This is primarily a Yodle Review, but you can apply all the pro’s and con’s to all big box store online advertising companies that target small and local businesses. For specific complaints about Yodle, read all the comments left by others below.
Local online advertising is big business being targeted by large corporations like Yodle. They offer local advertising specials to small businesses with a “legal guarantee”. They guarantee you will be on the first page of Google in your town for vertical specific keywords within 60 -90 days or you don’t pay the monthly fees.
You need to understand what good local online advertising is to decide if Yodle is worth the money. Good online marketing and high rankings can be summed up to Good Content and Links to your website.
How Much Does Yodle Cost? | Yodle Pricing | Yodle Fees
The cost for the Yodle package outlined above is $179.00 per town, per month, and no set-up fee. If you visit the Yodle website for pricing you will be directed to a squeeze page (a page designed to acquire your contact info) before you get answers. You pay only for the first two – three months, then only the months you are on the front page of Google. However, their legal guarantee does not cover the first 2-3 months, you have to pay for those.
The gist of what I have been hearing from their customers is that they get you on the first page for keywords that just don’t convert to leads or customers. These concerns have been reported by people that signed on for a $450.00 a month package.
After three months they have spent close to $1400.00 and have not got enough new customers to break even. They then bailout taking the loss. Then they are left trying to reclaim their own Local Google Maps and Bing Listings. Yodle claimed them during this time and changed their phone number to a Yodle tracking number.
It takes longer than three months for most campaigns to become effective. It appears that Yodle is not properly setting customer expectations. Their sales staff is more interested in getting the sale than properly and honestly setting expectations.
I am going to mix the pro’s and con’s of doing your local online advertising with Yodle
Negative: They do not optimize your website, they create you a new website by using your websites content, and host it on one of their own domain names.
There are many negatives to this, which include:
- Having two domain names with the same content is a Google no-no, Google penalizes websites for having duplicate content. If they out-rank your existing website, it will be your website that gets penalized for having duplicate content, not the Yodle site.
- As soon as you stop paying them, you own nothing, they redirect traffic to someone else, maybe a local competitor.
- If you had invested this money with a local online advertising company (*cough like mine), Your website would be yours and continue to produce leads for years to come, even if you stopped paying for services.
- For almost $200.00 a month you only get optimized for one town.
- The sites I have audited have very little content and pretty crappy link profiles.
Pro’s: This is a slightly better system than Home Advisor or Roof Networx – Yodle vs. Home Advisor
Local online advertising with Yodle is a lot like lead generation sites like Service Magic a.k.a Home Advisor, money goes to generating leads, as soon as you stop paying the company, you have nothing to show for your investment, but hopefully you made some money off the leads, hopefully more than you spent for them.
Yodle is better than Home Advisor because they generate leads just for you, and Service Magic /Home Advisor sells their leads to you and two other competing contractors. But Yodle owns the domain name and phone number to your business (not-good)!
Also with Lead gen sites, you pay per lead, Yodle fees are fixed at a maximum monthly fee. So let’s do the math: If Home Advisor charges 30.00 a lead, and gives you 30 new roof leads a month you pay $900.00, but if you can generate more than 6 leads a month with Yodle, each lead after the first 6 are essentially free, your total investment is $179.00. So Yodle would be better “if” they could get you 30 leads.
Negative: They provide you with a call tracking phone number
It doesn’t sound like a negative when they say it. They tell you the call tracking phone number is so you can track all the leads your getting from them in a report. The report shows how many phone calls you get from their online advertising. That piece is actually good! It would be great if you got to keep the phone number, but you don’t.
Sounds good right? Well this is one more way they own you! If you stop feeding the machine they stop redirecting your calls to you. People looking for your brand will find Yodle’s phone number not yours. If you ever want to change internet advertising providers, they will not port the phone number to you.
Also, they put their phone number on your Yahoo, Bing, and Google local directory listings. So good luck ranking locally, or even reclaiming your own business on these local directories, should you want to change service providers or go it alone. Google won’t list a business with two different phone numbers for one address. They will think your trying to spam their directory, even though your not.
Pro: They put you on the front page of Google and have a “legal guarantee”
Down side seems limited, if they don’t do what they say they will, you don’t pay. The loss is limited to 2-3 months of $179.00 (if you only go for a one town package). They will keep working to get your business listed on the first page of Google for free after the first 2-3 months, free until your listed.
I would caution anyone thinking of using the Yodle for local online advertising, be very specific about what qualifies as being on the first page. Make sure they are guaranteeing you get on Google for competitive keywords and not the name of your business.
It is super easy to rank well for your own unique company name. The challenge is getting ranked well for your industry specific keywords with a large amount of search volume. Also, which section of the search engine will you be listed on: Google Maps? AdWords /PPC? or Organic?
What is Yodle Roofing?
Yodle is trying to rank themselves for searches done by roofing contractors looking for local online advertising agencies. So besides optimizing their own website, they have begun creating category specific sites like Yodle Roofing, Yodle Dentisits, Yodle Lawyers etc…
I use a similar tactic to attract all forms of contractors. Instead of creating new sites on different domains, I have a specific page on my main domain. See my contractor advertising page for example. People doing searches for contractor advertising companies find this page.
Yodle is targeting specific industries with unique domain names and websites. This makes them look like specialists in these fields. I mainly work with local contractors and professionals in the United States, Yodle does not actually specialize, they only look like they do.
Local online advertising & return on investment
Advertising successfully means making money! If you can give Yodle $179.00 a month and they can give you one or two new customers a month, or even a year, would it be worth the investment? For many contractors the answer is yes! Many roofing contractors for example give $250.00 kickbacks for a single sold job. If your selling more than one a month with Yodel, its worth $179.00 all day long.
It is plain to most people that it is better to own than to rent for obvious reasons
Consider what your business would be worth should you go to sell it in five years. You will get a lot more for it if you own your website, and phone number. With a website that generates a 100k per year in new business, versus renting a domain name, website and phone number.
Investing in your own online presence builds equity in your company and eventually reduces the cost of leads. What will you do if they decide to raise rates, or sell out to another company? Your stuck starting from scratch to build a web presence. Also, all your old customers that have that tracking phone number have no way to get a hold of you if you end up leaving or using a less expensive service.
I believe people who only have a small amount to pay for attracting new customers, might be better off learning to use Google Adwords on their own, or working with a local online advertising company, and investing in their own online presence. An online presence that will pay them back in leads, years after they stop paying for online marketing services.
Why build up a brand that someone else owns the domain name or phone number to?
Is Yodle worth it? – Yodle Review
Be sure to read the comments below, I have some great comments from previous Yodle customers and one comment from Yodle themselves. Every-time someone writes a review about them, their reputation management team joins the conversation and tries to smooth things over.
By now you may have guessed that I am in direct competition with Yodle. But what I am telling you is the honest to God truth! They’re are better options available. Local online advertising is totally worth it but you need to get with a company that isn’t going to give you a crappy little website that has little original content and a weak link profile.
If you insist on going with Yodle, only sign up for their cheapest package. It is over priced but offers way more value than their more expensive packages.
I (Mike) wrote the article above and have a lot of people contacting me to compare online advertising packages and see what I offer. I am currently not offering any services.