• Found Bytes Episode 1: On Presence with Joy Hawkins

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Podcast Transcript

David Mihm: Hey everyone and welcome to Found Bytes, a brand new podcast on local search for small businesses. I’m your host, David Mihm, local business owner and VP of product strategy here at ThriveHive. To kick things off, our very first episode is going to feature a conversation with my friend and fellow local search expert, Joy Hawkins, focusing on the ins and outs of Google My Business, and why it’s such a great tool to help you attract more customers from the world’s largest search engine.

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum and the local search agency, Sterling Sky in Canada. She’s the author of the amazing Experts Guide to Local SEO, writes a monthly column on Search Engine Land and speaks at various industry conferences all about local SEO. Joy is one of the absolute foremost experts in all things relating to Google My Business and I really hope you enjoy our very first episode.

Meet Joy Hawkins

David Mihm: Thanks again for joining us this morning, Joy, it’s really awesome to have you on … I find it hard to believe that anyone in our audience wouldn’t have heard of you, but just in case, we have some new listeners, do you mind giving just a couple minute intro about yourself and, in particular, how you got started? You know, working with local businesses.

Joy Hawkins: Sure. So I’ve been working in the industry since 2006 and when I first started, I worked doing sales actually for a company that sold Google ads and Google My Business hadn’t existed at that point. But Google Places kind of popped into the scene and I was instantly kind of obsessed with it. So went from there. And then kind of fast forward to today.

I have my own agency now, just started in 2017, and we deal primarily with local SEO and PPC for small businesses. I’m a part of this awesome group called Google Product Experts who are basically moderators on the forums that Google has for all of their different services.

And, in particular, I work on the Google My Business forum. So it gives me a cool opportunity to basically talk to Google constantly about where they’re going with GMB and issues that arise and stuff like that. I find it very valuable. And then recently I also acquired the Local Search Forum, which is a free forum for anyone that wants to talk or discuss anything that’s going on in local search space.

David Mihm: Yeah, that’s awesome. So you have plenty—you have no shortage of possibilities for interactions with small business owners it sounds like.

Joy Hawkins: Definitely not.

What Is Google My Business?

David Mihm: I think one thing I was hoping that you might do for our audience, especially since this is kind of our kickoff podcast is to kind of just set the stage around Google My Business a little bit. You know, how would you explain or how do you explain just sort of conceptually what Google My Business is and what it allows business owners to do?

Joy Hawkins: Yeah. So it’s basically just a portal for a business owner to manage their Google Maps listing. So if you’re a business, you claim your listing that exists on Google Maps. If there isn’t one—like if Google doesn’t know your business—you can create one and Google My Business is basically where you log in to edit any of the information that’s there. So it just allows you to do things like respond to reviews, edit the business categories, add photos, stuff like that.

David Mihm: That’s great. And you mentioned Google Maps, which I think is kind of an interesting sort of starting point. I think one—I hope you would agree that Google has had some fairly confused branding in the local space over the last decade. And so I agree with you that I think, you know, thinking about the starting point in terms of getting your core business information online.

Google Maps is probably the easiest place to think about, in terms of where customers are looking you up and making sure that they can find you when they’re looking for you. So I love that framing of it. But obviously, you know, we’ve seen the visibility of results, that are powered by Google My Business really proliferate over the last—well you’ve been in the space as long as I have—over the last 13 years. So they’re not limited to Google Maps, right? Where else do you see these Google My Business profile information showing up?

Where Does Google My Business Information Show Up Online?

Joy Hawkins: Yeah. Well, they still show in search. Right? So that’s primarily where people find the majority of listings. So you know any search that you do that Google thinks has local intent, they would show usually a list of three results beside Maps. So, you know, something like “plumber” or “dentists near me” or something like that would give you a map pack. We call it the three pack, but sometimes it’s one listing, sometimes it’s two, sometimes it’s three. Never more than three unless you have an ad in there.

