ensures that your content is not being overlooked by half of your audience if it does not pertain to them.

Showcase pages will be replacing the current products/services section of LinkedIn on April 14th. What does this mean for your company LinkedIn page? Companies will need to re-create this section of their LinkedIn account with the new showcase pages.

Each company can create up to 10 showcase pages. Once set up, you can monitor each page with LinkedIn analytics.

Below is an example of a showcase page:
LinkedIn Showcase Pages, Why it’s a Good Thing.

Some major differences between a showcase page and other pages on LinkedIn:

• The layout and image format are different.
• Unlike a group page, businesses can advertise on showcase pages.
• Unlike company pages, there are no other tabs that display on the page.
• Showcase pages all link directly back to the business page.
• Employee profiles cannot be attached to a showcase page, only the company page.

Many are displeased by LinkedIn’s changes, especially companies who originally paid to have their products/services sections created, but I believe these new showcase pages will only benefit companies with their branding, customer engagement, and SEO efforts in the long run.

For more information on how to increase branding and engagement with your audience, visit www.bayshoresolutions.com.

Samantha Murphy is a Digital Account Marketer at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

7 April

How to Identify and Recover from a Google Penalty

How to Identify and Recover from a Google Penalty

By: Kristin VickBayshore Solutions Digital Account Manager

It seems that one search engine or another is constantly making updates to their algorithm, usually the most notable of them all, Google. These updates usually only affect less than 1% of websites, but when there are almost 1 billion websites on the internet, that means these updates affect almost 10 million sites! When Google and other search engines do this, your website (no matter how successful it has been in the past) is subject to a penalty. For example, in 2012 Google introduced its Penguin update, overnight websites that had been popular in Google, organically, were blocked from search results and lost almost all of their organic traffic.

First thing’s first. How do you know if you have been hit with a Google penalty?

If it is a manual penalty, Google will tell you. This type of message will be sent to your webmaster tools account. From this message you can request a review of the alleged penalty and address the issue with direct action.

If the penalty is algorithmic, you may not know. Below are some examples on how you can assess if you have been hit with an algorithmic penalty:

  • You are not ranking for your brand name anymore. Even if you are in a competitive industry with highly sought after keywords, in most cases, you should rank at the top for your brand name.
  • You website has been removed from Google’s cashed results, overnight.
  • Your website PageRank has dropped from a respectable four or three to a one, or worse a zero.
  • Your keywords that were showing with page-one positions are losing rank with no action from you.
  • After performing a site search in Google (site:yourdomain.com keyword) and there are no results being provided
  • If you do eventually find a listing for your website, it is not your home page.

There are other indicators, however, if you have experienced one or more of these indicators, you can be pretty sure you have been hit with a penalty.
Secondly, you will need to find out why you have been issued a penalty. Do you:

  • Use too many keywords, or use the same keyword too much?
  • Buy or rent links?
  • Hide text on your website?
  • Feature stolen content on your website?
  • Have unnatural content and anchor text?
  • Have “spammy” links come to your website?
  • Have a lot of errors?
    • 404’s, slow site, etc.

While there are more factors to consider, having any one of these on your site can make you a target for a Google penalty. The key factor to remember is that while it is not impossible to recover from a Google penalty, it will be a long road, but with patience and perseverance, it can be lifted.

“Ok, what can we do about it?”

  • First, don’t panic. Just because you have a Google penalty does not mean all is lost. It also doesn’t mean you have to start all over with a new website. In fact that could just make things a little more muddled for you.
  • Perform a content audit. What keywords are you using and how often? Do your meta tags need to be updated?
  • Disavow troublesome and spam links. Sometimes links point to your site that you have no control over. Let Google know that you are asking your website to not be associated to these links.
  • Remove links if you can. While disavow is good, it is even better to have links removed if you can. This also includes internal and external links from your site.
  • Request reconsideration. If you know your penalty was manual you can ask Google to reconsider your site, after the necessary changes have been made.
  • Wait it out. After you have cleaned up your site, it is important to continue to follow best practices for SEO and allow Google time to recognize those changes and lift the penalty.

