Speaker 1: 00:00:01 On this episode of Edge of the Web.EP344 Transcript

Sherry Bonelli: 00:00:04 Google My Business is not an entitlement. You’re not owed a Google My Business listing. So people think they deserve it, they’ve earned it just because they have a business. That’s not the case, okay? So if you do qualify, you should definitely claim your Google My Business listing, but not just claim it, you need to optimize it and you need to keep on it and keep checking it, and keep adding to it.

Speaker 1: 00:00:32 Your weekly digital marketing trends with industry trendsetting guests. You’re listening and watching Edge of the Web. Winners of best podcast from the Content Marketing Institute for 2017. Here at Seymour and edgeofthewebradio.com, now here’s your host, Erin Sparks.

Erin Sparks: 00:00:56 All right hey, this is Edge of the Web radio, episode 344. I’m your host Erin Sparks. Every week we bring you amazing guests to chat with and unpack digital marketing trends and news. Every week we actually do a deep dive with different concepts with our digital marketing audience. Whether you are part of an agency, or a part of a firm that has a marketing department, or a freelancer, this show is for you. So if you want to check out all the recent shows over at edgeofthewebradio.com. That’s edgeofthewebradio.com.

Erin Sparks: 00:01:29 If you’re new to the show, welcome. Great to have you on board. Let’s show you the ropes real quick. Every show that we start off with is live on YouTube at 3:00 PM Eastern. From there we actually break off our YouTube videos and video into Facebook content and other errant video platforms. We also take our audio, take it to iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, iHeartMedia, Spotify, all the podcast aggregators. If we’re not where you usually listen to your podcast, let us know, and we’ll certainly get our content there. Then we’ll actually take everything, take it to transcripts, go into vlog content, social media content alike. So we are moving mightily content on a regular basis into the digital omni-channel new media space. How about bells for buzzwords for you?

Erin Sparks: 00:02:18 The Edge of the Web is actually brought to you by our title sponsor Site Strategics. They’re an agile digital marketing firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pioneers in the agile methodology. We focus on SEO, technical SEO, social media management, social media marketing, search engine marketing, conversion rate, optimization, website development and much more, including email marketing and the like. We build an app every once in a while as well. So if you’re interested in results-based marketing on the digital front that actually work, that’s what agile is, literally shifting and changing based on results. Who knew? Go over to sitestrategics.com and connect with us. We’ll be happy to sit down and talk with you for an hour or so, and unpack some digital marketing tactics towards your success. If there’s a relationship there, who knows, you might be able to connect with us and we can march ahead into building better and better digital marketing ROI.

Erin Sparks: 00:03:10 All right, I’m going to invite the team on board here. They just came back from SMX, and boy are our arms tired.

Jacob Mann: 00:03:18 Not really, at one point, I thought we were going to take a bus back to Seattle.

Erin Sparks: 00:03:20 Oh my gosh. So here’s the thing, is that literally, we’re on one plane that has to be rebooted twice. We’re in dead silence. I mean, there is darkness on the plane and they’re telling us they are doing some software corrections. Just like you’re actually powering down your phone, right? Praying you don’t have to do a hard boot. So there’s one. Then-

Jacob Mann: 00:03:43 To be clear, this is while we’re still on the ground.

Erin Sparks: 00:03:45 Yes.

Jacob Mann: 00:03:46 [crosstalk 00:03:46] open the doors and let air go through. Mid-flight-

Allie: 00:03:48 Mid-flight, it turns off.

Jacob Mann: 00:03:49 … hey guys, we’re going to reboot the computer.

Erin Sparks: 00:03:50 Yeah, and then we also, on the way back, we get ferried out to a gangplank that’s three stories high onto the tarmac of a plane in the Seattle Airport. So they didn’t build a building big enough to house all their planes, I guess.

Jacob Mann: 00:04:08 Yeah, that’s my first experience with that. Yeah. So the terminal we were in was nothing but buses, which from Seattle to Indiana is kind of scary.

Erin Sparks: 00:04:14 Yeah, well, we certainly appreciate the partnership with Third Door Media. They had us out as media partners. We got a lot of really good footage of different exhibitors as well as speakers out at the engagement. I think we’re having a good relationship there. We’re going to be putting forth some of the content from that show as well as working with SMX and Third Door in the future. So you may very well see us out at SMX Advanced in June to be able to possibly do some live streaming out there as well. I think we got a really good gander at what we could do with the Third Door team and they’re excited about this next level that we could possibly bring to SMX. What are your thoughts about the entire conference, guys?

Jacob Mann: 00:04:56 I had a great time. I was exhausted. We were doing the various tracks. We were doing our own thing as well. But it was neat as a team to be able to sit down and split up the tracks and decide this is good for the group or there are three things here that are good for the group or whatever. It was just nice to be able to split up and then get back together and not be locked into any one specific thing. Like you could really bounce all over the place or you could be laser focused on just one area. Whatever works for your team.

Erin Sparks: 00:05:25 Yeah. Allie, what do you think?

Allie: 00:05:27 Yeah, well, I had my whole schedule of all my tracks and I never even followed my schedule [crosstalk 00:05:31]-

Erin Sparks: 00:05:31 Oh, yeah. I mean, you were well organized-

Allie: 00:05:34 I know.

Erin Sparks: 00:05:34 … and we broke that apart like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube. Bash.

Allie: 00:05:38 I almost want to go back and update my calendar of what [crosstalk 00:05:41]-

Erin Sparks: 00:05:41 Where you were?

Allie: 00:05:42 Yeah.

Erin Sparks: 00:05:44 No, that was some really good information out there. So we applaud all of the speakers at SMX. They did a fantastic job. Those slide decks are forthcoming. They’re all popping all over the place. Be sure to check those out. We certainly do recommend you go out to SMX Advanced and got to check out the West and the East because they’re really rolling through some great information on a regular basis. All right. So what we’re doing here on the show, some housekeeping notes. A guest that are upcoming here very soon, Chuck Fields, we’re going to be talking about podcasting SEO on the second of March. Britney Muller from Moz is actually on the ninth. That’ll be a bang up show. JD Prater from Quora PPC is on the 16th. Aaron Levy of Tinuiti is on the 23rd. Amy Bishop is going to be talking to us on PPC on the 30th of March. Then we have John Henshaw coming back around on the sixth of April. We’re talking Coywolf and everything he gets freaked out about. So that’s always a fun show. So there’s a good lineup there.

