How to Tell if the Directories & Other Online Listings are Working in Less than 10 Seconds

I often get calls from clients that sound something like this: “Should I renew – yellow pages, gold book, canpages, xyz advertising, this directory, that industry listing etc?”

To answer this question, referrals (referring traffic listed under traffic sources in your Google Analytics), is the first place I look. This is where all of the traffic to your website is recorded (if it didn’t come from a major search engine).

The chart below is for the month of May for one of our clients:


 Here’s how we interpret it in less than 10 seconds:

1. The top referral source was a forum on

This is a great example of “web 2.0”, social media etc at its best! Usually what happens in these cases is someone posts a question on the form asking where to get a good deal on a certain product/service and others answer.

This is something beyond the client’s control- the key is to make sure you have brand monitoring in place so you know what is being said about you (and you can sign up and respond (in a pleasant way!!)  if something is stated that’s not accurate).

This is a relatively popular forum in our area, I’ve seen it drive a lot of business to soil companies, a k-cup supplier, a door & window company.

2. is a similar type of forum

This one is very exclusive to a portion of Milton, the town of 100,000 I live in and one of the towns that this client services.

3. The last referral source is

Quite simply this traditional mode of advertising, which was so successful for so many years (everyone ‘let their fingers do the walking’) has been the biggest complaint from business owners over the last couple of years.  The numbers speak for themselves.

sources2In this case there were 32 visits in a month (which is more than we usually see). The
visitors are very engaged, and as per the chart below we see that 6.25% of the 32 visits filled in a form on the site (getting to the thank you page and accomplishing a goal, as per the first part of our series).  So, only 2 leads in their busiest month of the year from the Yellow Pages.

The client then needs to divide what they spent on the listing by the number of leads, and then determine if that’s a reasonable amount of cash to put out per lead- this is how you determine if your directories and listings are working.

Most business owners who call us wondering whether or not to review an ad source see numbers somewhere around 30-80 visits for the year from directories like Goldbook, Canpages, and Yellow Pages sending around 130 visits for the year.

With this data at least you can do the math and make some good business decisions!

Next Post Will Show You How to Evaluate & Compare the Traffic You Receive From Search Engines

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About Denise Gervais

Denise Gervais has been public speaking her entire career and has been featured in over 30 countries. Involved in WSI and Internet Marketing since 1997, Denise has a unique talent of making technology easy for everyone to understand.
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