If you have more questions in regards to Google penalties, or are not sure where to start, Bayshore Solutions is here to help. Bayshore can help assess where your penalties are coming from and work with you on the best course of action. To get started, contact us at www.bayshoresolutions.com

Kristin Vick is a Digital Account Manager at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

31 March

Why Internal Communication Matters in the Digital Age

Why Internal Communication Matters in the Digital Age

By: Kim CarrollBayshore Solutions Director of Human Resources

Social Media has made communication something of a global obsession. Something that’s not so apparent is the importance of internal communications in any business. This is the channel where employers and their staff, have a chance to share information and talk to each other, and create a mutual understanding between management and their teams.

Studies show that a quality internal communication can yield many positive outcomes, like employee’s commitment, engagement, motivation, sense of belonging, organizational success and business results. It’s important for any organization to explain their vision and strategy to their employees, so that people can align their individual objectives accordingly. When done properly, employees should know how their efforts and the role they play, contribute to the overall success of the organization. This in turn will help keep people engaged and motivated. Your employees are your ambassadors. Make them a part of the solution, engage them in the decision making process, ask for their feedback, and let them know that they are important.

How do you do this?

There are many tools that can be used when communicating internally. First and foremost is making the time to have face to face meetings with your employees. Having monthly town hall meetings is a great example of this. This venue allows management an opportunity to express important company information while allowing staff to ask questions. But beware of unadulterated honesty in hard times. This can lead to lower morale. When employees are being communicated at, not with, it could potentially lead to cynicism. Keep your goal in mind. Internal communication should be about leaving the members of your staff educated, informed, and inspired.

Another channel of internal communication that you may want to consider is providing employees with weekly email updates or monthly newsletters that demonstrates management commitment to keeping staff informed at all levels. Newsletters can include company information, latest projections, client updates, new staff members and more.

Employee feedback is crucial to the engagement of your teams. Instilling a formal employee feedback process through company surveys or focus groups, allows continual measurements and evaluation of successful employee contributions.

Why does employee engagement matter?

When employees feel valued and that they genuinely matter, morale goes up and productivity goes up. Employees want a sense of belonging. They want an immediate supervisor that cares, belief in senior leadership, and pride in working for the company. An engaged workforce is one that feels fully part of the organization’s business goals and plans. Engagement is the act of building communal ownership and accountability, for what your business or organization stands for and must achieve.

It’s leadership’s challenge and responsibility to meaningfully engage the workforce. The employees are the people who will move an organization from good to great and beyond. It’s a fact of modern business life. Leaders at all levels must do more than just tell employees what to do. Instead, they must engage employees, communicate with employees, and seek their input in a way that connects them to business goals. In other words, leaders must show employees how their actions will help the organization succeed and how they will benefit from that success.

Internal communications enhances the credibility of both the communication process and leadership’s decisions. If employees feel like they can voice their opinions or concerns or ask questions in a comfortable environment, they have a tendency to continue to work hard for you and contribute to the overall bottom line. Keep your employees involved in the evolution and you will see your workforce evolve.

The engagement and development of our co-workers is central to Bayshore Solutions’ values. Click here to see a sample of the culture we have built in our organization. Contact us to connect our highly engaged team to helping grow your business.

Kim Carroll is a Director of Human Resources at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

24 March

Responsive Web Design – What It Is and Why It’s Cool

Responsive Web Design. What It Is And Why It's Cool

By: Seth ScottBayshore Solutions Developer

Responsive Web Design is a standard practice of web development that allows a website to respond to different mediums. Users can view the same website via handheld device or a large desktop screen and experience the same design, content, and interactivity. While other methods for optimizing user experience across multiple devices do exist, responsive design remains the most efficient and reliable solution in the web development industry today.

The term Responsive Web Design (RWD) was coined by a leading web developer and designer, Ethan Marcotte, in a 2010 A List Apart article. Marcotte uses examples and illustrations to explore the analogy of interactive and technology architecture with traditional construction and building theory. Furthermore, Marcotte establishes direction in that rather than quarantining content into device-specific experiences, we can use new development techniques to progressively enhance websites within different viewing contexts.

“The English architect Christopher Wren once quipped that his chosen field “aims for Eternity,” and there’s something appealing about that formula: Unlike the web, which often feels like aiming for next week, architecture is a discipline very much defined by its permanence.”

Bringing historical architectural theory into technology isn’t a new idea. What has changed to allow the practice of RWD to be implemented? The rise of mobile devices and the varying screen sizes from 70” television monitors to retinal displayed smart tablets have created the need. And new browser standards and CSS techniques have opened the door to what was once an impossible idea.

