Whilst many of the clients I have worked with have been incredibly fond of Yell as a service, some of them spending in the thousands of pounds a month with them, I have noticed a worrying trend whenever I get them to ask their customers the simple question: “Where did you hear about us?” It always bothers me as a marketer that Yell never shows up as the answer.
I decided to take some time to investigate the experiences my clients had with Yell, but I also looked into the amount they were spending with Yell and I realised something.
Yell is… A Monster
Before I go into the exorbitant amounts that Yell charges for services and the horrible services they provide, they offer a free account to all businesses. Whatever you do, I would advise against getting a free listing on Yell, and even more so against paying for their services and I’ll explain why in detail here:
If you get your business and business information on Yell, their website’s domain authority will compete with yours. When people are looking for your company they will potentially find Yell first. This is a huge negative, as then their gateway to your business will be through Yell and not through your website. You’re giving Yell free information and expansion and allowing it to grow and fester like the insidious behemoth that it actually is.You’re also allowing it to compete with you which you do NOT want as a business.
Let me ask you a question:
When you go on the internet and look for local businesses, do you go on Google, Duckduckgo, Bing, your favorite search engine, or do you go to Yell? If you chose a normal, regular search engine, you are pretty much everyone on the internet.
With this in mind, when you look for a local company to fix your water or electrics, what would you rather find? Their website, or a Yell page that doesn’t even link to their website? I’m guessing that you’d rather get to their company than Yell. (Yell does give a website link to paying customers telling them that it’s a valuable backlink, but if you use the software in this article you will see those backlinks are valueless nofollow links, or you could simply trust me if you want to save time.
When your customers are on the internet, you want them to find you. Not Yell. (Most customers if they don’t get their immediate results will lose interest in you pretty quickly so it could cost you clients as well!) This is really simple stuff but it does need explaining when it comes to the fact that you as a business owner need no competition for first place when people are actually looking for you.
Before we continue into a sordid miasma of boring research, if you feel that you can trust me, I would never recommend Yell to anyone and advise all my customers against them as a company. Be wary of them, and be careful when dealing with their marketers. Do not let them pressure you to sell anything to you, do not accept any contracts or offers. Pressure sales are a disgusting marketing tactic. Even if they offer you something for free or an offer that sounds tempting, just avoid them at all costs.
So let’s break down Yell’s Packages:
Yell Websites: Yell offers a variety of website packages, all inferior in value to the work of any web designer worth their salt. You can find a great web designer locally who can ensure worthwhile copy at a fraction of the price. I do much better in terms of value, however this isn’t a sales pitch. Get a great local designer instead! One who you can really talk to about your company and will give their passion to your project. Yell’s design of the page gets you to contact them for a quote, before seeing the offers on scrolling down. It’s a standard way to ensure that people will contact them as hot leads, most likely with no knowledge of the packages, and fall into the trap of dealing with the sales team. (As I mentioned, don’t let these people pressure you!)
If you want good copy for your site, you can get great value copy at TextRoyal, the company I usually use. They won’t give you template generated crap copy like Yell, and I am always impressed with their work. I’ll get more into Yell’s websites later, but now I’m going to have a snipe at their other packages.
eCommerce Websites: A quality eCommerce website will set you back a fair bit. Whilst I don’t like to recommend Wix, they have run some successful stores, and many web design companies can get you set up for eCommerce without being tied in with Yell. That said, Yell’s prices for eCommerce sites are actually pretty decent until you realise you don’t own the website, and there’s a whole load more nastiness I’ll get into later. I recommend my American friends at Black Widow Creative if you want a solid eCommerce store that’s fast, efficient and reliable. It will cost a little more but they will never exploit you.
Reputation Management: Yell’s Reputation management has a pretty decent reputation, however there are better options at more reasonable prices. There is other Reputation Management software that can absolutely dominate it in comparison, for more information, you can contact DragonTech IT Services INC. They will help you every step of the way if you want to control your reputations from a huge amount of different websites and online areas. They also offer a free and a pro version as well, so you can test the software out, which is absolutely fantastic! Reputation Management is a great tool for any company to have, but it’s one you want to keep on top of.
