If there’s one thing that nearly every Canadian business has, it’s a spot in the Yellow Pages listings. Yes, despite the rise of internet searching, the phonebook is still alive, though definitely fading.
Of course, the rapidly decreasing benefits of paying big bucks to have a bigger font size in a phonebook is clear even to Yellow Pages itself, since the company has been providing online services such as web design and SEO to businesses for years now.
Whether they’re interested or not, YP contacts nearly every company in the phonebook in the hopes of getting them to sign up. Unfortunately, a lot of people do, and they miss out of a much better online presence in the end. That includes Fort McMurray, where most local business use YP.
If you currently do business with YP for your website, SEO, or even Google Ads, or are considering them at all, keep in mind the following drawbacks.
You Don’t Own the Domain Name…
This is the single biggest reason to avoid the Yellow Pages, in my opinion.
When you registered your business trade name, did you know it wasn’t really yours, and that the government would take it away once you closed up shop?
Of course you didn’t, because that’s a lie I just made up. But YP follows the same principle. They buy up your domain name. Your site is not yours, You simply rent it out.
As a website owner myself, I can tell you firsthand how imperative it is to own your domain name. Your website is your virtual storefront. Isn’t that enough reason to own it?
And once you sign up, getting your domain name back is a headache if you need it before your contract is done.
…or the Website
Once you leave YP, your site is gone. It’s just wiped off the map.
I can’t think of any web designers that straight up delete sites when they’re done with clients.
This is another huge reason to avoid YP. You’re essentially paying to keep your own website up.
Now, this wouldn’t as big a problem as it is if the websites weren’t, well, horrible.
Generic, Thin Sites
Let me just say not all YP websites are ugly. The more money you pay, the better the site. But the vast majority are.
I’ve seen dozens of bland, low quality YP business websites in Fort McMurray alone. Sadly, those business owners were probably coerced into signing up for “increased online visibility.”
Here’s the thing: YP websites are mass produced with premade templates. Any two sites can share almost too many features, and they all have the same layout.
As a business owner, you might not care how pretty your site looks, but your customers will, and if you’re using a simple layout like YP, it reflects badly on your reputation.
Compared to customized WordPress (or any other system) websites, YP sites will just look bad.
Extremely Poor SEO
A site can be designed so beautifully it would make the Mona Lisa look like a finger painting. But if no one can find it, it might as well not exist.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of getting your website to rank highly for search results relevant to your business. Without SEO, websites wouldn’t get traffic from Google, so they have to follow specific guidelines and rules.
YP completely ignores many of these SEO guidelines, including:
- Very thin content (only a few hundred words on the whole site, whereas each page needs at least 300 on its own)
- No backlinks (links from directories and other authority sites)
- Difficult/non existent blogging (nowadays, content is the main way to rank in search engines)
Special emphasis on that last one. It’s hard to add content (or do pretty much anything) on a YP site. In an ecosystem that demands the opposite, that’s plain bad news.
Now, this isn’t to say YP pages can’t rank well- they can, and do, mostly in places where the majority of the competition is… well, with YP too. But this just means that a focused effort from anyone else can easily knock them out of their place.
Wasteful PPC/AdWords Campaigns
If you were told that all you had to do to appear first on Google was spend a few bucks, you’d probably jump at the chance.
That’s exactly what the Yellow Pages does with businesses, and sure enough, they do appear at the top of the search results. This is because they pay more than the competitors, pushing them out of the first spot.
With AdWords, that’s a horrible, wasteful strategy.
Good Adwords campaigns optimize landing pages and target the right range of keywords (as opposed to broad keywords) to make sure that the CPC (cost per click) stays low enough to maximize gains. You don’t want a hundred clicks with no calls, do you?
This ineffective plan costs businesses thousands a year with little to no results- no wonder this kinda thing is so misunderstood!
There are Better Choices
In my experience, people either go from Yellow Pages to an independent web designer/service, or start with the web designer right away. No one chooses YP over a personalized service.
I would go so far as to say YP plays off the ignorance of their customers, since nearly everyone who reads a bit more into online marketing leaves them.
If you’re interested in improving your online presence and getting more calls through the internet, save yourself valuable time and money by hiring a professional who can work with you on a personal level.
Better to do it once, and do it right… right?
Makki’s Marketing is an internet marketing company based in Fort McMurray, Alberta. We specialize in web design and local SEO. Give us a call or contact us now for a free quote on our services.