The online yellow pages sites: SuperPages, YellowPages, and CitySearch depend on user reach for their livelihood. In contract to social engines like Yelp which strive for page views; yellow page business advertisers expect high degree of reach, meaning exposure to a wide audience.
The problem is that the daily reach of internet yellow page sites has been consistently decreasing for over the past year.
As I found before, the term yellow pages is dying in terms of consumer awareness. As well, the actual traffic to the internet yellow page sites is suffering. The writing was on the wall when Google Local first was launch, but the downward took effect when Google Local Ads were made available - allowing our company to place over 1,200 local business listings nearly overnight. The death nail was delivered with the inclusion of local business information in Google search results. Since Google introduced these features, a progressive downward slope has continued. It seems that as users have found the local business information in their search engine, the have weaned off of the traditional yellow page sites. Considering that over 81% of users start their internet experience at the search engine, I would expect to see the IYPs this pattern to continue.
Am I Stuck?
If you are a yellow pages advertiser, consider this like you would a stock ticker. There will not be a rebound or a valuable acquisition, so take a deep breath, get out of those contracts and get out while you can! If they try to hold your feet to the fire on a contract, I would be quick to point out that their product has lost over 50% of its reach in one year; perhaps you should even get a refund.
While there are multiple outlets for online advertising, search is the most effective and delivers the highest return on investment. The sooner you focus on Google, the better - having a long-standing history is beneficial for getting a tri-fecta, placed with higher ranking in Google Maps, Web results as well as Sponsored Placement.
About the Author
David Rodecker is President of RelevantAds, a service that gets local businesses online through local search. RelevantAds provides highly targeted search placement and advertising packages for small to medium size businesses and franchises across the United States.