Erin Sparks: 00:06:41 Check over at edgeofthewebradio.com on a regular basis to get updated on the upcoming shows. We keep that fresh online on the line. It’s on the line. If you’re interested in being part of the show or if you know someone who wants to jump in here and shoot the proverbial stuff with us on digital marketing, let us know. Go over to and just email to info@sitestrategics.com. Nope, info@edgeofthewebradio.com. I always do that.

Jacob Mann: 00:07:14 Just email us everywhere.

Erin Sparks: 00:07:15 Email us at all the spaces and we’ll be certainly reaching out to you and see what we can do to get you on the show. Set your reminders on YouTube and make sure that you get notified whenever we go live at 3:00 PM Eastern every Monday. All right. Last bit of news, last bit of information, Edge fans, we are honestly wanting to have your feedback on our site. Let us know what you want to hear from us on the show. if it’s advanced SEO, if it’s more social media focused, if it’s local search like we’re going to be talking about today, if there’s any topics that we are touching or you haven’t heard us recently, let us know. We are trying to poll our audience and get some good information. We got a lot of good responses for what you want to see in 2020. So just go over to edgeofthewebradio.com. There’s a poll right there. Anonymous. We won’t use it for anything else except just making sure that we’re giving you the best show content possible. So go check that out over at edgeofthewebradio.com.

Erin Sparks: 00:08:09 All right. We’re now going to pivot around. Be sure that you actually check out our news breakdown of the show with Sherry Bonelli coming up in a little while after this. But for now, let’s deep dive with this week’s featured guest.

Speaker 1: 00:08:25 Now it’s time for Edge of the Web Featured Interview with Sherry Bonelli, owner at Early Bird Digital Marketing.

Erin Sparks: 00:08:35 All right. We got Sherry Bonelli in the house. Welcome back, Sherry. It’s been two years since you’ve been on this show.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:08:42 It has been, but I’m happy to be back again. Thank you.

Erin Sparks: 00:08:46 We are more than happy to have you here. Hey, what you been doing?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:08:48 I have been busy. I have been very busy focusing on Google My Business lately. I was recently selected by Google to be a silver product Google My Business expert-

Erin Sparks: 00:09:00 Congratulations.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:09:00 … so that has been keeping me busy.

Erin Sparks: 00:09:02 Very good, very good. Yes, you have. Now, for our audience who does not know, Sherry, let’s introduce her to you. She’s the founder and CEO of Early Bird Digital Marketing and has written a series of articles on Search Engine Land about the benefits of podcasting, and how SEOs can use it to help improve their organic presence. I want to harken back to our old show that we did because we unpacked a lot about podcasting and SEO and we got into a world of inception because we are literally doing our optimization on that show, talking about optimization on podcasting. It kind of-

Sherry Bonelli: 00:09:37 Yeah, yeah.

Erin Sparks: 00:09:37 You got to check that out. So she is a Google My Business silver product expert and a columnist on the leading digital market websites like Search Engine Land, Moz, SEMrush, Bright Local, Geomarketing Score and others. She’s also received Search Engine Land’s 2018 SEO Contributor of the Year award and her local search engine optimization blog posts are among the most shared and read online. So kudos to that. You’re also, Sherry, a columnist for those digital marketing websites like SEL, Moz, at SEMrush, Bright Local, Score, all those, so you’re constantly pushing out content. You’re also a regular speaker at national and local industry events, webinars, and podcasts. I guess you are kind of busy, aren’t you?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:10:17 Yeah, I love it. Absolutely.

Erin Sparks: 00:10:19 All right. So for our audience, there’s the official bio. Now let’s hear about the freakiness of digital marketing, how you got to be in the space you are.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:10:30 Yeah. It’s actually kind of a crazy journey that I had. So I got started doing digital marketing because I started an eCommerce business. After my son was born, I invented a baby product and I decided to launch that. I knew I needed a website and it was back in the days. It was like 1998. So there were really no website building tools out there, so my first website was literally crap. I decided to start selling my product and realized that I needed to add other products to my website in order to actually make some money. It was right when PayPal had come out, so my first eCommerce sale was actually a check that I got in the mail. That’s how leery people were about adding credit cards to the internet.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:11:21 So I started on eCommerce and I knew that search engine optimization was a must. I needed to learn how to rank higher. So I basically taught myself all of the search engine optimization strategies that I learned today. It’s just amazing how much it’s evolved. I mean, back in the day, I was ranking for key words like pregnancy and baby and all of these basic key words. But now, man, it is so changed. I mean, I don’t honestly even know if I’d want to get into the eCommerce space right now just with how competitive it is. But back then, it was very easy to get ranked for just those basic key words. But it really got me started with search engine optimization because it was almost like a puzzle to me. How do I do this? How do I understand what the search engines are looking for? And those types of things. So that’s how I got started.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:12:17 It was a really successful business. Unfortunately I had to let it go for personal reasons and then I decided to just take my expertise and help local businesses. So that’s how I got started.

Erin Sparks: 00:12:29 Very good, very good. So you’ve been doing local optimization for a good number of years. In that space, you’ve seen… We all agree that the game has changed completely in national SEO, international SEO. But the local SEO space has just exploded and with that, Google My Business has truly jumped into a key space of value for businesses, small, medium, and large business to be able to take hold and connect with consumers even before they reach the brand’s website. So there’s a huge unpacking that I’d like to do regarding Google My Business. It’s a huge factor and you’re right there in the middle of it. So first and foremost, what’s it mean to be a silver product expert? Let’s unpack that real quick.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:13:20 Yeah, sure. So being a product expert with Google basically means that Google has a support forum for people that have questions about Google My Business. So there are volunteers that literally volunteer their time to answer questions about Google My Business. So a lot of business owners will go to the forum and say, “I’ve been suspended. I don’t know what to do next,” or, “There’s a bad review, a fraudulent review, on my website, on my Google My Business listing. What do I do?” Those types of things. So there are a handful of volunteers that go in there and answer those questions. What Google does is they keep track of who’s answering those questions, how correct those answers are, how polite they are, how helpful those answers are, and then several times a year, they go in and select a handful of people who have shown that they’ve gone above and beyond in answering and helping. So this year, I was selected to be a silver product expert. The next level is gold and then the next level is platinum. There’s very few platinum, there’s very few gold, and then there’s a handful of silver product experts.

Erin Sparks: 00:14:35 Well, congratulations to that. And how long-

Sherry Bonelli: 00:14:36 Thank you.

