Google Places taking over our paper based directories?

Hey, this may seem boring to some of you but the other day our Yellow Pages turned up on the door step and I thought to myself “Wow, that is looking extremely thin I must take a photo and discuss it on my blog”.

Low and behold the wife has already added it to the recycling which was picked up yesterday.  How many other people use the Yellow Pages in a way that was not designed? I’ve seen them used as door stops or even on piano stools to make children closer the the piano keys.

So, guess what turns up today?  The Thomson Local book and I can tell you now it is minute – look at this picture. Its only just bigger than my Kings of Leon CD Case.  Come on this is rediculous.  There are over 5 million home based businesses in the UK and hardly any of them use these kinds of directories….

Google Places

Whether or not that Google is the reason for this dramatic decrease in the size of these directories is something we can discuss another time, however, the Internet is definitely the reason.  People know that all products and services are researched first on the Internet (92% of people research on the net first before buying a product or service – this includes B2B, 72% of those people then buy from one of the websites that they saw whilst researching, thats why these paper based directories are getting so small).  And the fact that Google has 80% of the search engines share means that the majority of the people looking for you or a local business will be done on Google.

Do you know what Google Places is?  Below is an extract, one of my clients is in there but I am not saying which one 🙂

google places

Google Places Screen Shot

Do you see Yell.com?  Come on look closely do you see Yell.com? No you do not, well Yell.com is there but it is lower down on the page.  This is classed as below the fold and below the fold means…

Yeap less visitors, not just less significantly less.

For this search term would you want to be in Yell.com (then competing with everyother business that is on that Yell.com webspace) or in Google Places listing like I have above.  I know where I would rather be.

On another note, and this isn’t Yell.com bashing by any means, but they called me up yesterday trying to sell me 20 different services but when I actaully started quizing him on SEO, local seo (local seo is Google Places really) he didn’t have a clue.  I’m sorry there is supposed to be a partnership between Yell.com and Google.  The only reason that Google humor Yell is because they have a database of customers that they then in turn sell ADWords too – SIMPLES as the merecat says on the telly ad.

Mark my words, Yell.com and others will see there day, especially when Bing allow the Uk to have listings the same and Google Places.  Take FourSquare for instance, this was massive in the States and got quite popular here but now that Google has bought out Google Buzz and Google +1 there is no need for the FourSquares of the world, nearly everyone has a gmail account and it is always logged in on your mobile device so you click the +1 like at the bottom of this post. What will be next, Yelp or Qype?

The move is FaceBook vs Google with Bing (when they pull their socks up) chasing as fast as they can.

I kinda hope I am wrong