We’ve covered the continual demise of the print yellow pages on this blog, with both anecdotal and statistical evidence. If you’re not convinced that yellow pages print advertising is an ineffective investment by now, then we’ve got some WorldCom stock you might want to invest in also (just kidding, that is a little harsh - but you get what I am saying).
If you’ve had any interaction with yellow pages sales reps in recent years, aside from talking about their print product, you’ve probably heard them tout their online offerings as a great feature as well. They’ll try to convince you that their online directory is not only a traffic booster, but that it’s also a great way to generate leads.
The truth of the matter is, an online directory is not a great marketing strategy – in fact, it may be harmful to your business rather than helpful. Consider this scenario: you’re looking for a business or service. What is your first instinct? According to market research, it’s to perform an online search for it: 80 percent of Americans conduct local searches online. And when you’re searching online, do you consult an online directory? No. You simply enter your search terms on Google and find your answer there.
This is an extremely effective tactic, because Google has spent millions of dollars over several years tweaking its search algorithms and web crawling services in an attempt to index the entire internet. Google’s index is now more than 100,000,000 gigabytes in size, and the internet giant is constantly updating its algorithms to provide you with the most accurate search results. In one of its most recent algorithm updates, Google even put an added emphasis on local search results.
In order to make your business easier to find online, you need to focus on improving your own site and content. In content marketing, a primary focus is finding the keywords that are used most in web searches for your field. By using these keywords in your content, you can rank highly in Google search without any outside help from an online directory.
So how can an online directory actually hurt your web traffic? By adding an extra step to the process. By forcing a consumer to go through an online directory first, you’re adding more clicks to the equation; and it’s a widely accepted maxim that more clicks means less sales. Today’s consumer wants their results quickly and easily.
Using the online yellow pages is an extra expense your business doesn’t need. By embracing content marketing strategies and keyword-optimization, you can get increased traffic without the yellow pages inserting themselves into the equation.