I wish Yellow Pages Still Worked! (Inbound Marketing Strategy)

June 14, 2018
David McMahon

David McMahon

I wrestle with marketing technology so you don't have to. In my spare time, I run a marketing group with 1100+ marketers helping each other to attract new customers and share ideas. You are welcome to connect with me here.

Yellow Pages

“I wish The Yellow Pages still worked!” cried a business owner, I recently consoled. With many years as a marketing consultant, I listened to his story, puzzled by him.

This business owner went on to explain how a little ad in the Yellow Pages cost over $3,000 and bigger ads cost $20,000 or more. These prices are for national listings.

There was a time when having an advertisement in The Yellow Pages was a sign of business success. The Australian Yellow Pages started in 1880, called the Pink Pages later changing to yellow pages.  Essentially the Yellow Pages was the internet in hard copy from 1906 until the actual internet, as we know it, began in the late 1980s. So, you can see why the comment above left me with mixed feelings as I remembered the old days when The Yellow Pages ruled the business world. If you missed The Yellow Pages deadline, your business was invisible to all local and national prospects for the next 12 months. I miss those simpler times … kind of!

Recently, I was listening to Peter Nicholls who specialized in the Local SEO. Now Peter was kind enough to share his knowledge and expertise at a “Marketing for Business Owners” event (Gold Coast). As I was listening to Peter, I laughed, thinking back to The Yellow Pages’ days and started making notes on Peter’s presentation.

He was discussing Local SEO, which is split into two very different areas: local SEO search (location) and organic SEO (normal). Location SEO ranks your website based upon the location search by your customers; if you are a regional supermarket in New Lambton, you may be ranked high in search results for “supermarket in New Lambton” but, low in search results for a “supermarket in Morisset.”

Inbound Marketin


Organic SEO is not about the location but more about website content.. A great definition I like is: “In traditional organic SEO, search engines are looking for relevant and trusted content. For local SEO, search engines are seeking out relevant and trusted locations.” (Business2community.com)

He was discussing how to learn more about SEO which is split into two every different areas: local SEO search (location) and organic SEO (normal). 

Often Local SEO searches are verbal commands on Siri or Google Maps. Good examples of local SEO searches are:

  • ‘plumbing companies in Brisbane’
  • ‘coffee shop in Southport Gold Coast’
  • ‘law firm in Robina’
  • ‘real estate Gold Coast’

A part of my business is organic SEO. I found Peter’s talk very insightful. He provided a number of excellent suggestions, along with some tricks of the trade, I want to pass on to you. The highlights are:

A part of my business is organic SEO. I found Peter’s talk very insightful. He provided a number of excellent suggestions, along with some tricks of the trade, I want to pass on to you. The highlights are:



Local SEO Tips For Inbound Marketing Strategy


1)  Be consistent with the format of your business name, address and phone number (when possible). It facilitates a Google business search cross website reference, across the internet. For example, phone numbers we use are formatted as “1300 (space) 887 (space) 865” (ie xxxx xxx xxx). It is important that you follow this same format on all your web pages and other websites, such as directories. Any format is acceptable, just keep it the same on all websites, when possible. This is the start of brand building. 

2)  Use Google’s new app called “Google My Business” available on iPhone and Android.

3)  The FIRST task when setting up local SEO is to claim or register your business with Google. If the address or location in Google is incorrect, you will need to ensure the proper location is referenced. Remember, everyone is using Google maps on their smart phones to get directions. If Google does not have your correct address, then you are losing prospects and creating frustrated customers. It may be less stressful to pay someone to complete this task for you.

4) Duplicate listings are common, as other people create a “new” listing unaware one already exists.  Avoid diluting reviews and links across several Google+ Local pages by removing duplicate listings. 

5) Google+ Local profiles allow business owners to declare their type of business category. Add, at least 4-5 categories related to your business, including both broad and specific categories.

6) Collect reviews from customers. And I agree with Peter when he says, Australians do not normally like giving reviews. Reviews are critical, however, and each one matters. My two sons and many of their peers in the Y-Generation will select cafes, movies, restaurants, pubs, based on the reviews alone.

Collecting & using reviews is a big topic and I could spend the next 10 hours it. If you need help,  call us here at Crocodile Marketing your inbound marketing agency on 1300 887 865.


Local Citations are links from other local directories to your website. The list of Peter’s top 10 Australian citations sites areMarketing Strategy

  • Truelocal
  • Claim listing here at Yellow Pages
  • Hotfrog
  • AussieWeb
  • http://local.com.au
  • Facebook
  • Whitepages
  • Yelp
  • Startlocal
  • Plus Industry Specific e.g. TripAdvisor

Pro Tip: Be careful … Yelp is a tricky beast. Compared to Google+ local, you can't be as forward in asking for reviews on Yelp. Yelp’s policy is: “You can't ASK for reviews, but you CAN let your customers know you are on Yelp.” You can promote your presence on Yelp by embedding a Yelp badge on your site. 

Another way to improve your local search presence is by earning links from local sources. You have a little less control over this, to be sure, but the key is in the word "earn." Creating content worth linking to is the tried-and-true method of earning eyes on the internet.

New Call-to-Action

To give you an idea of what local links might be helpful to earn, consider forging content relationships with community organisations; getting involved in local events; or working with schools' career centres on their internship programs. 

Now, it could always be said that The Yellow Pages were simpler, but it did cost a lot of money for the ad. In the new world of the internet, local SEO is very important for you to understand but, it will be far cheaper than the old Yellow Pages.

 Originally published 9 July 2015, updated 12 June 2018

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