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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

The GMB User’s Guide Google Forgot To Publish

I don’t often express pride publicly but one thing I am very proud of is LocalU. Over the years this group of talented Local SEO’s has led the industry in educating and training small businesses and agencies in ethical, sustainable and leading edge Local SEO. One such effort is Joy Hawkin’s new training manual, The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO.

I invited Miriam Ellis of Moz and Solas Design to explore the manual and here is her review:

Just like the human brain, Local SEO has two sides: the creative and the technical. When we clarify a local business’ marketing vision, craft content, help draft owner responses and seek new ways to earn reviews, we’re in right-side creative mode. When we hunt for duplicate listings, need to see all the categories a competitor is using, or manage a NAP overhaul when a client moves to a new location, Local SEOs move to the left side of brain – the technical side.

It’s within the latter – the technical hemisphere – that The Expert’s Guide To Local SEO stands as an unprecedented resource for managing the most challenging and sparsely-documented daily tasks agencies and businesses face. How do you unverify a listing? Do listings marked closed really hurt open businesses? What is the difference between a soft and a hard GMB suspension and what can you do about them?

Google Has Been Lacking 

Google has never done an adequate job explaining the technical details of how to work with its powerful local product – in fact, the meagerness of their documentation is legendary. And this is precisely why agencies and enterprises will feel a kind of light-headed, amazed empowerment opening the pages of this guide, which is the joint effort of Joy Hawkins and LocalU – recognized industry experts. Here are all of the technical procedures you need, all in one place, to answer nearly every question that surfaces about the in-the-trenches procedures for building and maintaining a healthy local, digital presence.

Your team could spend 20 minutes trying to find an article that describes how to contact Google’s various support platforms, or you could just open this guide. You could try to figure out on your own how to find a listing CID number (good luck!), or you could just open this guide and follow the clearly documented, well-illustrated instructions.

For the relative beginner in the field, you’ll also find sound pointers on the basics of local-focused website design, understanding Yelp’s filter, and why citations matter. But the greatest strength of this landmark eBook is in the time it will save all readers dealing with the nitty-gritty of daily dealings with Google My Business and the various local data formats. In this regard, The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO stands alone as the most comprehensive eBook on the market, almost guaranteed to to up the game of even very advanced practitioners.

Extra Value, Built-In

The chief hurdle to writing Local SEO book of lasting value lies in the fact that the pace of change in our industry is dizzying. Guidelines change, major updates happen, practices that once moved the needle just don’t anymore. If you publish a static manual on the topic of Local SEO, parts of it are almost guaranteed to become outdated within a couple of years – if only because Google keeps rebranding its local product!

Fortunately, the experts behind The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO have foreseen this reality, and it’s a tremendous and necessary value-add that purchasing the book comes with an offer to subscribe at a reasonable price to future updates. It’s an opportunity to learn from Hawkins and team not just once, but continuously.

True Enlightenment

I’ve been working in the Local space for over a decade now, and in that time, I’ve seen a few extremely bright people arrive on the industry scene and really light it up. David Mihm is one, with his vision of the need for automated local business data management. Phil Rozek, with his creative thinking and exceptional communication style, is another. Joy Hawkins joins these enlightened ranks with the publication of The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO. For the past few years, industry insiders have been repeatedly wowed by her ability to root out and solve the most abstruse technical problems and I have personally learned so much from her highly-specialized expertise. It’s my hope, that with this partnership with LocalU and with the publication of this guide, marketers at every level of experience are about to start learning from Hawkins in a way that will make a truly meaningful difference in their skill set and in the quality of service they offer to clients.

— Miriam Ellis is the Local SEO Subject Matter Expert at Moz and runs her own Local Search Marketing Agency, Solas Web Design.


The Price?

$1499 is not what you call cheap. But my assessment and of those that have bought and read is that the Expert’s Guide to Local SEO is worth every penny of the $1499. It is both a great guide and for experts.

The price includes 3 months of Local U forum membership ($320 value) and 3 months of updates to the guide. With that you can ask Joy and the rest of the Local U team any question you want.