How to Rank #1 in Online Yellow Pages

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by andrewsho

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 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’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 A few jokers actually came up to me and ask to invest. Any takers?


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