According to DEX Media’s website, when you sign up for a Search Engine Marketing program with them you get “A team of certified local search experts to monitor the performance of your campaign and adjust, when necessary, for optimal results.” After what I discovered yesterday, I wonder if this team of “experts” has taken the year off? I also wonder exactly what they would consider a “necessary adjustment” to optimize the results?
Yesterday (7/8/14) I was researching a company that I was planning on calling to offer my services to. They are paying Reach Local to run Pay Per Click ads for them, and since my markup is 40% less than the alleged 60% Reach Local charges (shameless plug), they are a perfect candidate to become one of my customers.
Anyways, I digress. The company is called “Best Plumbing” (Yep, that’s a free link I just gave them. It might help their SEO a little but secretly, I’m hoping they have their Google Alerts turned on, they find this link, and they call me. If you are from Best Plumbing you REALLY should call me).
Best Plumbing is located in Seattle, so I did a search for “best plumbing seattle.” Here are the results (click to enlarge):
7 (the yellow highlighted ads) out of the 11 available ads are Dex Media customers.
4 of those 7 have the ad headline “Seattle Best Plumber”
Of the 3 remaining – 2 use the headline “Best Plumber” (so 6 out of 7 have “Best Plumber” in the headline)
and 1 is a “Quality Plumber”.
All 7 of these ad’s do something that DEX has been doing for years: They direct traffic to a horrible “profile page” instead of the customers website (this decreases already pathetic conversion ratio’s even more)
None of these ad’s have compelling content written in them
Why all this is Bad, Bad, BAD for these DEX Customers.
These pathetic excuses for an ad are hurting these customers in many ways. First, the Click Through Ratio has to be abysmal. A low Click Through Ratio means that, most likely, the keywords that trigger these ads have an incredibly low quality score. A low Quality Score means that you have to pay more for your clicks, or that your ad is shown in lower positions. Second, IF (and that’s a BIG ASS IF) these ad’s get any clicks at all, the conversion ratio of these landing pages has to be pathetic. There is nothing on these Dex Profile pages that would convince a potential customer of these plumbers to pick up the phone and call. Lastly, if the customer ever decides to leave Dex – they don’t get any credit for the history of the account (in this case, that’s probably good since Dex is doing such a bad job of managing it).
The problem continued onto page 2, 3 and 4 of the Search Results. On page 2 there are 5 more customers (who’s ad’s didn’t show on page 1). On page 3 there are an additional 2 Dex Customers and on page 4 there is a final lonely Dex customer. By the time I reached page 4, I was tired of looking so I stopped. That’s a total of 15 Dex customers, for one search phrase, in one city. Most of them use the headline “Best Plumber” or “Seattle Best Plumber”. A couple of them use the headline “Quality Plumber”. None of them has compelling content, and none of them sends traffic to a page on a website that might convert a customer. In my opinion, this is a con of epic proportions!
Who’s interest does Dex have in mind with campaigns like this? Where is the “team of certified local search experts to monitor the performance” of these ads?
This type of stuff pisses me off to no end. Every single one of these customers has been suckered by DEX and is wasting their money with garbage programs like this. I have also heard rumors that Dex is charging a markup of up to 50% on the clicks.