With The Yellow Pages No More Should Yell.com Call It a Day Too?

Whether you’re a homeowner or renting there will be occasions where you’ll need to call on the services of a local tradesman.

You may have hammered a nail through a water pipe during some DIY and need a plumber to come out right away or your home might be old and might be in need of a full rewire, therefore you’ll need an electrician or you may have locked yourself out of your home, lost your keys or broke them off in the lock and need an emergency locksmith to come out to you. Whatever situation you find yourself in you need to be certain that you can get in touch with a trustworthy tradesman as soon as possible

Prior to the internet revolution of the mid nineties, early 2000’s when people wanted to call on the services of a local tradesman  such as an electrician, plumber, locksmith, joiner etc they had a couple of options, they picked up their local newspaper and looked at the classifieds section or they reached for the Yellow Pages.

It’s officially the last edition of the Yellow Pages next year – 2019 – they had a good run but to be honest people and businesses stopped using the Yellow Pages or other similar publications many years ago. Yellow Pages launched Yell – their online version of the once popular directory – back in 2000 when the internet was still quite young and local business didn’t have their own online presence so at first yell.com worked, people entered their area and searched the yell.com website for the tradesmen or service they required and found what they wanted

However as the internet grew and website design became more affordable and easily assessable for even the smallest of businesses with tiniest of budgets, people wanting a local tradesman simply searched on Google instead and went direct to the businesses own website, yell.com usually appeared in the rankings but why search Google for a Locksmith for example, click on the link for yell.com and search again?

Yell’s online business directory dominance only latest 4-5 years at most and by 2005 companies where ditching yell.com in favour of setting up their own websites, yell.com was losing money and even their silver tongued salesmen with their false traffic and enquiry statistics couldn’t convince companies to stick with them.

So yell.com had a revamp and introduced a web design service so when people told their salesmen that no one clicked on yell.com anymore the salesmen could agree – sort of – and sell them a website. But is a yell website any good? The short answer is no, they are simply template based websites put together by their staff who are not web designers.

The first Yell.com websites where very poor to say the least, they didn’t work on mobiles and hardly ever ranked on Google unless it was a non competitive niche and the thing about a yell.com website is that you pay  forever, every month, not like when you instruct  a professional web designer or web design agency to build you a website, where you get a quote that once paid the site is yours, this made these basic websites very expensive for what they where, which was cheap, template designs that didn’t rank.

How did Yell get away with this poor web design service?

Basically their sales department was trained to use clever wording and misleading information without actually lying. The Yell salesmen would initially tell clients that their site would rank page one and if they paid for a premium or sponsored listing their website would rank number one, however, they meant number one and page one in a yell.com internal website search not a Google search, which left many clients angry – as they should be.. Even the figures presented during the preliminary pitch such as number of enquires, number of click-throughs etc where figures from their own website that could easily be manipulated and not from a Google search.

100’s of businesses, maybe 1000’s – as they don’t rank there is no way to really tell how many victims there where – ended up with one of these pointless, poorly designed, template websites and the yell.com salesmen sold so many sponsored listings that even when someone, maybe someone older, decided to use the yell.com website and do a search for local services or a tradesmen they got results from over the country rather than locally with basic local listings getting pushed onto page two.

Yell have finally decided that enough is enough for their once great directory, and I for one welcomed this news, but if they really want to help local businesses they should stop selling these pointless listings and stop selling the poor template based websites.

As a directory of local businesses yell simple doesn’t work, it’s 2018 and people using Google want to find a tradesman, service or business in as few clicks a possible, nobody is searching Google, clicking on the yell.com result, searching again internally and then clicking through to page two to get to the actual local results, that would be crazy.

Could yell.com change its entire business model?

Modern directories such as localtrusted.co.uk only promotes one business per area so clicking on a localtrusted.co.uk result in Google for a locksmith in Bolton for example goes straight to the local bolton locksmiths page, their own page, no list of other locksmiths, no sponsored results from 100’s of mile away.

Unfortunately, yell.com couldn’t do this, they are too big, they need to sell the same page to multiple businesses to pay staff wages, salesmen etc so a modern directory structure simple wouldn’t work for them.

In my opinion it’s time for yell.com to go the same way as the Yellows Pages and call time.

 

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