David Mihm: Which we’re seeing more and more of. But that’s a future episode in and of itself. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the features. We were referring to this as a sort of, you know, Google Maps listing, letting customers find you, those kinds of things. But I think Google My Business has—and to Google’s credit—Google My Business has really added a ton of rich features and functionality over the last, in particular, I think over the last two to three years … It’s not just, in my opinion anyway, it’s not just a sort of standard directory listing in nearly the same way that it used to be. So I was hoping we could talk in a little bit of detail about some of those, those richer features.

Google My Business Photos

David Mihm: Something like photos has been around for a long time, but I think that as more and more searchers are doing and performing searches on mobile devices that Google is really playing up the sort of visual angle that photos are best at communicating. You know, we’ve got a bunch of data from folks who have come in through ThriveHive in terms of the average number of photos, and it does appear that Google is definitely sort of doubling or tripling down on visuals to us. We’ve got in a lot of categories including one of the ones that you just mentioned, dentists. 30% of dental listings have more than 20 photos on them that we see coming in through Grader. So let’s talk a little bit there just in terms of the importance of some of this more sort of information beyond just your name, address, phone that you’d see in a traditional directory listing.

Joy Hawkins: Yeah. So I’ll just touch on photos. I guess that one is one that’s more challenging for some industries than others. Because I know like if dentists, for example, doesn’t have a lot of possible photos to keep adding to their listing, right? Like, I mean, cause you can look at pictures of teeth, but other than staff photos and photos of the office, it’s hard to come up with useful photos over time. Whereas like a restaurant would have endless amount because they’re always going to have new dishes and new things to feature. So I feel like it really varies based on the industry in that sense. Do you want me to start talking about like other new features?

David Mihm: Sure, yeah. We can take this anywhere. I was just going to say as well, you know, it’s not necessarily just photos that you upload either, right? Google has given the ability for customers to upload their own photos when they come and patronize your business. Photos I think can be a great way to, to kind of show off your best work as a business, but also to engage your customers in terms of helping them share their experiences. And I should have this stat off the top of my head, but Google has shared with both business owners and partners that photos are one of the primary things that searchers are looking for. So that was the only reason I lead off with that. But yeah. Let’s talk about some of the other features that Google’s really added, in particular over the last couple of years.

Google My Business Questions & Answers

Joy Hawkins: One that I’m still—I know some people are still debating if this one’s going to stick around—but Questions & Answers launched almost two years ago. I think the reason why it’s been somewhat of a problem for people is because this is one of those features that they launched first really on Maps and it’s still not integrated into Google My Business. Like you log in to your Google My Business dashboard, you’re supposed to see, you know the information on your listing, but there’s no section for Questions & Answers yet, it’s on Google. So it’s very confusing for a business owner that’s thinking they’re going to get everything in that dashboard. I think the way they went about that was very, very messy. But they do this with lots of features. It shows up on Maps first and then business owners are like, “how am I supposed to know this feature exists?”

Joy Hawkins: Definitely some issues with the way that Google treats those two products. Putting that aside, Questions & Answers is kind of neat cause I’d say, you know as a consumer, you can post a question to the business listing and anyone can answer. So Google sends alerts to people that have visited the place or reviewed the place to answer the question. So I get alerts all the time on my phone for like restaurants I’ve visited and they’re like, “this user has a question about XYZ restaurant. Can you answer?” So often we see other users will answer before the business does depending on the business type

David Mihm: Which can be a real problem, right? Because there’s no—it’s not like there’s any quality control happening on the Google side. It’s like a total overall in terms of what people both ask and then answer. It could be “hey, do you have free parking?”

And somebody—some, I don’t know, less than upstanding local guide chimes in and says, “Yes, absolutely.”

And then the customer gets to your place of business and finds that you don’t, you’re the one that’s going to get blamed, unfortunately. So I couldn’t agree more that it’s been a very confusing rollout from Google. And it’s something that business owners really should be aware of. There’s plenty of activity that’s probably already happening on your own listing.