Video Services: Yeah look at those prices. Wherever your business is located, you will have a local college or university which will mean you have access to eager film students who can provide this service a lot cheaper, if not for free or for some kind of contra deal. Ask teachers who they’d recommend or watch some short films and choose people suited to the style you want. As professional as a pro videographer is, it’s better to work with local talent and it can form some life long friendships.
Starter-Kit: Just look at that brazen quote… Everywhere that matters? You mean local pages that add a dofollow link to your website? Or maybe local directories that also add dofollows? Or from Yell? Remind me of the last time we used Yell to look for anything…
Smart Performance: Wow, does this look good, a partnership with Google, Facebook AND Microsoft!?! Meh, any kid with a YouTube channel and minecraft is a Google Partner, as am I, (you can tell from the insidious amount of ads on my site!) You’re working with Facebook the second you run your own ad, so why do you need Yell to spend your budget?
Facebook campaigns are easiest if you run a simple ad, locally to get page likes and THAT IS IT. For any company, that will get the best results in terms of potential customers and the widest reach and bang for your buck. You have now saved money on your spend with the commission take and you can spend that on more Facebook presence. Grow fast and free, my friend. You’ve just saved a few hundred quid per month and whatever ad spend you would have burned with Yell.
I don’t bother with Google ads, because I prefer blogging as a way of ensuring the sites I work with dominate the search engines. You can learn more about blogging here, or if you want to save time and get a professional to do it, I recommend checking this one out. It’ll give you some awesome advice and the people I recommend understand how to dominate the search engines. An ad lasts until the spend is gone. A blog exists as long as your website and business.
Pay Per Click: Don’t do it. PPC is plagued with a tonne of problems anyway, you’re better looking at my previous option when it comes to blogging. At £200.00 a month that’s 4 great localised blogs per month with TextRoyal, plus any more ad spend you’d add to that. 12 month contract I believe it is, which means that’s £2400.00 in all just in commission money. (I’d do it too if it wasn’t a complete con.) That’d be 48 blogs in a year, based locally on your site, and if the skills of experienced bloggers writing solid content doesn’t bring people to your business, I will literally eat my hideous paisley pyjamas. This does not of course include your ad spend, so add that to the mix for more blogs and your competition will be stone dead. You will have won the content war forever.
Social Advertising: Oh boy. What do we have here… Show this page to your local digital marketing team and enjoy them having a good laugh at Yell’s expense. Fine tuning ads is an awful idea, and so is advertising on instagram. Just stay away, and spend the money anywhere else. Your local digital marketers will make some sweet content for you for the amounts you’ll pay Yell. I no longer do social advertising because I’d rather just teach my customers to do it!
Have a lifetime Content Studio account for a small price and just run like campaigns on Facebook for a constantly growing audience. Much cheaper, and no grotesque commissions. Easy content farming and you don’t have to put in any effort. Instant win for everyone! This product is currently on sale until the end of July 2021!
Display Advertising: Nothing annoys people more than having your ads pop up on their games or apps when they’re trying to enjoy themselves. It’s a great way to alienate your audience and raise awareness that you are yet another buzzkill company getting in the way of your antivirus, calorie tracker or refacing their mum’s face onto a poodle. Think about it like this? Do you want to upset these people? You can pay to do this if you like! (It will get you click throughs to your website occasionally increasing your bounce rate and earning you a bad rep on Google!) Astounding stuff!
SEO: Oh god look at those prices! You’d think a company that was capable of charging like this for SEO would be able to do it for their own company! If you want SEO, it’s one of my specialties, so contact me instead and I won’t rip you off. I’ll explain exactly what I’m doing and teach you for those prices too! Scandalous! Oh, just a side note, wouldn’t a company that claims to help SEO actually give decent Dofollow backlinks to people paying for their website to be on Yell!?! Are you freakin’ kidding me man?
Does Yell Rip People Off?
