LocalU Author Page

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.

What You Need to Know about Updates from Customers on Google Maps

By Joy Hawkins / February 11, 2022

Recently Barry Schwartz wrote about the “Updates from Customers” feature that people are starting to see more regularly on Google Maps. I wanted to share some things that I’ve learned about the feature and how it works. You probably won’t be seeing large volumes of customer-added photos just yet. The feature is still pretty buried…

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Google My Business Disables Select Categories for Service Area Businesses

By Joy Hawkins / August 6, 2021

Several weeks ago, a thread came up on the Local Search Forum where Jim Frolling noticed a business had their primary category in Google My Business changed from “tire store” to “wheel shop”.  He noticed that this appeared to happen to every single listing on Google that did not have their address displayed publicly (known…

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Google My Business Adds Labels for New Listings

By Joy Hawkins / June 3, 2021

My colleague Dave DiGregorio noticed this morning that Google has a “New on Google” label that is showing beside listings in both the local pack results and the local finder. ‘ This feature can be really useful for keeping an eye on your competition and also identifying listings for your own brand that recently got…

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Google Won’t Remove Negative Reviews That are Constantly Updated

By Joy Hawkins / June 3, 2021

There are lots of frustrating scenarios that I read regularly where small businesses are plagued by negative reviews on Google.  This one that I helped on the Google My Business forum caught my attention because I was really surprised that Google wouldn’t remove it. This business owner has had a customer update his negative review…

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Google Maps Highlighting Businesses That Have Posted Recently

By Joy Hawkins / April 15, 2021

Today I spotted a test that Google is doing on the Google Maps app. So far, none of my colleagues have been able to reproduce this themselves.  What I’m noticing is that Google is adding a red dot and drawing attention to the “Updates” tab for businesses that have recently added a Google post. From…

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Google Clarifies Phone Numbers Are Not Allowed in Google My Business Posts

By Joy Hawkins / April 7, 2021

Many of us in the local search industry know that including phone numbers in Google My Business posts often results in the post getting rejected.  However, as of today, Google has finally added this to their guidelines. In the help article on Google Posts policies, Google has added the following: Phone stuffing To avoid the…

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Google Testing Mobile SERPS With No 3-Packs

By Joy Hawkins / March 30, 2021

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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Request a Quote - GMB

Why You Should Think Twice About Activating GMB Messaging

By Joy Hawkins / March 26, 2021

Recently, Sherry Bonelli alerted me to a rather disturbing fact about the Google My Business messaging feature.  When she went to a Google My Business listing and clicked on the “Request a Quote” button, she saw something that the business owner might not like.  After submitting her quote, it gave her a screen that asked…

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Google My Business Launches Tool to Manage Review Removal Requests

By Joy Hawkins / March 16, 2021

Google has just launched a new handy tool to help people keep track of reviews they have reported to Google for removal.  If you visit this link it will bring you to a page where you can select your business and see a list of the reviews that you currently have reported and a list…

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Possible Ranking Update on February 24, 2021

By Joy Hawkins / February 26, 2021

Barry Schwartz alerted me to the fluctuations in local search ranking over on our forum.  After checking a dozen or so clients of ours, I’m seeing pretty drastic shifts in ranking on most of them.  I’m seeing the same thing that Bright Local’s flux tracker is showing, which is that the changes started on February…

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