CaribouFondue

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We used to pay Yellow Pages a lot of money. Back in the 1980s, and 1990s we paid them ~$90,000/year for full page ads in multiple phone books. At some point when things shifted to online, these ads stopped being effective, so we cancelled.

About 6 years back we did a deep dive into citations and cleaned up a lot of the missing or bad citations we had around the web, and part of this work involved paying YPG $40/location/month to get access to correct our listings. A years later we cancelled that contract as well. We did not believe that it would have a large impact on our overall ranking.

Since then, yellow pages has gone in and intentionally messed up our listings. They have done two things:
1) Deleted some of our listings, the locations no longer exist on their website, or any of the yellow pages group website
2) Added additional listings that have incomplete address information

bad: Storwell Self Storage in Clarkson, ON | 8885469992 | 411.ca
real: Storwell Self Storage in Mississauga, ON | 9058224470 | 411.ca

bad: Storwell Self Storage - Self-Storage - TORONTO
real: Storwell Self Storage - Self-Storage - Toronto

I just called yellow pages to discuss with them what their current pricing is for getting this fixed and they want $40/location/month. They claim to also have some sort of direct data feed to google, yahoo, yelp, etc. I don't know what this is, but it actually sort of scares me, because it means they have the ability to push fake information to these other companies as well?

Honestly I'm not inclined to break out my credit card again to support a company which has such dark tactics, but at the end of the day it's all about SEO success, and if being on yellowpages has a big impact then I will bite my tongue and do it.

So my questions are:

1) Does anyone have any concrete evidence on the importance of having listings on yellowpages.ca? Does it dramatically effect rankings?

2) How big of a deal is it that they have those two incomplete listings for two of our locations? It's not a bad address, its just missing address info and a duplicate. I know that the mantra with citations is having no duplicates and having everything match perfectly across the web, but I really feel like I'm being extorted here just to have my information not displayed incorrectly I must pay them?

3) Has anyone ever tried using a DMCA to get yellow pages to remove these types of fake listings?

4) Does anyone have any more information about this direct data feed between YPG and these other third party websites? I have also seen similar claims made by Bright Local's citation service for example. Is it all just smoke and mirrors? or is this real?

Thanks!
 

whitespark

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Hey there. Here are my thoughts on your questions:

1) There is no evidence that missing listings or incorrect listings on YP will have a negative impact on your rankings. I have been in the local SEO and listings space for a decade and have never seen evidence of the importance of one particular site (other than Google, of course). You definitely do NOT want to pay YP $40/m/location for their listings service. It would just be burning money.

2) Zero. No big deal. The only reason you should care about inconsistent citations is for HUMANS calling the right number or going to the right address, so if your YP listings get a lot of human traffic (doubtful), then there could be a case for updating. From an SEO perspective, no worries.

3) Don't bother. Waste of time with no beneficial outcome even if they took them down.

4) It's an API connection to submit and update listings. Nothing more. Thousands of businesses and services have this API access and it just simplifies their process for managing listings on the sites. You don't need to worry about them pushing fake data. They would lose their API access if they're not sending accurate data.

Listings (citations) are a basic foundational tactic in local seo. You want to generally get your locations on the major sites that Google is crawling because it helps establish that the locations are real and exist and can give you a very minor ranking benefit, but you don't need to stress about them. If some of your locations are missing on some sites and some of your locations have incorrect data, it's really not a big enough deal to invest time or money into. Your SEO will be just fine.

Oh, and if you want to update those listings for free, have you tried clicking the "suggest an update" button and clicking through the process?

Hope this helps!
 
Last edited:

Tony Wang

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@CaribouFondue, Darren's advice is solid. But I've tried the "suggest an update" many times and don't find it useful at all. Plus, YP has gone through so many changes over the past few years, I don't see them putting any resources into this.

On the other hand, have you made sure your info on the aggregators is correct? YP is not deliberately creating false info, but it picks up data from all over the place and that can cause errors.

Darren may not want to toot his own horn, but Whitespark has a great service at a reasonable cost. If you only have a few locations with bad listings, might be worth having Whitespark do the aggregators.
 

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