“Sensis have chosen to keep the content of Yellow Pages out of the reach of all Search Engines, in order to maintain control over their IP…”
It seems now that has all changed – not sure how long this has been going on, but just noticed that the Australian Yellow Pages® is now being indexed by Google with 1,030,000 pages in the index to date.
It has been commented by quite a few people interested in the local search space (Bitemark , VS Consulting , Clickfind, LivePages), that (at the time) this was a necessary move for Sensis as
a) More Australians are using Google as a first destination for searching local businesses than they are Yellow Pages
b) It represents better value for businesses advertising in Yellow Pages because their listing can now be reached through a second means – search engines
It was commented by the SMH that when Google Maps was being launched, that Sensis refused to give Google Maps access to Yellow Pages listings. It still may be a way off before Google Maps has access to Yellow Pages data, because from an SEO perspective they are only half way there.
Edit: 11/07 – As has been pointed out by a few people, Google is in fact spidering individual business listings, but it seems that this will be done by crawling through paginated search results – they may speed up the process by looking at listing individual businesses a la Hotfrog
It was commented several years ago that if you pay for your listing to appear on the first page of search results in Yellow Pages, then in theory it should be spidered first – of course an effective linking strategy would increase the chance of a search engine spider seeing beneath the first page of results to the free listings, though this would not be guaranteed.
What I mean by this is that they are only letting Google index lists of sub-categories, rather than individual business listings themselves. For example, there are only 31 pages in the index that have the word ‘mechanic’ in them, however Yellow Pages would have tens of thousands of mechanics in their directory. In fact this is exactly the same approach that the UK Yellow Pages took
Given that prior to SEO efforts, Yellow Pages attracted 2.5 million uniques a month as a ‘destination site’, the additional traffic that they get through SEO will only be a blip on the radar at this stage. Interestingly, Yellow Pages-powered Mylocal is still advertising heavily using Google Adwords – work that one out..
My guess is that this recent change in the Yellow Pages philosophy is in response to truelocal’s growth and recent site revamp – but that topic requires a post of its own