Is Yellow Pages Advertising Worth It

“Yellowed pages from a dictionary” by Horia Varlan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In the day and age of the internet and online advertising, you may be asking yourself; is Yellow Pages advertising worth it for business owners?

Yes, you heard right. Yellow Pages. Phone book listings were the manual equivalent of search engines like Google years ago, where companies would advertise their goods and services to customers.

And whilst the big, bulky physical print copy of the Yellow Pages may no longer be released, they haven’t completely exited the scene of the marketing world either.

Rather, they’ve extended their presence online and offer services like SEO (search engine optimization), Google Adword advertising and priority rankings in their online directory listings.

With this in mind, you might still be interested in Yellow Pages advertising for your own large or small business. But is it worth it? Keep reading below to see!

What are the Yellow Pages?

You may be a new and small business that has just stepped foot into the world of marketing and wish to attract a bigger audience and more clients. If that’s the case, you may have heard of the Yellow Pages in passing, but may be wondering what exactly they are.

Traditionally, Yellow Pages were phone books used by people in order to lookup companies that offered various goods and services.

And because these Yellow Page directory listings were the most referenced tool by customers, it was also the best platform for local business owners to get their respective businesses to reach the largest audiences.

The Phone book Advertisement Trend:

As people began to rely more on a search engine like Google to look for business listings, understandably the need for bulky phone books also became a thing of the past.

With digital marketing and social media on the rise, came the decline of the now outdated phone book and print marketing in general. Overall, the number of people searching for Yellow Pages on Google has dropped quite significantly.

Small Businesses Owners Paying Big Cost-Per-Click:

If you aren’t using YP online to put out an ad for your business or company, you may find that your ranking in the directory listings doesn’t show up very high, meaning less chance for customers to actually see your business anywhere in the early search results.

However, one thing you’ll have to prepare yourself for as a small business owner trying to get your foot in the door of digital marketing is that you’ll be spending quite a bit of money per click on your website if using Yellow Page advertising.

So if you are going to be spending all that money, surely you’d expect your site to boom too, right? Well… not always.

The reason for this is that Yellow Pages reserve their top spots in the directory for paying clients, so unless you come under that category, your exposure to potential customers is going to be limited.

The Contract without the Guarantee:

Another thing to be wary of if you decide to go with Yellow Pages to put out your ad is that clients often get caught up in long-winded and complicated contracts that can seriously hinder the growth of your businesses.

The digital marketing sphere is often fast-paced and requires flexibility to keep up with competition and to stay relevant to your audience, so if do decide to enter a binding contract, then surely it should be on the terms that you receive results.

However, this isn’t always the case and because you’re bound by a contract, you can’t even leave until your time is up, by which point it might have been too late to get the upper hand on your competition.

Often times, clients aren’t even sure what it is they’re paying for per month and continue doing so without question for a while until they realise that their landing page isn’t generating hits over a significant period of time.

The Yellow Pages Advertising Guide:

The three biggest advantages of listing your business in Yellow Pages:

1) Extension of Print into Digital:

As mentioned before, whilst Yellow Pages was traditionally a print exclusive channel, the shift towards digital marketing means that their reach has extended in order to reach more potential customers.

There are still many people who prefer looking through the Yellow Pages, and because it is printed only once annually, your ad may be visited or revisited over the year instead of getting lost in the void of Google.

2) Intention to Buy:

With a search engine like Google, you might find that people often end up on one website or another when they’re bored and might not actually intend to buy anything. It’s just window shopping online, so even if they were to see your ad, it’s very easy to skim over.

However, you’ll probably agree that if people are looking through the Yellow Pages, they probably have some idea of what they’re looking for and are more likely to actually buy something. So having your company listed in the Yellow Pages might come in handy.

3) Categorisation:

Another useful feature about YP is that companies are often all categorised by their location as well as their industry.

For a customer, this makes it incredibly easy to find exactly what they’re looking for by just doing a local search, something that can take a little longer through something like a Google search. They can skip everything that’s not in their area and go straight to what they’re looking for.


