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Search Engine Marketing
 Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct


Imagine, the ultimate bet.  Everything you have on either black or red.  You either lose everything or win it all.  They say you cannot beat the odds and you cannot beat the casinos, but there is one way.  Roulette.  The bet to end all bets, a straight simple bet either the ball lands on red or it lands on black.  Minimal skill required, just luck and in casino parlance, a lot of balls.    

Ashley Revell's bet it all Idea  

For one man it all started in the pub. Mr Revell was drinking with friends after work when one of them said “wouldn’t it be great if we went to Las Vegas and bet everything on one spin?”  

Then the next day Ashley Revell couldn’t get the idea out of his mind.  At the time he wasn’t married, he didn’t have any kids, he realised if he was going to do it, he had to decide now.  

Everyone he knew said it was a stupid thing to do. His mother naturally said it was a silly idea and he should be thinking of his future.  His father’s advice was the same.  

But unable to stop thinking about it and unable to make the decision, he began the process of selling everything he owned.  Ashley didn’t own a house but he had about £10,000 in savings towards his first mortgage.  He had indulged in a Rolex watch and a BMW during his early work years plus a set of golf clubs.  All the things that were the trappings of a single life.  He sold them all.  

Ashley sold the more expensive items and set up a car boot stall for the smaller things.  He sold sentimental things like his first XI school cricket jumper and two football ties.  He instantly regretted losing them, but he knew he had to have nothing remaining otherwise it wouldn’t feel like gambling everything.   

After six months he was ready to go.  At this stage, the story had become widely known and Sky began filming his experience.  He flew out to Vegas owning absolutely nothing, even his tuxedo was rented.  

Reflecting on the experience afterwards, Ashley says it was crazy but he felt totally convinced he was going to win. He felt he was just going to Vegas to collect his winnings.  

When he woke the morning of the big bet, Ashley went down to the Plaza Casino and Hotel.  He had transferred £76,860 from his UK bank and the Vegas casino gave him a large stack of chips.  

At the Roulette table in Vegas  

At that point he didn’t know whether he was going to go for red or black.  He still hadn’t decided.  

When he arrived at the Roulette table, the croupier explained: “It’s simple, when I spin the ball, if it goes round more than three times before you say red or black, you can’t place a bet”.  

Suddenly the croupier began to spin the ball.  The crowd had gathered behind Ashley.  The atmosphere was electric.  Everyone had heard about this crazy man from Europe who had sold everything he owned to bet on one spin of the wheel.  
As people pressed closer, Ashley in his black tuxedo watched the ball spinning round once, twice and then the first thing that came into his head was red.  So he pushed all of his chips forward on red.  

That spin was the most amazing moment of Ashley’s life.   He is quoted as saying time stood still.  He felt calm.  He had no possessions, he either returned a winner or with nothing, not even the (rented) shirt on his back.  

The ball began to slow.  It wobbled around and then landed in what he thought was red but it disappeared slightly from view.  

Later that year, Ashley met a girl in Holland and is now married with two children.  As to what happened that night, remember Sky was there and you can watch the moment live: (requires sound).    

Gambling is like any industry, there are many casinos, online gambling sites and betting shops.  Business directories are perfect for advertising a brand or company to a large amount of potential customers.  YouCom Direct understands directory advertising isn’t just about, or  There are many geo-location friendly sites.  Which is why YouCom Direct has a diverse range of clients across many industries offering pay-per-call or pay-per-lead advertising, in many instances exclusive to our agency.  

The Directory Critic is a gambling directory ranked 6,000 by Alexa with a PR 5 and often number one for keyword searches.  It takes a lot of time to search and select good gambling directories to submit a branch details to.  The company also needs to go through each directory, find relevant categories, enter the titles, the descriptions, handle the administration etc.  YouCom Direct offer directory advertising management for local search to take care of the work for you.  Our advertising delivers more calls with a higher call to lead conversion rate and lower CPA.  

Dedication: This story is dedicated to Mr and Mrs Lecrinier of Belgium who were married in Vegas in 2016 (hopefully with less media attention and less stress than Mr Revell).  

Disclaimer: YouCom Direct and our parent agency YouCom Media does not condone the actions of Mr Revell nor promotes irresponsible gambling.  Gambling can be addictive and users should only gamble what they can afford to lose. 