Erin Sparks: 00:14:37 No, you’re more than welcome. How long does it take to actually get that type of allocation there?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:14:44 Yeah, I’ve been working on answering questions for about two years now.

Erin Sparks: 00:14:47 There you go.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:14:47 Yeah. So the main trick, if you’re interested in being a product expert, is consistency. So you need to be going in every day and answering questions. So it’s not like you can answer a question and then leave for two weeks and then answer another question. It really is about consistency.

Erin Sparks: 00:15:04 Got it.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:15:04 The funny thing is it can literally consume your entire day if you let it.

Erin Sparks: 00:15:08 I bet.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:15:08 So that’s a challenge. It’s kind of like walking away and getting to work on your real clients, but it really is about answering questions. Basically what I’ve done is I’ve created a big, huge document of questions and answers, a resource document about Google My Business, so that when people do ask questions, I just go to that document, search for the answer, and I’m able to more quickly compose an answer for [crosstalk 00:15:34]-

Erin Sparks: 00:15:34 You’ve got your own personal Wiki there.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:15:36 I have a cheat sheet, yes.

Erin Sparks: 00:15:37 There you go.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:15:37 Exactly. Yeah.

Erin Sparks: 00:15:39 That’s good. Well, and that demonstrates a little of discipline that a lot of marketers don’t participate in. But you’re also seeing that Google’s vetting that content, vetting your answers, and providing that level of quality to you as a professional. So that’s fantastic. We’re certainly going to see you continue to participate into those additional levels.

Erin Sparks: 00:16:03 So we wanted to bring you on the show because we haven’t talked about GMB for a while. A few shows ago, we did. It’s a constant drum beat of things. We certainly want to recommend our listeners, go to the news articles because we have covered a number of different, very specific local search news briefs. But I want to get into what GMB is. We wanted to also unpack some optimization techniques. But before anything else, for the users, for the audience, that don’t know, let’s talk about maybe small, medium sized businesses that have no understanding of what Google My Business is. What does it mean in local search? What is this asset that Google is providing you?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:16:46 Yeah, so Google basically gives certain businesses that qualify a free listing on their platform. To me, that’s huge. I mean, what better way to get on a search engine, especially Google, which is the largest search engine, than to get a free listing? Now, what business owners need to keep in mind is not all businesses qualify. There are a handful of businesses that do not qualify for Google My Business. Google My Business is not an entitlement. You’re not owed a Google My Business listing. So people think they deserve it, they’ve earned it just because they have a business. That’s not the case, okay?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:17:28 so if you do qualify, you should definitely claim your Google My Business listing. But not just claim it, you need to optimize it and you need to keep on it and keep checking it and keep adding to it. Because there are a lot of people that don’t realize, for instance, that anybody can go in there and make suggested changes and actually change information about your listing. You might not even know it if you’re not checking and keeping up on that. So over the years, Google has really made some great enhancements and features adding to Google My Business that allows business owners to really create a very robust Google My Business, what we call, knowledge panel, which displays and shows a lot of information about your business.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:18:16 Almost so much that customers and searchers can almost make a decision just by looking at your Google My Business knowledge panel as to whether or not they want to even do business with you. They can see reviews, they can see photos, they can see your business description, your hours of operation. They can see so much information that they can almost make a decision right then and there whether or not they even want to call your business, visit your website, or even stop by and see what you have to offer.

Erin Sparks: 00:18:46 That’s really important, is to recognize that there’s been a constant discussion about Google presenting more and more of their assets between you and your customer. Your customer is actually interacting with GMB now to a much greater degree and we’ll go through a number of these key points. But what does it represent to you as a brand? It certainly displays your personality. If you are optimizing, if you are cultivating this property that they have, it also gives an open environment for consumers to be able to review you directly, which is the consumer report, so to speak, of the internet. On top of that, you also have another set of analytics to actually look at. Those behaviors on that GMB are measurable. You can see traffic to that particular GMB. You can see address navigation, click-throughs to the website, and calls all before that consumer even interacts with your own website property. So that’s what we were talking about there. This is a high decision-making criteria for consumers to evaluate your business as a whole because it’s given consumers the ability to draw their own conclusions and communicate about your brand. It’s huge.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:20:08 Right, exactly. The one thing is Google wants users to contribute to your Google My Business profile. They want that. They want that user generated content because those users, or your customers, are unbiased hopefully. You know what I mean? A business is always going to say good things about themselves, but if customers can upload photos, if they can upload reviews and ask questions, that’s going to be unbiased information that is going to only benefit other searchers that are looking for information about whether or not they want to do business with that company.

Erin Sparks: 00:20:49 Absolutely. I want to make sure that we let our audience know if you want to go live with us every Monday at 3:00, make sure you go and hit that bell on our YouTube subscription. So you can actually go live with us and ask our guest some questions as well. All right. Jumping back into our optimization tactics. We’ve got a block of time here. We want to break down some key optimization tactics here. Now, for those users who have not acquired their Google My Business, we want to do a quick run-through of some of the initial steps that we have to do to be able to grab a whole list and then we’ll actually get into some deeper optimization, execution.

Erin Sparks: 00:21:27 So NAP, name, address, and phone number accuracy. The first stage of all this is knowing how possibly disconnected your NAP is. What’s the importance of NAP when it comes down to local search and especially GMB?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:21:45 Right. I think over the years, with regard to citation sites or online directories and Google, which essentially is a citation site, the consistency is not as important as it once was-

Erin Sparks: 00:22:00 Oh, good.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:22:00 … but it’s still very important. I mean, in my opinion, you still always want to strive to have your company’s name, address, and phone number match whenever possible. Now the challenge is, or what a lot of businesses don’t realize, is Google probably already has your business in their system. You’re probably already there. So if you do a search for your business, chances are you’re already there. You just may not have claimed your profile yet.

Erin Sparks: 00:22:28 There it is.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:22:29 Yeah. So the information’s probably there. So what I generally tell my customers is if you’re going to use a name, address, and phone number, I usually start with whatever Google has as your address and use that for other online directories. So if a business is just getting started with all of this, I generally say, “What does Google have as your address? Use that on all the other online directories [crosstalk 00:22:55]-“

Erin Sparks: 00:22:55 Even if it’s not what you’ve been posting on business cards. Kind of steer into the skid, so to speak, right?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:23:00 Yeah, yeah. That’s what I recommend because-

Erin Sparks: 00:23:02 That’s a good point. Yeah.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:23:03 Yeah, yeah.

