Do you remember the days when you use to keep the local yellow page directory by the phone in order to find a store or service? Like most people my age, its likely a dim memory and that has heralded the death knell for yellow page directories across the country and started a push by those same companies to pump up their Internet Yellow Pages, the online version of their directories. The question most small business owners ask themselves when shown yet another advertising bundle by their yellow page representative is should I advertise in the local Internet Yellow Pages directory or not and is it worth it when there are so many free online directory listings from consumer review sites like Yelp to search engines like Google that offer free local search platforms in the form of Google Places?
The findings of the latest Local Media Tracking Study on behalf of the Local Search Association, which is made up up yellow page directories, seems to point to the fact yellow pages are more trusted by consumers and that there is a small segment of the population that uses them over a typical search engine, but that search engines are used far more to find local information. But, just about the time you digest this information you realize that Internet Yellow Pages and local directories accounted for a mere 5.6 billion searches in 2010 and Google alone accounts for and estimated 26.4 billions local searches in 2010 and the monthly listing fee that the average Internet Yellow Pages directory charges many not produce the number of customers that a similar spend could produce by revamping or optimizing your website for SEO, starting a link campaign, diving into local SEO and/or adding a targeted PPC campaign.
This data from the study above and much more was produced jointly by the Local Search Association and comScore which released their annual “State of Local Search” study in June and in this second report its interesting to note that depending on the demographic of your customers and location it may be more advantageous for you to forgo the heft monthly expense of one or more Internet Yellow Pages listings (- one of my clients paid close to $1,000 per month for two Internet Yellow Pages listings and could track just a hand full of visitors to his website monthly using Google Analytics and could not tie many sales to the listing) and instead opt for a free listing in the Internet Yellow Pages directory without the bells and whistles and use the money saved to optimize your website for SEO, revamp your website to optimize sales or run a targeted PPC campaign among other options. The actual results differ by the demographic and regions but a few things are clear from the the data and are called out by Greg Sterling in a recent article he wrote called “New Data Show What a Comples Mess Local is“
- There’s much more volume on general search sites, but users are often earlier in the purchase cycle
- There’s a loyal Internet Yellow Pages audience that is often more focused than general search users
- Increasingly the world of local is cross platform and SMBs have no way to manage this increasingly complex mess themselves
The last point made by Greg Sterling is a dilemma that many small business owners face when they begin managing their local online SEO platforms like Google Places or Bing Business and its one that we’ve dealt with to help small businesses succeed in an ever changing market.
At Patina Marketing we help small businesses make the decisions they need to optimize their yellow page advertising, track their advertising and understand their ROI. To find out more call us at 805-380-5494 or contact us.