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Question About Google Search (+ Yellow Page) Rankings

Posted on 2014-10-01
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Last Modified: 2014-10-23
Hey Guys -

I'm an SCCM Engineer who helps his parent's small business after hours with various IT things.  They have a basic website which has about 6-7 pages total.  The business they have makes signs, awnings, screenprinting, and other advertising things.

They've always advertised in the Yellow Pages, but have dwindled down their plan until now it's only on a tier where they just have online advertising - which still isn't cheap.  The YP rep came by the other day and my parents said they wanted to cancel.  He said if they did, that their organic Google Search rating would go down big time.  I set their site up on Google Analytics and suggested they may cancel, watch traffic, then see if it's affected.  

When they told the rep this, he said if they cancel and renew, they'll loose some status where older customers get better rankings.

I don't know much about SEO as I don't do much web stuff - but - have a feeling they are getting ripped off.  All of my SEO experience is from my own personal site which is Wordpress-based and no need to advertise.  Using Google, I searched for the town they are located in plus the two biggest parts of their business - signs and awnings.  Below are the results:

Google Searches
"murfreesboro" "signs" - They were listed 8th
"murfreesboro" "awnings" - They were listed 3rd (See attached screenshot - Their business name is The Very Idea! )

This doesn't include the section at the beginning of the search which lists results with address, phone, and map.  

All I've ever done for their site is have Google crawl it basically.  I just signed in with webmaster tools and the site shows no errors.  It doesn't have enough data yet for some checks, though.

Questions
1. Will cancelling the service with Yellow Pages - especially given company size - make a difference in search results?

2. If it makes a big difference, where?  In the primary search results, business name search results, or both?

3. Would it be relatively easy for me to integrate SEO to make up the difference?

4. They currently pay $80 a month to YP.  Given that the vast majority of their business is from the local area, what would you suggest as a better way to spend the budget for web advertising?

If you wish to take a look at their site if it makes a difference, it's theveryideaonline.com

Thanks for your help!
TVISearch.png
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Question by:BzowK
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by:Gary
Gary earned 250 total points
ID: 40355441
Sign up with Google Places and forget YP
There is a chance they may lose some juice from the backlink from YP - but that is only one backlink and may actually amount to nothing in the first place.

Edit
I see you are already on Google Places and coming up high - get rid of YP, it's just a sales pitch
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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 250 total points
ID: 40355630
I don't know much about SEO as I don't do much web stuff - but - have a feeling they are getting ripped off.

Probably correct.  No points for this answer, please.  I am parroting Gary with most of it anyway.

1. Will cancelling the service with Yellow Pages - especially given company size - make a difference in search results?

Unless inbound traffic from YP was/is a big source of overall traffic to the site, no. Gary said it best...it's just a backlink.

2. If it makes a big difference, where?  In the primary search results, business name search results, or both?

Moot.

3. Would it be relatively easy for me to integrate SEO to make up the difference?

There wouldn't be much difference.  If the site is not currently optimized, doing that would be to your benefit regardless of YP status.

4. They currently pay $80 a month to YP.  Given that the vast majority of their business is from the local area, what would you suggest as a better way to spend the budget for web advertising?

Google Places, as Gary said. Free and Google places it above all other results anyway.  You MIGHT want to look into running AdWords to get some exposure on underperforming queries but it tends to not be worth it in my experience.

Not sure what the primary target demographic is for the business, but it may also be worth the time to set up a Twitter and Facebook page for the business and post specials and updates to those two locations.
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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 250 total points
ID: 40355654
3. Would it be relatively easy for me to integrate SEO to make up the difference?

Having spent a few minutes looking around, you absolutely need to tweak this site for SEO purposes.  Personally, I think you would do well to move the site to a CMS (WordPress, since you already know it) and give it a new design in the process.  Between a CMS and a better design, it should start doing a lot better.
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by:
Gary earned 250 total points
ID: 40355667
Your YP is probably the same as the Golden Pages we have here, which seems to halve in size (the book version) each year - I wonder why...I don't really wonder why - online advertising has a far wider reach online and if done correctly costs less/has a better ROI
It's far easier to search Google for a company/product (which is probably costing the company nothign) than YP or it's many faces.
Search Google for reasons not to advertise with YP - some interesting reads

We used to have another similar company here in Ireland, they want bust a few years ago after people stopped paying their fees to advertise.
The books these days end up in the fire or as a doorstop or a stool or a...
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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 250 total points
ID: 40355679
Gary,

I don't know what Golden Pages is doing but over here YP is morphing into a hosting provider/web design/SEO firm.  So rather than pay them for a relatively worthless link in a directory, you would have them build/host/optimize the site.

They're only 5 to 6 years behind on that.
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by:Gary
Gary earned 250 total points
ID: 40355705
build/host/optimize the site
...and probably not very cheaply either.

Google Places is probably the best advertising you can get for a local business and it's free.
A bit of Google Adwords (as Jason has said) with a very low bid and see how it goes, needs some work as there is no point paying for keywords if you are already showing high on the SERPS to start with.
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Author Comment

by:BzowK
ID: 40355819
Thanks Guys!

I really appreciate your time and help!

So I read all you said and here's what I got from it:
- Yellow Pages does make a difference, but not nearly as much of a difference as they may claim
- I may be able to optimize the site to improve rankings - of which may make up for if not exceed YP's part
- If I re-build the site using a CMS (like Wordpress), I would probably have the best chance at getting a good rank

Please let me know if any of that's incorrect.  Even though it's a small site, I'd imagine re-building it would be a fairly big process even if using a CMS.  Wordpress is basically for blogging so I can't see a way to redo it with a complete reformat.  Is there another CMS you suggest that could be used which may fit the format (or at least business category) that it is now?

If I go down the route of making a few small improvements, what would those generally be?  Again,all data wasn't in Google Webmaster for it to analyze yet, but if you could point me in the direction, I'll see what I can do.

If you ever need help with SCCM, let me know :)  Thanks again
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LVL 58

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by:Gary
Gary earned 250 total points
ID: 40355833
I would say Wordpress is probably overkill, there are a few other simpler CMS systems. (Google)
Do some SEO research and implement, main thing would be more (unique) content on the pages and good title and description meta tags.
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LVL 70

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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 250 total points
ID: 40355994
Again,all data wasn't in Google Webmaster for it to analyze yet, but if you could point me in the direction, I'll see what I can do.

Site needs:

meta descriptions
better (clearer) navigation
responsive design (looks good on small screens, less good at 1980x1200)
some way to get fresh content going (site looks like it hasn't been touched since 2004) on a regular basis

That should be enough.

Even though it's a small site, I'd imagine re-building it would be a fairly big process even if using a CMS.

Nah.  10 hours, tops.

Is there another CMS you suggest that could be used which may fit the format (or at least business category) that it is now?

Look into some of the hosted services like SquareSpace, Wix, etc.  Prices are reasonable, they handle all of the hosting headaches, and those template libraries are getting nicer by the moment.
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