Natural Search Blog


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…)

Independent Contractors Excluded from Google Maps

My article on How To Get On Google Maps Without An Address pubbed today on Search Engine Land – it outlines one of the top most frustrating issues facing some small businessmen who need to have listings in directories without including their street addresses. Google Maps, by policy, does not display listings for those who do not have street addresses, so smaller providers who might actually provide the best quality service work are left out in the cold when users perform local searches. Independent contractors (like plumbers, electricians, building contractors, etc) are the most affected by this issue, but some other businesses are also impacted.

My perception is that this lack of what is something of a standard among traditional yellow pages directories is due to Google’s desire to provide best user-experience. In a map search display, does it make sense to display items which can’t be pinpointed to the map?

My opinion is that it does make sense to do so, (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…)

Superpages.com Adds More User-Generated Content to the Local Mix

About a week ago, Idearc announced that Superpages.com had introduced more user-content features.

Superpages adds Web 2.0 Features
(click to enlarge)

Previously, the primary component of user content on the site was limited to user ratings and reviews associated with business listings.

Some of the new features this recent upgrade added include allowing all users to enhance basic biz profile information, uploading pictures of organizations, wiki-like biz listing “blog” features which could allow simplistic blogging by businesses and/or could be used as a consumer comment or Q/A zone for each business since any user could submit info to them.

Of all the top online yellow pages and local search sites, I believe that Superpages may now have the distinction of having the greatest (more…)

ThinkLocal.com – Network Solutions’ Entry in Local Search

I noticed that Network Solutions has quietly added a play in the local search / IYP space – ThinkLocal.com. The site includes maps, weather, a yellow pages like search for businesses, and user review features.

ThinkLocal.com

I’ve thought for years that a site which allows people to search specifically for business websites would be a killer app, and Network Solutions has always had enough data to provide that very sort of thing through their status as a major domain name registrar. Unfortunately, I think no one site ever created a sufficiently broad directory of business websites, and Google, Yahoo! and MS Live have all evolved to fill that gap to some degree (it’d still be great to have the ability to only search for biz websites and not get unrelated content).

ThinkLocal doesn’t appear to be purely built from Network Solutions’ database, though. I found (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.

(more…)

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…)

News: Pat Marshall new Chief New Media Officer for Yellow Book

The Wall Street Journal reports that Patrick Marshall, Superpages.com veteran, has just been named as Chief New Media Officer for Yellow Book.

Yellow Book USA Logo

I used to work with Pat back when he was President of New Media Services at GTE, overseeing Superpages.com back when it was brand new, and I know him to be a fantastic businessman. Pat is well-known in the yellow pages industry and was the recipient of The Kelsey Group’s New Technologies Leadership Award in 2002.

(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!

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