Digital Marketing Trends


Yellow Page Advertising

Should small businesses Use Yellow Page ads?

Other forms of Internet marketing deliver better ROI than Yellow Page Ads

“Yellow Pages” calls to mind two types of advertising:

  • Yellow Pages books that are delivered to homes and businesses around the country with lists of phone numbers, addresses and business ads.
  • Yellow page directories such as YP and Superpages that list businesses in categories and come up in search results when city names are included in the search.

Many SEO marketers have suggested that neither type of Yellow Pages advertising works for small businesses any more, yet it is still very costly to advertise there. As an SEO in Philadelphia, we at Boomtown Internet Group will tell you that for most business types, phone book advertising and local directory yellow page advertising won’t pull nearly as much business as search engine optimization strategies and pay-per-click. A much better strategy for 2013 is to invest in Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Email Marketing, Pay-Per-Click, a Mobile Website (perhaps a mobile app), Videos, and Content Creation using blogging. This type of online marketing investment is very cost effective, with measurable returns. But are the Yellow pages finished?

One of our clients recently informed us that in his state’s Yellow Pages, it would cost him $21,000 a year to reach his whole state. You can do a lot of powerful and specifically targeted pay-per-click work and SEO for that kind of money – and you will reach all of the state you are in (as well as the local areas you target) with your own website. Yellow page directory sites come up for local search – there is no doubt. However, the search result is for the Yellow Page listing page, not for your individual business website. This requires searchers to first click on the Yellow Page search result (over the list of Google or Bing’s map results) and THEN search through all the businesses listed in that result to select YOUR business listing. Finally when the searcher does land on your listing, in order to see your website, they STILL have to click one more time. That is three clicks to get to your site, vs. one click from a well-ranking search result that probably will cost you less.

Our client also worried that AT&T (the company behind the official Yellow Pages) has failed to adapt to a changing marketplace, and he believes that the Yellow Pages are not long for this world. AT&T sold a majority stake in its Yellow Pages business to the private-equity firm Cerberus Capital (YP.Com) for $950 million in April of this year. The reason? Revenue from the Yellow Pages business unit fell 30 percent in two years. That isn’t to say that Yellow Pages are dead for all businesses, and indeed for some businesses, print ads in the Yellow Pages – along with “traditional” ads online – may serve a good purpose. If the target market is local and they do not use the internet or mobile devices to search, Yellow Pages can still work. Unfortunately for most businesses, this is not the case.

Many companies report that they get almost no telephone calls from their Yellow Page ads. Sometimes it’s just a single call per month, which means SEO is a far better investment than expensive Yellow Pages ads.

Using Google Trends – a tool that shows the search volume over time – it is easy to see that far less people are searching for “yellow pages” than ever before. This means that far less people are looing to advertise in the yellow pages.

Yellowpages Graph

Here’s the bottom line: advertising return on investment is measurable online to some degree, and a far better “bang for your buck” is to use pay-per-click or strategic search optimization to get your company noticed and bring customers to your phones or doors.

When you work with a Philadelphia SEO agency such as Boomtown Internet Group, you have a team of skilled, dedicated professionals who constantly strive to improve your website’s search rankings – as opposed to a salesperson who sells you an add in a phone book and then doesn’t reappear until the next year.

Call Boomtown at (888) 454-3330 when you’re ready to move to the front of the pack. You can also contact us through our website.