This battle is a lot closer than most of you can imagine. I'm constantly hearing about how the Yellow Pages are dying and there's no value in them. While most may say that I'm biased because of the number of years I spent in the industry, the same cannot be said for Google Analytics.

Google Analytics cannot lie, it has no biases and, thank goodness for the Yellow Pages, paints a much different picture than many so called experts. You just have to know what to look for.

Below you'll note one of our clients Year to Date Analytics numbers. Most likely you'll instinctively focus on the 'Visits' column, marvel at the 5,504 visitors referred by Google Organic Vs 884 referred by Yellow Pages and call it day. I decided to take a closer look.

Google Vs Yellow Pages

The Facts:

I knew that in Canada traffic is solid.

* 44% reach of all online Canadian
* 10.1 million Unique visitors in Q2, 2007
* Directory source for several online portals and wireless partners, including:

Bell Mobility
Telus Mobility

As a result, I drilled down on the Analytics and found the following following referring sites:

The Results:

I credited Yellow Pages for the referrals, bringing the total traffic numbers to 5,504 for Google and 1,261 for Yellow Pages. I know what you're thinking, that�s not much of a difference. That's true until you look at the following four key metrics:

1. Bounce Rate
(the percentage of single-page visits)
Google: 55.04%
Yellow Pages: 27.07%.
2. Pages Per Visit
(average number of pages viewed during a visit)
Google: 3.27
Yellow Pages: 3.93
3. Average Time Spent on Site
Google: 2.07
Yellow Pages: 2.29
4. Percentage New Visits
(percentage of visits by people who had never visited the site before)
Google: 87.07%
Yellow Pages: 89.24%


Clearly Yellow Pages visitors are more engaged than Google�s. They're also 100% less likely to bounce, view 20% more pages, spend 12% more time on the site and, with almost 90% of the traffic being from people who'd never been to the site, reach a different audience!

If you slice the numbers even further, subtract the bounce rate from the gross 'visits' number to reflect the possibility that this audience didn�t consider the site relevant to them. This reduces the totals to 2,474 visitors referred by Google Vs 921 referred by Yellow Pages.

Next time a client asks you if they should pull all of their advertising from Yellow Pages, check your ego at the door, and take a closer look at the numbers. As I said at the outset, it�s closer than you think.