If you soaked up every excruciating detail of How To Turn Your Site Into An Online Yellow Pages you know that I am a big believer in the power of small businesses to attract a lot of the search traffic that would normally go to local search companies. Likewise if you mind-melded with The One Thing A Small Business Can Do To Get Found in Google and The Local Business Information Cloud, you know that I am a big believer in using the local search/online yellow pages platforms to find potential customers.
But what if there was a way to get the benefit of an online yellow pages site without having to invest a lot of effort into your own site? That sounds like the best of both worlds, doesn’t it?
There is a growing trend of companies who are building “websites in a box” that are customized for specific industries. For a reasonable cost these companies can provide you with a professional looking site that is also well optimized for search. Examples of such companies include Creating Your Space (full disclosure: they are a client), which sells sites to floor covering retailers, and Market Hardware, which sells sites to home services contractors.
It is my contention that over time these kinds of companies will be in a much better position than the yellow pages co’s and other local search co’s to provide small local businesses with services because they will have a greater understanding of their particular niche and their clients’ needs. If you’re a shoe store who would you rather work with? Someone who sells to shoe stores, restaurants, mechanics and doctors or someone who just sells to shoe stores?
If these companies can execute I believe they will be the biggest threat to the Yellow Pages (even bigger than Google and Yahoo) because these niche players will exert a greater control over the marketing spend of these businesses. I believe these companies will become the new new yellow pages.
So I am putting my money on the Yellow Pages buying a couple of these types of companies in the next 18 months. You heard it here first.
And make sure you factor my my finder’s fee into the deal please. (Make check out to Local SEO) This will avoid some awkward moments at the closing dinner.
10 Response Comments
….and yet everyone and their dog are offering some sort of Yellow Pages still……
I specialize in Local SEO and can’t believe the cost of a useless YP ad – my MIL is 74 and uses the ‘net to find vendors…
Was looking for an update on your 18 month prediction and was wondering if any of the companies that you talked about or are familiar with have been approached by the family of Yellow Page type businesses. Not challenging you here just interested to see how the space has developed.
I haven’t heard about any YP co’s approaching these guys, but I have observed these kinds of services growing like crazy and owning the online marketing budgets of their clients. Also Intuit bought Homestead which is essentially the kind of deal I was talking about.
I’ll have some news on Tuesday about another player in this space.
We own a local plumbing company. For years we spent thousands of dollars a month advertising in Yellow Pages and Yellow Pages online. We worked with a company called Radius Online http://www.radiusonline.com to build us a website and provide on-going search engine marketing for under $150 a month. We now have a professional website and when people search for our city + state + plumbing, plumber, etc we’re ranked ToP 10 on Google and Yahoo. Within the first business quarter we landed a $40,000 contract from a lead off the website.
Andrew you are giving out the secrets for a new business venture plans…..I think I should stop blogging and make a new new yellow pages ……what say?
I agree that local directories could be more effective at marketing services such as plumbing Milford is an example of quick searches on the internet instead of trying to find the yellow pages is much more effective.
If you are lucky enough to ‘win’ at traditional Yellow Pages SEO, you might convert a few percentage points of the traffic.
That’s more likely the trend today. I am thinking that YP did not see these things happening, like search engine domination up to those who offer website services that target local SEO.
I am just interested to know their next move now that competition is getting more challenging than before.
The future is almost certainly going to be in vertical markets (i.e. niche markets). The big players (Google, Facebook, etc.) will end up sending lots of traffic to the true experts. The ones that own their niche.
Im always on the lookout for these types of companies because they tend to remain silent giants for a long time.
I talk to business owners every month that are dropping out of the yellow pages. They are investing in the internet instead. It’s going to be really interesting to see what a giant like the yellow pages does to combat this.
I think you could be right about them hiring companies to help them do the work. I need to send my resume in.