Top 10 IYP Headings

From the Yellow Pages Association this morning: According to research firm Knowledge Networks/SRI, the top 10 IYP category searches are as follows:

  1. Restaurants
  2. Physicians & Surgeons
  3. Hotels
  4. Auto Repairing & Service
  5. Florists-Retail
  6. Auto Dealers-New & Used
  7. Dentists
  8. Auto Parts & Supplies – New & Used
  9. Beauty Salons (tie)
  10. Hospitals (tie)

The release also said that 2007 saw 3.8 billion total IYP searches across sites. Compare that with 10 or so billion monthly searches on major search engines.

Here’s interesting demographic information also released about the profile of IYP users:

  • 63% are female
  • 89% are aged 25-64
  • 54% are college graduates
  • 42% have lived at the same address for 10+ years

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Larry Small compares print and online headings popularity in a Search Engine Land Locals Only column today.

13 Responses to “Top 10 IYP Headings”

  1. Dave Oremland Says:

    That is interesting. Per this data, IYP traffic represents about 3% of search traffic. And of that IYP traffic you’ve listed the most popular categories.

    What I’m curious about is what percentage of that IYP traffic came about because the IYP’s were highly ranked for categories in search. I know some webmasters who spent part of their web careers programming for IYP’s to make certain categories strong with regard to organic search. If I had a business wherein the IYP’s outranked my site for searches, I’d surely put my site within the IYP. On the other hand if my business site outranks the IYP…..I think it becomes wasted money.

    Auto related businesses are huge potential advertising sources for all YP advertising. If I were an IYP I’d rank as high as possible for all types of auto related searches.

    I just suspect that much of that 3.8 billion searches came about because the searcher found a high ranking IYP site for a particular search phrase….not because they started their efforts with an IYP.

    Dave

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    That’s a very interesting question and a version of the same question you’ve asked re Google onebox/Maps.

    IYPs do rank for many searches. I was just at WhitePages’ offices and they claim that 2/3 of their traffic is their own direct navigation. That may be more true for a YellowPages.com than for a DexKnows, for example.

  3. Dave Oremland Says:

    Greg:

    I referred this post, along with the comments directly to someone with prior IYP experience. Maybe they will publish here, maybe not.

    The question goes to whether or not a site should strive to outrank the IYP’s for categories in which the IYP’s are highly competitive within search engines.

    About 2 years ago there was that amazing dump of AOL search data on search phrases. I’m going to go back to access that, but I do recall a lot of access to IYP’s coming from high rankings within the AOL (Google) rankings.

    Dave

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    I probably would be hard to outrank IYPs in some contexts, perhaps not in others. People need to pursue a strategy where the leverage all the available channels, provided they can afford to to gain exposure in search.

  5. Will Scott Says:

    Hi Greg,

    It’s actually usually pretty easy to outrank IYPs. They typically don’t have the focus of a local business.

    I think as more people start using the technique of barnacle SEO where one tries to get their profile page to rank for competitive phrases this will be less so.

    For now however I know that a well optimized, well linked site can beat an IYP.

    In the future, if the trend continues, a small business will be better off selecting one or a few of the free / low cost profile pages providers and optimizing their profile on those sites.

    At SMX LoMo in fact I saw some great examples using MerchantCircle as the platform and in the past I’ve seen some Dex (LocalLaunch) profile pages take top spots as well.

    Will

  6. MiriamEllis Says:

    Greg –
    I was curious about this statistic:

    42% have lived at the same address for 10+ years

    Would you be willing to explain your take on what this data means in relation to search? I would be interested to know what you think. Thanks!
    Miriam

  7. Greg Sterling Says:

    Hey Miriam:

    I don’t have much more insight into the data other than what was presented without trying to drill down with Knowledge Networks themselves. That identified stat just seems to say most of their user base is settled, probably homeowners.

    Re the general search trend/implications for search . . . this is a subset of the overall search market. comScore includes IYP searches in their overall “local search” calculations. However these 3.8 billion annual searches are all on IYP sites not Google, Yahoo, MSFT, etc.

    Happy to talk more “offline” or in email.

  8. MiriamEllis Says:

    Hi Greg,
    Thank you for giving your further thoughts on that. I think maybe I was reading more into that basic demographic information than may have really been there. It left me asking myself what influence being ‘settled’ would have on a person’s use of IYP. I think about things like life situations in which people turn towards various kinds of searches (moving house, deaths, weddings, holidays, etc.) and the concept of living in an area for 10 years caught my notice as a bit unusual.