Erin Sparks: 00:23:04 So we do want to give to our audience one quick thing. If you want to have a look at your NAP, you can actually go over… Site Strategics has a quick analysis tool. If you go to edgeofthewebradio.com/NAP, you can actually jump on there, put your information in, and you’ll be able to see on all the different citation listings what discrepancies you have out there. This is nothing but just giving you some information as an Edge listener. Sorry about that. As we were talking about this, I wanted to give our audience something they could at least get a feedback loop on.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:23:35 Absolutely. You’re going to be surprised at the inconsistencies that you find. [crosstalk 00:23:40]-

Erin Sparks: 00:23:40 Yeah, don’t be scared of it, but it does show you that these are some key things that could be optimized relatively easily over a period of time. Just centralize it, normalize that data that is your digital asset out there. All right. So claiming the business is very easy to be able to go search for the business online, see your information. If you don’t have access to it, you can claim that information. Now, there’s a verification process. We’ve gone through it before in different aspects on the show, but quickly, Google gives you the opportunity of clicking on do you own this business or do you claim this business link on mobile. Go through and you go through a request for ownership verification. Right?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:24:24 Yeah, verification. Yeah.

Erin Sparks: 00:24:25 So what different verification types are there for claiming your business?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:24:28 Yeah, so typically most people are going to get the option to receive a postcard in the mail. The reason why Google does that is they want to actually verify that there is a physical location for that business because, and we can probably talk about this later, there’s a lot of people that are setting up fake locations and fake businesses. So what Google wants to do is send a postcard to the actual location that you have entered as your business and make sure that there’s a physical building there, that someone’s actually going to pick up that mail, and then you’re going to enter the PIN, which is a numbers, and log back into your business platform and verify it.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:25:12 Now, what I find on the Help Forum is a lot of people are saying, “I don’t get mail at my business,” or, “The post office doesn’t deliver to my address.” I’m just blown away by that. To me, in this day and age, I don’t understand, especially in the United States, that the post office doesn’t deliver to an address. That just-

Erin Sparks: 00:25:33 Maybe they were moving… Maybe they’re a roving van. That’s what they do their business out of.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:25:38 I just don’t get it. I mean, I’m just… They’re like, “Well, can you email me? Can you text message me?” I’m like, “No. They can’t.” Now, Google does do that for certain businesses. We don’t really know why or what criteria Google uses to determine what verification process Google selects for you. But whatever option they give you, that’s what you do. You know what I mean? So for instance, one of my clients is a landscaper. He had a Google My Business profile that was there and it was unclaimed. When we went to go claim it, he was one of the lucky ones where he was given the option to receive a text message. Why? I don’t know. But we were like, “Yes, that’s cool.”

Erin Sparks: 00:26:21 [crosstalk 00:26:21].

Sherry Bonelli: 00:26:20 Now, the unfortunate thing is once he claimed it and we got rid of his home address, because he runs his business out of his home, he immediately got suspended.

Erin Sparks: 00:26:29 Oh, my.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:26:29 So, I mean, stuff like that happens. But he was allowed to verify via text message. But that doesn’t happen very often. Most people are going to verify via postcard. So you need to wait about seven to 14 days, usually about seven days. You’ll receive a postcard. What I tell people is let anybody know, whoever’s checking the mail at your office, that they’re going to receive a postcard. It may look like junk mail or spam mail. Keep it, let the person know who’s attention, and give it to them. So just give everybody a head’s up that they should be looking for a postcard from Google.

Erin Sparks: 00:27:07 Yeah. Just to touch on, but we won’t dive into it, they also have some video chat verification if I’m not mistaken.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:27:13 Yup.

Erin Sparks: 00:27:13 And there are Google trusted verifiers out there as well that can also assist in some of this navigation if I’m not mistaken.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:27:21 Yeah, that program has changed quite a bit. They recently announced a change to it. So that program now is agencies can’t belong to that program. It’s meant for larger organizations like Chamber of Commerces. Score, for instance, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Score, but I am a Score mentor. Score organizations or local Score chapters, they can be instant verifiers as well.

Erin Sparks: 00:27:50 Oh, very cool.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:27:50 I can remember how they renamed the program. So for instance, as a Score mentor, I can go ahead and verify people on the spot pretty much. But that’s really meant for larger organizations that deal with a bunch of businesses and it’s primarily meant for those organizations that do training, like Google My Business. Yeah.

Erin Sparks: 00:28:12 Got it. So we’re going to send all of our verification requests over to Sherry and you’ll take care of all that, right?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:28:18 Yeah, no.

Erin Sparks: 00:28:21 All righty. All right. So with that, quickly, we also want to reference that you want to claim as you claim, that you want to also verify your business account and claim the short name for your business. Briefly, what is the short name when it comes down to GMB?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:28:37 Yeah, so a short name is almost like a handle, almost like a Twitter handle or basically a short name for your business. So in the past, if you wanted to have someone leave a review for you for instance, you would have to, say, go to Google, enter in my business name and address. The knowledge panel will show up. Look at that, click on the review button, and leave me a review. The short names allow you to basically say go to g.page and then enter your short name, /review, and then people, when they enter that URL, it’s going to automatically pop up a place for them to leave a review for your business. Likewise, if they enter that URL, g., I think it’s, page and then your short name, it’s going to bring people directly to your knowledge panel. So it’s just an easy way for people to direct their customers to leave reviews and hopefully for other things as well.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:29:39 Now, short name, it doesn’t matter if you use hyphens. I think I was probably one of the first people to notice that hyphens didn’t matter.

Erin Sparks: 00:29:47 Oh, really?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:29:48 I remember talking to Ben Fisher and I’m like, “I’m entering hyphens and they both go to my page. Is that supposed to work?” We were discussing whether or not that was a bug or not and it’s not a bug. So people were thinking that you could get hyphenated short names and non-hyphenated short names. The hyphens don’t matter. So if you get digitalmarketer, one word, you also get digital-marketer as well. So generally what you want to do is pick a name that’s close to your business name or something that describes what your business does.

Erin Sparks: 00:30:24 Absolutely, absolutely. All right. So that’s always useful. You can always put that on your business cards as well.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:30:30 And you can change your short name, I think, up to two or three times per year. But know that once you do that, your other short name goes into the pool so somebody else can take it as well.

Erin Sparks: 00:30:43 Oh, really?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:30:45 So it’s almost like the domain names.

