The agency’s guide to optimizing a Yellow Pages listingBy Solange Messier
Do you remember how you found local businesses in the days before Google and the internet? Most people pulled out a print telephone directory like the Yellow Pages. It might surprise you to learn that Yellow Pages (YP) is still alive and well, even in the internet era. Although the print version has declined, online Yellow Pages listings get millions of visitors per month (Similar Web). Part of their success comes from Google’s renewed focus on local SEO.
An optimized Yellow Pages listing is only one part of an overall local SEO strategy. Download “How to conquer local search engine optimization (SEO)” to become your clients’ go-to expert right now.
Of course, Yellow Pages also knows how to help people find local businesses—they’ve been doing it for decades. It’s not surprising their knowledge has created a powerful online directory.
Some of your agency clients might hesitate to get a Yellow Pages listing for their business. They might think Google Business Profile is the be-all, end-all of online business listings. They might even favor Yelp or another site. To tell the truth, all these directories matter. That's why you need to take steps to optimize a Yellow Page listing for each of your local business clients.
So, how do you make sure that a Yellow Pages listing is performing for your clients? You can follow these tips to boost performance.
Focus on NAP for a Yellow Pages listing
The basics of local SEO apply to pretty much every online directory out there. That includes Yellow Pages and its family of sites.
Much like you would with a Google Business Profile listing or a Yelp profile, you’ll want to focus on the client’s NAP:
- Phone number
These details are crucial pieces of information that help people find your clients. Search engines like Google also rely on them to determine whether a business is worth recommending.
You want to ensure that the business’s NAP is consistent across all platforms (Search Engine Journal). Your first step should always be to research Yellow Pages listings.
If the client already has a listing, your next step is to check out whether the information is up to date. If it’s incorrect or outdated, it could be dinging the client’s local SEO rank—and confusing their customers.
Update any information that is incorrect or outdated. If you’re setting up a new profile, then you’ll want to take a look at the NAP information across directories and listing platforms. The NAP should be the same for every profile on each platform.
Sync across YP’s family of online directories
One way to ensure consistency across YP-owned directories is to sync across their websites. Every time you update the profile on yellowpages.com, you can sync with SuperPages and more.
This saves your agency team time, and it helps ensure the information is accurate. If your team has to input the same data over and over, there’s a risk they’ll enter it wrong on at least one profile. It’s also more time consuming to do things this way, so using a sync feature is a smart move.
You can go a step further and use local listing management software to manage client profiles across all profiles.
Use the multimedia features to their full extent
One reason to use Yellow Pages is the opportunity to include a wide variety of multimedia. YP allows the following:
- Hero carousel images
- Promotional tiles
- Gallery images
You can (and should) also include an “about us” section for the client’s profile. Another great tip is to include a map showing the business location. This is easy to do with Google Maps or Apple Maps. Other ideas include adding pictures of the business’s building.
Adding multimedia to a YP listing can help your client’s customers find them, as it makes the profile more complete. Helpful videos and great images also mean the YP listing has more information to answer customer questions.
Even if Yellow Pages doesn’t get as many hits as Google, the depth and completeness of profiles make them valuable resources for people searching for local businesses. After all, 60 percent of people say great images make them more likely to click a listing (Medium).
Making use of all the multimedia available also boosts local SEO. Google might still push a My Business Profile, but the search engine also looks at other directories. The better your client’s Yellow Pages listing, the higher Google will likely rank them. That makes them easier to find, whether on YP or via Google.
Research your keywords
Keywords are critical for Yellow Pages and for local SEO as the whole. As much as YP profiles help boost your local SEO on Google, Yellow Pages is also its own search engine.
People can search on Yellow Pages, just the same as they can search on Google. With the right optimization, your client’s profile will pop up when someone searches for “auto repair shop” on a YP site.
Do some research to discover which keywords get the most volume. See who is already ranking for those terms when you search Google and Yellow Pages itself. When Yellow Pages listings pop up in Google’s search results, make note of the businesses listed. Knowing the keywords your client should rank for will help you decide what to include in their profile.
Create a linking strategy for Yellow Pages listings
Yellow Pages also provides quite a few opportunities to link other content. You can include:
- Blog and articles links, each with a description
- External links
- Links to social media profiles
If you’ve included social media profiles on other online directory pages, link the same ones here. Consistency is key for local SEO.
Your external links should direct to the client’s website. Their homepage, contact page, and About Us page are always good candidates. If the client offers quotation services, then you may want to link to the quote form. Product and services pages can round out your choices here.
For blogs and articles, you may want to keep a rotation of recent blog posts linked here. You might also want to link evergreen posts or the client’s most popular articles. It’s a great way to drive more traffic for the client. At the same time, you also deliver useful content for interested prospects.
Yellow Pages also allows you to add up to three awards or accreditations to a profile.
Encourage user reviews for Yellow Pages optimization
Reviews are a key part of local SEO, and that holds true for your client’s Yellow Pages listing as well.
Unlike Yelp or Google, Yellow Pages doesn’t allow people to review directly on their site. That doesn’t mean reviews don’t help your clients’ profiles stand out on Yellow Pages sites.
You should encourage customer reviews wherever possible, including the client’s own website. Yellow Pages uses that information in their algorithm.
Reviews play a key role in your client’s ranking, both on YP directories and on Google. Devise a strategy to help your client collect more positive reviews.
Remember: Consistency is key for local SEO
We mentioned your client’s NAP must be consistent across every business directory. Also remember that the Google algorithm looks at other listings to rank businesses.
For that reason, consistency is key. If your client’s name, address, and phone number are different on different sites, Google gives the business a lower trustworthiness score. Outdated information could suggest the business has gone under. Different names or phone numbers can create confusion for customers.
Keeping things consistent improves your client’s local SEO, because Google can be sure they recommend the “right” business.
Stick with the client’s local phone number
One mistake people make with Yellow Pages listings is adding a “call tracking” number. This is not the client’s local phone number, and it sometimes causes problems with local SEO.
Why is that? Quite simply, it creates inconsistency in listings. What happens if you have a call-tracking number on Yellow Pages and other sites, but another number on the client website? Google will likely lower the client's rank. On top of that, customers may not be sure which phone number is the client’s “real” number.
Best practice is to use the client’s local phone number for all online profiles, including Yellow Pages listings.
Write for people, not robots
Whether you’re creating a profile or writing a blog post, this rule holds true. Remember that you’re writing for your client’s prospective customers. You want to use your keywords, but do so in a natural way.
You should also think about creating quality content for the prospect. What information will they find useful in deciding which auto body repair shop is the right one to call? Reviews, awards, and even blog posts can help the customer decide which business they want to call in for the job.
Think about Yellow Pages listings as part of a local SEO strategy
Finally, remember that your clients’ Yellow Pages listings are only one part of an overall local SEO strategy. After all, Yellow Pages is just one of hundreds of online directories. You should be updating and optimizing other business profiles for your clients too.
If the idea of keeping them all up to date has you stressed, it might be time to check out listing management services. These tools can help you keep your clients’ listings up to date across directories—and more.
Optimizing a Yellow Pages listing isn’t difficult. It can help you make a meaningful difference to your clients’ local SEO efforts.