How to Become an Expert in Local Search

How to Become an Expert in Local Search
Key 'Takeaways' From This Post
  • The Local Search Expert Guide covers over 180 pages on Localized SEO topics
  • "I can’t recommend Joy Hawkins or her work highly enough" - Mike Blumenthal

If you’ve been in the local search industry for any length of time, you know how challenging it can be to keep up with the latest local SEO information. What’s working. What’s not working. SEO is constantly changing!

If you’re like most SEO professionals, you frequently check out the leading SEO websites and blogs, follow industry experts on social media, read search engine optimization forums, watch educational webinars/training, belong to and participate in masterminds, join membership sites, read books and magazines, etc. But if you’re like me, you’ve probably found that just trying to keep up with the latest search news is almost a full-time job by itself.

What does this mean for most SEO professionals? It means that most people are simply too busy executing SEO efforts for their clients that they don’t have enough time to invest in keeping up with local search changes as much as they should.

What if there was another way? What if local search strategies that are working were handed to you on a silver platter? What if there was one local search resource that was kept up-to-date each month with the latest news and changes to local search? What if you didn’t have to visit a dozen sites searching for what’s new in SEO? Wouldn’t that be great?!

Well, Joy Hawkins, Local SEO Guru, has come through for you! She recently released her The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO ebook. With 11 years’ experience in the local search industry, Joy has become the go-to person for everything local SEO and Google My Business related. She’s taken her years of experience, knowledge, case studies and examples and wrapped them in a neat, densely packed informational guide just for local search professionals.

Experts Guide to Local Search

The guide is for anyone who wants to take an advanced look at local SEO and Google My Business. It assumes that you have some experience with local SEO – so you should already know the fundamentals. Her new Expert’s Guide takes your local search efforts to the next level by providing you with always up-to-date strategies, techniques, examples, case studies and best practices for everything local search.

Inside you’ll discover some amazing local search tips and tricks:

How to handle multi-practitioner listings – In a Google My Business listing, how do you handle a business that has multiple practitioners? What are the recommended best practices? If several practitioners are listed under the same practice’s name, address and phone number, how do you keep them from competing from one another? If the practitioners specialize in different areas, you could link to a page that focusses on that specialty. For instance, if you have a law firm and one lawyer specializes in malpractice and another specializes in divorce, have each of the attorneys link to pages that are optimized for those specialties.

How to contact Google representatives – Have you ever just wanted to call Google to ask a question? There are several different ways you can reach out to Google if you have questions about Google My Business. Find out how to contact Google support via email, chat, phone and social media channels.

How to contact Google My Business

Can you get Google My Business Reviews Removed? – In some situations online reviews can be deleted – but only under extreme circumstances. Learn what types of reviews can be removed and what you need to do to get them taken down. 

What to do when a competitor is using “sketchy” tactics to rank higher – Google has a set of guidelines that businesses need to adhere to when getting their business listed on Google My Business. But what do you do if you know a competitor is going against Google’s guidelines? Is there anything you can do? What if your listing has been hijacked? What do you do? You will learn two spammy techniques that businesses often get away with and what you can do to document and report the rule violator.

Local Google Algorithm Updates – Trying to keep up with Google’s algorithm updates can be a time-consuming part of an SEOs job. However, understanding algorithm changes and how they impact your clients is one of the most crucial aspects of being a local search professional. When news hits about an algo change, often local search implications aren’t focused on. Now you can see how every algorithm change impacts local search by date. These details provide you with specific examples of how each update had a positive or negative impact on local business listings and rankings.

Google Local Algorithm Updates

The 2016 Possum study and more are just a few of the things you’ll learn in The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO ebook.

Worth the price tag?

Now you may be wondering how much this jam-packed local SEO resource costs. Take a deep breath. The cost of the guide is $1,499 plus $29/mo. for the updates (the first three months of updates are free.) Before you freak out and say, “Wow! I wouldn’t pay that for a book!” just think about how much time you spend every month researching the latest info on local search. Those hours add up, don’t they? Your time is valuable and precious, so Joy’s taking the heavy lifting off of you and is updating the book every month based on algorithm changes, local pack updates and other issues and changes pertaining to local search.

Email notification when ebook is updated

Email notification when ebook is updated

Each month you’ll receive a revised copy of the book with the new additions, changes and updates identified for you so you can quickly see what’s new.

BrightLocal has solved many of our agencies client fulfillment needs at a very reasonable cost. I would recommend using their services to anyone providing local search optimization services.

