Should You Pay For a Yellow Pages Landing Page?
When the Phone Book Became Obsolete, They Created the Landing Page
Last week I was approached by a potential client who was considering employing the Yellow Pages for their search engine optimization (SEO) service. The meeting with her Yellow Pages representative had left her overwhelmed and confused. She knew that optimizing her website was something she should be doing but wasn’t entirely sure how the Yellow Pages would help her do that.
This is not an uncommon situation for small to medium sized business owners. Most of them are aware of the fact that they should be getting more visitors to their site but are unsure how to go about it. I thought this would be a great opportunity to address this very topic.
What Does Optimizing Your Website Mean?
One of the main purposes of any website is to attract new customers. You want people to be searching for goods or services that you offer and have them find your business. Optimizing your website simply means putting information on your website that will increase your chances of showing up on Google or Bing when people search for your specific offerings. Ideally the better your website is, the higher up the search results page your business will appear. Unfortunately some industries are more competitive than others in terms of your search rank.
What is the Yellow Pages Trying to Sell You?
In recent years, the Yellow Pages Phone Book had decreased in relevance as people turn to the internet for their queries. Previously, people would look in a phone book to find a service provider and today they use a search engine. In an attempt to shift their strategic focus the Yellow Pages has repositioned itself as an online directory and a third party landing page provider. Often when the Yellow Pages approaches you, they are hoping to sell you both a place in their online directory and a landing page.
The landing page they will build for you is essentially a mini website that is controlled by the Yellow Pages and designed to capture search results and capture new leads for your business. These landing pages are highly optimized and micromanaged to obtain as many referrals as possible.
What Are the Downsides of a Third Party Landing Page?
While a Yellow Pages campaign can be wildly successful for some businesses, there are some potential downsides. The first and most important reason to avoid these services is that you do not own the landing page. This means that if you stop paying your bill, your landing page will be removed. While your website requires hosting and registration fees to continuing operating, any improvements made to your site are permanent and you own them so long as you maintain your site.
The other potential downside of a third party landing page is that companies like the Yellow Pages, may represent other competitors in your industry. This means that they are either forced concentrate your business into a niche that is separate from your competitors or they optimize the highest paying client’s landing page to the highest degree.
If you want a hands off approach and are willing to pay someone indefinitely then a third party landing page might be for you.
What is the Alternative to a Third Party Landing Page?
If you aren’t content with indefinitely renting your landing page, you will want to look at carving out your own place on the web. This means working with a developer to create your own modern website and then optimizing it for your industry overtime. One of the most important components of optimizing your website will be a content strategy.
This will consist of regular updates to your website, usually through a blog or advice section where you will discuss topics relevant to your customers needs. The goal is to write articles and news that relate to subjects your customers might have an interest in. These articles should contain key words to your industry and provide direct value to the reader. You will then want to propagate these articles out through your social channels to increase their exposure.
A complete content strategy could include other items like downloadable e-books, regular newsletters, or ongoing podcasts. Finding the right content marketing mix will depend heavily upon your industry. What works for one business might not work for another.
In Conclusion: Landing Pages are Renting, Not Buying Space on the Web
If you are an extremely busy business owner who wants a “right now” solution, then a third party landing page might be the best fit for you. However, keep in mind that this landing page will never belong to you. You are simply renting it. In this model, you will end up paying a monthly fee indefinitely for the services provided to you.
It could be strongly argued, that a better long term option would be to invest in an ongoing content strategy. When you spend your money and effort on a website that you own instead, the end product cannot be taken away. While, this method might involve a bit more work, it also generally creates a more authentic experience for your website visitors who land on your website instead of one hosted by the Yellow guys.
At Epiculture, we can help you develop a content and optimization strategy that fits your business’ budget and needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about what your business can be doing to garner leads through your website.