Good SEO: Better Than Yellow Pages

April 30, 2010: Judy Matysik, Vice President of Client Services, Content & Design

As the world moves toward digital marketing, you have to wonder how much longer printed yellow page directories can hold on. In 2009, yellow page sales dropped 7.5%, so it looks like yellow is starting to bleed red.

Using a Blue Ocean Strategy, our R&D team thought there might be a hidden opportunity in the choppy waters of Search Marketing. Online searches are increasing rapidly and we know consumers are searching for products, services and content. We also know search engines are indexing the best sites and content to improve search results. With this in mind, we started testing search engine optimization (SEO) tactics with a few of our clients. How do we capture those opportunities to benefit our clients?

We created an “Integrated SEO Strategy” which includes the On Page Keywords and Off Page Content that matches those keywords for a financial services client.

Rather than simply beefing up the keywords on the client’s website content, hoping that the search engines would find it, we created keyword optimized feature content relevant to the financial institution (the article was about identity theft). We then released the content over a series of newswire services to test a new Off Page tactic. The content was not promotional, but written as a consumer-friendly article with three links back to the client’s website for more information.  The results were very encouraging:

  • 3 out of 4 tracked keywords increased in Google’s position for a gain of 6.
  • 4 out of 7 keyword terms increased in inbound traffic, a total increase of 7%.
  • Conversions (inquiry forms submitted on the bank’s website) increased 8%.
  • After 45 days the content was indexed by Google on 26,000 Web sites.
  • Anecdotal comments from the client: “We have far more leads coming in off our site!”

All of this traffic came from bank prospects searching online using common banking keywords. What our test proved is that good content placed Off Page (on other websites) can actually help raise your local search results because search engines think geographically.

In other words, if you’re a Minneapolis bank and if we place your good content on websites in other cities and markets, you still have SEO benefits. Why? Because strategically written inbound links from authoritative websites across the country tell search engines that your site is also an authority for those keywords.

The search engines’ goal is to give searchers the most relevant and useful sites it can find (remember Bing is a “decision engine”). Add to this the fact that search engines will also try to show searchers GEOGRAPHICALLY relevant results, and you can see how SEO tactics such as this become a much more effective alternative to the yellow pages.

The hyper-local capability of search engines effectively makes yellow page directories obsolete. So before you renew your yellow page contract, consider finding a great search engine optimization services partner that specializes in using optimized content as part of their link building approach. They will likely be able to save you money and drive your sales.

Follow Priority @PriorityResults.

This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.

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