Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Yellow Page Searching in Reference USA

There are two primary methods to finding businesses in Ref USA similar to using a print phone book format. There are numerous search options, but this article is only going to concentrate on finding businesses by name, Yellow Page listings or industry classification systems (which are covered later on in this article) and geographic focus.

Business - Quick Search
If you already know the name of the business, you can search nation wide or as narrowly as a specific zip code for a particular company name or phone number. After entering in the particulars in the Quick Search dialog boxes Click "search now" button or press the [enter] key to conduct the search. Sometimes, if a patron wants to find more businesses like a specific business you can take the yellow page heading or industry codes and use these terms to find additional listing. More of this info is found in the next section.

Business - Custom Search
The Business Custom has many more search functions. There is an initial page that sets up the various preferences you have for finding businesses. It may look overwhelming, but generally just a couple of selections will get you the content needed. The next two paragraphs are going to focus on geography and Yellow Pages (YP) or business kind groupings.

By Geography
The geography selects are many, the one that can be rather useful is the Metropolitan Service area as this selection will cover the main city name and outlying areas associated with the city in most cases. For example, Charleston SC is in the Charleston-North Charleston Metropolitan Service Area (MSA), including Charleston, Berkley, and Dorchester Counties. Most of the time, it is easier to just put in the city name of interest. Select the relevant option(s) based on your geography of focus.

By Yellow Page or Kind of Business
Yellow Page (YP) or as listed in Reference USA (YP) Headings is a flexible search that provides the ability to find businesses based on exact words of yellow page headings and in many cases suggesting alternatives. In finding listings of businesses, Yellow Page searching is probably the easiest way to find say a list of fast food restaurants in a certain city.

By Industry Codes
With Reference USA the major ways to find businesses by kind in a specific area are by Yellow Page groupings, Industry Codes (which are similar to yellow page headings) by Standard Industry Code (SIC) which is one of the oldest industry classification systems or the newer North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 2002 which is the version used by Reference USA.

Finding Industry Codes Quickly
If you want to use SIC or NAIC Codes searching, the fast way may be to use keyword searches in Google. Strategies such as:

SIC Code and Fast Food

are rather effective. Keep in mind that over time, SIC Code and NAIC Code tables have been revised so the numbers may change over time. It is best to find references to SIC Codes within the past few years. Over the years, Ref USA has improved the suggested or similar Industry Codes section.

More on Industry Codes
The Primary SIC Code for a business is generally the largest part of a business. Secondary SIC or NAIC codes are generally smaller parts of a particular business with different areas of focus. The more the numbers, the greater the specificity of the kinds of products or services sold such as McDonalds which is listed as having the SIC Code 5812 of or the NAIC Code 722211. Generally the first two numbers cover broad categories such as Manufacturing, Retail Trade, Health Services, and many more.

The Sample Search used was

City: Charleston, SC
SIC Code: 5812

Bottom Line
Reference USA is an effective product in finding businesses, governmental agencies, and organizations by kind and location.