Local SEO Call Tracking - Huge BS Alert


Linda Buquet

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Wow! Just read a blog post so wrong it kinda made my blood boil! Poor SMBs can be so easily bamboozled by companies like this.

This blog post is from a call tracking company trying to sell their services by totally misrepresenting the facts OR there is a slight chance they don't understand local? :rolleyes:

I call a 'HUGE' BS alert, because it's one thing if they said "here are the reasons we 'recommend' call tracking" and just happened to omit the big reason NOT to use it for Local SEO. But the whole article is about why you should FIRE your Local SEO company if they DON'T use call tracking and don't even touch on the "best practice' reason call tracking #s are avoided, with good reason!

3 Ways To Tell If You Should You Fire Your Local SEO Company

Your local SEO firm should be providing call tracking to you. They should do this because it is inexpensive for them and because you DESERVE the data that call tracking provides. How else could you know if their efforts are successful?

You should fire your local marketing company if they are not providing call tracking for you.

Why? Doesn't this seem drastic?

Well, let's think about it. There are only three reasons your local marketing firm wouldn't provide call tracking to you:

a) They aren't concerned about calls - If this is true you REALLY need to fire them

b) They don't know about call tracking - Give them a second chance and tell them about call tracking.

c) They are cheap - If they are too cheap to provide you with basic, ground level analytics that give you insight into their effectiveness...that's a problem.
HELLO??? :confused: Maybe they don't use call tracking because it will HURT your local rankings. :rolleyes:
Nowhere do they mention this very important fact.

Trevor from LocalVox sets the record straight and explains 3 important issues with call tracking that SMBs need to understand.

Does Call Tracking Hurt My Local SEO and Google+ Local?

Why Changing Your Phone Number Hurts Your Local SEO

Now You Are Locked In to Your Call Tracking Provider

And Your Local SEO Numbers Are Inflated Because It’s Tracking Every Channel
I call BS on the 1st post and right-on - on the 2nd post.

What say ye???
 

Colan Nielsen

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The fact that they didn't touch on any "local side effects" of using a tracking number or at least mentioned something like if you really really really want to use a tracking number you must be consistent everywhere on the web, makes it BS for sure.
 

David Fesler

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Is there a way to have a call tracking number on your site without sacrificing NAP consistency?

I know previously Call Tracking companies could use a script to change an image that would display the call tracking number, all depending on the referral source of the visitor. Apparently there are a lot of bugs with this and most call tracking companies are saying the only way to have it work properly is to have it in text format on the site.

Anyone have a sure fire way they accomplish this?
 
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Is there a way to have a call tracking number on your site without sacrificing NAP consistency?

I know previously Call Tracking companies could use a script to change an image that would display the call tracking number, all depending on the referral source of the visitor. Apparently there are a lot of bugs with this and most call tracking companies are saying the only way to have it work properly is to have it in text format on the site.

Anyone have a sure fire way they accomplish this?
There is no sure fire way, once you advertise a number people remember that number and share it. Once it gets online (especially added to the Google+ Local page) then removing it is nigh impossible if the number still goes to the business. It is a bad business model as it introduces an extra phone number which when disconnected will cause confusion. I don't like it at all.
 
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What would happen if you put a call tracking number in the "alternate" number section of the Google+ Local page? Obviously both numbers will show and you'll inevitably lose conversions since people might dial the main number, but I see a lot of businesses list the local number as the main number then add an 800 number to the alternate section. Wouldn't a tracking number serve the same purpose in the alternate slot? Would the alternate number also get scraped even though it's been identified as not being the main business number?
 
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I have read somewhere that you could post a phone number (call tracking number) as an image on your site if you wanted to use a call tracking number but it still wouldn't provide you 100% accurate data since your real main number would be on google+ and in your NAP. I have not done this myself, nor do I know if it would negatively affect your local. Just info not a recommendation.

Is there any system that can be used to track your actual real local number? If not maybe someone should invent such a system, if its possible.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thank for posting cnwoods!

When I have someone that wants/needs to show a big 800# thats what I have them do, put it in an image. But then in small text in footer I still have them put full NAP including local phone # matching the G+ L page. Most customers will call the big # on top and won't really look at the footer.

So that would also work for tracking # on the web site. That's sort of the low tech way to do, it but works.
 
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Thank for posting cnwoods!

When I have someone that wants/needs to show a big 800# thats what I have them do, put it in an image. But then in small text in footer I still have them put full NAP including local phone # matching the G+ L page. Most customers will call the big # on top and won't really look at the footer.

So that would also work for tracking # on the web site. That's sort of the low tech way to do, it but works.

Whats the high tech way?
 

Linda Buquet

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Don't know how to explain it but some call tracking companies use a script to replace the #, so it only shows to visitors and not to spiders or something like that. David mentions it above in post #3.
 
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It's an "if then" script you put on the website. All depends where the user is coming from, and that will determine which tracking number gets switched in to the site text. There just doesn't seem to be an accurate way to track local-only results since the SERPs show mostly blended results these days.
 

Keenan Glass

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Probably the biggest conundrum in local online marketing. If you're not able to track results, you're not marketing, you're just advertising.

