Mike Blumenthal and I met up in Owego, New York, the midway point between his home base and my home base. We spoke for a pretty long time, so I broke it up into three videos and here is part one. Mike is super well known and well respected in the local SEO space and I was super honored that I was his first in-person meeting in about 5-6 months since COVID hit. He basically told me to enjoy the scenery more when I travel – a life lesson.
Mike Blumenthal’s motto is all local, all the time. Mike grew up in a retail business and has always been involved in local commerce in one way or another. He started in local search when Google Maps first started in 2005. He also founded LocalU and also co-founded GatherUp. Mike was also a kayak instructed in the old days. We talked about his history a bit in the middle of the video as well. Mike worked in the local space for about five years and did not get a single client during that time, but it was a passion and an investment in the future. Ultimately leading him to co-found GatherUp and sold it to another company.
Mike has local in his blood and you can feel it by just talking to him. In 2006 he started writing about local SEO tactical strategies and has not really stopped. Mike said overall, the local ranking factors that were in place over ten years ago have not changed much. And he believes it is still pretty spammy, and the wild-wild-west of the internet. There is a group of “Google Product Experts” who help Google maintain the integrity of Google Maps and help local businesses. Google Maps is still not a safe place for searchers, and he gave some real life examples.
Google does invest a ton of resources in user interface changes but not on the local search quality side. He believes Google is attempting to create the third-discovery engine; behind Google Search and YouTube.
You can reach Mike on Twitter at @mblumenthal and via email at email@example.com.
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