free html hit counter (Updated x2) Top Yellow Pages Searches - John Battelle's Search Blog

(Updated x2) Top Yellow Pages Searches

By - December 31, 2003

Ya gotta love the Yellow Pages – all printy fresh. In a press release issued today (the link is an instant download and I imagine you don’t need the pdf clutter), they offered up their top searches for the year – the year 2002. In any case, it’s interesting to see what the top “references” are – their terminology, best as I can tell, for the equivalent of a person taking action based on a Yellow Pages listing. This data comes from the Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association, which exists mainly to promulgate the idea that the Yellow Pages are a vibrant and long-lived source of leads for local business. Caveats herewith in place, the top ten are:

1. Restaurants
2. Physicians & Surgeons
3. Automobile Parts-New & Used
4. Automobile Repairing & Service
5. Pizza
6. Automobile Dealers-New & Used
7. Beauty Salons
8. Attorneys/lawyers
9. Dentists
10. Hospitals.

The data also includes the actual number of references for each term. The top term (Restaurants) had more than 1.3 billion references. In other words, folks used that category in the Yellow Pages 1.3 billion times in 2002. How on earth did they came up with this number?The study of course has no methodology attached to it. I mean, how *do* you track this? Compared to paid search, which is entirely trackable? Anyone know?! Guess I’ll have to call the YPIMA and ask. Also, I’ve emailed folks at Google and Overture to ask what the equivalents are in paid search, which would be a fun comparison. …

UPDATE: Click on the (more) link below to see the full response from the Yellow Pages Integrated Marketing Assocaition on how they got this data…Thanks to the IMA for this response!

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This survey was conducted by New Jersey-based Knowledge Networks/SRI. The surveys are based on 17,443 telephone interviews evenly spread throughout each of the previous two years and have been conducted every year for almost a decade. They also include 2,485 “yesterday” users. The research methods include the use of a random digit dial sample with one adult selected at random in each household. We have data on our Web site for the Top 300 Headings. You may find several free reports at:

The estimates of usage by heading represent the number of times individuals (for consumer or business purposes) look up a particular heading annually. It is important to note that these references do not include the particular product or service the individual is seeking. For example, many references to the “Automobile Dealers – New Cars” heading are for other dealer products, such as recent-model used cars, auto parts or repair services. While there may be individual headings for these products or services, a segment of consumers refers to the “New Cars” heading for all dealer services.

This usage data is taken from the Yellow Pages Industry Study (1994 – 2002), conducted for the Yellow Pages Integrated Media AssociationSM by Knowledge Networks/Statistical Research, Inc. Cranford, N.J. For more information on the study, contact Burt Michaels at Knowledge Networks/SRI 908-497-8060.

For questions about any of our Yellow Pages research, please contact our research director, Larry Small, at 303-690-0557.

Christopher G. Bacey
Director of Communications
Yellow Pages Integrated Media AssociationSM
Two Connell Drive, First Floor
Berkeley Heights, N.J. 07922

UPDATE #2: I have heard from both Yahoo and Google, and they decline the opportunity to publish the top ten keywords in paid search. That’s too bad, I think they’d be fun to know. ….

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3 thoughts on “(Updated x2) Top Yellow Pages Searches

  1. Eric Scheid says:

    The phone number in the Yellow Pages may be different from the real number (all with appropos permissions). You ring that number, and they know you found it in the yellow pages since it don’t exist elsewhere.

    Not every number in the yellow pages, just a sufficient sample they can extrapolate from.

  2. dzieci says:

    Yellow pages is useful thing that help people find interresting informations.

  3. Rudnik says:

    I don’t know that Yellow pages are usfeful. Most people search needed information in search engines.