SEO Versus The Yellow Pages | 7 Reasons Why Search Dominates

seo versus the yellow pages

The Yellow Pages has gone the way of this guy here…

As purveyors of affordable SEO services, a question we often get is: “Why SEO instead of The Yellow Pages?”


Remember when we all used The Yellow Pages when we needed anything?


The truth is, I can barely remember my life before the Internet…or even a time when I used the Yellow Pages. In fact, I think it was back in the late 90’s ordering a pizza while watching Seinfeld (or was it Melrose Place?)


With Facebook, Yelp, and the ever-present Google and Google places, doing local search is the only way I find any local service these days.


And with the possible exception of the senior citizen crowd, I can’t think of anyone (my mom included who’s in her mid-70s) I know who uses the Yellow Pages for anything.


But those dang books keep arriving on my doorstep every year…and every year I just rip off the cover and throw the thing in the green recycle bin…


How and when did this all take place? When did search engine optimization takeover the Yellow Pages?


We seek to find out here.

Why SEO Instead of the Yellow Pages?


There’s a number of reasons as to why search engine optimization and the proliferation of local search has overtaken the Yellow Pages in the past decade.


Local SEO is replacing the Yellow Pages but actually, local SEO is the NEW Yellow Pages.


Here’s what Emily Steel from the Wall Street Journal says:


“The yellow-pages industry is running out of lifelines. In recent years, as its customers migrated to the Web – flocking to sites like Google – the telephone-directory business followed, hoping the Internet would be its salvation. But that strategy hasn’t panned out. Now, the economic downturn is sending the already ailing business into a tailspin. The audience for online yellow pages remains relatively small, and traffic growth is slowing. So many directory services are vying for the ad dollars of local businesses that no single site has an authoritative roster. Meanwhile, ad dollars are drying up as small businesses – the industry’s bread and butter – find it harder to pay bills or have cut their spending sharply.”


SEO Versus The Yellow Pages…And The Winner Is?


There are a number reasons why SEO is so effective. Not only is the Internet and local search ubiquitous and available on every device, be it a device, held in your hand or a laptop that sits on your desk, information is everywhere and it’s at your fingertips.


Here are 7 reasons to answer the SEO versus The Yellow Pages comparison – and why SEO is so effective:


1. 7 Out of 10 People Don’t Even Use The Yellow Pages

In a study done by whitepagesinc, it was found that 70% of Americans don’t even use the Yellow Pages to look up businesses, phone numbers or addresses. The majority use online directories (29%), search engines (28%) and social networks (3%).


2. You Can’t Track The Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages are difficult to track and have limited tracking options. Online marketing offers extensive tracking options…and most of it is completely free.


3. Yellow Pages Lack Reach

The Yellow Pages geographic reach only go so far. If you advertise in more than one directory it can get very expensive. Online marketing has an unlimited reach and is extremely cost-effective.


4. Yellow Pages Lack Flexibility

You can only change your advertising message only on a yearly basis with Yellow Pages. You can change your message online at any time.


5. SEO Produces Massive Search Numbers

According to ComScore, there are over 12 billion searches on the web/month and growing. Yellow Pages receive an approximate 1 billion references/month and is losing more than a million advertising customers every year.


6. SEO Produces Long-term Results

If you cease working with your affordable SEO company at any point in the future, your rankings and SEO footprint remain intact. The same cannot be said for Yellow Pages. Once you stop paying, it disappears.


7. If SEO Doesn’t Produce Results…Why Are All Your Competitors Doing It?

Depending on the niche, chances are your competitors are pouring thousands of dollars per month into SEO services. Additionally, in many competitive markets, companies spend anywhere between $4-140 per click on pay-per-click advertising to be listed under the organic search results for your business’ big, high-impact keyword phrases. If they’re spending this kind of dough, don’t you think they’re getting a return for the spend?


In this infographic below, you can see how the landscape has changed below and why The Yellow Pages is a true dinosaur.



What do you think? Leave a comment below and spill the goods!

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