I wouldn’t want to be the owner of Yellow Pages (yes, I know there are millions of ‘owners’ through the company’s shares). What a tight spot to be in. I’ve been singing this tune for the past few years now. I remember several years in a row when my Yellow Pages rep sat down with me at Cambrian Credit Union to discuss the annual ad buy. Each time, as she valiantly tried to upsell me, I had to persuade myself that we should be in the old book at all.
I kept Cambrian in the book during my tenure, because a large enough portion of its clients were of a generation to use it regularly. For the rest of us, I’m not so sure. The Google deathstar has Yellow Pages in its sights. We just don’t search for information the way we used to when the phone book was the only game in town.
Today, my clients and I will talk about search engine optimization strategies for a week before anyone even mentions the phone book. And while Yellow Pages also has a searchable website, it’s costly to advertise on it and its share of the web audience is puny compared to Google, Yahoo or MSN.
Optimizing your search engine results isn’t easy. You need to deliver relevant, fresh content constantly in order to rank anywhere near the top in organic searches. Paid search is easier to control, but then you can also blow your budget quickly if you’re shooting to be near the top.
But then, you don’t need to be at the top… sometimes the best place to be is third or fourth in the paid search list. Just take a look at this article from imedia’s Chris Lien: How to win the search position game. I think the author’s formula for determining how much a click is worth is out of whack (it’s no good to break even on conversions when profitability is the key to your enterprise), but he’s got some good thoughts on the subject of optimizing keyword search results.