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

Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
440
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
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,179
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.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,522
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.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
440
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:D

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

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.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,522
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:D
@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!
 

Dave

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2012
Messages
255
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.....:D

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. :D
 

MikelZaremba

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
17
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 :eek:

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.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,441
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. :eek:

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.
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,690
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 :)
 

Iain

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2012
Messages
7
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
Manta is very popular with salespeople as it provides the business owners name without the need for an account or $$$.

A lot of that traffic will sales reps looking for the name of the business owner so they can call and pitch him or her.

That's another effect of these 'premium' listings is that your client will be viewed as low hanging fruit and be bombarded with sales calls from other directories an IM services.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,441
Really good point Iain. Didn't think of that but you are right, especially with Manta.
Tons use those listings for prospecting!
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
440
Wow...tons of great info here. I'm glad I started this thread. It sounds like most of these premium listings are a joke. My clients forward me the emails they get and I have to admit, they sound very tempting. What sucks is that I'm always put in a position where I have to tell the client that while the pitch sounds great, it really isn't. Now if I ever have a client that doesn't believe me (which hasn't happened to date), I can direct them to this thread:D

Travis Van Slooten
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
114
A really great discussion here! Here is my experience with directories:

- Yelp - I've had two clients that have used their service. Naturally, if you do not have very good reviews there, you cannot expect good results. Interestingly, you can lose a lot of bad reviews by signing up as an advertiser, but that's another story. Yelp's CPC is quite high, so it may not make sense for everyone, too.

- Citysearch - I've had one client use them. The client said that they somehow always managed to deplete his budget for the month, no matter how much he was adding. He reported he saw poor results for the money he spent.

- Manta - again 1 client. Practically no results. Additionally, the paid package doesn't really give almost anything over what a 100% complete profile offers...

- Yahoo - I've had 3 clients use it, and in all the cases it easily turn into their third largest traffic source after Google organic and direct traffic. However, they were all anyway ranking high. I'd assume that the advantage the enhanced profile gives is in terms of being able to add more information, which appears to be a ranking factor in Yahoo! Local's search rankings.

I have also had clients that use vertical directories such as Avvo, Findlaw, Nolo, ServiceMagic, Angieslist, and they seem to work relatively well, compared to many of the generic ones.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
440
Thanks Nyagoslav! This reminds me of a vertical directory I completely forgot to mention. I work with a law firm that has a premium listing on Lawyers.com. They haven't told me how expensive it is but they said they pay a "pretty penny to be listed." However, they say their ROI is pretty remarkable. They swear by it. Whenever I ask them how their Lawyers.com listing is working they immediately reply, "It's great. We get a lot of business from them."

Too bad there wasn't a similar directory like that for other industries:)

Travis Van Slooten

I have also had clients that use vertical directories such as Avvo, Findlaw, Nolo, ServiceMagic, Angieslist, and they seem to work relatively well, compared to many of the generic ones.
 

Trending: Most Viewed

Local Search Forum


Weekly Digest
Subscribe/Unsubscribe


Google Product Exert

@LocalSearchLink

Join Our Facebook Group

Top