The three biggest disadvantages of listing your business in the yellow pages:

1) Outdated

Whilst Yellow Pages may have been all the rave back in the day, thanks to digital marketing, it’s completely changed the game of how to advertise goods and services.

Whilst some people may be loyal to using Yellow Pages, its reach is definitely limited and perhaps limited to an older audience. So if your company or website is targeted more towards a  younger audience, then you might question using YP for your ad.

2) One chance to get it right

Another disadvantage to advertising your business in the Yellow Pages is that in a way, you only get one shot to try and come up with a showstopping ad that’ll keep on generating clients and consumers throughout the year.

As a company, your ideas or strategies could change over the course of just 3-4 months, so having an ad that’s only printed once means that it’s difficult for buyers to see your growth/change, something that’s much easier to update with your landing page, for instance.

3) Daily Online Competition

One of the biggest disadvantages is just the sheer volume of competition that search engines bring about as a continually updated directory vs a static, yearly directory.

Online directories are able to be updated with a click of a button, and the option to share new businesses or bump up your company in the search results is almost effortless.

Comparing the YP to other listing services available:

Whilst YP is definitely one of the most well-known directory services out there, it’s certainly not the only one.

Yelp for instance is the hotspot for online reviews. It’s used across industries, so there’s really no limit to who can be reached in terms of audience, and it’s something that’s checked often meaning that it’s a platform worth looking into.

It also has an interactive element, unlike Yellow Pages, allowing you to engage with reviews, both positive and negative, which boosts the customer service aspect of your company, all whilst giving you a way to generate more traffic to your site.

As an alternative to YP, if you aren’t sure how to go about marketing your website yourself and want to grow your online presence, Ignite SEO is a great choice.

As a search engine optimization agency that knows exactly what your website needs to generate the most hits as well as revenue, you can keep growing and reach your goals!

The Yellow Pages SEO Review:

Whilst you may be considering YP, and it is a good option because of how popular the platform is, it’s worth looking at whether or not it’ll be worth it in the long run.

YP can boost your website, but the top slots come at a price, one that can start adding up very quickly. And even then, the sort of SEO that YP uses isn’t necessarily the most relevant or the most optimised for your website.

If you’re wary about paying a hefty price on your ad that you can’t necessarily track the value of, then again, you might want to consider working with an SEO company like Ignite SEO.

The advantage here is that a highly specialised agency knows what does and doesn’t work in the SEO world and is able to optimise and tailor your website to your individual needs.

The Verdict: Is advertising with the Yellow Pages really worth It?

Based on the success rate of YP in the current digital climate, you may first want to consider working with an SEO agency that is able to offer various optimisation services based on your needs.

No one knows your target audience better than yourself, of course, so you might find that YP does work pretty well for you.

But instead of plunging straight into YP, especially if you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend a fortune, you might be better off working with a specialised agency that pays attention to changing algorithms in the marketing sphere regularly and adapts your site accordingly.


Is digital marketing through Yellow Pages advertising good?

YP is one of the most well-known directory platforms out there, starting off as a print directory and then expanding into the online world.

Whilst they were at their peak in the print industry, they certainly aren’t out of the picture when it comes to digital marketing either. Many consumers still rely on Yellow Pages to look for goods and services in their area today.

How much does it cost a company to advertise in the Yellow Pages?

This really depends on the ad service you pay for. The most basic option is a free listing. Different starter packs cost £10-£30 per month, whereas for more advanced options such as their SEO services, you can expect to pay in the hundreds, if not thousands.

In the same way, if your business is listed as a full-page, then the cost will increase even further.

Are the Yellow Pages dead?

Whilst there’s been a sharp decline in the use of YP in recent years, it’s certainly not dead. The move from print into digital marketing has meant that Yellow Pages has managed to stay in the game and is still a platform used by many.

Is Yellow Pages Online Worth It?

Whilst YP is a great platform, for someone who’s just starting out we’d recommend approaching an SEO agency like Ignite SEO first.

This is simply because even if you are working on a smaller scale and want to focus on customer service, for instance, they will be able to accommodate your needs and prioritise your goals.

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