Erin Sparks: 00:30:47 Yeah, you got to squat on it.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:30:48 You got to squat on it. Yeah.

Erin Sparks: 00:30:50 All righty. So a little bit further here, now we’re actually getting into a little more optimization. That’s great optimization technique, but on top of that, we also have to write the perfect business description. Now, in our news this week, we are talking about the fact that Google’s actually weighing both sides of the fence when it comes to do descriptions actually weigh into your optimization. But we do want to focus on this because this is a critical thing. That 750 character description for your GMB profile. What should be in there, Sherry?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:31:22 When you write a description, you definitely don’t want to key word stuff it because first of all, that sounds clunky. It sounds awkward. Customers don’t want to read about that. You do want to include your city and your state just because people want to know where you’re physically located, especially your local businesses. So they want to know whether or not you’re in Hiawatha, Iowa, whether you’re in Marion, Iowa. They want to know how far they have to drive to get to you. Or if you’re a service area business, you may want to mention some of the service areas that you will drive to. So if you’re willing to drive 25 miles, you may want to mention that you service areas like Iowa City, Coralville, and maybe Ely for instance.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:32:08 But what you really want to do is tell the customers or potential customers what your business does, the products and services that you sell, and, to me, don’t waste those characters with we’re a business that’s locally owned and operated and have been in the family for 50 plus years. Those types of things, I don’t think matter as much to people anymore. You really want to use those 750 characters wisely by showing your experience, why they should actually buy from you, why they should spend time looking at your website, or actually coming in and doing business with you. So really sell what you do and use it as a selling feature as to why people should spend time thinking about you and why they should do business with you. So it’s really important that you spend time thinking about it.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:33:02 Now, the other thing is Google will review your business description. So you could get your business description rejected as well. So just know that Google will look at that. So you do not-

Erin Sparks: 00:33:12 So what happens when it gets rejected though?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:33:14 You’d have to re-write it.

Erin Sparks: 00:33:15 Okay, okay. So it’s not one and done. You’re going to be able to rehash that.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:33:20 Resubmit it, yeah. But don’t ever use it as promotional. Like don’t say, “Come in for 50% off on this item.” Don’t ever use it as a promotional thing because that will definitely not go well with Google.

Erin Sparks: 00:33:32 Yeah, is there a flag that happens if you’re rewriting your description all the time?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:33:38 No, no. There’s no flag. But generally speaking, if you are to sit down in general and make a whole bunch of changes at one sitting, that can trigger a suspension.

Erin Sparks: 00:33:50 There you go. All righty. By the way, just as a side note, all these GMBs do have the ability to be suspended if you abuse the system. You’ve seen them time and time again. Things that just are poorly executed or you’re not verifying correctly and it disappears out of the space. All right. So continue down our world of optimization. Now, these are basic setups, but we also want to make sure we’re spending time on these before we go to a little bit more advanced. I want to be respectful of time. Choosing the appropriate category and sub-category. As you expect, categories are key to optimizing a Google My Business and plays a very important place in local search ranking-

Sherry Bonelli: 00:34:31 It does.

Erin Sparks: 00:34:31 … that tells Google where searchers should be finding your business and what you’re relevant for. So this is probably a pillar of the optimization. Lay it on us. What should we be paying attention to and what should we avoid?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:34:45 Yeah, so the primary category should be the best category that matches what your business does. Then you can include secondary categories. I generally tell people don’t go overboard on picking a ton of secondary categories. I think if you pick maybe two or three, that’s fine.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:35:05 Now, the challenge is, for instance, if you are a practitioner or if you have an office with practitioners, that’s where it gets a little bit tricky. So let’s say you’re a law firm and your law practice has divorce attorneys for instance. If you have all of your practitioners that also select divorced attorneys, chances are either your office or the practitioners are going to get filtered out because Google’s not going to want to show all of those attorneys with the exact same name, address, and phone number. So what you may want to do is think of a strategy where some of those attorneys maybe pick a specialty. So maybe one of them is family law. The other one is divorce as their primary category. So when it comes to practitioners, it gets a little bit more tricky where you might want to select different primary categories for some of those attorneys for instance. Or dentists or chiropractors or whatever. But you generally want to pick categories that are very specific to what you’re doing.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:36:10 Now, the other thing is, you can change categories and Google’s always adding new categories as well. So you want to frequently go in and check to see if there’s new categories that better describe what your business is about. And-

Erin Sparks: 00:36:23 Is there any master list that keeps on getting updated regarding those categories?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:36:27 Yeah. I mean, there is a list. It’s Plepper, I think is how you pronounce it, that has a list. I can go ahead and send it over to you so you can put it in the show notes.

Erin Sparks: 00:36:37 Absolutely. No, that’d be fantastic. Keeping just aware of change. Because we all have been there for advertisers or marketers who have actually done this. Where is my category? Earlier, I mean, years ago, I mean, there was a lot of categories that didn’t exist that should have made perfect sense that they would. So you do need to, as a regular basis, as marketers, go back through that list because you better believe that it’s probably appeared at some point in time and you need to reset that to your clients that you’re working with. All right. So regarding that, let’s move a little bit more further into the optimization here when it comes down to tracking and destination URLs, do you recommend a call tracking number in GMB?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:37:18 So if you are anal about tracking everything, which some customers are and some customers are not, you can. So just keep in mind that if you do use a tracking number as your primary phone number, that’s going to mess up your NAP, right? At least, your main phone number. So if you’re using a tracking phone number for instance, go ahead and use that as your primary number, but then make sure that your secondary number matches the online directories, okay? And matches your website. So you want to make sure those are consistent. The other thing is, for instance, CallRail allows you to use their tool to add a tracking number that you can connect to Google My Business for instance and can add it. Don’t ever let third party tools access your Google My Business platform.

Erin Sparks: 00:38:16 Oh, okay. There’s a big red flag now. Just unpack that quickly for me. Why?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:38:21 Yeah. Because third party tools have been known to trigger suspensions and we’re not exactly sure why, but it happens quite a bit. So we just recommend people steer clear of connecting any third party tool directly with your Google My Business platform.

Erin Sparks: 00:38:42 Google AdWords not included though obviously.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:38:44 Right, exactly. Yeah, yeah. So for instance, I have a lawyer who’s a client of mine and they wanted to add a tracking number. So they sent me information regarding connecting CallRail and I said, “I’ll manually add the phone number. I’m not connecting CallRail to your Google My Business platform. I don’t want to risk triggering a suspension.” I actually reached out to platinum product experts as well and they said the same thing. Don’t do it.

