SEO implications of call tracking numbers on a local directory site

wideangle

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2019
Messages
8
I am the owner of a local business directory site and we're struggling to understand whether the businesses in our directory are receiving any phone calls (resulting from consumers viewing their listings).

We just finished building a call tracking system with Twilio for reporting purposes, but I had some concerns about the SEO implications of replacing the business numbers with call tracking numbers due to NAP inconsistencies. There is a lot written on the web about NAP inconsistencies harming SEO, but most of it seems to be written from the perspective of business owners (rather than business directory owners).

Does anyone know if there are negative SEO implications of doing either full-blown number replacement or dynamic number replacement (DNI) on a local directory site? Also, I noticed another thread in the forum where people were discussing issues with Google indexing DNI numbers and I was wondering if I do go that route, what the best practices would be.

Thanks very much!!
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,295
Putting myself into the shoes of a business owner with a listing on the directory I would be annoyed if my local number was changed to a tracking number without my consent. Or at least without letting me know that is what is happening.

The NAP consistency issue is not as big of an issue as it once was but it does still have the potential to cause issues if not handled properly.

Instead of doing a full-blown number replacement could you reach out to businesses to let them know they have the option to use a tracking number?
 

wideangle

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2019
Messages
8
Colan, I appreciate your feedback. We are adding this feature because our members pay to be a part of our directory and want to better understand the ROI of their subscription. So, it has been highly requested, and we are allowing our members to disable the call tracking number if they have any NAP consistency concerns, etc... We will also be sending the tracking numbers to our members and suggesting that they add the numbers to their GMB additional #s to ensure the NAP issue doesn't affect them.

Back to my question, do you think there are any negative SEO implications for our directory?
 

UKSBD

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2015
Messages
42
As a business owner I wouldn't like it if a directory listed a number that wasn't mine even if it was redirected, I just wouldn't trust that the directory wasn't syphoning of calls.

I've never actually seen my business listed with a wrong number, I have seen ones that make it look like the person is sending you an email, but on testing you don't actually receive one.

As a directory owner I wouldn't dream of putting other numbers on listings without the persons consent.

What I do sometimes if have a *click to reveal phone number* link which goes to a page where visits are tracked, it doesn't track whether a call is actually made, but tracks that people clicked to see the number.

This is particularly useful for stopping cold callers who harvest phone numbers.
If I see the same IP number constantly visiting the phone numbers pages I can block them from the site.
 

wideangle

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2019
Messages
8
Thanks for the advice. Again, we are giving people an easy opt-out procedure and communicating what's happening to all members ... also remember this is a requested feature from our members. People want to know the money they spend on the directory is providing a good return and while we already report on impressions, clicks, click to call, etc, they ultimately want to know about actual calls originating from the site. We are a legitimate company with a a well-respected brand, and I don't think any of our members would have any concerns about us siphoning off calls.

While I appreciate the advice, I would love to hear from someone who has some insight on my question. Regardless of whether my approach is right or wrong, I think it would still be of value to have at least one place on the internet where this question has been answered... and I couldn't find one.
 

tedchan

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
39
I run a directory and we use Matomo for call tracking. We only use Twilio or tracking number for our sponsored listings. We get about 130K calls a month on 1.5M visitors!!
 

Tilak

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2017
Messages
7
I haven't seen any evidence that DNI has any negative impacts on Local SEO so I think you're fine on that end.
I agree with Joy because I have seen lots of attorneys are using DNI with AVVO without losing the ranking specifically due this reason.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
78
There will be no seo impact for you if you use dynamic numbers nor is there likely to be for the business.

The bigger question, as Colan pointed out, is the pr side of the business equation and making them opt out for your sake not necessarily their benefit.

If they do opt out you could still track their number usage (although not as accurately) via some form of event tracking.

For tracking purposes are you switching out the number via DNI or is each business getting a fixed number?

If they are static on a per location basis, the business owner could add it to their GMB as a tertiary number if they were worried about NAP consistency (which isn't a worry but they may still feel it)
 

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