Although often disputed, it is most commonly recorded that the first practical telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, and patented by him in 1876. Just two years later, the first telephone directory was published. It was a single page of 50 names, published by the New Haven Telephone Company in New Haven Connecticut. There were no numbers because the operator would connect individuals, and the names on the page were categorized into four groups. These groups included residential, professional, miscellaneous, and essential services. The first yellow pages were published in 1886 and have been the primary source for finding the businesses we need ever since. Thanks to technology including the extreme popularity of mobile phones, we have finally reached the point where Search Engine Organization (SEO) searches now surpass the phone book.
Goodbye Yellow Book Road
Over time, the telephone directory indeed advanced. It was clear that since people used it as the primary method to find and reach businesses for the goods and services they needed, it could be a powerful marketing piece. Publishers began selling space to companies for larger ads. Businesses could then use color to grab the attention of users. For well over 100 years, the telephone book was king. Mobile phones were developed as far back as the 1940’s. However, it was not until the late 1990’s that mobile phone use exploded. New mobile technology, better phones, and the affordability of the service prompted this boost. It was also during this time that the internet changed our lives. What was initially a text-based web of linked “pages” of information, developed into the unimaginable information highway it is today. In the past decade, these technologies merged. Soon, mobile devices were able to access the internet, and the world would never be the same.
Marketing in the Modern Age
This shift from landline phones to cell phones, and the tendency for people to Google instead of thumbing through a phone book turned marketing on its head. Search engines such as Google were far easier to use and offered far more selection than a phone book alone. Because Google and other search engines became so widely used for this, it was clear that reaching the public must be done through this new technology. SEO became critically important. Ensuring that your business will be listed at the top of the search engine, rankings became crucial. While there is still value in traditional marketing, digital marketing has become equally, if not more important. Phone book ads and phone books themselves no longer had the reach they once did. Finally, in 2013 through this year, Google Trends has shown that searches on the internet for “SEO” had finally equaled, and then surpassed internet searches for “phone book”.
SEO Searches Now Surpass the Phone Book
This trend and SEO’s surpassing of the phone book is a clear statement that marketing has changed. Now, more than ever before, businesses must adapt to digital marketing and SEO to remain competitive in a now global marketplace. It is a complete paradigm shift, and not without its challenges. Business owners must learn, and fully understand SEO and digital marketing. Furthermore, they must remain focused on the ever-changing algorithms and processes that choose a website’s rank. If they do not, they will not only lose business but could go out of business altogether. Digital marketing firms are the best way to ensure your business is getting the exposure it needs.
At Cohlab, we fully understand the importance of SEO and digital marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy. That is why we partner with you and take the time needed to ensure you get the most out of your efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you to generate the right message, and our strategy has proven to be greatly successful for digital marketing clients. Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how you compare to others. Our team would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to provide you with Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your organization’s needs.