I come across a lot of business owners and they all tell me the same thing: “I spend a fortune on the Yellow Pages and I don’t get good results anymore”.
I always ask them this question: Where do you search for a restaurant, a shop or a new supplier? And most of them tell me on Google.
But having talked to a Yellow Pages representative a few months ago, I remember him telling me: yes, the physical book itself is going out but the online version of the Yellow Pages is better than Google. I had doubts about his claim since the feedback I get from my customers was pretty much the opposite.
Being in the SEO industry, it’s easy for me to think that the Yellow Pages are out and Google is the new norm when people search for stuff. But maybe I am biased...so I decided to research the facts.
Here are my results:
1. Comparing the online version of the Yellow Pages and Google (organic only)
That was pretty easy. I checked on Google Analytics the traffic source to all the websites we’re working with and the results are pretty much the same for everyone. Here is the report for one of the websites:
In the above graphic we see that:
3.14 pages viewed
3:28 minutes on website
2.94 pages viewed
1:59 minutes on website
After looking at all of our customers’ websites, it was pretty easy to see the Yellow Pages’ sale representative argument was wrong.
To be honest, the results are also good because the websites we looked at were customers that we optimized for SEO and their websites appear on Google’s first page.
But is it worth it to invest in SEO to be on Google first page? The answer is simple as SEO will cost you between 50% and 75% less with better results.
2. Comparing the Yellow Pages paper version and Google (organic only)
Think about your own business when you ask your customers how they found you. I'd bet that most of them found you online. Today’s consumer searches online before they do anything else. Their first step towards making a purchasing is essentially the first keys they hit on their computers at work or at home to begin the information gathering process.
Forbes states, “Multiple studies confirm that consumers report using the internet first (80% of the time) when they need a new product or service, and printed Yellow Pages only second or third (about 50% of the time.) And even if the consumer does reach for the printed Yellow Pages, your ad still has to stand out (size, graphics and color,) which ups the expense of being in the book.”
Forbes continues by saying:
If you think the Yellow Pages still have value for your business, make sure:
- Immediately create a working system to track the sources of your business leads.
- Include an offer exclusively for ad respondents, with a code for them to use when calling.
- Include a dedicated phone number to make tracking easier.
- If you have a website, create a special landing page solely for the ad (just as you would for any ad you run in any medium.)
- Review your competitors’ ads. What are they doing to stand out? Which competitors have dropped out in the most recent issue?
- Create a nice ad. For most people, 65% of the time spent looking at an ad is used to examine the image or photo, with the remaining 35% spent reading the text.
The bottom line is that you should start thinking about investing your money somewhere else than the Yellow Pages if you want to acquire new customers.
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