Walking the Local Search Walk

Filed in Local Search by Matt McGee on November 2, 2009 22 Comments

yellowpagesMy wife went on a kitchen cleaning binge yesterday. When I came home from some errand-running, three yellow pages books were sitting on my office desk. So I asked what’s up.

“You’re the local SEO guy,” she said. “Do we even need these anymore?”

I thought about it for 30 seconds and decided no, we don’t need these anymore. If I’m always talking about local search and people using the web to find local information, I should walk the walk, too, right?

So there they are, as you can see in the photo, sitting in my office trash bin. (Actually, you can only see one, but anyhoo…) Perhaps I’ll drop them off at the local recycling station this week.

Two questions: Do you still own a print yellow pages directory? Do you still use it?

Comments (22)

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  1. Shannon says:

    These things keep showing up on my doorstep and more often than not don’t even make it into the house but rather right to the trash. I don’t need it anymore and I wish I could figure out how to stop them from showing up.

  2. David Zemens says:

    Every year the delivery person comes and tosses two telephone books down at the end of my driveway. And every year I walk down to the end of the driveway and kick them to the curb so that I can place them in the recycle bin on trash day.

    Seriously. Those books must cost mega-zillions of dollars to produce and distribute each year. Does anybody actually use them?

  3. We use them as disposable door stops 🙂

  4. David Mihm says:

    There is currently a pile of about 15 YellowPages books in the lobby of my apartment building — which contains about 20 occupied units. I think that’s probably a representative sample of the number of people who use them anymore.

  5. My wife and I had a similar conversation recently. We keep one in case the power goes out (not as much of a rarity as we’d like) and our cell phones die. But seems like we get 5-10 a year; when (if) we open them, we hear the trees scream.

  6. Don Campbell says:

    I recycle mine right away too. And I just found this “opt-out” service where you can register to NOT get them any more. I “opted out” so we’ll see if it works! http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org/

  7. Stever says:

    I do keep one, and do use it from time to time. Maybe once a month.

    I’m in a pretty small out of the way city (pop=90,000), and for the most part the web presence for many local businesses is not so great, compared to what you would find in a larger metro. So the book is still useful, sometimes, but those times are getting rarer and rarer.

  8. The yellow page industry has been decimated, unfortunately probably 80% of old yellow page business has went to the web (possibly more).

  9. SHobbs says:

    While 8 out of 10 US consumers still use the Yellow Pages, our publisher members don’t want to deliver a directory to anyone who doesn’t want it.
    To stop delivery, go to http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com and click on the Consumer Choice button. Load in your zip code and follow the directions.
    Full disclosure, I work for the Yellow Pages Association, for more information about our industry go to: http://www.ypassociation.org.

  10. Mike Ramsey says:

    I actually do keep 3 yellow books in my house. I have been trying to learn how to do that “rip the phone book in half” trick with no success.So, they will remain for the time being.

  11. Mike – smart thinking. Used to work with a guy who did that and it is pretty awesome. Good luck in your training.

  12. Syzlak says:

    Bono would be mad at you for not recycling that.

  13. I am a web developer. For the longest time I was a firm believer in the yellow pages. I’m not saying I got excited when it was delivered or anything like that, I’m just saying that I used the yp’s for my local searching. Recently I turned my attention to local search on the internet and I built and launched a national business directory kind of like the yellow pages. It’s a great platform and very reliable. If you’re looking for something online, give my site a try, membership is free and you can find anything, anywhere, anytime.

    Also, printing the yellowpages book is just wasting paper and resources as well as clogging up our dumps. Who needs a book 10 million pages thick anymore with the technical era at your feet. I agree with going green very much and everyone should utilize as much digital media as they can to help our planet.

  14. Walt Goshert says:

    To paraphrase that wise sage Homer Simpson:

    “Yellow Books… are those things still around?”

  15. Dan Connolly says:

    I hate to say it, but I still find a use for the yellow pages. There are a lot of businesses that don’t have websites and many that do, who don’t rank at all for any search term. I was looking for someone who could work on a clarinet and couldn’t remember the name of a music store that has been there for decades, and Google turned up nothing.

  16. Tim Conley says:

    Our YP directories go straight to recycle, but it makes sense for most people to keep them around since many local small businesses haven’t really migrated online and this is doubly true in rural communities.

    Matt, your work in building a hyperlocal blogging knowledge base is a great foundation for local online marketers to use for their clients. The more local businesses utilize the tools and strategies available to them, the less useful YPs become.

  17. Jeny says:

    Google has already replaced the yellow page directory but I think it is helpful for people who are not internet savvy, but in the USA, I think mostly are web users which make this yellow pages useless.

  18. Joe says:

    Just the other day I dusted off my Yellow Pages to look for a electrical contractor. Contractors are notorious for not being technologically relevant.

  19. The most action that book sees at my house is the walk from the driveway to the recycling bin – it never even enters my house.
    I’m annoyed that I still get those… hate it

  20. I work for Idearc Media. My company, whose legacy is as the official publisher of the Verizon Yellow Pages, prides itself on not being your father’s yellow pages. Idearc is also home to Superpages.com and we recently launched the SuperGuarantee program, a national consumer guarantee initiative, launched in February. It is designed to lower the risk associated with hiring contractors, plumbers, auto body repair shops and thousands of other eligible service provider category-based businesses.

    In essence, consumers register for free, hire one of our guaranteed clients they find in the Verizon Yellow Pages or on http://www.superpages.com. If something goes wrong, we will step in and try to make it right. If we can’t, we will give the consumer up to $500.

    We are working to be different – The Verizon Yellow Pages and Superpages.com are not the same old yellow pages.

    I hope you and your readers can see that there are benefits in keeping the right yellow pages and searching on the right site.

    As Stephanie Hobbs mentioned on an earlier post the best way to opt out is at http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

  21. Lea says:

    Each year I stick the new ones in the cupboard and throw out the old ones (into the recycling bin, of course).
    But I keep them – if the power goes out the phones usually still work, but the internet doesn’t. If I need to call a tradesman for emergency repairs after a storm, the internet probably won’t be available.
    So they do have a use – we actually unwrapped the plastic 3 years ago.
    I found the interface very clunky 😉

  22. We get two new copies, every year. I immediately throw one into the recycle and then keep the other, just in case my parents drop by.

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