The Yellow Pages Are Not Dead


Not yet

Local search is a vibrant eco system of users and interactions that drives our economy even in these difficult economic times. The perception is that no one uses the Yellow Pages. Survival of the fittest form of search is upon us. The Yellow pages were the first ever search engine and I will admit the Internets “Jetson’s” technology makes the Yellow Page Industry look like the “Flintstones” within the local search realm.

I try to be a practical person and the truth is there still remains a wide variety of hi-tech and low-tech individuals with “Flinstones” buried deep within their DNA. The Yellow Pages are a subtle interaction with the local economy. I am a pro at local search, I truly can find info much faster than the “average” searcher. If there was a contest to find 100 different particular businesses in a certain region by using local search I think I would fair fairly well. There still is no one perfect way to find what you are looking for. In my opinion google and most other search engines are very overrated. If I search for Web Design in Kent, WA a Window Glass company that has the word Design in its title tags or site somewhere is sifted before 90% of the web designers in that area. I could show you thousands of examples…millions of examples of how inferior google is to the keyword result we are looking for when we type in a particular search term. The search engines also trick us with IYP listings and not real local sites because I believe they have some sort of content collection agreement. The Mojo pages and Ezlocal which are two online directories I have never heard of before recently will get better results than 99% of local business owners because I believe they have content collection agreement with search engines which squeezes out 75 of the local business owner in the free search results area.

The Yellowpages on the other hand have a active database of real businesses within my zip codes and an online source as well. I am not looking for the Yellowbot listings or Yelp…etc. I am looking for a roofer in Tacoma, WA. Show me each of these locally owned small business websites and I will stop using the yellow pages. I want local when I search local. That’s why I still use the Yellowpages. The Yellow Pages Association shows that the Yellow Pages Industry still remains a 31 Billion Dollar per year industry worldwide. The Yellow pages are a high conversion product and even though their usage is lower than internet search their conversion rate is higher than almost any other form of advertising world wide. Its still a very close race for local search….the gap will continue to widen as mobile search applications mature within the local search market. The Yellowpages are what got us here and its time they get creative because I know of a few tricks they could pull from their sleeve with local search that they aren’t taking advantage of.

For example: Instead of trying to keep up with adwords and stuff like that…if a customer is searching on Google for the keyword Plumber Seattle, WA why not bring up the entire plumbing page of the Seattle Yellow Pages as a hyperlink instead of a profile of one business or something that is in comparison to a google adwords ad. Historically the Yellowpages is the king of all forms of advertising and I think that if you were searching for a roofing contractor in Renton, Wa and they brought up a slideshow of that regions phone book for that keyword then there is no way more possible to get more local than that type of search. The Yellowpages have a skilled sales force that sifts through local listings and new businesses and have the most up to date info. Like the Flinstones however….all the Yellowpage companies are in the stone ages and if they don’t do something very creative they will slowly dissolve.

-iLocal Staff