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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9 Response Comments

  • Michael Dorausch  October 23, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    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. 😉

  • Andrew Shotland  October 23, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    I prefer the term “entrepreneurial” 🙂

  • Mike  October 25, 2007 at 4:55 pm

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

  • Chad  April 1, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    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?

  • Andrew Shotland  April 1, 2008 at 12:36 pm


    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.

  • Chad  April 1, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    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.

  • dhurowitz  June 15, 2008 at 4:06 am

    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.

  • Chris Borrink  August 18, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Hey Andrew! I know this article is from 2007 – but still true today? You rock.