There are no doubt a lot of people who use Yell and probably believe that the company brings them leads. Trustpilot rates them highly for some reason… Yell’s prices are an embarrassment backed up with aggressive sales tactics, which some of you may no doubt have experienced. Having sat in on business calls with them, I can attest that not all the salespeople are that bright when it comes to the services. This is a big no no for me, because I work with salespeople who are actually intelligent and Yell’s services are so darned basic, they should be able to at least describe them accurately. Their prices are absolute horse hockey, so I’d say yeah, they do rip people off. But as a struggling company, they probably need to sink their fangs in as deep as they will go to any victim that crosses their path.
Considering that two of the questions that come up when you type Yell with various combinations of words into Google are: “Does Yell rip people off?” And “How do I get out of my contract with Yell?” I think it’s fairly accurate to assume that people are already starting to doubt the integrity of Yell as a company. I have come to see them as a parasite, sucking the blood and finances out of companies that they should be supporting and helping actively for the prices they charge and I couldn’t recommend them.
Things to Think About:
What does Yell offer it’s customers in terms of support? From my research and experience dealing with customers, there has been no attempt to network with the businesses I have served or work to improve results other than increases in packages and costs.
As a marketer, I know for a fact that a company cannot progress with a marketer that doesn’t work with them closely. I have surveyed properties, worked on artistic projects with my clients, and cooked food professionally at restaurants. Working closely with clients is the only way any marketer can truly get to understand what a company does. Working with a roofing company, I have been on the roofs and filmed people working. This is how you get to the point where you can do the job required. You need to know and have experience, not rely on basic, mind numbing automations.
If you want to remove your free listing, you need to chat with a support agent. Need I say more in the world of red flags?
So what is Yell doing for people?
It is providing a stale marketing service.
Yell websites tie their customers in, because you are not actually buying the website, but you are renting the website and domain name from Yell. This means that they are ultimately in control of any website you have built. If you want to change providers, have a professionally designed website built from scratch, you’re going to have to start again and lose any of the reputation and domain authority you have built up. You’re going to be stuck with a website that you can’t constantly add content to, ultimately leaving your website to become stale and to drop in rankings due to a lack of new material.
Whilst it is possible to make changes and have adaptations to the websites, many customers have experienced exasperating situations in which the changes and adaptations are not made or take a ludicrous amount of time. They also all point back to Yell, increasing their power whether or not you want that. I’d recommend against trusting their tracking methods as there have been inaccuracies in my software scans of websites using Yell.
SEO should be something every website has inbuilt, so it shouldn’t really be on the menu as an expensive service. Having strong SEO is not hard, especially when you consider how easy it is to have blogs written to you covering every aspect of what your company does.
The Yell Directory is next to useless and gives very little in terms of the benefits of being on there.
Yell is the sad legacy of Yellow Pages, which had its final issue in 2019, when Yell took the company digital. I was personally very fond of Yellow Pages, and saw great value and promise in the services, which sadly over time and with the expansion of the internet and search engines, has been replaced by fast, reliable information.
As to what Yell has become, It’s not a company that I feel I can trust any more than I would trust myself to assemble flat pack furniture. (I have many bad experiences in this regard.) I hope that you will find some use in my experiences and advice as an online marketer.
Overall, I have seen many people who have claimed that Yell have had a positive experience for their business, and there are plenty of people on Trustpilot who also claim this. I would ask every one of them to start asking their customers where they were found… Then a few months later, if they have sacked Yell and revolutionised their company with the money, I’d definitely bet that they’d have a massively increased customer base, more sales and a generally more successful company.
My advice is simple: Go local for your digital marketing, get with people who understand your business. Social media marketing and web design are cheap. Don’t get ripped off. Pay for quality blogs about your products and get them locally targeted. It’ll save you money and make you successful. (These take a few months to get rolling!) Rome wasn’t built in a day. Do your own advertising and keep things simple. Always talk to several local advertising companies and trust the people who listen to you when you talk about your company, not what they can do for you. They don’t know you, and until they do, they can’t guarantee results. Oh, and avoid Yell like the plague.
I am the CEO of Fantasoft an up and coming digital marketing firm based in the UK. I work as a blogger, SEO specialist and Web Designer, and my hobbies include making small films and writing music.