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Local SEO: Yellow Page offer not really an offer

November 24th, 2009 | | Local SEO

This past week marks the start of a horrible tradition I have to deal with every year.  Yellow Page Ads.

“What? I thought you said Yellow Pages were dying?”

Well, yes, I did; but they aren’t dead yet.  Just because an industry is dying doesn’t mean there isn’t a customer or two still worth picking up.  It’s mostly due to demographics of your clientele.  If you have a demographic that is older, owns a home and requires your services at one point.  Yes, the yellow page directories still are used to find you.

In my last meeting with them, we talked for 20 minutes about other products rather than the book.  Drop Mailing, internet listings, online version of the book. (This one makes no sense to me.  You can load up a flash based version of the actual book where you can “flip” through the pages. What? Why?).  All this talk of extra products just confirmed to me that this book is not strong enough on its own anymore.  When we finally got through the new products, we turned to the book and then began negotiating size and placement like it was like an old ceremony.

Their Internet product

So one focus of theirs is an Internet product that will get people to your site or at least your info first so people can call or then click through to your site. I realize that I’m not the demographic that would open the yellow pages, but I was trying to figure out who the demographic was that would go online and then go to the specific yellow page URL (away from Yahoo or Google) and then begin your local search.  Yellow page impression numbers they show me say they are there, but I’m still scratching my head.

God help you if you Googled “yellow pages” to start your search!

This one yellow page provider offered an elaborate points system that would bump my Internet listing up based on the number of products I purchased.  Images of carnival redemption tickets entered my head.  I remembered once where I had an impress wad of 650 tickets, yet the redemption counter labeled all the cool stuff at 1500 tickets and up.  You know what I’m talking about. You’ve been there and you’re here again. The fear of “not being there” is very real. If you can’t say no to it, get it but don’t worry about where you are placed in it.

The Non-Trademarked logo

Did you know that the trademark for the yellow pages.  The walking fingers – was never filed?  What that means is that anyone can use it and in any manner.  What this does is give a numerous amount of companies clout with the “idea” of yellow pages.  I received a fax from one of the many too come that had the fingers upside down and without the book.  If they flipped  it, they could have almost had a “Y” to tie it in further.

This fax I got was also interesting in their offer.  If we completed their offer they would submit our website to Google for FREE. Yes! For Free! That means that my website, unknown to the world, will be guided by these spam-faxing rescuers into the safe harbor of Google where my wares will be visible for many a passer-by.

Hogwash.

Oh, I’m sure they will index it for you.  Probably here, but if you search for “submit site to Google”, you’ll get a lot of other sites who will do it for you for free.  Actually you don’t have to do it at all.

Wow. Thanks for the value provided in your offer Mr. Random Spam-faxer.  I hope you don’t come out upside down in your P&L.

If you already have a site that is crawled, link your site to your new site and the little spider bots will take care of the rest.

Get ready for the call of the Yellow Page Rep through email, fax or phone they are coming for you.  One of the best hagglers I know gave me this sage advice.  “Walk away power strikes fear into the heart of a salesman” and up until the advent of local search, yellow page customers did not have this.  Negotiate your ad prices, don’t get hooked by gimmicky internet products.

Take away tip: Use your analytics software to see how many visits you received from yellow page websites.  Compare that number to the number of “impressions” they show you on their internet product.

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