Meet the Local U Faculty | SEO & Local Search - Local University

Meet the Local University Faculty

Mike Blumenthal (aka Professor Maps)

Mike has been involved with offering web services since 1995. Prior to specializing in web design and search consulting in 2001, Mike was a principal in a family owned & operated retail business for over 30 years. Like all small business owners attempting to market to a fragmented clientele, he was continually frustrated by the barriers & costs  imposed by the advertising options available. Shortly after Google Maps was released in 2004 he threw out his 9 Yellow Page books and started focusing on Local Search. Mike helped co-fund Localu in 2009 and co-founded in 2012. He presents nationally at search conferences and writes a regular column at Streetfight Magazine with David Mihm. During the week, you can find him at his blog, Understanding Google Maps and Local Search, where he writes about local search and its impact on the business community and at the blog where he writes on issues surrounding reviews and reputation.


Mary Bowling

Mary BowlingMary has been involved in all aspects of SEO since 2003 and has always been intrigued by Local Search. With a background as a serial entrepreneur, she always tries to approach Local Search and Internet Marketing in a practical way and from a small business owner's perspective. Mary is an SEO practitioner and consultant and speaks frequently on Local Search at industry conferences –SMX, Pubcon, Searchfest, OMS and SES. She's conducted intensive trainings on Local Search for Search Engine Strategies, Planet Ocean, Search Engine Workshops, the Denver Chamber of Commerce, and for her clients and the clients of other agencies. She blogs at Search Engine News and IgnitorDigital, an agency devoted to helping clients with small budgets.

Joy Hawkins

Joy Hawkins is a Local SEO expert who is a part of Google's Top Contributor program & MapMaker Regional Leads program. She regularly contributes to many online communities in the Local SEO world, including the Google My Business forum (Top Contributor), the Local Search Forum (Top Contributor), and the Local University Forum (Moderator). She is also a contributor to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors survey, a columnist for Search Engine Land, and speaker at marketing conferences including SMX and LocalU. Joy currently works as a product consultant at Imprezzio Marketing in Toronto.

Joel Headley

Joel has worked with Google's Local & Geo products since 2005 where he started as a community manager for Google Maps and the Google Maps API. Since then, he's managed teams in Consumer Operations at Google for SketchUp, Maps, Local and Places for business, which are instrumental in maintaining help and educational content, developing user communities, and providing support while gathering user feedback to improve and refine products.


Matt McGee

mattmcgeeMatt is the Editor-In-Chief for and, two popular and authoritative websites that publish daily online marketing news and how-to articles. He began offering SEO and marketing services in the late 1990s and has consulted for companies as big as Today, Matt continues to consult for a limited number of small business clients primarily on social media and content development/blogging. He's been speaking at national and regional marketing conferences since 2006, and has been surrounded by small business owners his whole life: Matt's dad, sister and wife are all real estate agents.


David Mihm

David Mihm, a co-founder of the Local University conference series, is first and foremost an advocate for sustainable digital marketing techniques for small businesses. David writes frequently about Local Search on the SEOmoz Blog. His Local Search Ranking Factors survey is among the most important studies of Local Search Engine Optimization. David also speaks regularly about Local Search Marketing at the Search Marketing Expo and Search Engine Strategies conference series, and he is a former contributor to Search Engine Land.


Mike Ramsey

Mike is the founder of Nifty Marketing, a local search marketing company in Burley, Idaho and is also a mobile & local columnist. He also moonlights as the owner/publisher of The Voice , which is a weekly newspaper in Southern Idaho that is delivered to 18,000 households.


Ed Reese

Ed is the founder of Sixth Man Marketing, a Spokane marketing agency specializing in search, analytics, and usability. He's consulted for high-tech firms, universities, ecommerce companies, health care, nonprofits and a variety of other companies. Ed is also an adjunct professor of digital marketing at Gonzaga University and a frequent speaker on the topics of analytics, usability, and careers in digital marketing.


Will Scott

Will has been helping small businesses get online since 1994 - that's right, 1994 - before most people even knew there was an Internet. At YPsolutions, now Local Matters Inc., Will was responsible for creating systems which enabled the production of thousands of online phone directories. Now at Search Influence, Will leads a team of nearly 50 dedicated professionals who believe that the Internet, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media need to become accessible to small business for their success.


Darren Shaw

darren-shawDarren founded Whitespark in 2005. The company specialized in web design and development, however, Darren’s passion and curiosity for all things local search led Whitespark to focus primarily on local SEO in 2010 with the launch of the Local Citation Finder, followed by the Local Rank Tracker.Darren is widely regarded in the local SEO community as an innovator, one whose years of experience working with massive local data sets have given him uncommon insights into the inner workings of the world of citation-building and local search marketing. Darren has been working on the web for over 17 years and loves everything about local SEO.


Aaron Weiche

Aaron Weiche is the CMO for, a customer feedback and online review platform. Aaron is a digital marketing veteran of over 18 years growing agencies small and large in executive and partner roles. Aaron has built and optimized hundreds of websites for companies and organizations of all sizes. He helped found the MnSearch Association, is a faculty partner at Local University, Google Analytics Certified, and speaks nationally on search marketing, social media, reviews, web design and mobile.  Aaron also blogs on local digital marketing at


Willys Devoll


Willys currently work at Google as the content strategist for Google My Business and a member of the AdWords Content Strategy and Development team. He previously also worked as a technical writer and content developer on Google for Work. Willys graduated from Stanford with an M.A. in English in 2014, and a B.A. in English with honors and distinction in 2013