Recently GoodLife Solutions were approached by a new client who wanted their website redesigned. We built a new responsive marketing website taking into consideration the latest web design techniques and improved search engine optimisation (SEO).
Our client had another website which had been built by Hibu (Hibu is a company name of Yell.com or Yellow Pages). They were paying thousands of pounds a year for an Adwords campaign with Google, but were not appearing in searches. With another website, for the same business, they were paying a very small amount to have their site ranked number one in Google.
We really wanted to understand why Hibu were so expensive and not delivering high search engine rankings. What makes Hibu or Yell so special?
We trawled the internet for some answers.
We don’t take what we find on the internet for granted, but there is quite a lot of negative press out there about Hibu/Yell. Most of the time this is written by Search Engine Optimisation companies and therefore I would argue quite biased.
I think the title of this article discovered in the JDR Group's 'Digital Prosperity' Blog really sum it up for us. ‘If you want a copy of ‘Fly Fishing’ by J.R. Hartley these days, you go to Google’. ('Fly Fishing’ by J.R. Hartley' was a popular early 1980's TV commercial for Yellow Pages, about a gentleman looking for a copy of a book.)
Special Relationship with Google
Yell say they are different, because they have a ‘special relationship with Google’. However, they never describe what this is.
Perhaps their ‘special relationship’ is only the fact that they are a high Adwords spender with Google and therefore a good revenue stream for Google?
If you go back a few years, Yellow Pages was the Google of its time. A paper based listing of local and national services. Today, in the UK, Google dominate this field and it is only a matter of time, before the Yellow paged book is no longer published. Stating the obvious, Google have killed the Yellow Pages. Yellow Pages saw this and tried to reinvent themselves and develop a niche.
Now Yell / Hibu use Google Adwords, to promote their paying clients on Google. However, it appears that they use them generically for groups of websites, which does not guarantee you are getting the best for your site and business.
Visibility on Keyword Submission
Hibu's clients appear to have little visibility and control over keyword submissions. Hibu are not transparent in their methods, which leads to a lot of speculation as to why? Perhaps this is because their methods are not specific enough for clients and are too generic? When GoodLife Solutions run Adword campaigns, we give our clients a detailed breakdown of how they have spent their money. It is in our interest to promote the websites we have created for clients, so work to ensure Adword campaigns are effective.
At GoodLife Solutions we came to the following conclusions:
You have no control over the keywords Yell/Hibu select for your business. Not all our clients want to get involved in selecting the keywords used in their Adword campaign. However, all our clients expect to see results and their website climb the search engine listings. At Goodlife Solutions, if we are paid to administer a keyword campaign, we are transparent on how our clients budget is spent.
Hibu / Yell only send traffic to your homepage
Most websites have many pages. If the website is constructed correctly, it will consist of a home page (the main website page or front page) and landing pages (a landing page is typically a single website page that appears as a search result). Hibu/Yell only send paid traffic to the home page! As a consequence, you are missing out on your website having other pages listed in search results.
Homepage and landing pages are different ways for search engines to find your website - people can land on other pages of your site from search results they have entered. This can really work to your advantage as it can spread your site through Google, but also allows you to target specific customer with specific content.
With Hibu you are narrowing down or throttling the chances of your site being found!
Low Adword Administration Costs
The largest percentage of your Hibu / Yell budget is spent on administration of Google Adwords. Administration costs with any good website company should be a small percentage of your Adwords budget.
Search Engine and Website Statistics
The statistics Yell/Hibu provide is very basic which does not allow you to determine if your budget has been spent wisely.
At GoodLife Solutions, we use Google Analytics and other website tools. When clients ask, or want to understand how their site is being used, we can give information and statistics at the lowest level.
Just another website marketing company
Yellow Pages will become a thing of the past. A snapshot in time confined to a dusty drawer. With the decline in Yellow Pages, Yell / Hibu are struggling to reinvent themselves. Hibu / Yell is now just another website marketing company.
What differentiates Hibu from anyother website marketing company? Obviously, they publish a thin yellow book that most people put in a drawer and forget about these days, but apart from that?
Conclusion - Content is King
It has been an interesting exercise, but in our opinion you are better off marketing your website yourself using Google tools, or with a website company that is transparent, has a good reputation, delivers results and you can trust.
With any website, and in the eyes of Google 'content is king’! Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
At GoodLife Solutions we always quote this to clients as we believe it says a lot! Start with the content of your site, get that right and it will take you a long way. Then, the icing on the cake is an Adwords campaign.