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Glossary: CPA – Cost per Acquisition  

Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, Oct 2019, London, ‘The Ultimate Bet’


Search Engine Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct

Every street is local to the people that live there

Every street is local to the people that live there. Focusing online content on local keywords generates more search results with Google’s algorithm favouring localised sites. This approach is required on each site that lists your store. Online directories are effectively duplicates of your own store pages. But, vary the content and these won’t be seen as duplicate pages, instead search engines will categorise them as ‘additional pages’ (new content). This means more search results for your brand on page one of a Google search and less of your competitors. Inserting local keywords into your store page’s title / meta description tags is the first step toward local ranking.

Your localised content should focus on long-tail keywords to delineate your site

Your localised content should focus on long-tail keywords to delineate your site. Long-tail keywords will help the store page rank higher than a generic keyword which have much more competition. ‘Storage Greenwich’ may describe your service and local area, but ‘Best storage company in Greenwich’ will have less competitor noise and be more likely to reach your sales market. Don’t forget the meta description tag is truncated in search results if too long, so for geographic keywords it is better to insert them as near the beginning of the tag as possible.

The Itsukushima Shrine (also known as the floating torii gate) is example of localised content

The Itsukushima Shrine (also known as the floating torii gate) is one of the most famous landmarks in Japan (shown above). Localised content that can be displayed on your store pages and your online directory listing pages alike should contain information relevant to the local area.  Detailing nearby local landmarks is perfect for this goal.  But content marketing management is (relatively) easy once you get going / have experience.  For instance, have you considered adding testimonials from local businesses you’ve served?  Suppliers or SME customers are often very willing to provide a testimonial and that is like gold to Google searching for local content in a search results page.

Before producing localised content for your store area, identify your target audience


Before producing localised content for your store area, identify your target audience. Ask your store managers to interview customers face-to-face. Those interviews themselves can provide additional local content for that store.  Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool to measure search volumes for the keywords that were identified out of that customer research.   If you’re lucky enough to have people willing to link back to your store page either via their personal blog or review, make sure you have content that is worth shouting about to give them reason to do so.  Some tool that represents an advantage over your competitors or at least appears new to customers will do that job.


Such a tool for localised content could be a virtual tour where blog writers or reviewers can discuss your industry in general and then give an example of how people can now walk around a store to answer their questions without even visiting.  Such a tool is newsworthy and worth writing about, relevant to both the readers and to Google. 

Becoming active in your local town or village will also generate ideas for localised content, so you can be authentic in your writing (no one else will have that content and the same keyword search terms that you know your customers will use to find your service, will be ranked higher within that content due to its originality).

Hosting local events is one such example of being active in your local community

Hosting local events is one such example of being active in your local community.  If your store has a lot of space that will lend itself to the activity nicely.  If the local event is charity related you will also generate natural, original, localised content for your store page.  Attending local events or sponsoring local events are other ways to cultivate your community inclusion.  Now we know we are creating local content to rank better in a search engine.  But don’t forget, the main idea should also be to position your brand in the local community.  For that reason, it is essential to publish strategic content on different media channels.

Links to high page authority sites increase your ranking


Social media should be your main channel highlighting your community activity and linking back to your store pages that display it. But good high-ranking local landing pages will add to this and accelerate the results of your hard work providing excellent localised content.  YouCom Direct have a strong partnership with a local landing page company to achieve just that for our clients and priced on performance (so the only cost being when customers click through to your store page from the localised landing page or make a call to your store).


Local search marketing works best when utilising store page assets such as your own local research and statistics. For example, you have customers, right?  So, you record sales history.  From this you can glean sales patterns, data trends.  You are sitting on your own gold mine of data.  So, analyse this (or give it to an agency to do it for you) and put the resulting statistics on your store page (localised content derives from such data). By doing this you are creating the opportunity for bloggers and local media outlets to reference these statistics and create new backlinks for you naturally.

Our social media marketing gains 1,000 new followers a month

As a specialist agency in directory advertising, contact us for more information on building localised content, circulating localised content via online directory networks, connecting to high page authority bloggers for natural link building and for social media marketing that gains 1,000 new followers a month (see our own Twitter).  All of our services are paid by performance with a cost per customer lead or cost per click (i.e. pay-by-results performance marketing). So, you only have to supply an advertising budget when we perform.


