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My guest on this episode of Suds & Search is Colan Nielsen, Vice President of Local Search at Sterling Sky.

Colan is considered one of the leading local SEO experts in the world. He is a Google My Business product expert, he’s on the faculty at Local U, and he’s a contributor to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors Study.

Colan is an in-demand speaker and blogger on topics related to Local SEO. You may have read his work at Search Engine Land, Local U, Bright Local, and on the Sterling Sky company blog.

The legendary local SEO Mary Bowling announced her retirement shortly before we went on the air. I’m going to start my conversation with Colan talking about the enormous impact Mary had on Colan’s career.

Colan recently discussed how to build a unique local SEO playbook on a podcast with Bright Local. I’m going to ask him a few questions about that podcast and he’ll take us through the approach at Sterling Sky which places value on testing and experimentation.

And it wouldn’t be a local SEO episode if we didn’t spend a little time talking about spam…or at least the grey area of local SEO. Colan describes the almost unbelievable lengths that businesses are willing to go to appear more prominently in local searches.

Grab something cold to drink and join me for a conversation with Colan Nielsen. We’ll talk about the upcoming Local U conference on August 31st, we’ll spend a little time talking about how to start an effective local SEO campaign, and Colan will tell you how Google penalizes spammy tactics.