Kevin Fleming San Diego, CA

The manual is over 180 pages long and includes a wide variety of topics. Here are some of the things it addresses:

  • Google recently shut down MapMaker and the Classic Version of Google+ which makes it so most of the previously known ways to find duplicate Maps listing impossible. The guide shows 3 new tactics that work to help uncover duplicate listings without the need for Google+ or MapMaker.
  • How to deal with listings for practitioners who no longer work for your business.
  • What rules in the Google My Business guidelines are actually enforced and what you stand to lose by breaking them
  • How to get your edits to listings on Google Maps approved faster
  • How to deal with the different types of suspensions that happen in Google My Business.
  • Why using the address USPS suggests is a bad idea.
  • What you need to know about the 2 local algorithm updates that happened in 2016.
  • Everything you need to know about the local filter: How does it work? What do you do if you got filtered? How can you find a list of potential threats who could cause you to be filtered?
  • How to find a list of categories on a competitor’s listing without MapMaker.
  • What fields are hidden from the public that exist on a listing.
  • What strategies to use to get more Yelp reviews.
  • How Yelp deals with duplicate & practitioner listings and how it varies from Google.
  • How should a small business organize their website?
  • When it is a good idea to invest in blogging, and when it’s not.
  • When it’s a good idea for a small business to have multiple websites.
  • Tips for optimizing YouTube videos.
  • When a NAP discrepancy is worth fixing and when you can ignore it.
  • 7 Ways to show ROI to a small business owner who is paying for Local SEO.

You will get actionable, step-by-step instructions for you and your whole team. Yes, the price may seem a little steep, but think about it: it breaks down to approximately $145/month for the first year. You probably pay more than that on some of the software tools you’re using. If you were to go to a training seminar or send one of your team members to a conference, you’d spend way more money than that. Think of this as another amazing local search resource/tool for your agency’s SEO arsenal!

According to Mike Blumenthal:

“I can’t recommend Joy Hawkins or her work highly enough. When it come to understanding the ins and outs of Google local search there is no one that knows more than Joy Hawkins. When I have a question about the finer points of Google Local whether its the impact of the Possum update or ranking issues I turn to Joy for insight. I can’t recommend her or work highly enough.” — Mike Blumenthal, CoFounder

Now that’s saying something! I would encourage you to check out The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO ebook and see if it’s right for you and your team. Chances are the information you’ll get from this guide will push your agency ahead of the competition. (I’ve been doing SEO for 18+ years and even I learned some tricks that I didn’t know!) 

Check it out today. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

(Oh, the links to The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO ebook are affiliate links. BrightLocal will make a small percentage if you purchase the book through our links. Don’t worry, though, we’d recommend this book to any search optimization professional regardless!)


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18 thoughts on “How to Become an Expert in Local Search”

  1. The problem with non-fiction books, and especially those on subjects such as digital marketing which are constantly changing and evolving, is that they go out of date quickly. I have a shelf full of recent, but out of date, text books on every aspect of DM.
    The difference here is that Joy’s book is not really a book, it’s a manual which she updates monthly. I’m guessing it will never see the light of day as a printed book.
    When you buy this you are really subscribing, up front, for a local SEO technical support service, although there is still a monthly charge to pay for the updates.
    My advice is that you could get a lot more for your money – Bright Local’s services won’t cost you anywhere near what Joy is charging and, combined with Google’s own perfectly adequate support services, will give you most of what you need. The rest? You have to do a bit of ferreting around for that. Get your hands dirty and save some cash – you could buy a few proper books with it!
    By the way, I’m not connected with BrightLocal, I recommend their product because I like it.

    1. Hi, Steve…

      Thanks for your feedback. I agree. When I look for printed books about a digital marketing topic, I look at the publishing company first (I never buy books that aren’t published by a big publishing house like O’Reilly, Sybex, Wiley, McGraw-Hill, etc.) I also look at copyright date. It has to be the current year. You can purchase a “subscription” to Joy’s book so you will get new and updated info every month.


  2. Joy’s guide has been extremely helpful to me. I have a few local clients and in the short time since I’ve had this guide I have referred to it many times.

    There is information here that can’t be found elsewhere online. If anyone understands the complexities of local search, it’s Joy.

    I was able to use the information in the guide to help a client deal with falsified reviews. I have also turned to it to help clients remove duplicate listings. It has saved me hours of time so far.

  3. Hi Sherry,

    Trust you are well. I liked what you wrote. Personally speaking, and I could be very well wrong but I feel that Google are really after the $ now.

    They are constantly launching half-hearted attempts at various verticals, promising this and that and thereafter completely contradicting themselves. Please don’t think that I’m fishing for free information. I am not.

    It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this matter. In addition, how do you rate AMP and https v HTTP, please?

    Thanks in advance and have a great weekend.