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Required reference:

YouCom Direct News Article, Jan 2019, London, ‘Localised Content’.


Search Engine Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct

Recruitment agencies are a good case study to examine for successful keyword use


Recruitment agencies are a good case study to examine for successful keyword use.  When they receive a new job description (and a good recruitment agency will ‘obtain’ one), the first stage is to find suitable candidates.  Important to that is a good keyword search on your firm’s database of registered candidates, on LinkedIn via a Premium membership, job sites or even from social media.  Identify the keywords that describe those skills, qualities or experiences which the client states are required for the job.  The more accurate the keyword search, the less time you spend placing each candidate.  The quicker you place the candidate the higher the ROI for your agency.

The keyword search is necessary to find a ‘probable’ match


Once you have your list of candidates, the recruitment consultant must then begin to find a suitable match for the employer. The keyword search is necessary to find a ‘probable’ match, but to find a ‘suitable’ match the recruitment consultant now needs to assess the personality. The candidate’s personality must fit with the company’s culture. To begin, scan the CV’s for any pattern of regular job changing.  Someone who changes jobs regularly may take longer to place, or simply make your agency look like they do not propose high quality candidates.

Keyword searches increase profitability (speed of placing a candidate)


Scan also for candidates who have gaps in employment history to make a note to ask them the reason why (if they cannot provide a sufficient reason, the recruitment consultant must be prepared to move on the next candidate in the quickest way possible whilst observing minimum politeness). If the candidate’s address or location is known, then the recruitment consultant must also make a decision whether or not the job will be too far for them to travel to (this will increase probability of a quick placement).  This is another instance where keyword searches increase profitability (speed of placing a candidate).

When the recruitment consultant is ready to speak, they must ‘listen’


When the recruitment consultant is ready to speak to the candidates on their list, they must ‘listen’ to the candidates as they explain their salary expectations (if expectations are not met, it will be very hard to place them).  Ask the candidates questions about why they left their previous employment, try to encourage them to be honest about their past (it will help you know what challenges you may face with the interviewer).  Ask them about their hobbies and interests to assess culture fit with the client’s company.

With an understanding gained, it is time to call the client


When the recruitment consultant has an understanding of the candidates they will be proposing, it is time to call the client.  A good technique is to first write out keywords for each candidate that match various key qualities desired and preferred by the client’s job description (JD).  In your call, you can then succinctly say the candidate name, a short bio and your keywords.  For instance, “I have a great candidate, John Smith, he has a half hour commute to your offices, 3 years’ experience.  [and now the keywords] He is analytical, has good social skills, enjoys project planning and looking for flexible working”.  The keywords will form the ‘desire’ part of the AIDA marketing model.

Remember, when they fail to get out of bed, it is not just their future they’re blowing but your agency fee


The recruitment consultant then arranges the interviews, preps the candidates, reminds the candidates (remember, when they fail to get out of bed on time, it is not just their future they’re blowing but also your agency fee) and follows up after interview.  This dedication is typical in any agency and focusing on the client’s goals is just the same in directory advertising.  Post-interview, the recruitment consultant makes their after-interview phone call where they could be dealing with a dejected interviewee or an elated one.  Both situations will make it difficult to glean information.  So, have a list of questions that will ensure you get what you need for your call to the client later.

For every negative answer the candidate provides, have a positive keyword to match it


Depending on how their interview went, for every negative answer the candidate provides, have a positive keyword to match it, ready to volunteer to the client.  For example, if the candidate tells you “The interview went badly, I got caught up in the analysis and forgot how to present” match it with the positive keyword: Analytical: “sometimes he does such a great job in the analysis he forgets his presentation skills under pressure.  Is this something you could work on with him in the role?”

Trademark Logo


Keywords clearly are vital to quick placement of the right candidates with a client’s role.  Quick placement is key to increased ROI and profitability.  Good directory advertising focuses on keywords in the same way as recruitment.  Many brands (and their agencies) focus on the same description for each store, when in reality each store has different content to contribute and different keywords that will help it display in the first results page.   The more accurate the results (in either candidates or a store wishing to be found by customers on Google), the more profit you will make in the year.


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JD – Job Description

ROI – Return on Investment

A.I.D.A. – Awareness; Interest; Desire; Action


Required reference:

YouCom Direct News Article, Nov 2018, London, Keyword Recruitment.