    I am seriously in awe of this blog of yours, Greg. I visit a couple of times a day – mostly through my feedreader, I confess – and it would be a privilege to speak with you further at any time.
    Miriam

  9. Greg Sterling Says:

    Hey Miriam:

    In the print world, people often do use YP in the context of “life events,” (moving, changing jobs, getting married, etc.) A few years ago now I observed a focus group around the usage of online and offline media with twentysomethings. This was probably 2004-2005. They used the Internet and search engines but also used print yellow pages more than I expected. But this was also largely before the rise of much of the local content that exists today online.

  10. Greg Sterling Says:

    No problem with speaking with me. Just let me know 🙂

  11. Dave Oremland Says:

    Greg:

    The IYP question is extremely interesting to me. In my mind it is the largest most well known “vertical”/alternative to search/major diretory….and a potentially expensive vertical at that.

    As an SMB, one needs to determine where to put one’s money with regard to web advetising. What is going to be effective. Where will the most advertising bang for the buck occur?

    I took a brief look through the “dumped AOL data from 2006. If one doesn’t remember that event, AOL mistakenly publicly revealed data on some 600,000+ searchers and their searches tested during Spring 2006. All the data was anonymous. The dumped data set was a small sample of all AOL searches during that time period.
    Fortunately, in my mind, some webmasters copied it and made it available on the web. It can be searched and analyzed in a variety of ways. It is after all, the closest information, we the public have to the vast data the Search Engines themselves have.

    I manually reviewed some of the topics in the “top ten” IYP list, looking for instances wherein searches would hit an IYP. I also looked at some volume for direct IYP searches (superpages.com and yp.yahoo.com).

    Of course all these visits are the result of search leading to IYP’s and does not include direct navigationbar traffic or bookmarked traffic to IYP’s.

    AOL was using Google’s ranking algo at the time, so rankings reflect the same (or very close to the same) that Google used.

    For the “top ten” searches from IYP’s, there were clearly some, but a small minority of visits to IYP’s. In many cases a very small minority. In many cases it appeared that for various searches, some significant verticals or IYP’s were the choice of searchers looking for local type searches. In most of those cases the sites clicked on were highly ranked.

    Ranking for a relevant search phrase is obviously important for IYP’s and verticals.

    Superpages.com was the most frequently searched for IYP at the time, ranking 24th of the most popular URL’s with about 27,000 searches. Hmmm. If you get a lot of brand name advertising out there, the public is going to go to your URL. On the other hand, of that number less than 1,000 represented searches, wherein the searcher used the term “superpagges”.

    One thing that I noticed was as generic searches for local products/services/businesses generated different IYP’s the rankings for the IYP’s was very often somewhere between 2-8, not always necessarily ranked number 1.

    The AOL dump tool provides for reviewing the search history of a searcher, so I could have looked at the particular searching and clicking history for each of those instances when someone clicked on an IYP for a local search, wherein the IYP wasn’t ranked #1. I’m afraid I didn’t do that. (this effort was manual–its time consuming).

    Nevertheless there are clearly a lot, if a significant minority of searches for local businesses/services/products on IYP’s…..and again my review, and this data set, doesn’t even begin to consider the times users turn to the navigation bar and/or bookmarking.

    I’m dramatically skeptical of paying for IYP’s in search. I suppose if the IYP’s or any one of them ranked very high for critical terms I’d put the money into it or them. Without high rankings, though, I’d have to weigh the expense against value….and I’d look at it very carefully.

    One thing that struck me though was that there were a lot of clicks on IYP’s when not ranking 1st for a search phrase. Could it be that the IYP URL’s carry brand names that generate a certain greater propensity to attract clicks.

    That certainly could be.

    In any case, I still firmly stand on the ground that if an IYP or IYP’s don’t rank highly for relevant local business terms, they are EXTREMELY expensive advertising options for the SMB.

    Dave

  12. Greg Sterling Says:

    Dave:

    Interesting analysis and probably correct. IYPs must pursue a dual strategy of building their brands (to generate direct traffic and branded search traffic) and continue to rank for category based searches, which is an ongoing challenge.

  13. AhmedF Says:

    Brilliant stuff Dave – if I have the time I am going to try to mine some of that data and release some thoughts on it.

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