Joy Hawkins: Yeah, for sure. I think it’s—they’re getting better in the sense that now at least they’re sending email alerts when you have a new question. So it’s a lot of things. You get email alerts for your business, you should get an email alert if the questions posted.

But the alerts are still not as up front as they are when you’re a user and you’re getting like a push notification on your phone. So I think there’s more they could do there. But they have also gotten better in the sense that if you flag an incorrect answer or a spammy answer that’s off topic, Google removes it. So they’ve gotten much better in that aspect.

David Mihm: I’m happy to hear that at least Google’s paying a little bit more attention to this. So one thing about—you mentioned anybody can ask and answer these questions. What’s your take on business owners sort of seeding and answering their own, let’s call them FAQ, right? Just, you know, from phone calls or from contacts to their website or what customers ask them in person. What’s your stance there in terms of business owners asking and answering?

Joy Hawkins: We always suggest it and just in the main sense that if there’s one more piece of information you can put on your knowledge panel, why not? Like there’s nothing to lose by having it there and you can pick which question you really want to be upfront and center versus leaving it to fate.

It’s always preferable to kind of be proactive and to control what shows out there. I’ve seen way too many cases where I go to a business and like they have this question showing in their knowledge panel that’s bad. Like it’s not something you’d want to be showing there.

I used to look up Walmart examples all the time cause they were always the funniest. But you know, people being dumb or complaining about the business instead of, you know, actually asking the question. So I think putting your own in there is a good way to keep it to at least if one of those comes up in the future, you can control which one shows in the knowledge panel by upvoting. So it just comes down to which one has the most upvotes. Kind of funny how easy it is to influence that.

David Mihm: Yup, for sure. And just for clarification purposes, so we’ve—I think you and I both have probably already used both “business profile” and “knowledge panel” in this conversation. There’s again, another piece of confusing branding from Google in this space.

So the information that Google is presenting about you—as of what, maybe late 2018 I think?—Google started to call that your Google Business profile, whereas before they had referred to it as your Google Knowledge Panel where they’re trying to sort of present as much knowledge as they know about your business in this sort of card format. So just wanted to clarify that; there are enough acronyms and industry jargon that we throw around as marketing folks that that’s a really important one to be aware of.

Let’s talk a little bit about Q & A, and I couldn’t agree more. You know we’ve built that into our ThriveHive Grader tool as well as our sort of longer-term product strategy from—Certainly, as long as I’ve been at ThriveHive. So I couldn’t agree more that the Q & A is really important.

Google Posts

David Mihm: Let’s talk about the other maybe, probably the most visible feature that Google’s released in the last couple of years, which is Google Posts. So Joy, maybe if you don’t mind setting the stage on what posts are and how you advise business owners to make the best use of them.

Joy Hawkins: Yeah, so Posts, when they first came out—I was a huge advocate for, and I’m still a huge advocate for it—but I feel like it’s slightly diminished as far as the visibility of them. Cause last October, Google used to show the posts like at the first thing. You would do a search for a business, especially on mobile, and the Post would be at the very top right below the phone number.

Now we’re seeing it pushed way down on the page so they don’t quite get the same visibility that they used to, which is disappointing. But that being said, I still think it’s a huge opportunity for a business to actually be able to control a message in the search results. Like someone’s searching for your brand name could see a coupon or could see some new products you have for new service you have that you’re really trying to promote.

Joy Hawkins: So it’s a huge opportunity for all business types to be able to highlight that stuff. The one thing that we are seeing that’s kind of cool that we’re hoping actually stays is Google is starting to grab pieces from Posts and actually include them in the search results in the three pack.

So like you do a search for like “plumbers near me,” for example, and you get like a list of three results. Google is actually starting to feature, like if you mentioned the word “plumber” and a post, they’ll pull that information into the actual search results and say a little tidbit from the post and then link to, when you click on it, you see the posts. Which is really huge because that is something that like, I think every other feature, it doesn’t usually show up in the traditional three pack. It’s like you have to click and then once you’re on the business page, then you see it.