Search Engine Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct


If your brand’s website has less than 1m unique monthly visitors then this article is for you. If you have more than that, the chances are you are either knowingly or unknowingly already allocating the right percentage of your budget to these key marketing areas.   

SEO 15 percent
If you are yet to utilise video, mobile and retargeting, you should allocate approximately 30 percent of your budget to SEO. With these other advertising channels, you would see your SEO allocation reduced to 15 percent.  


Search Engine Optimization takes time and should not be seen as a quick solution to turn around an ailing product or service. However it remains the standard of gathering organic search traffic, and it should be a central element of any online marketing budget. SEO is necessary for you to build organic traffic and you grow it over time.   As each cycle passes, you should reassess your progress and divert budget away to the other areas until your 30 percent comes down to approximately 15 percent.  

Ensure your site has “SEO-friendly” design; research your keywords carefully by analysing your competitors and ensure they are properly used within your site. With this in place, allocate a monthly budget to spend on SEO activities such as link building and producing original content (‘content is king’).    

SEM 40 percent

The largest part of your online marketing budget should go to SEM. If SEO is pull marketing (attracting customers to your site), search engine marketing is push marketing. Directing customers to your site; to call your store; or to visit your store, is the single biggest thing you can do to quickly boost sales and show an ROI on your marketing budget. This will give your superiors confidence to leave you alone in future and not scrutinise your work so closely.  

SEM is the process of getting your content (store phone numbers, address and reason to call/visit) across the internet in as many places as possible. More importantly to where people often visit. Generally, the higher the visitor numbers, the more it will cost to advertise. There are two main ways to use your SEM budget. PPC advertising and business directory advertising.  


You will have begun researching keywords for your SEO and spent some budget to uncover their value. With PPC and directory advertising, you will also benefit from modifying your advert copy frequently in order to determine which ones generate good CTR. To establish your keyword strategy, you should first evaluate your competitors’ keyword strategy.  

Remember, if your PPC ads aren’t performing so well, it might mean that while your adverts work well on Google, your potential customers aren’t connecting with them. Therefore you need to keep an eye on the CTR rate and adapt your creative, targeting and landing pages until you find the optimum combination. In highly competitive markets, keywords can be very expensive, so you shouldn’t spend a lot on PPC before you have mastered your perfect conversion funnel.


There are many business directories. Find out the best ones (speak to specialist agencies like YouCom Direct) and allocate a budget to them. for example looks to be a good site, it is often found in website analysis sites as a referral site (directing traffic to a company site). However it only has 14,000 views a month. though has nearly 10,000,000 views a month. Just as for PPC, you should research your competitors on each directory. If they are advertising there, then you should be. If they are not, it may be that they have yet to find it and you could gain market share and competitive advantage by advertising there. Of course it might be, that particular directory doesn’t generate enough traffic for your business sector and your competitors have already tried it and left. Business directory marketing and PPC advertising work best with advice from specialists.    


SMM 15 percent

The SEO content you create (news articles etc.) then has to reach as many good quality readers as possible. This is where good social media marketing comes in.  

Most advertising campaigns start with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, where the advertising is established and proven. If your business sells products, it will benefit from being active on Pinterest and Instagram.  

What to aim for? Look at others in your sector and work out (or ask an agency) what makes users engage with the posts? Most directory agencies for example have 1 favourite or 1 retweet if they’re lucky. Below a typical tweet from YouCom Direct (formerly YouDirectories) has over 20 retweets, 37 favourites, nearly 80 engagements and is seen by 1,800+ people. Remember, each time a user retweets your message, your brand is reaching all of their followers too.


Retargeting 10 percent
The majority of sites have very low conversion rates. Retargeting is how you improve conversion rates. Of course you require the visitors to find your site first so retargeting comes into play after you’ve built up your traffic. You will need approximately 15,000 monthly visitors until you can sustain a retargeting campaign. Create an excel document, monitor the monthly visitor numbers and place a marker to remind you to begin retargeting marketing activity at 10,000.   

Display Ads 5 percent
Display advertising is declining hence our 5 percent suggestion. How does it work on a smartphone mobile? Exactly, it doesn’t. With increasing web browsing on a smartphone, display adverts are being largely ignored by consumers. However some display ads will be necessary to match your competitor’s reach.  

