Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Old Yeller

Yesterday I took a challenge.

Inspired by Roy H. Williams’ Monday Morning Memo about the decreased value of an online Yellow Pages listing vs. radio advertising for acquiring new customers, I Googled three generic business categories in twelve client markets to see what came up. Specifically I was looking to see if I achieved the same results as Roy suggested I would - a relatively low search engine ranking for online Yellow Pages ads. My assumption was that, if true, this might be helpful in a station AE’s next presentation.

I chose as business categories restaurants, plumbers and jewelers and preceded each Google search by the city’s name. The results varied by category and market but only once in the 36 searches did the Yellow Pages link rank in the top 5 (5th for jewelers in one market).

Across the 12 markets, the overall Yellow Pages search engine ranking averaged 9th for plumbers, 16th for jewelers and 27th for restaurants.

The restaurant search had the widest Yellow Page variance, ranging from a rank of 10 in one market to 92 in another. Only four markets saw Yellow Pages rankings for each of the three businesses within 10 positions of each other. No market had a top 10 Yellow Page ranking for all three business categories.

If you have prospects citing their digital Yellow Pages listing a a reason not to buy radio, you may want to check their YP search engine rankings. Your findings might support Roy’s assertion that many people aren’t seeing online Yellow Pages ads and that “…money spent in the Yellow Pages (and their associated websites) is basically wasted.”