Yellow Pages Search Traffic Continues Downward Spiral

Stephanie Hobbs recently boasted on the Yellow Pages Association’s blog,, about the fact that the term “yellow pages” is among the top-50 terms searched for on the web.

Here is some more information about the popularity of the term “yellow pages” worth considering:

According to Google Trends, the popularity of the term “yellow pages” has dropped by ~2/3rds over the past 5 years:

Yellow Pages Search Volume over Time

Over the past 12 months, states with the highest search volumes for yellow pages have been primarily in the Deep South:

States that Search for Yellow Pages Online

Yelp Factor

One local business directory term that’s growing rather than shrinking, and on track to overtake “yellow pages” is “yelp”:

Yellow Pages vs Yelp Search Volumes

That makes sense, considering how superior Yelp’s consumer experience is to any of the online yellow pages websites.

Motivation of Searchers?

I wonder how many of those “yellow pages” searches were conducted by people looking up how to unsubscribe from the yellow pages that were littered on their property throughout the year?

5 thoughts on “Yellow Pages Search Traffic Continues Downward Spiral”

  1. It wouldn’t be necessary to write such critical things if only Yellow Pages, et al, would stop dumping unwanted phone books everywhere.

    Having said that…

    Most people who are internet savvy use Google and type in the name of the place they are trying to look up. Only an internet noobie would go to the internet and look for some Yellow Pages. But maybe there are nubes who do this over and over, and they show up in the search traffic. My guess.

  2. John, good point about the noob crowd. I do think that applies in this case. Heck, one of the most popular search terms on Google is “facebook”. Is it that hard to bookmark I’ve read before that many people prefer searching over typing in domains because Google will give a better error message than ComCrap if you happen to have a typo.

    The decline in searches for “yellow pages” could be a sign that people have now found the yellow pages and bookmarked their preferred site. Or, as you suggest, they’ve figured out that web search engines often provide more useful search results. I think it’s the latter.

  3. They just called on the St. Paul book and the rep (who used to be an administrative support person) was very friendly as she took my client’s boldfaced listing order.

    Just keeping customers seems to be all they want now. I can’t imagine what would possess a business owner to spend big on Yellow Pages. The books are a disaster and the online sites are a joke.

  4. @Mark, I’ve heard that YP salespeople are actually calling on home based businesses in some cities. Once a company leaves, it’s nearly impossible to get them back. Make growth kind of tricky.

  5. The term “yellowpages” is becoming obsolete with the current generation and the hard copy book will disappear in a few years as well.

    I just wish they’d stop dropping those big yellow page phone books and the white page books off at my house every few months. What a waste of paper and resources! Does anyone in Minneapolis or any other major metro area really use a paper phone book anymore? I’m sure they charge advertisers based on the number of books they distribute, but what they don’t tell their advertisers in that 90% of them end up in the garbage.

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