David Mihm: Exactly. And I think we’re going to start to see more of this looking into a very cloudy crystal ball. But I think we’re going to start to see more of this where Google is using alternate, you know, sort of not nontraditional directory information like Posts, like Q & A, those kinds of things to start to inform it’s sort of calculation of what businesses are relevant for given queries. There hasn’t necessarily—it’s very hard to do this study in terms of whether or not Posts impact rankings. But to your point, even if they don’t impact rankings for the phrases that you’re already showing up for, they can certainly impact conversion. If a customer is seeing something that you’ve mentioned in a post right alongside your business profile.

Using Posts Strategically

David Mihm: And we’re seeing pretty good usage of posts across the board from most of the folks who are coming in through Grader. Probably partly because we’re recommending it so strongly. It’s such a big piece of the algorithm but of our own algorithm as well. But one thing that I think is probably, or the one sort of under-focused on features of Posts is the type of Posts that you’re using.

We’re seeing just sort of stock posts being used more than 80% of the time, and things like offers and products down in the single digits. And I think, in particular, again looking into this crystal ball, that offers and products are really what’s going to get this sort of more specialized treatment and search. So that’s kind of how I would—I’d encourage folks to at least start trying out alternative post types as opposed to just the sort of standard learn more, those kinds of things.

Joy Hawkins: Yeah. Products in particular because it gets you a tab on mobile. So like we actually get a Products tab, and regardless of when you put the post up, it’s there. So unlike traditionally with Posts you post something and it only lasts for seven days. But with product posts, they technically stick on your Product tab forever. So that’s I think really impactful.

David Mihm: For sure, and it’s just more information that you can provide to customers who, even the ones who already know about you, right? It’s a way to really showcase what you’re doing and what you’re selling. So that’s for sort of product-focused businesses.

Service Area Businesses

David Mihm: Let’s talk about a historically very thorny, prickly issue, which is what we call service area businesses. So maybe you could just explain the distinction between product-focused business and a service area business.

Joy Hawkins: Yeah. So Google’s kind of change this quite a bit in the last four or five months on when you go to claim a listing inside Google My Business or create a listing, it specifically asks you like, are you wanting this business to show up on Maps or do you want the address? They word it in a way that could be a bit confusing, but they’re trying to understand if it’s supposed to be a service area business or if it’s supposed to be a mappable business.

And like service area business would be like, for example, Sterling Sky. We have an agency and we service clients and we have local clients, we have local clients that we meet up with, but we all work from home. So as the business owner, I would set up my listing using my home address, but I don’t necessarily want the world to know where I live.

So you have the option now to clear your address. If you’ve already set up your listing in the past and you’ve got your address in there, you can hit the clear button. But if you’re just setting up a brand new listing and you don’t want your address to show, you can just check that box. Basically when you’re signing up saying you don’t want it to be on Maps. And if you do that, basically Google does not show your address on the listing and they don’t even show anymore the city that you’re in.

So before it used to at least say like, oh, you know, Sterling Sky is in Oxbridge or whatever, now it doesn’t even show that. So it’s a lot more hidden than it used to be. I think this is coming out of privacy concerns obviously, and I’m sure Google wants to adhere to that. But the big thing that people still don’t get, which is just mind boggling because it’s been this way since forever. But I still get questions about it, like almost weekly, which is that the service areas you select inside the dashboard doesn’t actually impact where you rank.

David Mihm: There we go. That’s a huge, huge point for people to know. Just say it again one more time.

Joy Hawkins:  Yeah, so I, in Sterling Sky, for example, have set Toronto is my surface area. I’m like, okay, let you know what, let’s just say we serve as Toronto. I don’t rank in Toronto. Anywhere for anything. I rank in Oxbridge because that is where I live and that is the address that I used to verify the listing. So Google still bases your ranking on the address you use for verification, not what you’ve selected as your service area.

