Problems With My Paid Yell Ad
by Jo Shaer, on August 20, 2012
Every month I get a bit irritated when I see it on my bank statement - £22.80 to Yell. And then I check my Analytics and see that there have been two click throughs from that ad to the website. There is no doubting that it does seem to work for some of my clients - bouncy castles definitely seem to produce telephone calls - but that website has not yet been optimised properly so it's difficult to say whether a better ROI could be achieved through an organic listing.
I do optimisation for a living. When I took out the ad, my aim was to really test the interface so I would know, once and for all, whether it was a worthwhile platform for me. I carefully set up the keywords in my ad so that I ranked for a whole raft of search terms in Southend-on-Sea and Leigh-on-Sea. I was able to cross-pollenate so that words could be taken from different keyword sets and my ad would still show up.
The following month I looked and was disappointed to see that only three people had clicked through to my website from the ad. I was also irritated to note that a new category had appeared for the Sponsored listings - Search Engine Optimisation Services.
How do Yell ads work - Position weighting
The way Yell works is that there are Sponsored listings for the top three positions on the page. These are fixed prices for position one, position two and position three. Next up come Heavyweight Listings which I now understand can occupy positions 4 to 18 depending on how competitive the niche is and which randomise as to what order they will appear.
Now remember that, for some search terms, you could be paying for a Heavyweight listing and still only be on page 2 of Yell. And you still have to rely on the Yell listing to be showing up on the front page of Google for the search term that best describes what you do.
Below them come the Medium Weight Listings - again randomised in terms of what order they will appear - and, remember, they might well find themselves on page three or beyond if there has been a push on Heavyweight listings by the sales team after they have sold you a Mediumweight on the basis that not many people are advertising in this niche.
And, finally, the free listings - again these rotate randomly.
Buying locations for your Yell ad
Not only is the cost of entries subject to position, it is also subject to location. So you buy the area that you want to have a higher ranking for in the knowledge that your free listing will still show up for the area where you are located.
As I checked my listing for Internet Web Design & Development - the category I had paid for - in Leigh on Sea, there was no sign of me. I called Yell in a right paddy. To add to my ire, there is no phone number on the customer dashboard. But, looking above the only one of my listings that was showing - in Internet Web Design and Development, there was a free phone number for Yell!
Oh, said the customer service assistant, the number for that is really simple. It's 555444 - when I called this same number a few days later, what a surprise, it was constantly engaged so I was back to the freephone number which is answered very quickly.
But, back to the Yell operative "but you're showing for Southend on Sea and that's the area that you paid for. If you want to show for Leigh on Sea as well, you would need to pay another £90." It's like saying you can't rank for Kings Heath or Solihull when you've paid for Birmingham. Or Mayfair when you've paid for London.
If they did explain that at the time, I would not have bothered to pay for ranking in Leigh since I was managing to appear high up on the front page quite easily with my free listing so there would have been little point.
But, when I checked for Internet Web Design and Development in Leigh on Sea and a variety of other search terms where I had previously dominated, there was no sign of me at all. And, worse, there were businesses showing with free listings from as far afield as Basildon and Chelmsford.
Check your subscriptions in advertising directories frequently
He went quiet for a while and I could hear him trying to access my account through the dashboard. It was only later, after I finished the call and investigated further, that I discovered that I could not View or Edit my own advert either. It went to a page that admitted there was a problem, so there was clearly something going wrong with my listing. This was rather confirmed by the fact their own Analytics only showed the period from April to June.
Note what you are ranking for when you take out the ad and test at regular intervals
It was the same story for the keywords I had spent so long setting up. The search terms Local SEO and Mobile Marketing do not seem to be supported keywords now, but, back in April, my listing would show for both in Leigh and Southend.
Search engine optimisation, however, was a keyword that it was still possible to rank for today but my ad was still not showing at all for either Southend or Leigh. And it was the same with Social Media. The two biggest keywords in my arsenal, but my paid for listing was nowhere to be seen for either town whilst I could see free listings from businesses in Chelmsford and Basildon for both.
Going back to my Internet Web Design and Development in Southend on Sea listing, I tried to click through from the main page snippet to the full listing. It came up with the error message 'This page has been removed or deleted'. All the other listings went through to the profiles that the owners had completed.
It was left that they would get back to me on Monday morning to answer my first point that I had been missold the ad based on location, which was my first assumption - based on the fact that my Leigh on Sea listing had disappeared and I could only rank for the paid area of Southend-on-Sea.
But, of course, at that time, I did not have all the other information about the complete malfunction of this ad.
What I would say is that anyone who has a paid ad with Yell - or indeed any other listing directory - should check it today to see if it is actually working properly. Search words and phrase that you would hope to be found for and/or have optimised your ad for, not just the main category that you originally purchased. And check both your home town and any locations that you might have paid for.
Also, check that the phone number and website address have been entered correctly - not much point in paying for an ad that sends interested customers to someone else.