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    Is Yellow Pages Directory Worth it? Tips for SEOs


    I wanted to post something for the sake of SEOs, particularly consultants, about Yellow Pages and their foray into SEO.

    YPG as you know are dying because their print books are rarely used. Nonetheless they still charge exorbitant amounts for small ads (small add with picture minimum 1000+ per month).

    As a result they've quickly differentiated and expanded into the online directory world.

    Now they're doing the same thing they've been doing for print--charge premiums for premium exposure--but this time online.

    For a while you could get a free listing with YPG and pay for higher placements.

    This of course all hinged on promises by YPG to deliver on great content.

    YPG is cannibalizing a very large segment of the market, and one that could be lucrative for you. YPG already knows it and they're preying upon hapless small to medium sized business owners.

    Most of the misinformation for YPG comes from their promises. They promise certain levels of exposure in google and like to confuse customers by being very unclear how they generate leads. To the untrained ear it sounds like you're going to get a first placement in Google, and you should, at least for the money you'd pay.

    YPG will use their tactics of sale persuasion mostly on business owners who know little about the internet or how marketing online works.

    Now moving into a tiered system where any business that wants exposure can buy one of three tiers.

    The top tier, depending on competition, will run into the 1000s per month. Lower tiers hundreds.

    All in all, a very poor investment. Why? Because again it ALL HINGES on how much traffic YPG provides.

    They claim they get millions of visitors a day. They probably do, for the ENTIRE directory. But what about your little segment of the market?

    I've watched stats, and maybe you have too. One YPG top placement ad prior to this tier system garnered under 60 visits for SIX MONTHS. Your stats are probably just as bad. Yet they want to charge HUGE amounts of money for supposed 'premium' space. Well again, it is premium, in YPG, but it's not in front of the eyes they claim, not for a long shot.

    Simple fact, do a quick search for your primary keywords (stuff about your business, also add your city as a search keyword) and see if yellowpages shows up anywhere. Usually it wont, generally never in the top placement.

    YPG will also try another tactic to squeeze money from businesses through PPC too. They'll claim a special relationship with Google Adwords, which is partially true, but what isn't worth the money is paying a premium to YPG to run your campaign.

    So here's where you come in. These small businesses need to know that their money is better off spent building lasting value into their website thru lasting content and relevant links.

    Their local listings need to optimized and developed along with organic placements.

    For business thinking about YPG think about this: you can throw money in YPG for what are essentially poor results (hopefully you can measure your results independently and not using YPG reporting which are inflated and then lose all your results the instant you don't renew your contract.

    Or

    You can invest the same money INTO your business that garner more traffic and more results because you're ranking in things that matter (Google, social media, etc.)

    Put it this way, today Google is the new YellowPages. Invest your money into your business rather than putting it down the tubes in a temporary, usually ineffective and expensive alternative.


    Please add your thoughts here.

    Comments on this post

    • kopykat agrees : YP sucks and they are complete scammers!
    Last edited by distinctseo; Jul 5th, 2011 at 11:06 AM.
    Distinct SEO | Calgary SEO & Web Marketing Consultants ~~ Our Blog ~~ Follow @distinctseo
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  3. SEO Since 97
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    Yellow pages have been worthless for years now...You pretty much covered it all there distinct.
    YP is so 90's

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    • distinctseo agrees : they're trying hard to differentiate
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    I used to advertise in the phonebook that belongs to verizon, super media or Idearc (or who knows what they call themselves anymore)....
    They promise you so many things with no guarantees or any basis. In the print book, they always told me placement depends on who gets in first with the largest ad. I bought a double spread ad, which was the biggest ad they had. Apparently that same year, about 30 minutes before me, someone had also bought a double spread ad, so they were placed before me! I decided to pull the plug the following year, but my rep promised me that if I renew he would give me a free double spread ad in 2 additional books, seemed worth it at the time. But after I renewed, the time came and I needed to send the graphics for the two additional books, thats when he informed me that his boss didn't approve the deal he offered me! I stopped paying for the advertising and demanded a refund, I never got a dime back.
    Oh and here's another catch, the following year, they apparently introduced a new larger size ad, that's right, larger than a double spread! , they offered a double double page ad (4 pages) , so one of my competitors placed a 4 page ad in front of me, same guy that had only 2 pages in front of me, now had 6 pages!
    As far as advertising online on their website, next time a rep offers you an online placement, just tell them that if they are so confident they have amazing traffic they should drop the annual contract. Why would anyone pay for online advertising the same old fashion way they pay for the print ads in the phone book?
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    Your last line was a good point because YP here in Canada is starting to adjust the way they charge for directory listings. Now I can't imagine this will go clear across the board, but it will certainly be for 'new' customers who want to pay: they will tier their directory.

