How to spam the Yellow Pages

Judy's Book,SEO by on January 17, 2007 at 9:16 pm

It pissed me off to see this ‘extreme local SEO’ post by Chris Smith of (via Search Engine Land).

While some of his tips are good, others amount to spamming the yellow pages (and local search). This spam creates a mess for users, and especially publishers like JB that have to wade through the crap. Here are the most offending tips and why they amount to spam.

  • Use “A” in the first part of your business name, some local search engines list business alphabetically. Actually don’t use “A”, use “#”. Believe it or not, there are listings for “A Best locksmith”, “AAA Locksmith”. “A A A Locksmith” and “#1 A A A Locksmith” in the Yellow pages. Yes, local search sites should deal with this crap much like Google deals with search spam, and they will in time (this is largely not an issue at Judy’s Book because we rarely sort alphabetically).
  • Get a separate directory listing for every city in your area for which you provide services. In just about every yellow pages, you’ll find an equivalent to what we found in Boston. There are listings for “Newton Plumber”, “Brookline Plumber”, “Wellesley Plumber”, etc. They all have different numbers (local of course) & different names, but they all get answered by the same person.
  • Get people to improve your business ratings on the local search engines. This is actually a great tip (but customer’s shouldn’t be compensated). I would have liked to Chris to warn businesses not to review themselves. We have nuked more user accounts (and business listings) of business owners that reviewed their own business (or my favorite, negatively reviewing their competitor’s business) than any other reason. This is fairly easy to detect and we, like many other sites, take a stern position to the approach.
The Yellow Pages and Local search sites don’t appreciate being spammed (apparently Superpages does). Users like it even less. Don’t be surprised if you use these more ‘extreme’ optimization techniques and find your business removed from the results pages.


  1. davenaff — January 23, 2007 @ 10:17 am

    We’re making changes to the match process when a user writes a review, and I found myself looking through some of the raw data. I found a few amusing spam records (all from San Diego):

    0 & 0 & 0 1 24 Hour A Emergency A Locksmith
    0 & 0 & 1 24 Hour A Emergency A Locksmith
    0 & 0 0 1 24 Hour Emergency A Locksmith
    0 & 0 0 Emergency A Locksmith
    0 & 0 1 24 Hour A Emergency 1 Locksmith
    A A A A A A A A A A A A A A H Drains For Less

    No, I’m not making this up.

  2. […] less-than-glowing mention of me, David Naffziger, VP of Strategy and BizDev at Judy’s Book, was critical of my recent article on Extreme Local Search Optimization Tactics. He apparently feels that some of […]

  3. […] fairly lengthy post by Chris Silver Smith at Superpages in response to my critical post of his ‘local SEO’ […]

  4. […] To this point, we had supported adding online deals to the system but we didn’t have a public way for users to contribute local deals. One aspect of the local deal post process that creates complexity is the fact that you have to provide a way for users to add business listings without creating duplicates in your data. In addition, no one wants to type in a complete address, so you have to facilitate search. Oh and by the way, you need to prevent people from spamming your listing database. (Dave has a great post on some of the fun things that happen in local listing spam.) […]

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