David Mihm: Exactly, and I think our colleague Miriam Ellis wrote a post recently on Moz about, you know, if there are certain things can do to start to increase your ranking beyond your sort of hyperlocal area. But yeah, like you said, Joy, setting the service area is not—it’s not one of those. It’s not like you can tell Google, all right, I want to be number one in Toronto even though I’m 40 miles outside or whatever. So that’s really great information.

Sole Practitioners of Parent Companies

David Mihm: Let’s talk about another topic that actually sorts of related. We get a lot of folks who are coming in as sort of sole practitioners who may have a home office or they’re part of a—they may have an office as well at sort of a parent, let’s say it’s a brokerage or something like that. You’ve been, I think—well I don’t think—you have been the sort of leading investigator in terms of visibility for individual practitioner listings. So like an individual insurance agent or an individual real estate agent. Talk a little bit about how Google treats those practitioners, in particular, when they are at their sort of parent company’s office.

Joy Hawkins: So I’ve actually changed my stance on this in the last few months. It’s kind of funny, I’m heavily featuring it in a lot of the conferences that I’m going be speaking at the next couple months because I was always of the opinion, if you’d asked me like a year ago, that creating those things for practitioners is generally not a good thing. I am finding that’s not necessarily true anymore. I think it’s just a matter of Google’s changed some of the ways that they filter results. So used to be that like, you know, if you had let’s say five listings at the same address, one for David Mihm, one for ThriveHive, and let’s just say you guys were allowed to have practitioner listings, one of them would show and the other would kind of get filtered. We’re seeing that to be less and less the case.

We see lots of listings showing together that are at the same address. So I think, again, something that Google’s been kind of evolving, but we’re also seeing really solid results from creating practitioner listings when there’s like five or six different categories that apply to your business.

So I’ll use dentists as examples because there’s like 13 or 14 categories that could apply to a dentist listing inside Google My Business. So one case that I was just actually writing yesterday for my Search Love presentation for June was this dentist we had and they really wanted to focus on, obviously, dentists terms. But they also want to focus on emergency dentist terms. There is a separate category for emergency dental versus just the regular dentists category. So this one dentist had his main office listing, but then he also had a listing for the dentist herself that works there.

So what we do is we switched the category on the dentist listing to “emergency dental.” Because the primary category in a listing gets more weight, it has more impact on where do you rank than any of the other categories, we saw a crazy uplift in their ranking for emergency terms. Because now she started ranking everywhere.

Before it was the practice, which didn’t have the “emergency dental” categorize their primary. So like using tricks like that and like using different landing pages we’re testing and like basically trying to make it so that with these different listings, you’re not all competing for the same terms. But you’re using the different lessons to rank better and have more relevance to more terms if that makes sense.

David Mihm: Right, exactly. So you’re advising then, for let’s say, folks who operate a multi-practitioner office, to sort of list practitioners as specializing in a given discipline. Is that a fair synopsis?

Joy Hawkins: Yeah, exactly. Like I would create a listing for an orthodontist, for example, that works in a dentist’s office because he’s a specialist and that’s what he does and then he’s going to automatically have more relevance for orthodontists terms.

The Importance of Categories

David Mihm: Got It. And we shouldn’t understate the importance of categories. We sort of glossed—my fault—we glossed over that and sort of the basic description of what Google My Business asks you for. But yes, your business category is maybe the most important relevance factor. It’s up there with your business name at the very least in terms of what phrases you’re going to rank for. And I think your point about, you know, being very specific with—in particular with practitioner listings—about your areas of expertise and listing those as your primary categories—that’s a great, great piece of advice.

Joy Hawkins: Yeah, I’m obsessed with categories so I love to follow the changes. The thing with them is they change. So like Google’s constantly adding new ones and then they delete ones and a lot of the ones that delete are stupid categories.

But there’s been a few in the last six months that are pretty substantial categories. So one that comes to mind, they deleted the drug rehab category last month, which is obviously not a small thing, right? Like it’s a pretty big impact. So we’re looking at comparing before and after ranking for various drug rehab terms. And it definitely changes the results when Google deletes a category or adds a category. Just another thing that people aren’t necessarily going to be alerted of, but categories are very important to keep track of.