Email marketing 15 percent
Email is often viewed as an old method of advertising, but it is still an effective low cost opportunity to reach customers. Beware the frequency parameters (too frequent emails will increase the unsubscribe rates dramatically) and change the content to maintain engagement (uninteresting content or repetitive content will increase the unsubscribe rates also).  

Remember, consumers access email on mobile devices as well as traditional desktops. This makes email DM a necessary addition to your online advert strategy. If you want to manage it yourself, try MailChimp as an effective delivery tool.  

There are many email DM templates you should create. It doesn’t have to be cold-calling email DM. You could send a shopping cart abandonment email with tailored messaging to bring them back perhaps mention a limited time offer, or a Cross Sell email. Of course to deliver the right email recommendation to the right user at the optimum time is essential in order to make this channel work for you. For that you’re best to utilise an advertising agency’s expertise and learn from a few campaigns.  

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SEO – Search engine optimisation

SEM – search engine marketing

PPC – Pay per click

CTR – Click to conversion rate / Click through rate

SMM – Social media marketing

DM – Direct mail  

Required reference
: YouCom Direct News Article, Sept 2015, London, ‘The budget secret’.


Search Engine Marketing
 Copywriter: Sam Jones, PR Assistant, YouCom Direct


On March 12, 2014, Yahoo! announced that it had partnered with Yelp to bring local review data into its search experience for both mobile and desktop. Traditional Yelp information, such as ratings, reviews and user photos became interlinked with and fed to Yahoo!  


Following that US roll out, Yahoo! have now completed the same for the UK and some European countries. In the UK, like the US, this partnership is transparent with results clearly displayed as provided by Yelp. However due to the directory market differing greatly by country, in France where Pages Jaunes is such a dominant directory, Yelp provide the data feed to Pages Jaunes who in turn provide it to Yahoo! – See our earlier article from February 2013.  

YouDirectories-Yahoo!-partners-with-Yelp-2          YouDirectories-Yahoo!-partners-with-Yelp-3


Yahoo! is no longer a company known for its search products following the outsourcing of its search technology to Microsoft. Yahoo! has since tried to slow or escape from under its search deal with Microsoft, given that the partnership has failed to perform up to financial expectations. However it does want search to be a focus for its business and with local search comes local reviews.  


Yahoo! Local isn’t the only search engine to have abandoned their own local reviews and switch to a data feed from Yelp. Bing partnered with Yelp in 2012 and now include not only reviews, but ratings, images and other data. This leaves Google as the one remaining search engine giant yet to abandon their own Google+ reviews in favour of the trusted data status of Yelp’s own review system.  


Despite the competitive challenges, Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer recently declared that the company is “long in search,” stressing, “We do intend to continue to invest in the search user experience, and in really making sure that Yahoo! users on the network ultimately really get a tremendous experience.”  

In a recent blog post, Anand Chandrasekaran the then senior director at Yahoo! was quoted as saying “Now when you use Yahoo! Search to look up a local business in the U.S. on your smartphone, tablet, or PC, you’ll see user reviews, business information, and star ratings from Yelp. We’ve also added a new photo viewing experience to show high-quality photos from Yelp, other partners, and the businesses themselves.”


However, YouCom Direct have identified that the partnership is not totally a good thing for business due to the nature of review management. Many business owners have built a good Yahoo! Local profile with lots of really good reviews over many years. The Yelp-Yahoo! partnership seems good for them because Yelp is very popular for leaving business reviews and it would certainly help brands to have reviews from a well-known established review site.

But what many don’t realise is that years of accumulated Yahoo! Local reviews can be replaced in favour of a single Yelp review. The current process is that as soon as a business gains its first Yelp review, Yahoo! removes all the old Yahoo! Local reviews, rather than archiving them. The picture of the brand created by years of reviews just disappears overnight…


When users go and look at a business to see the reviews, it’s pretty common for users to bypass those businesses that only have a single review, in favour of those businesses that have a longer history of reviews.

This means that if your brand is on Yahoo! with lots of reviews and you don’t have presence on Yelp with lots of reviews, then you risk losing them to be replaced by a single Yelp review that someone decides to leave on the Yelp site.

The good news for Yelp is this now makes directory listing management on the Yelp country sites more important than ever. Very simply, if you manage your Yelp listings you’ll remove the user-generated listings of your business and create a platform for future reviews which will filter into both Bing and Yahoo!


