Restaurants are Top Local Search Category, YP Says; U.S. South Dominates Local Search Activity

Filed in Local Search, Statistics by Matt McGee on July 5, 2012 3 Comments

This is probably no surprise: Restaurants are the most oft-searched local search category in North America.

That’s from YP’s latest Local Insights Report, which Greg Sterling wrote about today on Search Engine Land, and can be downloaded directly (PDF) for your own reading enjoyment.

YP’s data include 563 million searches across a local ad network of 300+ publishers. Following restaurants in the top five local search categories are Financial Services, Auto Repair, Real Estate and Beauty Services.


I’m surprised that Lodging is all the way down in the No. 10 spot overall.

YP also breaks down the growth categories by platform. For mobile search, Wedding Planning and Hardware Stores are the top two growth categories for Q2 while Family Services and Financial Services are the top two growth categories for desktop search.

Local Search and Location

There’s also some fairly interesting location-related data in the YP report. Atlanta is said to be the local search capital of the U.S. — it has the highest number of searches per capita of any city, with four times more local searches per person than the US average. Florida is the top state for local searching.


You can’t help but notice that the 10 top search cities are all in the southern half of the country. Okay, we could argue over St. Louis and San Francisco, but play along … because the YP map basically repeats something that I wrote a year ago on Search Engine Land:

Local Search: Mostly A Small City & Southern Activity, Report Says

That article cites data from Chitika, an online ad publisher network, showing that eight of the top 10 local search cities are in the South.

What’s up with that???

Comments (3)

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  1. Keith West says:

    I think there are probably ways to explain parts of this, but overall I think there are probably flaws in the data. Just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    Possible explanations:
    1) Living in a southern urban area myself (Richmond), I have noticed that smartphone penetration among lower income groups is extraordinarily high.

    2) Perhaps more sophisticated mobile users in large cities are more likely to user locator apps and not search.

    3) The data is collected from a network with a regional bias.

  2. Matt:

    Interesting list of the top search categories. I agree with you, I’m surprised lodging is at the bottom of the list. Right after I read your headline I was guessing lodging would be right behind restaurants.

    Travis Van Slooten

  3. Roger Hicks says:

    Well presented information. I have already sent select findings to several clients and potential clients to stress the importance of being optimized.

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