How Google Killed the Yellow Pages (Sorry Sensis)

This morning I again, for about the 7th consecutive year carried the 2 yellow pages directories that had been left at my door step straight to the recycling bin. It seems I’m not alone.

Begin shared story…

Yellow pages may care to disagree with that statement but Google have taken away the need for services like Yellow Pages, especially in the physical form but also in the on-line world.

More and more people turn to the web to find instant solutions to their problems and in its basic form, as a search engine, Google has hit directory businesses hard. To rub salt into their wounds they have also taken over the typical directory function by giving web users Google Places.

The future is Google Places.

Google Places, which was formally Google Local Business Centre, enables business owners to provide location details, opening hours, photos, coupons, web site links and logo to name a few. Customers can also add reviews and the business owner can promote things like special events.

It is clear to see that paper directories can not compete with this type of exposure. Couple all this with Google maps and customers can see exactly where you are and what your business looks like.

Yellow Pages are fully aware that they are no longer relevant, even the strategic communications manager at Sensis, who owns Yellow Pages, said that Yellow Pages is really for:

“Small businesses who may be time-poor and don’t always have the necessary expertise in marketing and advertising”.

Stephen Ronchi — Sensis

Pretty clear that they are trying to pitch to businesses that are not that technically aware. Google makes this so easy that that is no longer a barrier.

Smarter directory operators, including the likes of a client of ours realised long ago that their service is effectively to create mini websites for clients that rely less on their traffic inside the site and more on pulling traffic from Google and to their customers. Indeed, it is the self service or low cost service of dLook and others in the market that make them competitive.

Interestingly Google pulls information from third parties, including Yellow Pages to create a basic profile. They want your input though and any information you give to Google will replace data from third parties.

The best bit is that Google Places is free. You can pay to get a featured ad but the free option puts you far and beyond what you would get from a traditional directory, in print or on-line.

Registering your business with Google Places is a few simple steps but it is best to compile all your business information for your profile before hand. If you need help with registering your business, we can easily provide that service.


(via Instapaper)