The motto at Jelly Triangle is: we’re not those guys; we’re a different kind of marketing company. We believe outstanding marketing doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Part of how that plays out for our clients is our honesty and transparency. We only employ white-hat strategies and we explain how those strategies work. We believe it’s the right way to do business.

That’s why it’s frustrating for us to hear horror stories from our new clients. They tell us that they’re hesitant to get involved with a marketing company again because they’ve been hurt by others in the industry. And lately, Yodle has been coming up a lot.

To get to the bottom of this, we asked one of our writers to investigate Yodle. This is what they found.

SEO, Their Way

Yodle calls up businesses (yes, cold calls them) and tries to convince hardworking business owners that they need to improve their online presence. They promise a brand new, highly optimized website that will deliver 50-60 new leads a month. This is alarming for two reasons. One, an honest marketing professional won’t guarantee a specific number of new leads. It’s next to impossible to calculate a specific number. Instead, we can show you how new leads can be generated and the expected percentage increase over a certain period of time. We’re human, after all, not magicians. Second, search engine optimization can be done for your existing website (although, a new one will sometimes make things easier). In other words, you don’t need to pay for a new website, but that’s what Yodle wants.

Is it just about the money then? Yes and no. Yodle does want to squeeze some money out of you but the new website is about more than that. They don’t want to move your existing content over to a better designed website. What they’re after is control. When you purchase a Yodle website, you get to keep your old one. Sounds nice? It shouldn’t because now, you’ve got two websites for your business (a big Google no-no). And aside from the SEO nightmare that is two websites, Yodle doesn’t let you have ownership rights to your new site. Are you being Conned They own and manage it; you get to rent it.

Two Websites Doesn’t Seem That Bad…

If the websites were unique, it wouldn’t be that bad. Some businesses have landing pages, separate from their main site, to boost their online presence. But with Yodle, the problem is that the new website they build for you is a website you rent, with none of your actual business information.
Yodle capitalizes on call tracking phone numbers, which are essentially phone numbers they own and rent to you for as long as you employ their services. They sell it as a fantastic marketing feature; call tracking numbers will allow you to see how many new leads you’re getting! But that means those new prospects aren’t calling you – they’re calling Yodle, who passes on their info to you. And when you stop paying Yodle, the new leads stop coming through. That’s scary enough but it can get worse. If you’ve given them access to your local listings (e.g. Google Business listing, Google Map places, etc.), they’ll replace your business number with their tracking number. And they’ll do everything they can to prevent you from changing it back. Yodle will hold your business hostage.

Your New Website Isn’t Even New

Let’s say you’re a smart cookie and you avoid the call tracking phone number fiasco. Is Yodle then worth the money? Only if you want a website that’s fundamentally digital spam. Yodle churns out websites based on the doorway page model. That’s web design speak for websites that are literally templates stuffed with keywords and copied text. They just want to show up in search engine results. The sites are built with bots in mind – there’s no originality or even a human feel. Most of the content is copied over and over; the only difference between sites is the specific keyword for a business. This tactic is definitely black-hat and, even if it works initially, in the long-run, Google will judge your business as a spam business and remove you from their results completely. Yikes!

(See for yourself. Google privacy is important to yodle without the quotation marks.)

The Bottom Line

SEO is like losing weight. If you want to do it right, there’s no short cut; real results demand real work. That’s why we can’t recommend Yodle in good faith. Their promises seem too good to be true because they are. Their websites are just templates, stuffed with different keywords for different businesses and duplicate text to attract the interest of search engines for a short while. But just like a drastic diet is impossible to stick to forever, a Yodle website won’t rank on search engines for long. They’ll eventually crash. Google will blacklist you – in their eyes, your business is spam. And if a Yodle call tracking phone number got stuck to your local business listings, new and old customers will find it hard to get a hold of you. The terrifying reality is, your business might end up being worse off than it was before Yodle ever called you.


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