Sterling Sky, founded by local SEO expert and Search Engine Land contributor Joy Hawkins, has acquired LocalU. The event series was founded roughly a decade ago by a group of prominent SEOs to teach local SEO fundamentals to small businesses and local agencies.
It has been run by Mike Blumenthal and a rotating group of SEOs. Hawkins, a Search Engine Land contributor, said that Mike Blumenthal and Mary Bowling, both among the founding lecturers, will continue to be associated with the event. Sterling Sky also operates the popular Local Search Forum.
The following is a brief Q&A with Joy Hawkins about her plans for LocalU and perceptions of the market.
Why did you acquire LocalU? It started as a conversation between Mike, Mary and myself about how we could merge the Local Search Forum and the LocalU forum. I wanted to have a single place online where people could go to discuss Local Search and have options for free and paid.
What is the mission of LocalU? I see it as a place to educate people on what is currently going on in the world of Local SEO and what strategies business owners and agencies should be using to get results from their efforts.
Are you going to change anything at LocalU? Some of our early plans include moving the LocalU forum over to the Local Search Forum platform and having it as a paid/VIP section. We also plan on increasing the number of LocalU Advanced events in 2020 and hopefully can keep them more consistent and frequent. I’m also going to have regular contributions to the blog.
Do you think brands and marketers fully appreciate the importance of local SEO. or do you think the market still needs a lot of education? I think they do a lot more today than 5 years ago. There is obviously lots of room for improvement though.
Yes. I’ve been learning with my guide (The Expert’s Guide to Local SEO) that it’s increasingly difficult to keep material accurate since things always change. We actually switched from a printed version to an online version because of the frequency that it gets updated. I think constant education is a necessity in this industry. There is so much misinformation out there.