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Required reference:

YouCom Direct News Article, Aug 2015, London, ‘Yahoo! Yelp partners’.


Search Engine Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouCom Direct

“What would the world look like if the location pins from Google maps were real? One social analyst finds out raising questions about Google’s accuracy”.


How do we perceive the world around us? This is an existential question continually asked by mankind but has never been more relevant than today. Aram Bartholl looked to address that question by conducting a social experiment of geolocation services.

He began in 2006 and has only recently finished. A year before, in 2005, Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen first designed the now iconic red circle map symbol for a small start-up company called ‘Where 2’. Naturally this was acquired by Google and rebranded as the behemoth Google Maps.

The pin symbol showed letters of the alphabet. Starting with an ‘A’ through to ‘J’ the red pins on the map showed the first 10 search results. As Aram points out, the symbol seems to be derived from a physical map needle. Yet unlike a physical map, we are all reliant on this digital world being accurately mapped.

YouCom Direct manage Google My Business listings for clients, ensuring each clients’ store locations are accurately found in Google maps by potential customers. Aram Bartholl’s ‘project map’ is therefore a worthwhile study, because it questions just how accurately does Google portray a geolocation?


‘Project map’ involved the building and erection of a six meter tall by 3.5 meter wide real-life Google map symbol positioned in different places around the World. In Google maps, the map pin is a 20px graphic and remains at the same size on the screen. Aram found in relation to the physical world, 6 meters was the height required to represent Google maps. In his ‘city centre’ series he set up his six meter high map pin at the exact spot where Google Maps assumes the city centre to be. The perception of towns and cities is influenced by geolocation services like Google Maps, but as shown below with the city centre of Taiwan, just how accurate this is, remains open to debate.


Footnote: In spring 2014 Google changed the design of the Google Maps page. The red map marker still exists but it only shows a black dot. The lettering A – J is gone. An era of almost 10 years of the Google Maps ‘A’ marker seems to be over. However the importance of listing your business data on geolocation sites is only just beginning.

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Required reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Apr 2015, London, ‘Are geolocation services changing our perception of reality?.


Search Engine Marketing

Where will consumers be most receptive to advertising?

The face of local search engines has changed a lot over the last 18 years. YouCom Direct have produced the above infographic (see bottom of article for the full 18 year analysis) showing interesting patterns of websites that have come and gone, but also patterns of the future. Twitter is now in the top ten and still widely expected to supersede Facebook in the future. AskJeeves which became remains in the top twenty.   In 2014, more consumers engaged with brands on social media and our own Twitter feed serves as an example with many re-tweets and favourites for posts;

The impact of Photos in Business Directory Listings by YouCom Direct

We also advise companies to create a managed YouTube page whose videos can be used to drive calls from directory listings.  YouTube which can be seen was ranked fourth in 2014, has reached its highest popularity to date.  

Local Search since 1996 by YouCom Direct
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   Required reference: ‘YouCom Direct News Article, Jan 2015, London, ‘Local Search Changes’


Search Engine Marketing


“You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad” says a CTR study. Photographs have a much better chance of attracting local search consumers.   Many professionals now believe that banner ads just don’t work. 60% of consumers do not remember the last display ad they saw, according to Online Media Daily.


We’ve become used to ignoring display ads. We have altered our behaviour to look down a webpage and not even register they are there. It’s true isn’t it?

Mobile banner ads also no longer work but for another reason. According to GoldSpot Media, up to 50% of clicks on mobile ads are by accident, effectively increasing the cost per sale as the conversion rate of click to lead falls substantially.

This is where Photography is now more crucial to the promotion of a business. For directory listings, a photo of a store can represent the brand in a powerful way using store signage to convey brand strengths.

In-store images can also demonstrate staff service and convey key elements such as trust and reliability. If the business sells other brand products, images of those brands products or brand logos can also persuade the customer to call your business listing rather than a competitor.  

Spot the difference -which would you call?



Brand engagement

More consumers now engage with brands on social media if they post photographs and our own Twitter feed serves as an example of high engagement from the use of good photographs; 

The impact of Photos in Business Directory Listings by YouCom Direct

In the case of business directory listings, you must display your products and services professionally. A good quality photo will enhance your business’ PR regardless if you end up using it for online or for printed directory adverts… DM fliers delivered door-to-door or given out at an exhibition or event are much more likely to be read rather than thrown away if there is a photo that grabs the attention.  

