Announcement: Google vs Yellow Pages Survey Results

by David Jenyns

In this digital age, it is all to easy to jump to the conclusion that online marketing is dominating over offline marketing methods… but is it fair? Just like “video killed the radio star” (as the song goes), can online media really kill the once all mighty print media star?

One dinosaur of print media which seems to be, all too often, in the firing line is the Yellow Pages.  Sure, on an environmental level, the Yellow Pages [physical book], may be seen as a colossal waste of paper but what about its effectiveness?

It seems that those who are most aggressively against the Yellow Pages are typically the ones who have the most to gain from its demise – namely online marketers, SEO and SEM companies.

So, before condemning the Yellow Pages, we decided to hit the streets of Melbourne to hear what the everyday person thinks. I guess you could call it some old fashioned market research :)

Watch the video below to see a quick summary of what we found…

The Survey Results

Q1. How often do you use the print version of the Yellow Pages?

  • 7.69% use it regularly
  • 23.08% once a month
  • 15.38% once a year
  • 53.85% never use it

Q2. How do you search for products and services you’re looking for?

  • 92.86% use Google.com
  • 7.14% use Yellow Pages

Respondent Quote: “I reckon the yellow pages is obsolete, why would you spend money on the yellow pages when they’ll just as easily find you on Google.”

Q3. How often do you use Google?

  • 100% use Google.com everyday

Respondent Quote: “If I need information I go straight to Google.”

Q4. Do you know what SEO stands for?

  • 92.86% didn’t know
  • 7.14% knew what SEO is

Q5. How do you choose what to click on Google?

  • 46.15% visit top few results
  • 30.76% click only top 5
  • 100% never go past the first page

End survey results…

So what did we learn?

A very interesting sidenote to this survey emerged in relation to search engine optimization (SEO). Whilst 100% of respondents use Google every day, only 7% of respondents knew what SEO was.

Unsurprisingly where people chose to click next, on the search engine results page (SERPS), was heavily weighted towards the top of Google with 100% of people claiming to only browse the first page of search results – 46% of respondents concentrating on the top 3.

Respondent Quote: “Your eyes are automatically drawn to the top of every search engine page. It’s human nature to look at the top of the page rather than the bottom.”

For us, it became even more clear that an “SEO Knowledge Gap” exists. Browsers find the few first results in the SERPs the most relevant and important whilst having no clue as to how Google works. People simply trust Google is providing the best information. This represents a great opportunity for businesses to capitalize on the trust people have with Google’s brand. If your website features more prominently on Google, your website is automatically seen as the authority.

So  here’s 3 final questions to ask yourself:

1. Will online media advertising kill offline print media?
2. Does this signal the end of the print version Yellow Pages?
3. Is online marketing and SEO a more effective, better value for money, form of advertising?

This study does not conclusively answer any of these questions. But that said, these are questions every business owner should be asking…


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