internet marketing

How does work? My Shocking Experience

Have you ever wondered whether you should be paying to be listed in a directory?

Do you offer a local service that you want people within a certain area to find you?

After listing our business as a Food Digital Marketing Agency, I’ve had 2 phone calls in the past 2 weeks with sales people at directory websites. and

Both using very similar techniques to sell their products..

“We are the number one directory in the UK for what you’re selling.”

But the guy at Yell was particularly sales.

So in this post I’m telling you exactly what he offered and and how he tried to sell it to me.

What he told me to try and get me to sign up.

And why it frustrates the hell out of me.

And by the end you will have a clear idea as to whether you should or SHOULDN’T advertise with

How does work?

So I was doing a bit of investigation for the phrase “business consultants manchester

When I found that ranked on page one of Google for this search.

So I added a business to this category as a FREE listing. All in the expectation that someone would call me up offering a paid listing.

And they did. Little did I know I would be on the phone for aaaages!

So that’s essentially how it works,

  1. You place a free listing
  2. A sales person calls you
  3. He or she tries to sign you up for 12 months
  4. You sign up to advertise in a specific location for a chosen keyword

Read on for more details about how the call went and the details of the offers

Firstly, here’s what the Salesperson said

For the purpose of the story, let’s call the guy who rang me CONnor.

He asked as many details about the business as he could. And being a willing client, I told him as much as I could.

To which I received a typical sales response from him:

“I speak to lots of business owners and I love speaking to internet marketing consultants like yourself”

Connor also said he speaks to a lot of business owners and sometimes share details of your business.

Trying to keep me sweet so that I’m thinking he might be able to get me some business if I get on well with him and do as he says.

Then he asked

How much is an average customer worth?

The reason they ask this is to find out how much they can charge you in the first instance. Let’s face it, if they find out a customer is worth £5,000 they can charge you a much higher price per month.

If a customer is only worth £20, then they know they have to go in a bit lower

He also asked:

How many new customers are you trying to gain per month?

The reason they ask this is so they can work out how you are reaching your goals and make it sound like by advertising in YOU will reach your goals.

By now it’s becoming quite clear that he’s either reading off a script or done this so many times that he just says the same thing to everyone.


And so the sales process begins (even though he forgot to ask me a key question, which you will see in a minute)

The first thing he said

If you were a tradesman, then I would suggest you to promote your business in a listing.

For example show up number 1 in Google for nearly every local search. And so he showed me

He searched for “Hairdressers in Wolverhampton” and as proven does show up no. 1 Hairdressers in Wolverhampton

He continued:

Because you’re not in one of these trade industry’s, I would suggest

The offer

This was the most shocking thing I’ve been offered in 2017. I knew large companies were behind the times but I didn’t think they would be 17 years behind the times

First he started trying to educate me about backlinks. If you’re going to educate someone who has been building businesses online for over 10 years, surely you need to be up-to-date:

Here’s what he said

  • You need as many backlinks as possible to show up in Google
  • You need to be in as many directory’s as possible so you can show up in Google
  • What you submit to those directory’s need to be extremely consistent

Then he said:

“I will get you in 500 of’s directory’s within a week”

I stopped him immediately, before he could even get into pricing.

I said

“I’m telling you now, I will NOT be putting my website in 500 directory’s”

In the year 2000, getting to the top of Google was in fact about getting as many backlinks as possible.

These days, with the hundreds of Google updates released since then, gaining backlinks is about building strong relationships with other website owners and having a reason for them to link to yours.

Just like we do in the real world – we go networking and ask people to refer our business.

On another note, having a natural profile across the web is also important to maintaining rankings. So obtaining 500 directory’s overnight is far from natural.

Have a read of this if you still think getting backlinks is the key to winning sales.

6 SEO Mistakes That’ll Make Google Hate You Forever

The next suggestion “You need to have consistent content across all the directories”

This is just NOT TRUE. If you post the same pieces of content on 500 web directories, you will not be seen as consistent but duplicating your content because you can’t be bothered to write your own. This adds no value to anyone and most definitely not Google.=

When he realised I didn’t want to sign up for the directories, he moved on to the next offer

The next advertising offer from

I’m now going to show you why

  • Paying for ad impressions is a massive risk
  • Targeting the right keywords is golden
  • How to test your chosen keywords BEOFRE agreeing to advertise

So CONnor offered me a listing at the top of for the next 12 months.

I could choose the location in which I was listed.

I could also choose the keyword AND where I wanted to rank for that keyword i.e. position 1, 2 or 3. Of course the higher up the higher the cost.

He also showed me that the person number 2 of business consultants manchester received 58 impressions per month.

Here’s why paying for impressions not a good offer:

If I’m being cynical – I don’t even know how truthful he is being. Remember, I have a salesperson who I’ve never met who is just feeding me sales talk from start to finish. He sounded nice enough but again they’re the people you should probably be most wary of

Anyway, as a small business, you should never embark on a 12 month marketing programme unless you have some idea of what the returns will be.

By that, I don’t mean how many people SEE your advert

I mean you should have a good idea how much lead generation you will get AND how many sales from that.

Imagine if you get nothing for the first 6 months. What would you expect to get the second 6 months.

Yes, probably nothing too.

What’s more, if you target the wrong keywords, your impressions will count for nothing because people will go to your website and think “that’s not what I was looking for”, then they will immediately leave.

But, There is a great way of testing how likely your keywords are to convert into leads and even sales. Use Google Adwords.

First, find a phrase which you’re thinking of paying for on, then put a little bit of money towards Google Adwords and pay to show at the top of the search engines.

If people coming to your website enquire and buy, you know it’s a keyword worth targeting. And if they come to your website and don’t enquire or buy, then you know you should steer clear.


  • Matt Adams
    Roy Mcgurn
    Posted at 11:37h, 19 April Reply

    Interesting article, only slightly libelous!
    Yell seem to optimise for their categories and a local place name. They sometimes do score #1 on Google for this, but that is not as impressive as it sounds.

    Since the advent of local search, searchers do not need to state their location, or go for the more general “near me” variant. Also they tend to use a lot more terms than just the plain category. In short, yell are attracting only a small stream of the available traffic.

    They have an app, but I stopped using it ages ago, Google search is much more reliable.

    So the yell subscriber is paying for a cut of a single entry on Google, which he may outrank himself if he tries, certainly will in the local search pack. For that money he has to pay for another ranking within yell! By now the traffic is thinning down to a very small number.

    OK they might have some traffic from their printed directory, now on it’s last print run. Most of these end up in the bin anyhow, or a few people still using the app.


    • Matt Adams
      Matt Adams
      Posted at 09:18h, 23 April Reply

      Thanks Roy, interesting stuff.
      Please note, we don’t accept self-promotional comments – so that part has been removed ;-). Cheers, Matt

Post A Comment