Spam: Stop Crap on the Map

David Mihm: You gotta be aware of it. Yeah, absolutely. All right, so it looks like we’re sort of getting close to time, but I want to bring up one topic—yet another topic where you’ve sort of been leading the charge and to the point where you even have your own Hashtag and Tagline, which is a stop crap on the map. #stopcraponthemap.

You’ve been a really fierce advocate, I guess an anti-spam advocate in terms of fake business listings and fake reviews and that sort of thing. Give us the, in maybe a two-minute summary of the state of play with respect to spammy listings. And if you’re impacted by spammy listings in your market, what the sort of CliffsNotes for how to address those?

Joy Hawkins: Yeah. I’d say spam is a huge problem for a lot of industries—not everyone. Like you don’t see it in hotels, for example. Not really with restaurant either cause you can’t really create a fake restaurant and gain anything by it. Any industry where transactions can take place over the phone or you can meet the customer somewhere, that’s where you’ll see a lot of spam. Shockingly, we even see it for dentists because I guess they get the phone calls and then book the appointment at the real location.

But what we’re talking about with spam is like listings that aren’t supposed to exist on maps. Either the business doesn’t exist at the address that they listed. Virtual offices or various home addresses, you can literally buy someone’s home address on craigslist for, I don’t know, $2,500 depending on the ad and verify the listing there to get listed in the town that you’re not in cause you want to rank there. So that’s kind of one thing.

And then we also see one business creating multiple listings for themselves; one, you know, called “best SEO company,” one called “best local SEO company,” just targeting different keywords, right? So I’d say both of those and then fake reviews. I mean, literally just fake reviews, like people buying positive reviews or buying negative reviews for their competitors is a huge, I would say growing trend.

David Mihm: Yeah. So that’s unfortunate to hear that it’s growing as certainly as you know, we’ve seen all the resources that Google’s plowed into to the portal, Google My Business that we’ve been talking about. But on kind of the algorithmic side of things, those resources, unfortunately, seem to be less available.

Lightning Round

Reporting Spam

David Mihm: Okay, so that’s kind of the current state of play. I’m going to segway into a three-question lightning round based on that last topic, spam. So let’s say I do see a spammy listing. Let’s say I am David Mihm and I see somebody pop up with “best SEO consultant” right across the street from me. What is the best way to contact Google and get that taken down or looked at?

Joy Hawkins: So there’s a form that they came out with a couple of months ago called the “business redressal [complaint] form” … it’s a horrible name, but it’s actually unique.

David Mihm: Great name, great name.

Joy Hawkins: It’s not bad in the sense that if you search that on Google, you get it. So, you know, at least it’s unique. But yeah, the business redressal form is a form we have to send through Google. The biggest thing to keep in mind when you’re submitting that form is you’ve got to be detailed. A lot of people will just be like, “this is fake.” Well, you tell Google why it’s fake, like explain why violates their guidelines. So be as detailed as possible in the notes section when you send those in.

How to Contact Google My Business Support

David Mihm: Very good. And so that’s for spam. And how about for other just general things that are going on with your listing that might be awry. What’s the best practice?

Joy Hawkins: So there are various ways of contacting Google for your own listing. So they have Twitter and Facebook support. So social, I think on Twitter it’s @googlemybiz, on Facebook it’s Google My Business. So they have support there and it’s really good in the sense that most of them, most of the support on that channel is based in the U.S., but not all. The negative is that usually that you have to wait like two days usually to get a response. So pros and cons.

Phone support I’d avoid like the plague. People do it because it’s fast and they think that talking to someone on phone support is great. But I found since it’s pretty much a 100%, almost 100% overseas, it’s frustrating and not a great experience, so I haven’t used that in years.

Chat support if you can get on is great. It’s all in the U.S. from what I understand, at least from conversations I’ve had with various people. Chat is great if you’re, again, trying to contact Google about your own business. You cannot report a spammy competitor on chat or phone support.