Erin Sparks: 00:39:16 Understood. All right. So from a tracking standpoint as well, you want to make sure that any option that is available for you in the Google My Business, you want to fill out. Now, it all has to do with the type of categories of business that you’re in, but making sure that all of the options are available for putting in a web URL. So you obviously have to have these live URLs. You can’t put in something that’s not actually active, but making sure you have your home page in there. If you take appointments, your appointment URL. If you are a restaurant, having your menu URL as well as if you’re taking bookings or orderings. I mean, those URLs. Those things are all customizable inside of GMB as you categorize yourself, right?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:39:56 Right. Make sure that none of those URL are redirects. So that’s another tip.

Erin Sparks: 00:40:01 All right. So what about UTMs in those URLs as well?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:40:04 Yes, you can use UTMs and that way you can track in Google Analytics that those are coming from Google My Business. Now, what you want to do though is make sure you come up with a pattern to make sure that you know whether it’s coming from a post or whether you know it’s coming from the knowledge panel or whether it’s coming from something else. So just make sure that you write down some sort of standard UTM pattern that you’re going to be using for those types of links.

Erin Sparks: 00:40:33 All right, so there’s a lot more into that area that you can dive into. But let’s jump into another level and that’s the services, the menus, and the products section of GMB. These services are only available to a few types of service businesses like dentists, attorneys, insurance agents, hotels, marketing agencies and such. It only shows up for the end users in the Google Maps app right now. Is that correct?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:41:02 The services can show up on desktop I believe as well. But you’re correct, they do show up for only certain categories. So if you do not have them showing up, you can try changing your main category and see if it shows up then.

Erin Sparks: 00:41:20 Yeah, shake out the additional services. Okay, cool.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:41:23 Yeah, yeah. So if you’re not getting them and you want to show services or products, try changing your main category and see if you’re then given that option.

Erin Sparks: 00:41:33 You can also create separate sections for different categories of services you offer as well. So it does unfold for you, right?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:41:40 Yes, it does. It does. But the industry has not found that that impacts rankings at all, so it’s generally meant for just consumer benefit.

Erin Sparks: 00:41:50 Transactional. Getting people to where they’re looking to reach.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:41:56 Right, so they can see what you have to offer.

Erin Sparks: 00:41:56 Now, what about the description of each service? Does that have any bearing or is that the same thing is that you’re not seeing any type of additional optimization?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:42:03 Yeah, no additional optimization benefits from that. But again, it just gives a potential customer more information about what you have to offer.

Erin Sparks: 00:42:12 Well, I mean, if you’re a restaurant and Google My Business provides you menus, you can actually have separate sections for each of your menus as well as menu items for each section. Now, that’s a very robust feature, especially if you’re interacting with people on a mobile space, they’re looking at the menu, the actual unfolding menu on a GMB. Those can also have destination URLs as well, correct?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:42:35 Yeah. Yes. That’s the benefit. I mean, that’s why I kind of consider that Google My Business really wants to… I think Google wants people to stay on Google for as long as possible.

Erin Sparks: 00:42:48 Oh, yeah. It’s a foregone conclusion.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:42:49 Yeah, they’re not trying to get you to go to your website anymore. They want you to stay where you’re at.

Erin Sparks: 00:42:56 Yeah, no, they do. But, I mean, if you’re playing with their sandbox, right? They’re going to benefiting you. This indirect optimization, it’s not just content on a [inaudible 00:43:10] service, yeah, you’re not going to get that bump, but utilizing all the features to the nth degree that Google allows you to, there’s got to be some factors of local improvement there as you unfold all that.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:43:21 There are. Yeah.

Erin Sparks: 00:43:23 Very good. So products themselves, each can fall… you can have separate products under each category of products. Can you tell me a little bit about business defined attributes?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:43:34 So attributes are basically… They, again, are dependent on categories. So some categories will get different attributes. So for instance, most businesses will see the attribute of women-led business or veteran-owned businesses.

Erin Sparks: 00:43:56 Or businesses led by a guy with a girl’s name. Something like that, right?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:43:58 Exactly. Those types of things.

Erin Sparks: 00:44:02 There we are.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:44:02 So if you are such a business, you can click on that and that will show up.

Erin Sparks: 00:44:06 Very cool.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:44:07 The funny thing is if you are a women-owned business, you sometimes will get a little badge on a mobile device that says you’re a recommended vendor, which is kind of cool. But depending on your category, you are given other attributes to choose from. So restaurants get different attributes. Like they may have a great beer selection attribute or outside dining attribute. So it just depends on your category. So you want to make sure that you’re constantly selecting the right ones for you, but also checking because, again, just like categories, Google is always adding more attributes as well and they also take attributes away and they also take categories away too.

Erin Sparks: 00:44:56 Oh, my gosh. All right, so-

Sherry Bonelli: 00:44:57 So always keep checking. Always be checking.

Erin Sparks: 00:45:00 Always be checking. Would you recommend they… How do you go about auditing that? Except for just going into each and every GMB down to the nth degree. Is there any key factors or things that you should be paying attention to to make this a quicker audit? Because, I mean, you can go down the rabbit hole pretty long ways, right?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:45:21 Yeah, it can. I mean, generally when you do a search, it’s pretty easy to see. Like if you’re a realtor, you search real estate agent or realtor, you can generally see which categories are there for you. It’s pretty easy to see. But tool that I’m going to give to you so you can put it in the show notes, that gives you a pretty long list of the ones that are available.

Erin Sparks: 00:45:46 Very good. Conversely, what are some user-defined attributes?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:45:52 So those are ones where the end users can actually go in and pick an attribute. So for instance, that is where Google wants end users’ opinion about a business. So for instance, they may be given the option to select whether or not the restaurant is a cozy restaurant or whether or not they serve appetizers or whether or not they have happy hours.

Erin Sparks: 00:46:17 Got it.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:46:18 So those are ones where consumers get to choose an attribute for that business.

Erin Sparks: 00:46:24 Very cool.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:46:25 Again, the reason why they want consumers to choose those and not the business is businesses are biased, right? Whereas consumers are going to be a little bit more impartial.

Erin Sparks: 00:46:34 Absolutely. Well, consumers can be biased too, but that’s a whole another conversation.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:46:38 Well, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. But yeah, businesses are going to definitely check off all of them, right?

Erin Sparks: 00:46:43 Absolutely.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:46:44 So they want as many of those attributes as you can get.

