April 22, 2012

Optimizing for Search Part I of II: What Yellowbook Will Tell You

Businesses often ask us about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is one of the services we offer at Strella Social Media. We’re pleased to interview website developer and SEO partner, John Webster, to offer insight into SEO and how it fits into the bigger online marketing picture.

A good number of businesses are embracing Yellowbook and Superpages online directory listings as part of their SEO program.  Are these listings credible?

A year ago, I would have said ‘absolutely not,’ but I am finding that these sites are starting to rank really well. It now creates a two-click to engage instead of a one-click to engage. My advice would be to take the cheapest package you can get, just to keep a listing there. Think of it as another directory you are listing yourself in.

It does nothing for the SEO on YOUR websites. It’s no different than having your business listed in Yelp, Google local, or any other business directory.

If your goal is to monopolize the top five ranks on Google, there is a good chance, using Yellowbook will help will rank in the top five.  I’m not a big fan of Yellowbook, but it does work in this respect.

YellowBook, Superpages, they are all the same. They are directories NOT content creators. Internet marketing companies, SEO companies - they are plain and simple directories. I am not a fan because they try to sell themselves as the former. The sales force is out upselling the listings to include services which are outside their sweet spot, which is curating information.

How much weight should a business put into social profiles as part of the Google search? Any tips for optimizing them?

You want to make sure your website and social profile keywords align. Be sure your public profiles are keyword-laden.

Can you name a few things that a business can do to organically increase search rankings without having to pay a professional? 

First and foremost, get your business on Google local.  As for the others:

  • Blog, at a minimum, every 14 days
  • Write keyword-heavy content
  • Find people to partner with you and share links to your site
  • Publish posts on popular websites

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II!

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11 comments on “Optimizing for Search Part I of II: What Yellowbook Will Tell You”

  1. John,

    I would agree with you about Yellowbook. I am not a big fan, either. It is a good directory to list your website, as well as Yelp, Merchant Circle, or Google places.

    Google has implemented over 500 algorithm changes, just last year alone. One of those changes is called Google Panda. Because of this new change, you will want to be careful how "rich" you make your content with keywords. Google will now see this as keyword stuffing, and will index you really low.

    Also, with these new algorithm changes, you might want to be careful who you partner with to share links, as Google may see this as link farming.

    Publishing posts on relevant websites is a so important to SEO.

    Thanks for sharing, John. Looking forward to Part 2

  2. Bill,

    Your cautions are spot on.

    The main point I always try to make with those I advise is to write high quality content that includes the keywords that are being targeted. Additionally, I advise people to avoid what I call "The Fad Diet" solutions to SEO that often deter the desired result.

    There is no substitution for: time, quality content and links from credible partners.

  3. For the exact same reasons listed in this post, I recommend to clients that every piece of (legitimate) news should be issued in a traditional news release through one of the major fee-based news release distribution services. Forget about some editor calling you up to put your story on the front page. That's not what it's about anymore. The objective is the SEO value in its purist form via these services that are plugged in to portals, search engines and archival databases.

    1. Hey Joel,

      I always appreciate your readership and feedback. You offer insight into something I don't have a lot of experience with. I will say I have a client who didn't do too well with the fee-based press release. She was doing it aid in selling a product, not enhance search rankings, but either way - it was a flop. That was just one experience so I'm not sure that applies, but it's what I know of.

      One thing I should mention in regards to this particular topic-- my target audience - small to medium businesses who are doing most of the content themselves -- would not have a clue how to keyword stuff a site, buy links from link farms or any other shady SEO practices. However, they do know enough to get ripped off by the Yellowbook and crappy SEO practitioners. I wanted to help set the record straight!

      1. The truth about paid news release services (Business Wire, PR Newswire and Marketwire are among the biggest) is they don't really deliver headlines, sales or leads in a vacuum. Never have. That's the mistake small companies make in putting a few hundred dollars into those "shotguns" with the *promise* of global distribution to thousands of online portals, search engines, major news media and trade publications, but never a guarantee from the providers that a single result will be delivered. Ironic, isn't it? If you are Apple, Southwest Airlines or Zappos and issue a major announcement on a wire service exclusive of any other traditional or social media channel, yes, you will generate headlines. However, reporters and bloggers would not normally be looking for wire news from small, unknown companies unless they were actively searching for a specific topic. But if you want to be a player or plan to go from small to big, the wires feed a lot of sources that will one day demonstrate a business "track record" and will leave SEO footprints all over the digital map, aside from what you might post on your own site, in a LinkedIn profile or on a Facebook page. It shows you didn't just open your doors yesterday. Unfortunately the wire services for decades have dangled the glitter of major news publications in front of unsuspecting corporate executives and small business owners (without good PR counsel to add a reality check). Now that PR and social media are converging, it's important for social media consultants to get hip to what the wires can and can't do. The operative concept: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  4. Just a bit of clarification.

    I do realize that there are more surgical, more powerful and more comprehensive measures that can and are taken to build a website's search ranking. Those options are costly in both time and expense, something a market like Harrisburg, PA does not exactly have the stomach for. Instead I choose to help small and medium size businesses in smaller markets protect themselves from sharks who will sell them the farm and promise the world that goes with it.

    Most of the businesses I talk to can move the needle quite well by having a well organized site, that uses the proper language and publishes content on a regular basis.

    I never want to be seen as the electronics store sales person who convinces a customer to finance a $2,000.00 top end system when they enter the store with a $500.00 budget.

  5. Not sure if you're aware but yellowbook isn't just a directory company. They offer a wide variety of options for small-medium businesses. Advanced SEO services being a large piece of that.

      1. ABSOLUTELY RACHEL! YELLOWBOOK (THE DIRECTORY) IS JUST ONE OF MANY SPECIALIZED PRODUCTS, ALL UNDER ONE UMBRELLA NOW, HIBU. I HAD A WEBSITE CREATED, SEO, SEM, AS WELL AS THEIR ONLINE DIRECTORY. BEING IN THE BOOK IS JUST A SMALL PART OF WHAT THEY DO NOW!

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