David Mihm: Got It. So where do you access the chat support? Is that in the Google My Business dashboard directly or is there another place to get at it.

Joy Hawkins: There is not a direct link inside the Google My Business dashboard. You have to kind of go through prompts and stuff to get to the right thing. And then it sometimes says chat isn’t available because they have a very limited number of people that man chat. I find that get the same guy like 50% of the time. So I don’t know how many people are there, but I assume it’s much smaller. So yeah, the chat support option does not come up for everything.

What’s Your Favorite Local Search Forum Thread?

David Mihm:  Got It. Very good. Uh, all right and what’s so next, next lightning round question: What is your favorite local search forum thread of the last, let’s say six months that you’d like to highlight?

Joy Hawkins: Yeah, there’s one that’s a couple of weeks old that’s kind of still getting responses, which is fascinating me,  talking about the impact of hiding your address. So several people chimed in and basically said like, they were a service area business, but they never actually hit their address. They show at their home address or whatnot on Google maps, which is technically a violation, but not when the Google enforces.

A lot of these people are saying, we decided to hide our address and then we saw a huge drop in calls and that like blew my mind. So I was like, well, why would that happen? Like you wouldn’t think there’d be any difference. That thread has got enough different people chiming in saying the same thing, that it’s kind of substantial. That’s one that’s definitely perked my interest.

David Mihm: So especially if you’re one of these home office practitioners like we were talking about earlier, that’s a thread to pay attention to and we’ll make sure that that’s linked in the notes for the episode.

What’s One Area Small Businesses Should Pay More Attention To?

David Mihm: All right, and last thing before I let you go, let’s go a little bit more strategic. We’ve been pretty tactical and pretty specific throughout this call. But in terms of strategy, what’s one area on your peripheral view that you think small businesses maybe you should start paying a little bit more attention to?

Joy Hawkins: Other than the obvious get more reviews and all that stuff, I would say we still continually see the biggest wins from changes to your site. So there’s kind of this trend, the movement of like, oh, you don’t need a website. You can rank on Google or even use a Google My Business website.

I mean, great if people want to think that, but it’s definitely not true. So I would say focusing on making sure your content is good and your basic SEO elements like title tags and things have a massive impact on where you rank in the local results. That’s something I find that lately, people seem to be overlooking.

David Mihm: And that’s a perfect way to end this particular episode. We will definitely be having a complete episode dedicated to that very nuanced question of the position of websites, visa vi local search these days. But Joy, it’s been a real pleasure. Thanks so much for such a great conversation. What a great way to start our Found Bytes series! Where should people find you if they want to find out more after the episode?

Finding Joy Hawkins on the Web

Joy Hawkins: I’m very heavily on Twitter, so that’s where I usually spend a lot of time. And so you can find me there. Our website is www.sterlingsky.ca and then my local SEO training for those that want to know more about local SEO and keep up with all the changes, at guide.localu.org.

David Mihm: That’s great. Thanks so much, and I thoroughly endorse guide.localu.org. It is an absolutely comprehensive look at everything related to GMB. So thanks again, Joy for joining us. And thank you for listening. Hope you enjoyed our very first Found Bytes segment, and look forward to speaking with you on future episodes.

Thanks, everyone for listening to this episode of Found Bytes. Hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please share it with a colleague or a friend or leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. I hope you’ll join us for more conversations like this one as we talked to many more guests, including Dana DiTomaso, Greg Gifford and Cindy Crumb.

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If you can think of someone who should join me for a future conversation, please tweet at me @davidmihm or email dmihm@thrivehive.com. Thanks again for listening and for sharing feedback about the show and we’ll catch you on the next Found Bytes.

Sarah Cavicchi
Sarah Cavicchi
Sarah is the Head of Content for ThriveHive, where she creates strategic content assets to help business owners and marketers own their digital presence and connect with their customers. When she's not wordsmithing or brainstorming new ideas, she enjoys exploring Boston or curling up with a good book.

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