Where can you get photographs /images from?

YouCom Direct recommend either:

Use your own photographs
Buy stock images
Pay for a professional photographer

At YouCom Direct we see so many companies using their own photographs and it is instantly noticeable. If they don’t look professional then they make your company appear unprofessional. For example most images of store signage have been taken without using a light diffuser. Buildings appear dark or show the wrong shadows. Worse, the brand appears inconsistent (the pet hate of every public relations department) with some stores photographed head-on, some from the side, some in poor lighting, others over exposed etc.

Stock photos can look perfect, but they can look ‘too-perfect’ (airbrushing or digital enhancements may not be noticeable to you or your agency but your consumers will notice). With stock images you will also need the correct license to avoid legal problems. Plus don’t forget if you can buy them, so can your competitors.

Paying a good photographer will cost more, but the images are likely to be unique to your company with exclusive owners’ rights to use them.

Most people mistakenly think that if an image has been copied from a search engine, it is unlikely the owner will ever find out they are being used
Sadly, this is not true. Many photos are digital rights managed and we can assure you their use is easily detectable.

There are many free images available, however you will often find it difficult to obtain a good quality image plus of course everyone wants to use free images right?

Many agencies such as YouCom Direct will have a much larger image library than your PR department and can provide you with royalty-free images for whatever keywords you wish to show in the image. Often clients think they will have to pay if they ask their agency for images, but that depends on the agency. A good agency, will be able to help with your presentation or report, by supplying a great photo within the current agency service fee (i.e. no cost).

In summary; you’re paying for business directory listings because the people who use those sites are more likely to be looking for a business to buy from. So make the advertising work better for you. Invest in the right photographs of quality and you will be using them for many years to come.  

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Required reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Nov 2014, London, ‘The impact of photographs on business directory listings’


In a twice yearly survey of teenage consumer spend patterns, Investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray examines a research pool of 7,200 consumers, average age 16 years. Their findings help their account service teams to advise major clients of likely future trends.  

This October, the key social media finding has been a shift away from Facebook towards Instagram and Twitter. In just 6 months since the spring, Facebook fell by 27%. Twitter usage also fell but only by 4%. Instagram was the biggest beneficiary of 7%.   For marketers of products aimed at an older audience, these findings of course represent delayed action. They are the adults of tomorrow. Facebook will represent a viable social media tool to communicate with consumers, manage customer sentiment and generate good SEO for a brand, but Twitter per this survey, represents a more stable communication platform for both today and tomorrow.   67% of those surveyed own iPhones and 73% of those expect their next mobile to be an iPhone.    

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Data sources:
Piper Jaffray, Investment Bank and Asset Management, Taking Stock with Teens Survey, Oct 2014.

Required reference:
‘YouCom Direct News Article, Oct 2014, London, ‘Social media shift among teen market’

Search Engine Marketing

Local search behaviour survey of 3,000 people reveals how consumers search for and buy from businesses online.  

Purpose This was a study into how people search for local businesses and how that search is conducted when using various computer devices. The purpose is to determine whether YouCom Direct are advertising for clients in the most efficient way that would deliver the highest ROI (client sales etc).  

Study Sample This was a study of 3,000 people (3,000 responses collected) via an email survey. Respondents have been categorised by the local search site they last used to find a business online.  

Definitions; Search: A results page displayed in response to user-defined search parameters.


Local Business Search: A search that returns data including a local business name, phone number, address, hours of operation, products, promotions, etc.   IYP (Internet Yellow Pages) / Local Search: Business directory searches on IYP and local search sites (traditionally a two-box search).


Portal Search with geo-local targeting: Search with local intent on a portal site such as Google Places, Bing Maps (below) etc. (traditionally a one-box search).


Industry facts The total number of US mobile phone visitors to search or navigation sites / apps grew last year from 90.1m to 113.1m (26% increase).*


Tablet searches also grew to 38.7 million in the US (19% growth in 2012). More than half of users surveyed say they use mobile phones to search because they are away from home/office. At the same time PC and laptop searches fell declining by 17% for local business searches and 5% for non-local searches.*


It is apparent that it becomes increasingly important for advertisers to ensure the sites where they advertise their businesses have good mobile site versions (and firstly whether the advertising is replicated on a mobile site or if that is additional cost).  

