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  1. #1
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    When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    As many of you know, when you submit citations, you're often times bombarded by the directory owners to upgrade to a paid listing. For the sake of citations themselves, I always tell my clients that the free listings are fine.

    However, there are probably instances where having a premium listing on a directory makes sense. Angie's List comes to mind. I have one client who is probably going to pay for premium placement on it because he gets a decent amount of leads and sales from his free Angie's listing and it's buried. He figures if he upgrades so he's on the top of the list, he could get a decent ROI.

    I'm curious if anyone has had a positive ROI on premium listings. If so, what industry are you in and what directories did you opt for the premium placement?

    The goal of this thread would be to compile a list of industries and directories where premium listings *might* be worth looking into.

    Travis Van Slooten
    TVS Internet Marketing: Helping Small Businesses Increase Their Visibility & Sales Online.

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    Re: When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    Hi Travis, great question.

    One recommendation I can give from a bad experience that my company had is to do a ton of homework before investing in premium type listings with any directory site.

    We worked with one of the bigger directory sites and it was a nightmare. Without getting into too much detail, I can say that you really need to read between the lines when they are explaining all the wonderful impressions and actions...etc that you will be getting.

    Oh, and customer service seems to be lacking a lot of the time. Most seem to be highly commission driven and really eager to simply make a sale.
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

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    Re: When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    Hey Travis,

    You know me, and know I’m not the type of guy who’s big on “premium listings” and the like. But in some cases Yahoo’s $10/month seems to be a good deal. I’ve used it for a couple of clients. One of them was #3-5 for a semi-competitive search term before using the paid listings, floated up to #1 for his “big” search term once he signed up, eventually let his credit card expire, but still is #1 for the term. Maybe it’s a coincidence.

    I’ve never been much on Yahoo, but it does tend to be forgotten. Obviously, an OK number of people still use it for local (nothing compared to Google, but still). I’d especially recommend giving the $10/month deal a whirl if a particular client tends to have slightly older customers (as opposed to the skinny-leg-jean college-kid demographic). It’s simply not a painful experiment to try.

    As for ROI, who the heck knows!

    Also, what Colan said is right on the money, IMHO. He probably has more and better insights into this than I do, but I too have dealt with a LOT of business owners who just regret having been sweet-talked into “50 calls per month – guaranteed!” -type deals.

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    Re: When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    Wow...I would have never thought of Yahoo! Are they still around...lol? Next you're going to tell me to buy a listing on AOL

    I agree with you and Colan that 95% of these things are probably worthless. And there is no doubt it's all about commissions and sales. The Angie's List sales guys are the worst. They hound my client constantly - which is probably why he's going to give them a try (just to keep them quiet). Despite their aggressiveness, he does feel that it might be worth a try so we shall see how it unfolds.

    The one directory I'm particularly curious about is Manta. I have a contractor guy and he keeps getting updates from Manta where they show him searches done on their directory for his industry vs. how many views he actually gets. Of course the pitch is if he buys a premium listing, he can get so much more exposure. In theory it makes sense but my gut tells me to tell the client to ignore the temptation. Does anyone have any experience with Manta premium listings?

    Travis Van Slooten

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rozek View Post
    Hey Travis,

    You know me, and know I’m not the type of guy who’s big on “premium listings” and the like. But in some cases Yahoo’s $10/month seems to be a good deal. I’ve used it for a couple of clients. One of them was #3-5 for a semi-competitive search term before using the paid listings, floated up to #1 for his “big” search term once he signed up, eventually let his credit card expire, but still is #1 for the term. Maybe it’s a coincidence.

    I’ve never been much on Yahoo, but it does tend to be forgotten. Obviously, an OK number of people still use it for local (nothing compared to Google, but still). I’d especially recommend giving the $10/month deal a whirl if a particular client tends to have slightly older customers (as opposed to the skinny-leg-jean college-kid demographic). It’s simply not a painful experiment to try.

    As for ROI, who the heck knows!

    Also, what Colan said is right on the money, IMHO. He probably has more and better insights into this than I do, but I too have dealt with a LOT of business owners who just regret having been sweet-talked into “50 calls per month – guaranteed!” -type deals.
    TVS Internet Marketing: Helping Small Businesses Increase Their Visibility & Sales Online.

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    Re: When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    I know Travis reads Phil and hopefully everyone else does too, but wanted to point out a related post he did yesterday. It's more about ranking on IYP and Local Directory sites, so focuses on free, not premium but still a good tie-in.

    IYP Ranking Factors: Getting Visible in Local-Biz Directories | LocalVisibilitySystem.com
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Van Slooten View Post
    Wow...I would have never thought of Yahoo! Are they still around...lol? Next you're going to tell me to buy a listing on AOL
    @Travis
    Yes, much like an 80’s hair metal band embarking on its umptillionth “reunion” tour, Yahoo is still kicking around

    I think Yahoo’s “premium” local listings have their place. Probably not a good move in all cases, but certainly not a bad move in all cases.

    @Linda
    Thanks again for mentioning my post from yesterday. You’re way too kind!

