Oct19

I had a very difficult decision to make this year whether or not to advertise in Yellow Pages and on Yell.com. Ever since starting to work for myself I have always advertised in Yellow pages because I’ve been almost too scared not to. Over the past 5 years I have been teaching myself SEO and although now I’m well on top of things SEO wise it hasn’t always been plain sailing. I have had sites ranking in the top 3 on Google many times in the past and have been hit with many Google penalties and algorithm changes sometimes penalising me as far back as page 10! When this has happened I’ve always had Yellow pages to fall back on so the work hasn’t completely disappeared.

This year I decided as always to go back in the Yellow Pages directory and to go for a heavy weight listing on Yell which costs around £2500.00 for a small advert in the book and Yell combined which is paid over 10 months at £250.00 a month which is very expensive compared to domain names at £6.99 each per year. I have about 8 domain names in total for different websites in different areas and I use a website building programme which costs £70.00 a year and will allow you to create up to 25 websites in one account. The hosting for all sites is included in the £70.00 and SEO is free because I do it all myself. So that makes a total yearly cost for all websites, SEO, hosting and domain names £125.92 a year! Quite a bit different to Yellow Pages. I was talking to another locksmith that does door repairs in Wolverhampton and his website spend per year was very similar proving there is definitely something in the theory that even multiple websites are a lot cheaper than just one Yellow Pages advert.

This year’s Yellow Pages book arrived through the door about a month ago, when I had a look I was quite suppressed to see I had a decent position on the second page for a change instead of been stuck right at the back of the locksmith section but I was also surprised to see that at least 50% of the adverts from last year had not gone in the book this year. So this got me thinking if there are less people advertising in the book I should get more work from it this year than ever before. I decided to keep a detailed list of where every job comes from over the next year from the day the book was delivered. So far I am one month into keeping a record and the internet work is already out ranking the yellow pages work by 9 to 1 and that is only comparing Leeds Yellow Pages to search results on Google in Leeds, it doesn’t take into consideration the work gained from other websites for areas I cover in West Yorkshire.

Then there’s the Yell.com side of things, the listing is called a heavyweight listing but I find this to be complete and utter rubbish, the heavyweight listings are in a rotation which is fair enough if everybody gets a fair turn of showing at the top. The problem I have found is that it seems Yell have sold so many heavyweight listings they take up a few pages so been in the rotation can take ages before you are at the top and every time I check I’m not even on page 1, the other day I found my listing on page 4 so what’s the point? There’s always the option of buying a sponsored listing which will always show in the top 3 on page 1 but they are very expensive and the person who had that spot the previous year gets first refusal the year after. All the top 3 tend to be national locksmiths with huge budgets who just renew the ad year after year.

My personal opinion is YES the Yellow pages are dead! I must stress though these are my personal views and opinion as I have heard on forums that some people do really well from yellow pages and not so well out of the internet. I have made the decision already that if the work follows the same pattern over the next 11 months I won’t be going in the book or on Yell next year. I am going to try a different advertising stream each month next year and spend up to the same amount as yellow pages each month to try and work out which other stream would be most effective. I probably won’t do Google ad words with the money though as I have always found that being at the top of ad words isn’t as effective for me as being at the top of the organic section of Google.

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6 Responses to Is Yellow Pages Dead?

  1. 5 years ago by So did you advertise in the yellow pages or not?

    So did you advertise in the yellow pages or not?


  2. 4 years ago by Rick, Walsall Locksmiths

    You know where is stand with this Ben, I’v heard of blokes ploughing 500-1000 pounds a month into yell advertising and not even breaking even which must be heartbreaking when there are bills to pay.
    I have never advertised with yell since I started on a shoestring budget and simply couldnt afford them to begin with, tackling the same seo and sitebuilding route which is peanuts in comparison I managed to get head and shoulders above my competition, at least to begin with until the whole seo thing took off.
    Ten years ago your work was proportional to the size of ad you got in the directories but things have changed dramatically since then and this is why the oldschool are struggling.
    I have ditched Thomson Local this year for the first time who were always cheaper but again I found my ad lost in a sea of national banners.
    I predict both these companies completely killed off in the next few years, Thomson is already on deaths door.


  3. 4 years ago by Mike

    I am having the same problem over here in Colorado, USA. My big concern is having all my eggs in the Google basket. One quick change, as they often do, and you are basically out of business, other then word of mouth. I have been trying to find an additional outlet by soliciting real estate brokerages for re key business following home sale or tenant departure. That has helped and hasn’t cost anywhere near as much as the yellow pages. I am in 2 different books and will cut back to one with internet site next year.


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