Yell and BT for SEO?

Posted on May 25, 2011


When it comes to getting your website designed and built, or your company promoted through search engine optimisation, you, quite understandably, wish to ensure that your business is handled by someone who knows what they’re doing. This need for security is something that many large firms have realised over the years, sparking movements from well-known companies into industries in which they’re perhaps not noted for.

For example, supermarket giant Tesco now offers home insurance, car insurance and even loans. They’re a massive brand, and people trust them. They don’t, as yet, offer web design and SEO; though surely it must only be a matter of time?

After all, companies like BT and Yell now offer web design services, and even SEO services, although their core products couldn’t be further from those industries. BT made its reputation (whatever you think of it) from phone lines, and Yell is the Yellow Pages, a phone book. Despite this, both companies offer website design and SEO services and, because of the fact that they’re both globally recognised brands, people will use them… but is that wise?

Let’s look at, or the Yellow Pages, to begin with. Advertising with, as anyone who’s done it will know, isn’t cheap. If, after you have advertised with them for a period of time (let’s say 12 months) and you check your Analytics to see how much traffic has sent you, compared with Google, the chances are you won’t renew with them. Then why do people give even more money for website design and SEO?

Look at’s SEO offering for instance will register an ‘SEO domain’ for you, upon which it will promote your services and your business. Sounds good, only the small print points out that will retain ownership of the domain, so you won’t be able to do anything with it should it actually become successful. Don’t worry though, that’s unlikely to be an issue – because as one of their testimonials states on their SEO page:

“Our Search Marketing Service advert has been running for 6 months now and we have already received a total of 159 clicks and 39 enquiries via the telephone as a direct result.” – John Curwen, Curwen Cleaning Ltd

159 clicks? In 6 months? If your expectations are low, then 159 clicks in six months may seem like a success story; it isn’t. That’s less than one click per day… how much traffic should you expect from Google in that period? Considering that Google has around 90% of the UK search market, you can rest assured it’s more than one per day.

Yell? You may as well whisper

You only need to Google for some reviews of Yell’s web design service to know the sort of website you can expect – here’s an example site

So what about BT, the telephone company now offering their own SEO?

Much like Yell, BT now has its own dedicated team that will design, build and optimise websites for businesses. Indeed, if you’ve just had BT installed for phone or broadband within your business, you’ve probably had a call from BT offering their web services also. Before you take them up on it though; you may want to read some of the reviews about BT SearchSmart, as it is now known.

At the end of the day, if you want to be listed in a phone book, speak to the Yellow Pages. If you want a telephone system, speak to BT (assuming you can’t get Virgin or someone else) and if you want SEO, speak to an SEO company.

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.

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