Local SEO Expert Q&A: 7 Answers from Joy Hawkins

Today we feature Joy Hawkin’s seven answers to seven questions from our exhaustive local SEO expert Q&A featuring 56 answers from some of the top local SEO experts. Check it out below!

Q 1: What do you think are going to be the biggest changes in local search within the next year that small businesses should pay attention to?

A 1: Google Posts Beta will be huge for SMBs.

Q 2: If you were a small, local shop selling baked goods or beverages with limited time to work with your online marketing, what are the top three things you would focus on in order of importance?

A 2: Ask customers for reviews on Google, Yelp & Facebook, Update my website with rich descriptions and photos of the recent food/beverages I sell, Network with other local businesses & organizations and try to get links from them.

Q 3: With the increase in mobile device usage, what do you think restaurants and online retailers should be doing as a minimum in regards to local SEO?

A 3: Make their site work on mobile! I can’t get over how many businesses don’t even have their phone number set up as click-to-call. Also tons of forms and features on sites don’t always work properly or easily on mobile.

Q 4: Do you think local SEO will get more or less important as time goes on?

A 4: I think it will be equally important but get harder to succeed with if you’re using a cookie-cutter approach.

Q 5: How do you think the advancements in virtual reality will affect local businesses in search, if at all?

A 5: I’m not sure. This would be a better question for my husband 😉

Q 6: Do you have any suggestions for in-house marketers to get buy-in on local SEO initiatives?

A 6: Sign up for my Local SEO training if you want an advanced look at Local SEO and the ability to get updated as new things happen and old tactics stop working.  If you are looking for a free way to keep on top of things, monitor the Local Search Forum.

Q 7: How important is Google My Business and Reviews as it relates to restaurants in local search?

A 7: Huge. Some of the highest-activity accounts I’ve seen for Google My Business were for restaurants. It’s one industry that isn’t very advanced at SEO usually due to budget constraints of restaurant owners who have a ton of overhead so if you get one player that comes along and can invest in SEO it can make a really big difference.

Joy’s Bio:

Joy Hawkins has been working in the Local SEO industry since 2006 and loves being a Google My Business Top Contributor. She also loves spending time managing Google AdWords accounts and has been certified in both Google Search & Display. She is also a speaker at various search engine marketing conferences such as SMX & LocalU and has a monthly column on Search Engine Land. She currently works as a the owner of Sterling Sky Inc in Uxbridge, ON, Canada. Joy’s daily responsibilities there include troubleshooting ranking issues on Google for the most complicated and difficult accounts, updating her training manual (The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO.), consulting on how to use Google products and SEO-related tools and tactics, selling and managing local SEO, social media and AdWords accounts for small business owners, and keeping up with new trends and processes in the local SEO and search engine marketing (SEM) world. You can connect with her on G+ or follow her on Twitter.