Which is fine, but don't fool yourself into thinking that you're marketing when you're not.
 
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We track calls from our site with a Click to Call button. This allows the client to input their number rather than dialing one.

Also, the article fails to mention that a majority of directories don't allow toll-free numbers in the input field for Business # and that is exactly what is offered here -



Blows my mind :mad::mad:
 

Laustin1878

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Sorry to dig up an old post but I was thinking about this recently and wanted clarification. I have made the mistake unfortunately with someone I was helping as they implemented call tracking. They market in many places and had no clue what the sources of their calls were. They added different tracking numbers to everything. Including their website which I was not initially aware of. Besides, it was still prior to me knowing that call tracking numbers have negative affects on NAP.

We track calls from our site with a Click to Call button. This allows the client to input their number rather than dialing one.
Amber, does this give the user a two field form for their name and phone number? Are you using LogMyCalls or something else for this?

I kinda like how this works as it's another way to track a call to action and a goal, especially with analytics or data tracking software. I think the only way I can remedy the situation I'm in is to make the tracking number an image or use a script. Thank you for the information and providing some work arounds for this.
 
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Here is a YouTube video that gives basic directions of how we set up our click-to-call.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a4EARDj4Y0&list=PL93DC59645C1B4B5D&index=6

They give you a wide variety of options so that you don't miss a call and can easily track calls from your site, like:

  • Voicemail
  • Schedules
  • Call routing
  • Find me (an application that allows a caller to be transfered to a number or list of numbers. Useful if you have a list of numbers and want to ensure the call gets answered.)

Just a very basic idea.

I really hope this helps!
 

Tg4nrg

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Wow! Just read a blog post so wrong it kinda made my blood boil! Poor SMBs can be so easily bamboozled by companies like this.

This blog post is from a call tracking company trying to sell their services by totally misrepresenting the facts OR there is a slight chance they don't understand local? :rolleyes:

I call a 'HUGE' BS alert, because it's one thing if they said "here are the reasons we 'recommend' call tracking" and just happened to omit the big reason NOT to use it for Local SEO. But the whole article is about why you should FIRE your Local SEO company if they DON'T use call tracking and don't even touch on the "best practice' reason call tracking #s are avoided, with good reason!



HELLO??? :confused: Maybe they don't use call tracking because it will HURT your local rankings. :rolleyes:
Nowhere do they mention this very important fact.

Trevor from LocalVox sets the record straight and explains 3 important issues with call tracking that SMBs need to understand.



I call BS on the 1st post and right-on - on the 2nd post.

What say ye???
I totally agree that the comments made by the blogger were a bit misguided, and you should never have call tracking numbers in google places or local listings that can be crawled.

However, what about using JavaScript rewrites or "if" statements to dynamically replace the phone number upon page load? Google bots do not execute JS and this is not considered cloaking because content is not being replaced.

In full disclosure, I work for a call tracking company, and 90% of my business from agencies referring their clients. I lean on you guys for expert advice when it comes to SEO, so your feedback is appreciated.
 

Phil Rozek

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Probably the biggest conundrum in local online marketing. If you're not able to track results, you're not marketing, you're just advertising.

Which is fine, but don't fool yourself into thinking that you're marketing when you're not.
I agree that not being able to call-track (effectively) is far from ideal, but I completely disagree with "If you're not able to track results, you're not marketing, you're just advertising." In a complex funnel (for lack of a better word), you just can't track everything. You can't measure the results of having a few glowing reviews from customers, or the value of having a website with easily readable text. Local SEO isn't e-commerce or direct-mail.

Doesn't mean you shouldn't measure/track what you can, obviously. But just because something can't be measured doesn't mean it's not good marketing, or that it's not worth doing.
 

Tg4nrg

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I totally agree that the comments made by the blogger were a bit misguided, and you should never have call tracking numbers in google places or local listings that can be crawled.

However, what about using JavaScript rewrites or "if" statements to dynamically replace the phone number upon page load? Google bots do not execute JS and this is not considered cloaking because content is not being replaced.

In full disclosure, I work for a call tracking company, and 90% of my business from agencies referring their clients. I lean on you guys for expert advice when it comes to SEO, so your feedback is appreciated.
Also, hear is some Q&A on call tracking from seomoz:
Call tracking and Local SEO | SEOmoz Q&A
 

Matt Justice

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There's some clarity lacking here... using call tracking on a clients site as a main line?

Or, using dynamic call tracking on landing pages? Not even close to being the same.

Plus if you play dirty, there's many ways you can monitor inbound leads and not even touch the clients NAP. Hell, you don't even have to use their website.
 

Matt Justice

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Welp, it would probably be best not to lay this out in full detail to someone who sells info products ya know.

Nothing revolutionary... call tracking numbers on pumper sites, profile pages, lead gen sites, etc... anything creative that is acceptable to qualified prospects.

Then you're not building citations OR links to client sites. Tough to do for places though: no way around gaming the system on that front, which always ends badly and is a waste of time nowadays.

---------- Post Merged at 04:41 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 04:39 PM ----------

My apologies Phil. I just clicked on your sig... I think I confused your brand name with a Clickbank or Wafo info product.

Nice site, very informative.

Matt
 

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