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Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.

Google Review Replies Disappearing

By Joy Hawkins / May 6, 2024

Nov 23, 2020 Update: The missing responses appear to all be back now. It’s another week and another round of Google review issues. On Wednesday, November 11th, there was a technical issue that prevented new Google from being published. This technical issue lasted two days. The team was able to identify the problem, and the…

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Google Testing Mobile SERPS With No 3-Packs

By Joy Hawkins / May 6, 2024

In the last couple of weeks, Google has been slowly testing a change to mobile search results that is one of the biggest changes I have seen in local search in quite some time.  Last week, Mariano Rodriguez from LawRank asked us if we were noticing more 2-packs in the search results.  After doing a…

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SGE Example

How Google’s New AI Impacts Local Search

By Joy Hawkins / July 5, 2023

Recently, at Google IO, they announced that they would be experimenting with integrating AI into the search results. This experience is called Search Generative Experience (SGE) and is currently being tested via Search Labs. You can sign up to see how it looks here.  We wanted to see how this experience looks for local…

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Why does Google show a 4.8 rating when I have all 5-star reviews

Why does Google show a 4.8 rating when I have all 5-star reviews?

By Joy Hawkins / January 26, 2023

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2023 Why Does Google Show a 4.8 Rating When I Have All 5 Stars? It is a question that comes up repeatedly on Mike’s blog and in the Google Business Profile help forum leaving many people asking “How does Google review rating work?” If you have a review score average on…

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Did you know you can post videos in Google reviews?

By Joy Hawkins / January 25, 2023

Recently in our Facebook group (Local Search Insiders), David Hills pointed out that you can add videos to your reviews on Google. Apparently, this feature has existed for a while but it’s really easy to miss because it is not an option on a desktop. When you go to leave a review on your computer,…

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How to Export Google Business Profile Data With NMX Dashboard Insights Report

By Joy Hawkins / January 22, 2023

[Ed. note: The following is a guest article written for Local U by Chris Ratchford of Sterling Sky] How To Export Google Business Profile Data One of the biggest challenges agencies face working with small businesses is reporting. Historically, the process required to export Google Business Profile data has been complicated, and hard to find.…

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Why You Should Add Videos to Your Google Business Profile

By Joy Hawkins / December 12, 2022

Google has given business owners the ability to add videos to their Google Business Profile for quite a while. Up until now, there has never been a compelling reason to add them to your profile. They were usually buried and we have found that adding things like Google Business Profile photos and videos to your…

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3 Tips for the New Google Business Profile Manager Dashboard (Now Called New Merchant Experience)

By Joy Hawkins / December 7, 2022

Google recently launched a new dashboard on the Google Business Profile Manager (formerly Google My Business). It is called the New Merchant Experience (NMX). Here are a few tips to help with this new dashboard. 1.  See Performance Improvement Year Over Year When you initially go into the performance metrics, it only shows data for…

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Google Adds Guidelines for Delivery-Only Food Businesses

By Joy Hawkins / May 7, 2022

While on vacation recently, my kids were extremely excited to try out Mr. Beast Burger. They have a pretty interesting business model as they don’t have their own locations and operate out of physical restaurants.  When you place the order, the food that arrives comes from a local restaurant but is delivered with all the…

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1-Star Reviews Have Increased on Yelp for 4 Years in a Row

By Joy Hawkins / February 21, 2022

Yelp releases data every year that shows the star rating distribution for all reviews left on their site. I recorded the numbers that were listed in their reports for the last 4 years to see what trends they show.  There are two main things that stick out: The number of people that leave 2, 3,…

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