Why is a partnership with natural enemies causing such concern in the SEO community?
Yellow Pages seem to be trying to re badge themselves as small business marketing people with call centres offering search engine marketing using terms that could be confusing to some small business owners.
We have noticed an alarming change to the way search engine results are being displayed there is a clear advantage given to Yellow Pages clients based on searches that include suburbs.
Different rules for different entities unfair
A client complained to me that a competitor was appearing in the map entries under multiple suburbs yet only had one office and one location.
When I checked I noticed an alarming trend -:
The significance of this is that to get an entry in the local or map sections at the top of Google now you need a Google+ account and you enter a place.
You can have up to 20 places under one account but they need an address for each of them.
The entries apparently added by Yellow Pages will just have suburbs with no specific address.
Now if you try to do that as an ordinary Google+ user you have to verify your account by post card hence the address e.g. Robina will not find you.
However it appears the entries added by Yellow Pages partners can have no address - this is clearly giving Yellow Pages clients an advantage over ordinary web users.
Yellow pages call centres
My client claims he was contacted by a telemarketing person working for the Yellow Pages.
"They offered me 4 suburbs and sounded pretty confident I would get to the top of the free listings in Google - all for a monthly fee, minimum 6 months period".
Being SEO marketing experts we keep track of trends that effect our clients sites. Recently there have been some positive Google initiatives that address spammy fake sites and spammy SEO techniques.
The Google local section at the top of the organic search results (non paid) are one way to ensure local businesses get a fair run. Just imagine if a company in Russia or India had control of sites on the first page of Google for your local business search terms.
Dodgy SEO techniques like using forum sites or even bots to plant links web wide indiscriminately are being weaned out by Google. These are very positive improvements.
However it is concerning to see Yellow Pages given what appears to be an advantage in regards to searches clients make using suburb names.
This is not going to effect many clients but it will have an effect on many small business who get found on a search like "painter Southport" or "yoga Broadbeach".
The aim of search engines is to ultimately reward the most popular site - good SEO techniques should focus on that as the core aim i.e. making a popular site.
Some related articles
Yellow Pages vs Search Engines
Yellow Pages partnering with Google Adwords What's the catch? Yellow Pages Scam - the Google Partnership
Yellow Pages and Google? to offer free digital marketing education for small business
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