    That's not so bad, but the PRICES they charge imply they're second only to Google in traffic. Of course that's absurd. I measured one client and if he wanted to maintain his current placements in YP he'd have to pay MORE than what he was already paying (close to 2K a month) yet his traffic was 9 visitors a MONTH. [Not measured were the phone calls as a result of the ad, but the number of calls wouldn't be astronomically higher.]
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    Thanks for posting this. I have clients who are throwing away $1,200 a month to YP each month with very little return. They are finally convinced of it but they still have to play out the year and then they will turn their marketing dollars towards something that really has a better ROI.

    That said though, I think YP is very smart in moving everything over to online and also, more importantly, into building up their mobile presence. Here is the San Jose area, they heavily pushed their mobile app by providing local coffee shops with cup sleeves emblazoned with their mobile app ad. If they can get that app into the hands of mobile users, and those users in turn elect to use the YP local app for their local searches, YP ads will turn out to have a higher ROI than we're giving them credit for now. I'm not so sure you can write them off just yet.

    However I do agree, YP print is dying, not dead, but dying. Depends on the business, the location, and the demographic.

    Comments on this post

    • distinctseo agrees
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    They have innovated into some aspects for sure.

    But here's the kicker. There are apps out there, and services (Google, Yelp, Urban Spoon, whatever the Mac equivalent is) that do the same thing but for FREE. YP wants to charge thousands upon thousands.

    That's just sustainable in a market where free produces a better product.
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    The huge media companies of the last century were bit in the a$$ when the internet came along..But their still trying....but I doubt they'll be around in the near future. Google's now the Media Giant.
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    Originally Posted by distinctseo
    They have innovated into some aspects for sure.

    But here's the kicker. There are apps out there, and services (Google, Yelp, Urban Spoon, whatever the Mac equivalent is) that do the same thing but for FREE. YP wants to charge thousands upon thousands.

    That's just sustainable in a market where free produces a better product.
    YP's mobile app is free. All they have to do is get it into the hands of millions. Then with those millions searching and clicking on local listings, mostly the paid ads at the top of their results within their apps, YP will be able to justify their high costs in the minds of unsuspecting local business owners. Why? Because they could be bringing them a substantial ROi.

    However, business owners are shooting themselves in the foot, including those local coffee shops mentioned above, for promoting YP's mobile app on their cup sleeves and whatever else. By doing so, they are helping to build something that will work for them, but probably not as good and at a higher cost. They would be better off supporting other local apps that don't charge an arm and a leg to advertise in but give them as good if not better ROI.
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    YP App is free, but so is Google. I was saying that for Google it's free to be in the Maps/Places section, whereas in YP you pay through the freaking nose.
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    Just an update on some YPG services. I'm trying to get a client domain back from YPG and it's taking a long time. YPG actually contracts out a third party to handle domains, marchex.com. They in turn are resellers of ENOM. The problem to get back the domain is marchex REFUSES to release domains unless they go to another ENOM account.

    THe problem with ENOM is that it's exceptional confusing to get a free account (right now I do'nt even know if it's possible).

    So another reason to stay clear Yellow pages and their false promises.

    Comments on this post

    • Test-ok agrees : That should be against the law.
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    It does seem to me that Yellow Page listings are an important citation factor in Google's local listings.

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    • jsteele823 : Perhaps, but you missed the point of the thread....
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    Originally Posted by indybail
    It does seem to me that Yellow Page listings are an important citation factor in Google's local listings.
    A YP citations counts as one citation.

    Even if it has more weight, it is still only one citation.

    And to that effect - you do not need to pay YP to have that citation.

    This thread is geared towards paid services of any yellow pages type company.
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    A Yellow Page ad allow you to post to multiple categories, thus multiple links. Also paid YP ads are featured at the top of categories which give SE ranking benefits.
    Last edited by indybail; Jan 16th, 2012 at 11:06 AM.
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    Originally Posted by indybail
    A Yellow Page ad allow you to post to multiple categories, thus multiple links. Also paid YP ads are featured at the top of categories which give SE ranking benefits.
    And now you're starting to sound like a YP salesman....

    So, let's dig deeper. How would the ads featured at the top of categories give SE ranking benefits?
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    Originally Posted by jsteele823
    And now you're starting to sound like a YP salesman....

    So, let's dig deeper. How would the ads featured at the top of categories give SE ranking benefits?
    Sir, I am a small business owner in the brick and mortar world.

    I cannot afford a Yellow Page and none the less am constantly bombarded by cold calls from Yellow Page salesman. I can assure I am no fan of the Yellow Pages, but living in the real world I must pay attention to what they are doing.

    In case the point was missed, I was talking about local search results. I can assure you the local results for my business niche are dominated by those companies who who have invested heavily in YP advertising. These local results have been placed at the top of the page for some time whether they be in packs or blended.

    In this manner, some business who have no websites and invest only in YP advertising appear at the top of SE results.
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