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Yellow Pages vs Google

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The way people search for businesses, products or services has changed dramatically over the past five years.  The old days of pulling out the Yellow Pages book to find a business or service you are looking for is well and truly gone.

Advertising in the Yellow Pages used to be the primary way for customers to find your business address and contact information.  Spending a few more dollars on your ads could result in more customers and increased visibility to your local target market.  Almost every business advertised in the Yellow Pages.

In today’s marketplace, the Internet and more specifically modern search engines such as Google have replaced the Yellow Pages as the way customers find the product or services they are looking for.

You could say that Google literally is the new Yellow Pages.

Hyper-targeted marketing

Search engines like Google put your business directly in front of customers at the exact time that they are looking for a specific product, service or piece of information.  Google Places is the new way to promote your business for local geographic related search queries.  Having your business details integrated into a map listing for a particular geographic related search makes it extremely easy to locate and get in contact with your business.

Who uses the Yellow Pages?

Google has billions of searches every single month and is growing by the day.  Google has been placing a bigger emphasis on its local search algorithm with its map listing integrating business information through its Google Places.

Take a look at the graphic below showing the number of searches on Google for ‘yellow pages’:

It can be seen that the interest in “Yellow Pages” as a brand in Australia is diminishing rapidly.  This means that your customers are not using the Yellow Pages to find local product and services any more.

Where are your customers looking?

Why would your customers go to Yellow Pages to search for a product or service when you can find everything they need to know directly from a Google search?

  • Phone number? – yes
  • Address? – yes
  • Directions to your business? – yes
  • Reviews? – yes
  • Link to website? – yes

See the graphic below for what information is available for somebody searching “restaurant adelaide”:

Google Search for “restaurant adelaide”

Where are you spending your advertising dollars?

Despite the fact that a huge percentage of customers are now doing their searching online using search engines like Google to find product and business information, most local businesses still invest the majority of their advertising spend in Yellow Pages ads.

Most businesses just renew their advertisement package with the Yellow Pages as thats the way we’ve always done things. Is your business able to justify it’s return on this investment?  Some ads can cost several thousand dollars (sometimes in the tens of thousands) – how many leads can you directly attribute to this substantial investment?

My challenge to your business

Instead of renewing your Yellow Pages advertisements for this year, redirect this ad spend into search engine marketing.  The easiest place to start is by setting up a pay per click campaign using Google Adwords.  The PPC Blog has some fantastic articles on how to set up and manage your Adwords campaigns.

The best thing about doing pay per click marketing is that you will be able to see the exact number of clicks, ad views and your overall return on investment from your ad spend.  You also get to see what is working and what isn’t and change your ads and landing pages accordingly.


Investing money into paid search marketing (and SEO) will result in better long term, measurable and profitable return on investment for your valuable advertising dollars than using the Yellow Pages.  I am not suggesting that you totally abolish using the Yellow Pages and White Pages as an advertising medium forever, but I do believe that your business will see a much higher return on investment through search engine marketing.

About Andrew Webber

I'm an avid basketballer who is passionate about internet marketing. I love local SEO and helping small business get more visibility. I am also the founder of SEO Maverick. Find me on Google+ at +Andrew Webber
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There are 3 comments. Add yours.

  1. SEO Services Brisbane

    How do you search for products and services you’re looking for? I am sure that the maximum answers would be in between 7 to 90 (92% for Google and 7% for Yellow Pages)

    • Personally, I haven’t used the Yellow Pages for years to find anything. I occasionally use the White Pages to do a reverse lookup of a phone number that I have a missed call from – but only after I’ve Googled it to see if I can find it that way!

      There definitely are still a lot of people out there who still use the Yellow Pages – particularly the older generation. But as smart phones and Internet speeds improve in Australia, more of these people will be going straight to Google (or other search engines) or other solutions to find the information they’re looking for. One of the funny things is that most people wanting to get to the Yellow Pages would first go to Google and type in “Yellow Pages”. Then they would try and find what they are looking for! They could skip those steps and just type in what they are looking for in Google and they’d avoid the need to use the Yellow Pages altogether.

  2. There are information in yellow pages where you can’t find online. Usually the people you find in the internet is the active person online.

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SEO Maverick is an Adelaide SEO and website design agency specialising in local SEO services. Director Andrew Webber has been in the online marketing industry for over 8 years and has worked with some of Australia's biggest brands including: Elders, Rural Bank, Cancer Council and Ouwens Casserly.

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