Why should you care about Online Yellow Pages when Google is most likely your primary source of traffic and ROI? The simple answer is because local search is on the rise, and with it so are opportunities for other advertisers to exploit your corporate name or brand, possibly to your detriment.

Lets take a look at some of the potential glaring brand issues that can exist on yellow page search results:

  • Your own resellers and/or affiliates can promote conflicting offers.
  • Too many ads for yourself repeating on a page. This leads to consumer confusion about available offers and where to call or which web pages to visit to seek information.
  • Competitive ads displaying when your brand is searched.
  • Irrelevant ads displaying when your brand or industry vertical is searched.
  • National results can display above local results.

Consider these stats published earlier this year:

  • Local search comprises nearly 12% of all searches on the top 5 search engines.
  • Local search has outpaced the growth of overall web search, growing by 58% in 2008, compared with 21% growth for overall web search.
  • Local yellow page sites saw double digit growth in searches last year, with more than a 23% increase.
  • 75% of searches are for non–branded terms.
  • 45% made a purchase from a yellow pages search.

Now consider a generic category web search on an online yellow pages web site such as yellowpages.com for the generic term “cable TV.” If you are not accustomed to these searches, you would expect to see a similar result to what you might find in a print version of the yellow pages—a single listing of all cable TV vendors, plus advertisements purchased by the vendor. However, the results for “cable TV” contain multiple page elements, which can be somewhat confusing:

  • There are nearly 6 listings for each of the major providers—each with a different offer.
  • There are nearly 25 ads that appear first, before the consumer ever reaches the actual yellow page phone directory listings.
  • There are tiled ads down the right side of the page promoting the reduction of belly flab.

Next, we conducted a search on the generic term ‘Mortgages’ for a local market. These results were similar to the above, plus:

  • There were several national advertisers who did not appear to have a local presence.
  • Only 1 nationally recognizable bank was advertising on this term—which made me think that the others are not using this channel at all.

Here is what you ought to do to ensure that you get the best exposure on local yellow pages search for your brand:

  • Run a search of your top generic terms on the popular yellow page search pages and make note of the results including yellowbook.com, yellowpages.com, and superpages.com .
  • Be sure to advertise on your top terms.
  • Control your resellers and/or affiliates so that their advertising efforts, ad copy, and offers, are consistent with your own.

Please note that the above issues occur with web based searches. Mobile searches using apps designed for the mobile phone deliver cleaner results and are more in line with what you would expect from print versions of yellow pages.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Brand Aid | Channel: Strategy

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About The Author: is head of product management and marketing for The Search Monitor. The Search Monitor monitors search results and social media web sites to provide insight to SEM, SEO, and Affiliate agencies regarding competitors, keywords, ad copy, market share, trademark abuse, brand buzz, and affiliate compliance.

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