A replublished article first published in 2010.
Website designers in Kent, UK have responded to some of Yell`s marketing tactics trying to sign up new clients. The local Kent firms say that Yell`s marketing teams have been claiming “a special relationship with Google” in phone cold calling in its efforts to win new business. Such claims to clients are misleading and unhelpful. The Kent business has a recorded transcript of the telephone calls and is alarmed at the wording being used.
Google may well favour corperate business in its latest search algorithm updates, however, it does not give precedence to any individual company in the search results.
Everybody well versed in the web world understands that Yell is now reduced to an Adwords Reseller and they take their cut for advertising clients websites with Google Adwords. Companies do not understand that they can have a direct relationship with Google or Yahoo and cut out the (Yell) middle man.
For many years Yell`s directory structure was poorly structured and its session based id URL`s did not sit well in website optimisation basics. Around 4 years ago Yell actually got its house in order and created a better keyword directory structure and better website keyword related URL`s.
However, that change had come far too late. Long gone are they days when Yell was the paper based search giant hiding beneath your grandmothers telephone table. They have been usurped by the online search and media giants and have become collaterall damage of the digital advertising era.
Yell have had to go piggy back on Google`s advertising model as their brand has been diminished from the dominance of previous decades. The directory based listings perform badly against properly optimised websites with just a few links to them in search results.
In response to Yell, local collaberations of web designers have been targeting Yell clients directly, confirming the benefits of direct Adwords accounts with Google, Google Places listings and a properly optimised website.
What is very interesting though, is the client response when we tell them as soon as the marketing spend stops with Yell, the creatives go off too and no more search advertising.
When the CEO has to ask if anybody has a magic wand (ideas) to change things around, it is like a punch drunk boxer throwing in the towel. One has to wonder about the management of Yell over the last few years. Should the senior management team be voted off in a vote of no confidence? Who wants to own shares in such a poorly performing business?
Yell recently reported a loss of $1.4bn for 2011/12.
Interestingly enough, Yell has rebranded into Hibu and you can read more about this in another blog post.