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How to Rank #1 in Online Yellow Pages

October 23rd, 2007
10 Comments


Center Point

This one’s a little crazy, but it’s guaranteed to get you local search traffic. The good news about many online yellow pages sites is that their formulas for displaying results are a lot easier to figure out than Google’s. My personal favorite is the “distance sort” result.

When you search Yellowpages.com for “pizza” in “Pleasanton, CA”, you get what they believe are the most relevant results for that search, plus an advertiser or two on top. Often the yellow pages sites’ version of relevance amounts to which business in the searched category is the closest to the searched location.

If there is more than one pizza restaurant in Pleasanton, then how do they figure out which one is “closest” to Pleasanton? They use the “centroid”, a point on a map that is at the center of the city. When you use a local search site to find something in a city you are usually going to be shown something that is closest to the centroid of that city.

So, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, the way to rank at the top of many types of searches on a yellow pages site is to have an address for your business that is closest to the centroid of your city. It’s just as good as calling yourself AAA Pizza and appearing first in the phone book. It’s actually better because someone could always come along and call themselves AAAA Pizza.

So how do you find your city’s centroid? If you know how to read map coordinates try this link. You can also use Go2.com’s mobile search application to find the centroid on a map. Just enter in a destination zip code and hit enter.

I presented this tactic at the last Kelsey Interactive Local Media conference as a new business idea. I was going to buy real estate at the centroid of every city and lease addresses on a category exclusive basis. I called it Centroid-Real-Estate.com. A few jokers actually came up to me and ask to invest. Any takers?


Tags: Local Search · Search Engine Ranking Factors · Yellow Pages

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael Dorausch

    You could rent a PO box in the centroid of every city you wanted to appear in and submit it as a business location, but that would just be mean and nasty. ;-)

  • 2 Andrew Shotland

    I prefer the term “entrepreneurial” :)

  • 3 Mike

    Great post and great ideas for ranking in yellow pages. I will give this a try.

  • 4 SEO for Businesses With Multiple Locations In The Same City

    [...] shown on the first page of Google Map results you may need to get a new location closer to the centroid that Google Maps is using for your business [...]

  • 5 Chad

    Very good advice, I have been trying to incorporate this into a better solution for Google Maps.

    We have a competitor that has basically snagged all the same patient center address’s we use and put their name on it, I like the tip for yellow pages, but is it really worth it? isn’t Google’s far superior than yellow pages?

  • 6 Andrew Shotland

    Chad,

    While Google may have more search volume based on data I have seen the yellow pages sites still have more qualified, buying mode searchers. So it’s best to target both Google and the IYPs.

  • 7 Chad

    very well said, but then this is a premo situation for a single standing business surviving in one city. I have been working a few months to find a solution for nationwide company’s that want to use one 800 phone number for all their locations, which Google allows, but IYP does not. This post has got my brain jogged after weeks of very unsuccessful research…I thank you giving me some hope on my journey to find a winning solution.

  • 8 dhurowitz

    OK, sad enough to say we went and did this a few months ago by renting PO Boxes near the “center-points” of a few different locations for a few of our “test” sites and YES it works. This tip should be listed uder the scarey but true section of SEO Local tips.

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    [...] have been following the recent mapspam sightings with great interest. Location is a key factor in local search, so it’s no wonder that “entrepreneurial” [...]

  • 10 Mihmorandum | SMX East Local Items of Interest | Uncategorized

    [...] is still a key factor for ranking well in Bing Local.  I guess Andrew’s idea of “Centroid Real Estate” might still have some legs!   Corporations who use Bing Maps for enterprise get a custom [...]

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