The Google and PatientPop veteran to advance integration of Rio SEO’s Local Experience (LX) solutions within the Forsta HX platform

Rio SEO_Forsta Logo

LONDON and CHICAGO, November 9, 2022Forsta, a leading global provider of market research, customer experience (CX), and employee experience (EX) technology, today announced the appointment of Joel Headley as its new Vice President of Product Management, Rio SEO. Joel comes to Forsta with 20+ years of experience in product transformation at companies including Google and the leading medical practice growth platform, PatientPop.

In this role, Headley will lead and execute product strategy for Rio SEO, the industry-leading local marketing platform for enterprise brands, which joined Forsta earlier this year. Rio SEO’s Local Experience (LX) technology solutions provide multi-location enterprises – such as retailers, restaurants, hospitality, financial services, and healthcare brands – with a full suite of turnkey local marketing solutions proven to increase brand visibility across search engines, social networks, map applications, and more. Headley will deepen and accelerate the integration of Rio SEO’s capabilities, including Local Listings and Local Reviews, with the Forsta Human Experience (HX) platform.

Prior to Forsta, Headley notably spent 12 years at Google, where he led Consumer & Partner Operation teams for Geo products such as Google Maps, Google Earth, Local, and SketchUp, as well as integrations in Search and Knowledge Engine. He went on to serve for five years as the Director of Product of Local SEO and Practice Marketing at PatientPop, where he helped grow the company from $1MM to $77MM in annual recurring revenue (ARR). In 2020, Headley founded Leadferno, a SaaS company enabling businesses to create conversations that increase sales lead volume and close rate with omni-channel messaging.

“Joel’s expertise will be invaluable in scaling and expanding our local experience and marketing solutions and intuitively integrating them with Forsta’s HX platform, giving our clients the solutions that they need to optimize their CX and local marketing strategies to capitalize on shifts in consumer behavior,” said Brian Bhuta, Chief Product Officer at Forsta. “I’m thrilled to welcome Joel to the team.”

Forsta and Rio SEO integrated their award-winning technologies in 2022 to power a seamless customer experience solution. The combined capabilities of both businesses enable brands to optimize CX at the local level and engage consumers throughout the entire customer journey, from discovery to purchase through to brand reputation and retention.

“I’ve spent my career launching technology that helps businesses of all sizes grow, and the combination of Rio SEO’s local experience and marketing capabilities with the Forsta HX platform has the power to make a significant difference for enterprise brands across a number of industries,” said Headley. “I’m thrilled to be joining Forsta to help move our solutions to the forefront of search, discovery, and advocacy as consumer behavior continues to evolve.”

To learn more about Forsta, visit: To learn more about Rio SEO, visit:


About Forsta

Forsta powers the HX (Human Experience) Platform – a comprehensive experience and research technology platform that breaks down the silos between CX (Customer Experience), Employee Experience (EX), and Market Research – so that companies can get a deeper, more complete understanding of the experiences of their audiences. Forsta’s technology, combined with its team of expert consultants, helps thousands of organizations across a variety of industries, including financial services, hospitality, market research, professional services, retail, and technology. Forsta is recognized as a Leader in the 2021 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Voice of the Customer. Forsta is a PG Forsta company.

About Rio SEO

Rio SEO is the leading local marketing platform for enterprise brands. The Open Local Platform provides multi-location organizations with a comprehensive, seamlessly integrated suite of turnkey local marketing solutions proven to increase brand visibility across search engines, social networks, map applications, and more. The world’s leading enterprise brands – retailers, restaurants, hospitality, financial services, healthcare, and more – rely on Rio SEO’s innovative technology and local marketing expertise to drive motivated, measurable online traffic to websites and physical locations. Rio SEO is part of Forsta, a global leader in customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX) and market research (MR). The combined technologies of Forsta and Rio SEO enable brands to engage consumers throughout the entire customer journey from discovery to purchase to advocacy. For more information, visit