More People Use Internet Search Engines than Yellow Pages

Yellow_pages The day has finally come: More people use Internet search engines than yellow pages.  I knew all along that the overpriced yellow pages were a dying business.  The yellow pages were exorbitantly expensive to advertise in, and would carry hundreds of undifferentiated listings (look up "lawyers" for example") that made it difficult for consumers to use.  YP ads were always a bad idea for professionals, because only bottom-feeders and bargain hunters use them to find accountants, lawyers and consultants. And the YP publishers made sure consumers had a low opinion of them, by delivering them in a plastic bag in the middle of my lawn.  I am glad to see the Yellow Pages dying.

I knew Yellow Pages were going the way of the dinosaur when I noticed people looking up phone numbers on Google.

Here is Kevin O'Keefe's synopsis of the new study:

When it comes to looking for a lawyer, more Americans are turning to the search engines than the yellow pages. So says a June 21 study from Harris Interactive on the behavior and preferences of Americans when searching the web. 54% search online rather than use a phone book. Though 63% are looking for the addresses of phone numbers of people, almost as many (58%) are looking up information on local businesses.

Other findings of interest include:

  • Google is the most popular search engine, followed by Yahoo, MSN, AOL and Ask Jeeves.
  • Google users also tend to use search for business or professional research more than other search engine users.
  • More than 45% of adults searching for news are looking for differing viewpoints, and 42% are searching for supplemental information.
  • Search engine users aren't as loyal as many believe. Just 13% reported that they used Google all of the time. There was even less loyalty among users of the other search engines.
  • More than half (56%) do not understand the difference between the paid and organic types of listings. Among those that do know the difference, only about half (51%) prefer organic listings. And in general, men express a stronger preference for organic results than women, who tend not to have a preference.

Yellow page folks will of course say that they are now set to display search results on the search engines for lawyers who are advertising in the yellow pages. However lawyers relying on the yellow page companies to get them on the Internet, such lawyers are getting a pretty weak presence on the Internet, assuming they can be found at all.

A strong Internet presence in the form of a well designed blog providing information on the niche area the lawyer practices in or well designed search engine optimized Web site rich in content is the answer. Both will get a lawyer high search engine rankings and do a much more effective job than relying on the inferior quality stuff you've come to expect from yellow page ad sales people. You know the type - the sales people only get paid commissions when they sell you upgrades like a color ad resulting in the purple and green law firm ads that look like an ad for a bordello.

Source of post: Chris Sherman at SearchEngineWatch

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
gskrilla - April 10, 2006 2:36 PM

great article, very intresting on how the yellow pages are dying.

Michael - May 29, 2007 10:46 PM

You're article fails to point out several key items which lead the reader to a poor conclusion. 1) The internet is a hybrid of media - not a substitute. Users tend to complement their search with the internet - not ignore other media. Smart law firms complement their media mix with other media - not remove themselves completely. 2) The expertise needed to run a blog requires several hours a day to maintain and update the site. 3) Google, while popular today, can be easily displaced by other technology. Just ask IBM and Microsoft what occured in the late 80's. 4) Yellow pages continues to be critical to today's consumer. The internet is slow, unpredictable and can be tricked into providing false information - read unreliable. A recommended marketing strategy should be weighed with the results a client seeks. Click fraud is becoming a huge problem for those relying exclusively on website traffic.

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