Should Franchisees with the same phone numbers have separate listings?


staceymarie

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Hi all,

I am currently preparing a Google Places strategy for a client who has a few franchisees.

They want to create different Map Locations for the franchisees. Only problem is they want all the locations to have the same contact email and phone number, even though they have different addresses.

Will this cause trouble when I build the citations? As they will all have the same phone number?

Is best practise to add these locations to their main Google Places page? Or, should I go ahead and create separate Google Places page with different addresses but the same national number.

I have a couple of clients like this so it would be great to get some feedback on what is effective in circumstances like this.

Thanks,
Stacey
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hi Stacey,

Using the same phone number for multiple listings can get you into trouble in two main ways.

  1. The G+ Local (Google Places) page's will have a very good chance of merging.
  2. Quality Guidelines state: Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible. Use a local phone number instead of a call center number whenever possible. Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or ?refer? users to landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business

Is best practise to add these locations to their main Google Places page? Or, should I go ahead and create separate Google Places page with different addresses but the same national number.

You can only have one location per Google Places page.

Can you give us a little more detail? What type of business is this?
 

staceymarie

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Thank you for the advice Colan!

It is a recruitment training agency that has 3 other franchise locations, but uses the same number then directs the caller to the most suitable office.

I could recommend them to buy local numbers that could redirect to the main number, but this is against Google's guidelines.

I have recommended that they build a "Locator Directory" with links to the franchise pages with their addresses on them (to match the separate Google Places listings)

e.g. www.site.com.au/locator/milton

Only issue is them having the one national number on all pages.

I don't want to implement anything dodgy that would work now but will get slapped by Google in the future, so not too sure about buying local numbers that will redirect to the main one.

Thanks for your help.

Stacey
 
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Hi Stacey,

Placing their main number on all the website pages is not a problem as long as you use it in an image format.

I run into many multiple location businesses that want all their NAP info on the homepage and we simply turn it into an image. Just make sure if you optimize the image you do not use any text with the main number.

Hope that helps.
 
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Placing their main number on all the website pages is not a problem as long as you use it in an image format.
Jeffrey, that's bad advice to say a image version of the phone number display somehow makes it okay. All that does is potentially prevents the number from being scraped. However, Google and other entities use OCR as well as people to imput data. Once that number is associated with the business which I could be from other sources it won't be removed from the listing. I've seen listings where someone tried doing just that with a temp tracking number and tried later to remove it. They were out of luck.
 

chrisauman

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Stacey,

I'm kinda fighting the same battle with one of my clients. Here's what I would say:

Google+ Local is exactly that. Local business information. The phone number is an essential part of that information and if it's not a local number Google is not going to give you any love.

If you have a number on a local listing that redirects to a corporate office or central location, Google will not like that. In their eyes you're kinda lying that you have a "local" business. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't but from their perspective a real, local business is going to have a physical address and local phone number. That phone number is answered by a real person at that location too.

I've heard stories where Google will have their minions call to verify business phone numbers. They'll even go so far as to ask the person on the other end how to get to the address listed. If you give any other location or directions they'll remove your listing entirely. This might be considered a brutal response but ultimately I understand. They want a valuable database of hyper local business information for local people. If you can't answer the phone at a location then it's not something that they want to encourage.

If it were me, I would try and find a way to get that local number and direct it to someone at the branch location -- even if it's voicemail. But I would make sure that Google doesn't find anything suspicious that might make them think that these locations are completely faked just to get a local listing.
 

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