RWD wasn’t an option for web developers only a few short years ago. Advancing HTML/CSS practices and continual progression from internet browsers are revolutionizing how users explore content on the web. Such approaches include CSS media queries, flexible images, and fluid width layouts make responsive design possible.

CSS3 media queries are simple code statements that allow web developers to target specific devices by their window size. For instance, a developer can detect how big your screen size is then serve the appropriate design code. Viewing the same responsive website on your iPhone and your iPad gives you the same colors, effects, and content with a slightly different framework to optimize your experience.

Flexible content and fluid layouts facilitate the responsive process. Images and video can be used in a responsive manner that will resize to your device without spilling off the page. Fluid layouts assign percentages rather than absolute pixel values. Both of these styles make a responsive design pixel perfect.

RWD has a simple objective; to create easy reading and navigation with minimal resizing, panning, and scrolling, across a wide range of devices from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors. A responsive website adapts the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids, flexible images, and CSS3 media queries.

When planning a new website, businesses must ask direct questions about user experience, display expectations, and mobile usability. A responsive website will most likely be the best option. Bayshore Solutions offers top-tier design and development services that specialize in the latest responsive techniques. In addition, Bayshore Solutions can take existing websites and content and convert them into fresh responsive applications. 


Contact Bayshore Solutions’ web experts to help get your business universally visible with a responsive web design.


Seth Scott is a Developer at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

17 March

Content Marketing Initiatives For 2014

Content Marketing Initiatives For 2014

Mark Teague

Bayshore Solutions Digital Marketer

How do you set your content apart from others sharing similar ideas and get noticed by the search engines? As the search engines try to become more “human” in their crawling of sites and diagnosis of web presence, the information that actual humans consume online become increasingly important. Google’s Hummingbird update with a nod to “Siri-spoken” search queries was one of the first steps in achieving this. It’s likely that the next 10 steps are devoted to marketing’s favorite buzzword, Content.

If you’re actively attempting to grow your web presence, you probably can’t escape it. “Content, content, content.” You know that you should be creating original and relevant content, but aren’t sure where to start, or more importantly, what to create. Whether your goals are to influence others through thought leadership, rank higher on the search engines, or simply sell more, the following content ideas will immediately improve on your efforts. They include but are not limited to:

Blog
As dated as it may seem, a consistently updated and relevant blog will continue to be great content for any business with a web presence. With the right strategy and attention to your audience, blog content will be keyword rich, SEO friendly and shareable. Industry specific blogs are a good example of how thought leaders and influencers emerge in their respective fields. Other benefits include an increase in brand awareness, web traffic, and it’s not a bad way to build some quality links back you your site, either. Readership traction based on your expertise is a strangely powerful thing.

Video
There can’t be enough said for the rapidly growing opportunity of video content. You’ve probably ventured across one of those neat explainer videos with cool text and animation (kinetic typography). If not, your Aunt is definitely sharing cat videos and the toughest friend you know just shared a story that just made him cry on Sportscenter. He’ll likely blame it on allergy season. The point is people share videos. But I digress…If you or your company hasn’t focused on a video content strategy relevant to your industry and website, you’re falling behind. Some proof:

  • According to Unbounce, animated explainer videos increase conversion rates by 20%.
  • 188.2 million people in the US watched 52.4 billion online content videos in December 2013. The average American spent more than 19 hours watching online video. (Comscore, 2013)
  • Over half of 25-54 year olds share video online. (EMarketer, 2013)
  • Nearly 52% of Marketers cite video as the type of content with the best ROI (Emarketer, 2013)

Infographics
Another piece of content flooding the internet are infographics. A visual, reader-friendly and usually data-driven representation of a specific message. They are proven to be extremely effective in revealing different levels of information and encouraging the eyes to compare several sets of copy or data. Rather than always subjecting your audience to death-by-copy, create something visually stunning that has an opportunity to be shared. The photo-friendly world of Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have proven that sometimes the best message is a photo message.

Slideshare.net
In a corporate world desperately trying to sift through slideshows, pdfs, and presentation material, Slideshare.net allows you to take that and easily transfer it into shareable content. Add Calls-to-Action and demonstrate your expertise. Instead of incurring large production costs that may come with some video efforts, Slideshare is a cost efficient way of boosting your content portfolio.

You may have an idea in mind for one or all of these content marketing initiatives. At Bayshore Solutions, we specialize in story and excel in content creation. Contact us to get started on your 2014 content strategy!

 
Mark Teague is a Digital Marketer at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

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