Is Yellow Pages online advertising worth the cost, versus spending your advertising dollars on Search Engine Services such as Google? We spend many hours each week analysing the website report of our SEO clients, and one important statistical element is the "Referring URL" statistics which shows which websites have driven traffic through to my client's website. Even with some of my larger clients, Yellow Pages Online rarely show up in the referrals section of the statistics, and it is rare to see two or three referrals over an entire week. Note: Not all visitors that use Yellow Pages Online will click on the website link displayed in the Yellow Pages Ad to visit your website-and these will not appear in the referring reports. However this does give you a good indication of the ineffectiveness of Yellow Pages ads. From discussion with our customers, those who ask their potential customers how they came to hear about them found that the number coming from Yellow Pages Online without visiting the customers website is also quite low, and similar to results from the website referrer reports. Recently I took on two new clients who have had established businesses for over ten years. One of the client's websites was built in Macromedia Flash with no meta tag information-so had no real chance of getting any search engine listings-; and the other website, was also not built in a SEO friendly manner. Neither website could be located in any of the search engines even under their own business name. With these businesses I have noticed over the past months that they receive approximately six times the number of yellow pages referrals as businesses that can be found through search engine results. This comparison has been made against businesses, both similar in type, size, and age. What can we draw from this? Simply, that when people are looking for a particular business, they tend to use search engines as their first option. If they cannot locate the business they are looking for, they will turn to the Yellow Pages Online. The risk you take of not being found in the search engines is that a person looking for your business may not find your business, and may instead find your competitor, which can lead to lost business. This would have an even more negative effect for you if it happened to be an existing customer.
So is the cost of yellow pages worth it?
For the cost of $220AUD per month, your money would be better spent on an SEO campaign that will bring you considerably more business through the search engines, than you could possibly achieve through advertising on Yellow Pages online. The benefits of SEO are not just having your website found through a business name search, but also having your website found through searches on your products or services listed in your website.