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Yell Advertising Is it Worth Your Money Featured Image

Yell Advertising Services – Is it worth it?

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by Web Design Portsmouth

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Hundreds of small business owners across the UK claim to have been locked into Yell advertising services that generate no new customers or results for their business.

In our previous article, we talked about Yell’s website design services and highlighted the problems with Yell’s website design But today, we will compare Yell’s advertising offerings to other web agency services. And highlight the problems that result in small businesses spending hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds on Yell advertising services.

What is Yell?

The Yellow Pages dominated the 80s and 90s and were a big part of any business marketing plan. Businesses used to spend thousands of pounds each year to appear in the Yellow Pages in order to gain nationwide exposure.

This all changed when the growth of the internet and the Yellow Pages were getting smaller and smaller, as companies were using more of their marketing budget online. In 2013 it was announced that Yello Pages were £2.3 billion in debt and they will stop printing the books but will offer digital marketing services.

What are the Yell Advertising services?

Here are different Yell advertising services, the company offers: Google Ads, free and promoted listing on Yell.com, Facebook advertising and smart performance.

Google Advertising

Google advertising is a service by Google for businesses that want to display ads on Google search results and allows businesses to gain visibility across Google’s properties.

Our clients who used to advertise with Yell, have told us that the company adds a 40% management fee to the cost of every click as charged by Google. This means, if you are paying 40% to Yell for a management fee, you are paying more for each click than your competitors. This means your competitors if they don’t use Yell, can afford to bid more than you because their click will cost 40% less. So let’s say you have a healthy budget of £500 for google ads. This means your ads will stop showing when your click charges have reached only £300.

Another con for their Google Ad services is that your ad campaigns are not managed by humans, but by automated software. This means your budget could be spent on completely irrelevant keywords and the software will not test your ads, nor will it find any new opportunities to utilise.

If your website was built and is managed by Yell, then you won’t have access to your Google Analytics account. This means you will not be able to monitor how your campaigns are working, your bounce rate, and how are the customers engaging on your site. Instead, Yell will send you a basic monthly report with money spent and how many people have seen and clicked on your ads.

Free and Paid listings on Yell.com

You can register your business for free on the Yell.com directory. Let’s say you are a plumber, and when someone searches for “Plumbers in Portsmouth” your business will then appear somewhere in the results. Be careful though, as soon as you sign your business up, Yell’s high-pressure sales rep will call you offering a “special discount” and if you don’t sign up with them on the call you will forever lose this discount.

Our clients have said that as soon as they signed up with Yell, they were locked into a 12-month contract without a cooling-off period or any way to cancel.

Yell advertising Paid listing is a promoted listing, so your company will be shown on top of the Yell results. So, for example, if someone searched for “Plumbers in Portsmouth” your business would be the first one on the directory to come up. While the Yell directory is within the top 1000 visited sites in the UK, appearing on top of that listing will give your website any SEO benefits and if your website is not optimised your business will not appear anywhere near Google’s search top results.

Smart Performance

Yell states that Smart Performance will display ads on Facebook, Instagram, Bing, Google, and third-party websites. They claim that the ads will be based on where they are most likely to generate results for your business.

Smart performance ads are not charged based on clicks, but by a flat monthly fee, even if the ad campaign doesn’t deliver any conversions.

Yell SEO

Yell claims that its websites adhere to Google’s guidelines and that they use content-driven practices to acquire natural backlinks. Richman SEO Training looked into this, and he found out that most of the backlinks Yell generate were from blogs with little to no relevance to the industry of the client. Yell denies prying for links but admits to paying bloggers to publish posts with links to their client’s websites. This is a clear break of Google’s guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.


There are still many small businesses locked in a Yell advertising contract that does not bring any results. And many reviews on Trustpilot warning people not to sign up. In September 2020, a legal claim was filed against Yell for misrepresentation and break of contract.

If you are looking for advertising services for your small business, contact Web Design Portsmouth today. We will offer you a free quote and help you get your business notices.

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