Survey Overview
The study revealed that consumers’ search behaviour has changed as the methods of searching for a local business have changed. The results show that the primary activity for consumers on mobile devices is search (56% for Search; 40% for Social Networking; 39% for News; 31% Weather; Entertainment news 30%)

The study also found tablet owners becoming less mobile and less concerned with ease of use. Map based applications have become increasingly important in local search with significant changes in the look and feel of sites such as Bing Maps over the last 12 months.

For businesses targeting online traffic, the results show local business searches via mobile phones were more likely to end with an in-store visit than PC or tablet searches. Those using a mobile phone or tablet were also more likely to make a purchase as a result of their search.

As the mobile market continues to grow, these findings show businesses need to re-think how they engage with local customers. Consumers now expect accurate, easy-to-access information on local businesses via a variety of computing platforms

PC and laptop searches have decreased over the past year.

Portal sites (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Bing) have seen an increase as the primary source of searching for local business information (rising from 30% to 36% in the last five years).*
Search behaviour of PC or laptop, tablet and mobile users is different
Tablet sales are outpacing smartphone sales. In just two years, tablet owners have reached 40 million (it took smartphones 10 years to reach that figure).

The survey found that the frequency of local business searches on smartphones remained constant, but interestingly local searches conducted on tablets has decreased in frequency in the last year. It is presumed tablets are being used more in a fixed location such as the home or office.

PC or laptops were shown to be used more towards the beginning of the search whereas mobile phones and tablets were used more towards the end of the search.

Smart phone, tablet and PC or laptop users all rated accurate information as more important than depth of content.  

Local search using apps is increasing

Local Search Behaviour Study by YouCom Direct

Map based applications are playing an important role in local search, especially from smartphone users. Application based (app) local search has almost doubled in the last two years (significantly more growth than SMS and web browser channels). Interestingly, while Google dominates, the other applications drive noticeable volume of consumers searching for a local business.


The growth in consumer use of map based applications is evident in “traditional” online directories such as Yelp and who are altering the display of business listing searches to become more map focused.  

Detail required from a local search advertiser

The survey found consumers required their search to yield a correct address as the most important thing in a local business search.

Local Search Behaviour Study by YouCom Direct

Those using smartphones placed high importance on the telephone number (as expected) but also business hours and distance to the business from where they are (geo-location).

These features can be seen in online directories who have clearly undertaken their own studies to make their sites more appealing to advertisers. example of distance

YouDirectories-Local-Search-Behaviour-Survey-10-Yell example of Business hours

60% of all respondents rated consumer reviews as important in their local search choice. However, only 26% actually found helpful reviews in their search for a local business. This indicates that whilst some advertisers might have good reviews or a successful online review marketing program, the industry as a whole is behind in this area. It could be concluded that were one company to significantly increase their reviews and manage the message of these reviews, they would have a significant edge over whether consumers chose them or their competitors.  

Use of Social Networking sites for local business searches

Local Search Behaviour Study by YouCom Direct

In the above graph, ‘active’ is a consumer who has actively used a social network to search for a local business. ‘Passive’ are the consumers who have connected to the business as a follower and are now susceptible to messaging.

From this we conclude that whilst for a company’s developed markets, social network sites might not be a priority because the sales uplift is harder to trace; for markets with low market share or low sales, it is a vital channel to have a presence. Below is an example of a storage company in the Netherlands who has created separate Twitter accounts for each store, encouraging store managers to gain followers that would later form a captive data set of dormant or active customers.


The graph revealed a slight decline in active searches for local businesses on social networks (15% to 13%), however the overall reach of the media remains high (58% of respondents using social networks say they are more likely to use a local business that a connection has recommended.  

Mobile searches are more likely to result in a sale

Of the respondents last local business search, those conducted by a smartphone were more likely to result in a visit to store than PC or laptop searches. Significantly, those using a smartphone to search were more likely to buy as a result of that search (78% of smartphone searches and 77% of tablet searches resulted in a purchase. The 15 mile study was conducted via comscore as an email survey collecting 3,000 completed responses. *Neustar Localeze Data  

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IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)

ROI (Return On Investment)

Required reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Nov 2013, London, ‘Local search behaviour survey’