Local BUT Vanity Phone Numbers


secretstache

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I think I already know the answer to this, but I was hoping to get a bit of feedback from the community. We work with a company in Vail, CO which is a famous resort town. They have a local phone number but prefer to type it out with the vanity (letters instead of numbers) so it's like (970) 555-VAIL. They add it like this wherever possible and especially in publications. However if we start to build citations for them, the number will not be this way, so I feel like we are leaving money on the table.

We should press for them to be consistent and with numbers only correct?

Rich
 

Linda Buquet

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Great question Rich.

For one as a CONSUMER I hate those numbers. I hate having to look at my phone to figure out what letter =s number to push! HATE IT! So while it seems like a clever marketing ploy, once again businesses need to think of the customer and what they want.

(Send them to some company they don't know that has one of those numbers and ask them to pretend they are busy, in a hurry and need to call them. Ask them to actually pick up the phone and dial that number. Ask them to how they feel as they are fumbling for the right numbers. Although it's not quite as bad if it's only the last 4 numbers.)

If I were them, and they REALLY want to use it for branding purposes or because they paid a lot for it or whatever. Put it at top of site for the customer, but like an 800# or tracking # --- put it in a graphic with NO alt text. Then below it in real text have standard phone format (555) 222-3333. Or at very least have regular phone in footer and on contact us.
 

secretstache

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Hey Linda - Thanks for the quick response. I'm not so worried about it on the website, since we are rebuilding that for them and will have the ability to curate as we see fit. I am more interested in training them how to use their number when they are being reported on and are given a link and a phone number citation along side their business name. I basically want them to get into the habit of being consistent with all the work that we are doing to build citations to relevant business listings.

If we are adding the number like (970) 555-1234 and they are promoting themselves as (970) 555-VAIL there is that inconsistency that we work so hard to eliminate, correct? And that inconsistency across the web could hurt them, correct?

Rich
 

Linda Buquet

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Yes correct. All citations should match what's in the G+ Local dash and that should be the regular local number.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I'm okay with vanity numbers if it's in quick media, such as radio or TV advertisements where I might not have time to write the information down before it's gone. They are easier to remember a lot of times than 9 digits in a row. Plus, I am much more likely to remember that number than a 9 digit number in the future (branding). It incorporates well into branding strategies also by not only being an asset in cementing the branding process but also being a beneficiary as well if someone remembers the branding later on down the road.

The good news is it doesn't matter too much in local SEO to have a vanity number. Google obviously can't read quick media (radio, advertising, billboards). They can only read static data. There's no point to having a vanity number if the data is static because people can always refer back to it or just write it down right then and there as it's not going anywhere. So, with it being static, I'd say 80% of the reason for the vanity number is gone and there's no point.

I think your strategy is pretty straight forward here. With all static data (press releases, website, etc) use the local number to build a citation and with all quick media, use the vanity. It just so happens that this fits almost perfectly into both your SEO strategy and their branding strategy
 

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