    1. Hi, George…

      Thanks for your comment! I agree with you, Google must make $$ for their shareholders. With regard to HTTPs vs. AMP, I believe the HTTPs is more important. Google is now showing a “Not Secure” warning on non-HTTPs (Secure) sites. To the consumers, this is a scary warning. The problem I see is that Google shows this warning even if there is no commerce (i.e. online sales/ordering) on the site, so this could negatively impact the click-through rate (CTR) for ALL sites. Appreciate your interest!


  4. This guide has been invaluable to myself and our team both as a tool and a training resource. I can highly recommend this resource to any small or large organization who don’t have the time to “know everything about local SEO”.

    You are basically purchasing an in-house expert who sends you monthly updates. With local SEO changing on such a regular basis it keeps you and your company informed of all the very latest updates, which you can then apply to your clients to keep them ahead of the competition.

    Easy to understand, well illustrated….a 5 star guide, thank you Joy Hawkins.

  5. Joy is a great assets in Local SEO. I have learned a lot of her over the years. I just recently was able to start working with her. She is super sharp and has a lot of insights and knowledge that she readily shares. I completely agree with her breakdown on the September 1st Core update. It had a major impact on local seo and map pack results in both positive and negative.

  6. I am a Google My Business Top Contributor. When I first started my journey to become one I talked Joy’s ear off, she was (and is) a mentor to me. Even though I have been involved in Local SEO before it was even a thing, I had so much to learn when I got really serious about Local SEO.

    There is so much to learn, and it constantly changes. Add to that the loss of MapMaker and G+ tie ins and it has become even more difficult.

    To become an expert in any field, research is key and having a resource like this is amazing for any upcoming Local SEO or even a seasoned one. You just cannot know everything and we are constantly learning. With Joy’s wisdom, you may become a TC too!

  7. I absolutely LOVE this manual by Joy Hawkins! I’m a solo SEO and I don’t have the time, resources, etc. to keep abreast of what does and doesn’t work in local SEO (this month!). I reference the manual about 3-4 times a week with my clients. It’s saves me lots of time, and in turn, saves my clients time and money.

    I’m planning to hire in the near future and will use Joy’s manual for training.

    Compare the cost of this manual (including ongoing updates) to attending SEO conferences and you’ll quickly see that this one helluva deal.

  8. NO SEO book is worth that much money! And I can’t believe I am reading this “review” on Bright Local (with affiliate links) ….this blog has been going downhill fast lately!

    Guaranteed no local business or aspiring SEO will buy this – or will need it. Surprised Joy put out something like this…

  9. I didn’t think “Wow! I wouldn’t pay that for a book!” I thought “This is way beyond disgusting and there should be laws against it!”

    The very fact that Bright Local would consider even sending me this RIP OFF is enough to make me cancel my Bright Local account as of right now.

    Perhaps it’s you who should consider “how many hours you spend” trying to find new customers and how easy it is to lose them when you do things like this.

    1. Hi, Steve…

      Thank you for your feedback. I reached out to Joy and she wanted to personally respond to you and any others who may have similar thoughts about the price:

      A Message From Joy Hawkins


      I wanted to personally reach out to you to address your comment and let you know that I appreciate all feedback, positive or negative. I knew when I wrote the guide that it wasn’t for everyone. I knew that there were plenty of businesses that might not want to spend the kind of money on training (or need to). I wrote the manual because in my experience at agencies, having access to the most current, most informative information on a given topic was very hard to stay on top of. I spent countless hours every month updating our internal wiki so that our employees would have the correct info and it dawned on me that I might be able to do this for more agencies but at a fraction of the cost that my current employer was paying me for it.

      $1499 is not a small amount, I know that. I came up with the pricing based on the fact that it costs around $2500-$3000 for a marketing agency to send an employee to a conference, or that the average company spends about $1208 per employee (per year) on training. I was also thinking that the value was really in the updates that you get for $29/month. I spend several hours updating the guide each month adding things to it and removing things that no longer work. Again, this is absolutely something that someone can do on their own, but if they want someone experienced in the industry who is already doing it, they can subscribe to the updates.

      So far the feedback we have received from all of the people that purchased the guide has been positive. I know some people perceive SEO to be overpriced and I know it’s an expensive industry, kind of like lawyers. At the end of the day, I really only care about making my customers money so I want to make sure people who buy the guide are people who are going to be making more money as a result, either by saving on training elsewhere or internally, or making their own clients more money by using the tips I included.

      If that’s not you, definitely don’t buy it. I would never suggest anyone buy it unless they see the value in it.

      Again, thanks for the comments and I hope I was able to address your concerns, but if not, I wanted you to at least know your feedback was received.

      Joy Hawkins

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