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    Re: When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    Travis:

    I tend to use adwords as a measure against all the advertising requests we get, in that we have found adwords to be cost effective.

    We actually measure it a couple of ways. All of our smbs are services with relatively high costs for the service. That means 2 things:

    1. All the leads are contacts. We virtually never sell without a phone conversation, meaning there is a big gap between a measurable click from an adwords contact on one of our forms. So our calculations are estimates. We measure adwords calls against adwords leads/ and since we are running aggressive adwords campaigns we also measure against total google traffic; ppc and organic.

    2. An adwords click is pretty low compared to the cost of the service.

    3. We have a calculation of what adwords costs against revenues.

    I see tiny traffic from any outside source. Yelp tends to have one of the highest volumes of traffic to any of our sites....and yet Yelp's reports to us ALWAYS drastically overstate what ANALYTICS reports.....

    I've interacted with others on this and the response is similar. The directories seem to "overreport" what your analytics reports.

    I want any directory to have a rough ROI or cost per sale similar to adwords.

    For any of them to work at their stated costs they would have to DRAMATICALLY increase what they are delivering as I measure it.

    Would a premium listing increase traffic by 3, 4, 5, -10 times???? I don't know...but I'm doubtful.

    If I was going to spend on one of these other directories I'd want a short term period so I don't get locked into a year of extra spending if its not going to work.

    just my $0.02.

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    Post Re: When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    Hey Travis - Phil just referenced this forum in a response so I thought I might weigh in.

    First and foremost let me say this. The sales teams, for most part, of these services is absolutely horrendous to work with. They either hound the client until they give in or once you express interest it's a non-stop barrage of phone calls and emails.

    That being said, I have recently setup a campaign on YELP! for a client that runs a bakery. They were being filtered out for their search terms even though they had a 4 star rating with 33 keyword packed reviews (although I'm now wondering if Yelp actually takes filtered reviews into consideration for rankings, another story for another time) AND their key words were also included in the business name.

    After an extremely off putting sales call I decided to run the campaign from the dashboard and opted for 2 clicks a day @ 1.50. I was told that there is no way to optimize the campaign so what you pay is what you pay.

    After a month I reviewed the analytic's and found I was getting my two clicks a day and sometimes 3-4 for the same $3 a day price! Imagine that

    I think for a small local business that can drop a $100 bucks a month within this platform to gain some extra exposure it'd be a worthwhile investment.

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    Re: When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    Hey Mikel, welcome to the Local Search Community - thanks for weighing in!
    And thanks Phil for sending him over!

    I thought about mentioning this, but didn't because it happened over a year ago, but since Mikel brought up Yelp, here goes...

    I've only had ONE Dentist talk about ANY good results they'd gotten from any paid IYP or Directory listings. That isn't to say NO ONE has had good results, it's just to say I talk to a LOT of Dentists and only had one that shared a positive experience.

    He told me he was getting the majority of his traffic and new patients from Yelp! I was really surprised and had never heard that before. He was doing so well with Yelp that he told me he didn't believe getting ranked on Google would be worth the money, because he could not imagine Google performing better than his Yelp ad did.

    I don't know what type of ad or how much he paid or anything, but was pretty surprised to hear.

    But with all the traction Yelp is likely getting these days due to Apple/iPhone etc. I would think certainly for a bakery or restaurant it would be worth it. Probably for other industries too - especially ones that cater to mobile on-the-go type searches.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: When Does It Make Sense To Pay for Premium Placement on Directory Sites?

    So Colan was careful not to list what "big company" we had a bad experience with but I'm not (lol!!!). It was Supermedia (Superpages). By far, they were the worst company I have ever done business with. I would encourage you all to check out reviews on some of these companies on Google or Yelp (SuperMedia LLC. - About - Google+) before signing up for any paid service. If you want more details on our experience with Superpages, I'll gladly fill you in if you'd like to private message me.

    I've also dealt with Yext and found them way too expensive for what we got.

    Lots of my clients have paid for Yelp and said that they didn't get anything from it. They said that the only way to get anywhere on Yelp is to have the most reviews. Paying apparently accomplishes little (so they say...)

    I've also tried out CityGrid (CitySearch) and their CPC was higher than Google's so we dropped them. They recommended we spend over $700 a month on one client and that's more than the client pays on Google Adwords.

    I agree that Yahoo Local can be worth it. It's kind of neat to be able to see the impressions and clicks, which you can only see if you pay the $10 a month.

    Lots of my clients are also cutting back on their YP.com advertising because the ROI is not so great lately. I think it has to do with how many ads they show on the page. It's insane. I counted more than 50 listings on page 1 when I was doing a search there.

    I've been looking for a directory that had a paid program that was worthwhile and I have yet to find one that produces results like the search engines do (Google, Bing). I would definitely recommend Adwords, but that's not really a directory
    Joy Hawkins
    Owner of Sterling Sky
    Author of The Expert's Guide to Local SEO [, a 260+ page training manual that is updated monthly and contains advanced tips and tactics for Local SEO that actually work and drive results.

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