It’s often said that the Yellow Pages were the original Local Search medium. Times have changed, and with search engines having a clear lead over print directories, Internet Yellow Page type sites and their off-shoots such as niche vertical directories and review sites often claim to have good SEO as a selling point for paid inclusion, advertising, or enhanced visibility.
Canadians are always at a crunch for informative studies and statistics compared to Americans. Almost all important case studies and reports are carried out with US specific data and Canadians always end up referring to these statistics in order to determine rough estimates. Canada may not have a large number of data providers, IYPs, and 3rd party vertical directories compared to the US, but the competition is still tight and fierce among the major players, namely YellowPages.ca, Canpages.ca (owned by YPG), 411.ca and Goldbook.ca.
They’re constantly striving to create new, innovative and might I add, expensive online advertising programs for businesses across Canada. Their biggest value proposition to business owners is their trust and authority in search engines along with their huge traffic volumes which will eventually drive qualified leads to business websites. Clients often call us with questions related to which IYP site should they invest in and expect the highest return on their investment. Therefore, Powered by Search took the initiative to carry out this somewhat scientific report into the overall web visibility and SEO effectiveness of Canada’s most widely recognized IYP sites.
Before I reveal the final results of which Canadian IYPs are the best at SEO, I’d like to point out some key features of this case study:
- Generic Canadian IYPs and citation sources we used based on their overall authority, web presence and traffic volume.
- Top 11 Yellow Pages headings were chosen based on the Yellow Pages Association’s 2005-2009 YPA Local Media Tracking Study.
- 100 largest Canadian cities by population were chosen based on the Canada 2001 and 2006 census.
- Keyword searches were performed on Google Canada English search engine.
- Keyword searches were performed in the following format: <Heading>+<City> (eg: Car Dealers Toronto).
- The final results are based on the visibility of the selected IYPs and how often they ranked in the top 10 organic search results.
- The keyword rankings were processed through a software rank checker, which ultimately means that the data is close to 100% but may have errors due to time-outs or no results being returned.
List of Headings Used
- Auto Repair
- Auto Parts
- Car Dealers
- Hair Salons
List of IYPs Tested
Drumroll to the Results…
Without further ado, here are the final results of the best SEOed Canadian IYPs based on their visibility in the top 10 search results of Google.ca across 100 cities in Canada and for 11 major heading categories:
- Brownbook.net – No occurrences in top 10 organic results
- CityDirect.info – No occurrences in top 10 organic results
- ShopinCanada.com – No occurrences in top 10 organic results
Let’s take a look at how these sites performed in the top 20 and top 30 search results:
Percentage wise, YellowPages.ca dominates overall search visibility across 100 cities with 22%. Canpages.ca and 411.ca follow right after with 20% and 13% search visibility respectively.
If you happen to be a business owner reading this study, please keep in mind that an IYP site ranking prominently in volume of searches, does not necessarily mean it ranks in major metro areas such as the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This is primarily because directories cannot compete with a well executed SEO effort of a local business website that focuses on increasing search engine trust and relevance for its own service areas, products, and services.