Local Search vs. Yellow Pages


For many years, Yellow Pages has been a business marketing staple for local advertising that allowed consumers to locate local florists, electricians, plumbers, and yes, doctors, with a quick walk of the fingers. Today, the first thing people do when they need to find information or a local business, including medical practices, is search online.  But, does this mean that the Yellow Pages are no longer effective? Absolutely not, when using the online directory version.

According to a study done by comScore and sponsored by Yellow Pages publishers, it was found that local searches through Yellow Pages online were more efficient versus the searches done on search engines.  

1.5 Million Consumers Analyzed

This study examined the searches made by 1.5 million consumers throughout the 2004 year.  There was a comparison made between 150 million online Yellow Page websites and online search websites like Google, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo and MSN.

In this study, there were 5 consumer search categories studied which were healthcare, financial services, automotive services and products, home services and restaurant dining.  Also, searches were conducted by looking up a particular keyword and the phone number, city, zip and state.

Study Findings

Based on findings from the study, although the search engines ended up being more popular, the Yellow Pages were more efficient.  Search engines accounted for 66 percent of the local searches, whereas the Yellow Pages accounted for 34 percent. However, interaction and action continue to remain competitively high for Internet Yellow Page users, according to the Local Search Association.  

There was a staggering 79% percent response rate from Internet Yellow Page searches, which lead to businesses being contacted the same day their ad was found in the directory listing. Also, there was a 65 percent rate of searches turning into sales the same day the listing was found meaning consumers who are using the Yellow Pages seem ready to buy. These statistics, however, do not change the fact that search engines are still the game winner here.

Reasons Search Engines Beat Yellow Pages for Local Marketing

Ease of Use

People like simplicity. Getting online has become so much easier these days since you are able to access the Internet at home, work, or any library.  People would rather type their query in the search engines to find what they need, whether on their desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, rather than sifting through 100 pages of Yellow Page ads.

Location Awareness in Searches

In the past, local search queries were always done by typing in your service area name or your city and service you offer.  For example, your customers might be searching for a "personal injury lawyer Boston" or "chiropractor in Chicago".  Search engines these days have become more intelligent as search algorithms over the years have matured.  They are now able to understand the 'local intent' of each search query.  

Plus, they use geotargeting to determine the location of the searcher.  For instance, if you type the term “gynecologist”' in Google these days, you are more likely to get search results with medical practice listings in your area.

Static Ads on Yellow Pages

With a website, you are able to update your ad as needed to highlight a featured offer or add something important, however when you place an ad on the paper version of the Yellow Pages, you are stuck with it for the entire year, regardless if there are any errors on it or not.  You won't be able to change your ad until the following year's ad cycle.

What it all boils down to is this:  No matter what size your medical practice is, using the search accuracy and time-saving convenience of search engines will help to grow your online presence. It is what drives the Internet these days to being a 'local community' and is the perfect advertising tool for your local business.

Targeted Medical Marketing, Digital Marketing