Natural Search Blog


Local Store Inventories Might Help Yellow Pages SEO

In an article posted on Search Engine Land this morning, I outline how Google Maps are increasingly appearing for keyword searches, reducing referral traffic to internet yellow pages. In a brief companion piece, I also mention how embattled yellow pages should step-up their SEO game. If Google Trends is truly indicative of a sea-change that is hitting online yellow pages sites, then they must do something about it:

Top IYPs & Business Directory Sites
Natural Search Performance of Top Yellow Pages Sites in Google

(Click to enlarge) (more…)

Consumers: Stop Dropping Yellow Pages Books At Our Doors!

Walking FingersI noticed this article from Boston today, “Bothersome business pages“, which outlines residents’ irritation over receiving print directories which go unused.

I’m seeing more and more articles on the subject — this article indicates that as consumers perceive that there’s low usage and little need for print yellow pages books, they’re also coming to believe that the books sent to them are an inconvenience and an unacceptable environmental waste. (I’ve also mentioned before how I find the print directories less worthwhile, even though I used to work for a major yellow pages company.)

Apparently the Cambridge city council and other cities are actually considering going so far as to enact laws requiring that residents must opt-in for receiving the books, or they might ban mass distribution entirely… (more…)

The Kelsey Group Puts Print Yellow Pages On Notice

Walking FingersOver at Media Post, The Kelsey Group is quoted today saying that the erosion in usage of print yellow pages is likely to fall off at a higher rate this year — by 10% this year, compared with only 2% to 3% erosion in recent years.

They state that a combination of factors such as more users going to internet yellow pages and local search engines combined with a recession are propelling the rapid erosion. Concerningly, one can extrapolate that if print YP usage is dropping, advertiser dollars might also follow the herd.

As Greg Sterling points out, The Kelsey Group has historically been a very staunch defender of the print YP industry, so this article is a bit of a gut-punch to people in the legacy print business, even though anyone watching the trends over the last few years won’t find it all that surprising.

One thing the Media Post article doesn’t mention is how (more…)

Am I an SEO Dog? More On Toasting of Internet Yellow Pages

Donna Bogatin apparently disagreed with my article at SEL entitled “Google Trends: Yellow Pages Will Be Toast in Four Years“, posting a bit of a lurid headline herself: “Yellow Pages Trash Talking: The SEO Dog in the Google Local Fight“.

I didn’t really think that my article was quite “trash talk“, and I’m assuming from the article content that the “SEO Dog” referred to was perhaps myself, or perhaps the “dog” is my article conclusions, fighting for the ostensibly narrow viewpoint of all SEOs. Aside from the somewhat scathing disembowelment attempted, I thought it’d be informative for me to address some of the logic-faulty conclusions that were drawn.

(more…)

Search Engine Optimization through Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages & SEOThere’s an interesting thread that appeared on Greg Sterling’s blog on Using IYPs as an SEO Strategy.

Some of the commentators pointed out that yellow pages ads are pretty costly, compared with those of the search engines. So, is using yellow pages as part of a search marketing campaign worthwhile for traffic and good for ROI? My answer is: Yes, yellow pages can and should be used as a major component of local search optimization. Yellow pages can be used for SEO, and here’s some details on how to approach it.

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Yelp opens API for developers

Michael Arrington reported today how Yelp has released their API, allowing developers to dynamically query and display their yellow pages listings, reviews and content for display on any websites. The terms are fairly generous, allowing developers to have up to 10k of queries per day, and relatively few restrictions on display.

Yelp API for developers

This is a really cool thing for an IYP site to do…

(more…)

Stephen Colbert puts Internet Yellow Pages on notice?

I just saw this hilarious photoshopped illustration of Stephen Colbert, apparently making some commentary about online yellow pages and local search sites:

Stephen Colbert on Local Search

This was used to illustrate a blog article commenting on how Google Maps could now be poised to totally kill off other IYPs, now that they’ve added user reviews. (“Google Maps Puts Local Search Industry On Notice”)

The placard Colbert is holding up lists a number of the top online yellow pages and local search companies: Yellowpages, Superpages, Yelp, Yahoo! Local, Idearc, MSN Live, and Citysearch.

While I disagree — I don’t think the addition of user reviews is the tipping point for Google Maps — hat tip to Evan Roberts for a very clever and funny article illustration!

Cool Yellow Pages Billboard Ads from Israel

Ad agency Young & Rubicam’s Israeli office came up with this great billboard and tv campaign to promote the Golden Pages — Isreal’s primary yellow pages company. This is one of the more effective yellow pages billboard campaigns I’ve seen — they’re funny, engaging, and simple enough to read when driving:

Y&R Billboard - Acupuncture
Acupuncture – billboard for Israeli Yellow Pages, the Golden Pages

Here’s their funny pinnocchio-inspired video ad.

The Y&R Israel blog shows some of these in Hebrew – I’m assuming they mocked up the ads in English primarily for promotional release distribution in America — I bet these English versions of the ads are not actually being used on billboards anywhere, but I couldn’t get confirmation from Y&R before posting this.

Click through to see some more cool billboards from the sequence…

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Could Nanotechnology Save Print Yellow Pages?

Technological evolution continues to change our everyday lives, and the speed of changes over the last two decades has caused an acceleration of impacts to traditional forms of business. Nowhere is this more evident than in the impact to usage of printed yellow pages directories. Once the mainstay for locating businesses, many consumers now treat the books as doorstops or fireplace kindling.

The Yellow Pages Association‘s annual report and other research indicates that consumer usage of print directories is on the decline while usage of online yellow pages and local search are increasing. The main divergence of opinion seems to be in how long it will be before print dies completely – ten years, fifty years, or a century? Simba research indicates that profits of core yellow pages are down while independent publishers are increasing at double-digit rates, indicating that advertisers continue to see value in print YP exposure. Even though the print biz still has lots of money and usage, those who have watched tech trends during the Information Age know that transitions of this sort can often reach a tipping point rapidly, perhaps rendering print YP irrelevant at the closer end of the timeline estimates.

In all the rush to sound the death-knell for print most folks are looking upon it as merely a dinosaur, soon to die as a result of the meteor-strike of internet search technology. But, could there be another future in store for print directories?

Nanotech and Yellow Pages

I’ve been watching developments in a number of converging lines of technology for a while now, and I foresee another potential fate for the print directories: nanotechnology. Read on and I’ll explain.

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Tempest in a Local Teacup

Okay, so in the ongoing minor brouhaha sparked from my “Extreme Local Search Optimization Tactics“, Dave Naffziger has posted a rebuttal of my recent post.

Just to clarify, if there was any doubt, and to steer the unwary newbies of search engine optimization from bad practices, I’m posting another follow-up rebuttal of the rebuttal of the rebuttal. Terribly recursive, I know, but bear with me and you might find this entertaining and informative. (more…)

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