Erin Sparks: 00:46:47 We have a cozy studio here, right?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:46:50 Exactly, you do. You do look like you have a cozy studio.

Erin Sparks: 00:46:53 All right. So point five, and we do want to be respectful of your time, briefly, if you could give me… One point we have I want to unpack is literally watching review signals and looking at how to interact with reviews that come through. What are your recommendations on that and how do you think that actually applies to local optimization?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:47:19 Yeah, so reviews were definitely a… First of all, they’re a ranking factor. So you want to get as many reviews as possible, but you also want to make sure that they’re natural reviews. So for instance, you don’t want to do a mass mailing to 250 of your clients and say, “Please leave us a review,” because that would unnatural.

Erin Sparks: 00:47:39 Don’t do that.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:47:39 Yeah. Google would see that and they would flag that and probably say, “This is kind of shady. We don’t trust this.” So you want to do it naturally first of all. The other thing is you want to respond to reviews, whether or not they’re good or bad. Then you also want to, if it’s a good review, click on the little thumbs up like button because the more likes you get, it bumps up those five star reviews towards the top of the list-

Erin Sparks: 00:48:07 Very good.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:48:08 … and it can bump down the negative reviews. Now, the other thing is just because you get a bad review doesn’t mean that it violates Google’s Terms of Service. So we have a lot of business owners that come on and say, “This is a review that needs to be taken down,” and we’ll look at it and say, “No, you’re just not happy with the review because it’s a one star review. It doesn’t violate it.” So just know that Google will very rarely take down a negative review unless it’s from an ex-employee or one of your current employees or something like that and people can prove it. So you kind of really have to prove that it does violate Terms of Service before they will remove it.

Erin Sparks: 00:48:53 Now, what about the speed of response to those reviews as they come in? Does a simple thank you as quickly as that review comes in help you?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:49:00 Yeah. As soon as you can. I’m of the mindset that Google watches all that stuff. So for instance, messaging, which is an option for businesses to get messages from their customer, I’ve heard things that Google watches that, that they watch how fast a business responds to messages. I think that’s one of the reasons why Google took messaging from using general SMS and had now brought that into the Google My Business platform is so that they can track how fast a business responds to text messages. So I’m of the mindset that they do track those types of things and that I’m thinking it helps with rankings. So that if you’re a very responsive business and answer the phone right away and respond to text messages and respond to reviews, I think that helps you in rankings. So yeah, if you can keep track, you do get notifications when you get a review. So the sooner you can respond to that review, the better.

Erin Sparks: 00:50:01 Excellent tip. Excellent tip. Point six, briefly, I may want to actually combine these two. Well, it’s photos. There’s been a lot of hubbub about photos. According to Google’s own data, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses that don’t have photos. Now, there are some guideline issues that have been out there and Google’s actually hammering down on the use of stock photos. Pardon me. I’m over-clamped. And on top of that, way too sales-y or promotional photos. So can you give us your thoughts on how that affects optimization of a local property?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:50:53 Yeah. I mean, why would you want to show a stock photo-

Erin Sparks: 00:50:57 I don’t know.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:50:57 … on your Google My Business profile? So Google wants to see what your business is about. They don’t want to see a generic person on a stock photo. They want to see team photos. They want to see the exterior of your business. They want to see the interior of your business. They want to see a sign that shows that your business is legit. They want to see pictures of your team doing activities like volunteer activities. They want to see Christmas party pictures. They want to see pictures of your products and services. Don’t use stock photos, guys. It’s not worth it.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:51:35 Now, there are instances lately where, for instance, photos may not show up. So I have a client right now that spent money on getting photos taken of their staff and for some reason, those photos aren’t showing up. So I need to contact Google and have them manually push those photos to make sure they’re displayed. So there are glitches that sometimes happen. But you want to make sure that you’re putting only photos that pertain to your business, okay?

Erin Sparks: 00:52:05 And you also need to watch the photos because a consumer can put any photos they want to on your business. So that’s part of it is manning that. We still get a picture every once in a while. One of our clients that somebody’s taking a picture of their apartment, their car via their apartment window, and it keeps on coming back. It’s like, “All right, this has nothing to do with them whatsoever. What in the world’s going on?” So you do have to be vigilant, especially whenever you have non-profit organizations or schools, that you need to make sure you’re watching what’s coming through on a regular basis. Yeah?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:52:37 Right. Yeah. You definitely want to flag those. So for instance, if there’s a photo that is not pertaining to your business, you want to go into your GMB dashboard and flag it from within the dashboard. Then like you said, Erin, back to making sure your data, nothing has gotten changed. For instance, one of our high schools here, they had their website changed into a porn site. It stayed like that for 48 hours. The kids were all talking about it. My kids included.

Erin Sparks: 00:53:09 Oh, gosh.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:53:09 But the school didn’t realize it was changed until about 48 hours later. So you always want to go in and check to make sure that your business’s information wasn’t changed by some user edit.

Erin Sparks: 00:53:21 Geez.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:53:21 So always check that. Yeah, definitely.

Erin Sparks: 00:53:25 Oh my God. That’s terrible. All right. So last on the list of points I wanted to bring up, and we kind of went through this offline before the show, was the QA section. The purpose of that QA section is to give search users and local customers additional information about your business outside of the attributes, outside of the business and the user-generated attributes. This is a way to gain additional traction with your consumers and really gives the business owner the ability to unpack a lot more of understanding of the service that they provide. So is that a good thing from an optimization standpoint that users should be executing on a regular basis?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:54:09 Right. I don’t think it impacts optimization per se, but it does help. So for instance, if you can preempt some of those questions, that’s a good thing. So as of right now, Google will let a business owner go in, ask a question, and answer a question. Whether or not Google’s going to let businesses continue to do that, we don’t know. They may put a stop to that and say, “Businesses can’t ask and answer their own questions.” But right now, you still can do that. So what I generally tell customers to do is talk to their sales people, talk to the customer support people, and find out what do people ask about our company, our products or services when they call in or when you talk to them?

