Is Yellow Pages Online Worth It?

And all the other Phone Book companies.

We’ve often been asked “Is Yellow Pages online worth it?” – Or any other phone book company out there (YP, Hibu, Superpages, Yellow Book, etc.).

I finally confronted this question about phone book companies after it became a recurring theme. I’ll share what we found, and pull the veil back on what small businesses are having to sort through.

In order for you as the business owner to make an informed decision, I’ll give you my honest feedback, and personal experience to provide sufficient context.

Let’s get started!

Printed Phone Books Are Dead.

I don’t think it’s a surprise to say the printed phone book is dead.

Still, Phone Book Companies won’t give up.

They’re trying to compete in the online marketing industry with SEO (search engine optimization), Google Adwords or ‘Pay-Per-Click’ ads, along with preferred placement on their own directory websites.

First, I want to layout some of the problems our clients have experienced using online marketing with phone book companies.

Contracts With NO Guarantees

Some of our most valued clients have switched over from Phone Book online marketing, but they’ve all had to wait until their contracts expired.

We’re not against contracts in general, but when there is no clear goal or guarantee behind the contract, it’s usually a trap. This is a primary reason why we believe it’s important to not hold our clients hostage to a contract. The client should always reserve the right to discontinue services if needed.

Fear Tactics

Phone Book Companies aren’t scammers but they will use fear tactics.

From personal experience, in talks with a regional sales rep, I was warned that if I discontinued services with them that my website would not be found on search engines. Almost like a light switch. The day you stop paying is the day you’re left out to dry.

If you’ve been told that your website will vanish from search engines by canceling your Phone Book online marketing… it’s a lie.

But who goes to Yellow Pages to search for businesses?! Are you really missing out on anything there?

No. You’re not missing anything.

The average person pulls out their smart phone and does a manual or voice search of the business they are looking for on Google or other major search engines. This is another reason why it’s important to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Now that I’ve exposed some of the big concerns, let’s get into actual client results.

Yellow Pages & Hibu SEO Review

In June I had a conversation with a client that was unhappy with the services being provided by both YP/Dex and Hibu. She had been with them for almost 12 years, yet seeing very little evidence of what she was paying for. She owns and manages 2 successful Dental Practices, and has only continued using the Phone Books because she’s been with them since 2006.

To her credit, when she originally signed up, Phone Book Companies were still in their prime. But now that we are 12+ years later, it only makes sense to cut the cord.

Both Dental Practices had very poor search engine rankings. Given the amount of time and money that’s been invested in YP/Dex & Hibu’s online marketing, it should have resulted in higher ranking for their targeted keywords. However, using our SEO audit tools, it was very clear that the ‘value’ they were being promised was only perceived and not actually provided.

In our initial SEO audit we discovered these issues:

Lack Of Content

The homepage of the website was less than 100 words of text – which is well below the minimum standard of at least 300 words.

There were very few internal pages, each with the same issue as the homepage in their lack of rich and useful content. This is a major contributor in carrying more weight in ranking any website.

Why?

The main goal of major search engines like Google is to provide the most relevant search results based on the keywords searched. The websites that rank at the top are usually found to have rich content that matches the requested information.

The better content that is on your website, the more you’ll be found, and the more visitors will stay on your website and not click back to their search results.

Backlinks

Backlinks are external websites that have links to your website. There are various ways to do this, but I’ll spare you the details. The main issue is that there are no anchor backlinks to their website other than from the basic listings on YP and Hibu’s websites. This is frowned upon when it comes to ranking your website. Search Engines will essentially treat you like you don’t care about your business and award you accordingly.

Directory links are only one way type of backlinks, but should not be the only ones.

SEO Summary

Overall, the SEO services were very thin, and there was no evidence of ongoing maintenance. SEO is a marathon, and needs month to month attention. After all, you are paying monthly, right?

I must confess that I was not entirely surprised by what I found, but it still comes with a shock. I realized that Phone Book companies are best at selling, not producing.

Is Yellow Pages Online Worth It?

Based on the price points of what our clients have been found paying, I do not believe it is worth it. It appears as if the Phone Book companies are lacking in SEO knowledge and very shallow customer support. All of their provided services are antiquated and have little to no effect on current SEO ranking requirements.

Next Level Web Design is a web design and marketing agency in Redding CA. We have already helped many of our clients move away from Phone Book companies mentioned on this page. If you’re considering cutting the cord with the Phone Books, it would be our privilege to give you a full disclosure proposal of what we can provide for your company. Did I mention that there are NO contracts?

Give us a call or message us today. We’ll help your company go to the Next Level.

 

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Give us the basic info on your company, tell us your story, and we’ll connect with you right away.