Erin Sparks: 00:54:52 Got you.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:54:53 Then make a list and go in a ask that question and then answer that question. Then again, thumbs up those questions and answers-

Erin Sparks: 00:55:02 As quickly as they-

Sherry Bonelli: 00:55:03 … so that they get… Yeah. So they get those likes. Now, the other thing is going back to posts, Google has started to use posts, the content of the posts, to try and see if the posts answer any questions that people ask. So for instance, if you go in and start asking a question on an attorney’s site about divorce cases, it will start showing one of your later posts and it will show anything that has the word divorce in it and it will show that. So that’s where using those key words in posts can be helpful because they start showing in answers. So it’s kind of weird what they’re doing, so I’m not sure how that’s all going to play out either. But that’s why maybe using key words in posts is helpful or maybe answering questions in posts is a good idea too because they can help answer in a Q and A. So if that makes sense…

Erin Sparks: 00:56:11 It does make sense. Thank you for doubling back around on that because I did jump over that. The post production and the posts and events and offers, all those are also using what GMB provides you as tools and it certainly should be seen as an additional opportunity to create more and more value on the platform, let alone possible optimization. All right. The best part about all this is that Google My Business has incredible local support. They’ve got the Google My Business help community that you’re a part of. They’ve got the Google My Business listing spam report, the fake review report, and they also have phone, chat, and email support. Can you give us a quick picture of how responsive the Google local side of things has been?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:56:59 Yeah. So the local forum that… Google My Business Support Help Forum, the volunteers there are awesome and generally we’re able to get in there and answer questions within a day or so. We can’t always fix the problem because we’re not Google and sometimes we do just need to say, “You need to contact support.” Google My Business Support is not always the best in getting back with you quickly and sometimes depending on who you talk to, you unfortunately may even get the wrong advice.

Erin Sparks: 00:57:32 Oh, my!

Sherry Bonelli: 00:57:32 Yeah. I prefer using Twitter. I’ve had better luck using Twitter. Then sometimes if you’re tweeting and just tag GoogleMyBiz, they will even respond to you because they’re scanning for their @-sign. So sometimes you’ll get a response faster that way as well because you called them out publicly, which is not necessarily a good thing to shame them publicly, but sometimes that helps as well.

Erin Sparks: 00:58:06 As long as it’s an innocent question that could possibly help others-

Sherry Bonelli: 00:58:09 Help others, yeah.

Erin Sparks: 00:58:11 Absolutely.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:58:11 Exactly.

Erin Sparks: 00:58:11 All right. So we just went through the gauntlet there. Seven point of optimization. I know there’s a bunch that we probably left off the table, but any final thought on the GMB side that our listeners should know about?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:58:23 Yeah, I think one thing you want to be aware of is that suspensions… Chances are during some point in time, your listing is going to get suspended. So start brushing up on what to do if you get suspended. A tip is do not make a bunch of changes at one time to your listing. So make a change, walk away.

Erin Sparks: 00:58:43 Got it.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:58:43 Then make another change. So if you make a bunch of changes at one time, that can trigger a suspension. So that’s my little tip of the day.

Erin Sparks: 00:58:51 Absolutely. Well, we certainly appreciate that. Sherry, we do appreciate your time today. There is a lot of information that we packed into this hour. I hope you enjoyed it, unpacking all this with us.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:59:03 Loved it. Loved it.

Erin Sparks: 00:59:03 We always like to have you on the show and you’re always a wealth of information. I always ask this of our guests. What bugs you right now about your industry?

Sherry Bonelli: 00:59:14 What bugs me about my industry? I forgot you asked me this question.

Erin Sparks: 00:59:18 SEO services cost.

Sherry Bonelli: 00:59:20 Yeah. I know. So I guess what bugs me about the industry right now is, well, this has always been a problem. It has to do with customers. I still don’t think customers realize the value of what a search engine optimization professional does. So, I mean, I still get a lot of calls from people who say they want help with their optimization and I see that they need help, but they’re not willing to pay my fees. You know what I mean? So to me-

Erin Sparks: 00:59:53 Because an assumption that just grabbing ahold of the GMB all of a sudden is going to get them in the ranking of a 3-pack, right?

Sherry Bonelli: 01:00:00 Right, yeah. Exactly.

Erin Sparks: 01:00:02 Come on.

Sherry Bonelli: 01:00:03 But it’s much more than that. I mean, there’s a lot of people that just think that that’s all they have to do, is Google My Business and they’re going to automatically rank. If that’s your whole business marketing strategy, you’re going to fail because there’s a whole bunch of other things you need to do. That can’t be your whole strategy.

Erin Sparks: 01:00:26 Absolutely. Well, conversely, what excites you about your industry right now?

Sherry Bonelli: 01:00:31 I think right now just that everything is constantly changing. I mean, it’s one of the industries that… I love the industry because nothing stays the same. You’re constantly having to be on your toes and keep up with what’s going on. For me, that’s what I’ve loved about it for the last 21 years.

Erin Sparks: 01:00:50 21 years, guys. All right. Hey, that’s how long it takes sometimes to be fully plugged in. Thank you again for your time today. Is there something that we can promote for you right now? I know you’re going to be on the Midwest Digital Marketing conference here coming up, but is there anything else that we can promote for you?

Sherry Bonelli: 01:01:08 No, no. Just go ahead and if you have any questions, you go ahead and tweet me @SherryBonelli and hook up with me on LinkedIn if you’re interested in learning more about what I do.

Erin Sparks: 01:01:19 Absolutely. So on Twitter, @SherryBonelli, B-O-N-E-L-L-I. On Facebook, Early Bird Digital Marketing. And LinkedIn, Sherry Bonelli. Thank you so much for your time-

Sherry Bonelli: 01:01:30 Thank you.

Erin Sparks: 01:01:30 We want to make sure that our audience checks out the news portion of the show because we did a deep dive on a number of these local issues. Don’t forget to like and subscribe edgeofthewebradio.com. Or if you’re on YouTube, make sure you hit that bell so you can get reminded when we go live. If you’re feeling up to it today, give us a review online as opposed to offline. Yeah. So there’s that. Go over to iTunes and different aggregators and let us know how we’re doing in that space. Be sure to check out all the must see videos and much, much more over at edgeofthewebradio.com. That’s edgeofthewebradio.com. Hey, check out that NAP checker, edgeofthewebradio.com/NAP. Be able to test out your NAP and see how well you’re organized out there. Next week, we’re going to be talking to Chuck Fields and we’re going to be talking about podcast SEO. So from here on out, we’ve got some great shows. Be sure to check out all the lineup of everybody that we’re going to be talking to.

Erin Sparks: 01:02:27 We’ll talk to you next week. Thanks to all the crew at Site Strategics and Edge of the Web as well as SMX. We really do appreciate going out there last week and being part of that show. From all of us over at Edge of the Web, thanks so much and do not be a piece of cyber driftwood. Take care.