Toll free numbers


Elio

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Hello everyone,
I am setting up GMB for a client, and they use toll free number with 800 for clients abroad (and a regular one for customers in their nationwide area).
I might be wrong, but I think I read something regarding toll free numbers not being the best for GMB listings. Cannot find it tho; Is that true or am I making stuff up? :)
Thanks!
 
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Oct 25, 2013
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Hi Elio,

In Google's Guidelines they say:

Use a local phone number instead of central, call center helpline number whenever possible.
I do still see GMB profiles using an 800 number on occasion (there's a pest control company in the 3-pack my city with an 855 number I spotted a few days ago). I don't know if it's explicitly a ranking factor or not. Even if it is, it's absolutely better to have an 800 number than it is to have two phone numbers Google sees in association with your business. For clients where I can control all the citations and make sure the 800 number is 100% cleaned up, I'd recommend the change. If you aren't sure you can clean it up properly though, you can probably safely leave it. I can't remember having seen a listing get suspended for having an 800 number, though it may be factored in if your profile is called into question for other reasons, or if you're in an industry with a spam problem (garage door repair, nail salon, locksmith).

If you decide to make the switch, and still use the 800 number on the website, make sure you have the number in a way that won't cause confusion. If you have it on the home page along with the local number, make sure you also set up proper schema as well to let Google know which number you most want associated with the business. If you have the technical resources, I'd recommend a javascript injection to show the 800 number to international visitors, so Google never sees anything other than the proper local number it's expecting.
 

Elio

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Hello James,
wow, that was actually a good answer!!....very thorough indeed ;)
Will look a bit more into the solutions you proposed and get back if I have more questions
Thanks for now ;)
 

SEOExpertBrad

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I have a client who uses an 855 toll free vanity number, he is dead set on using it against my advice. They rank at the top for all targeted terms in local 3 pack....
 
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Guys,

Using a toll free number isn't against the guidelines, nor will it really impact rankings by itself. What will kill your rankings is the consistency of the number you use. So in this case if you were using a local area code for a very long time, then decide to start using an 800 number to track your calls, then you have a problem. You would need to go and update every instance of the local area code, and even then you wouldn't be able to fight the local number from popping up once in a while.

That's where people start to lose ground - when they start introducing new numbers into the system. The same could be true about a different local area code. It's the change in data that affects ranking, not necessarily what you are using as a phone number.

There are plenty of companies that do very well with toll free numbers, and others that bomb. If you review their history, you will probably see more data consistency in the ones that have done well than those who don't.

If you are using call tracking on your website, make sure (like James said) that you're using JavaScript injection method to prevent bots from picking up tracking numbers. Make sure however you are doing it that the real number you want bots to see is hard coded on the site, then switches based on the user-agent. As long as the number doesn't switch for Googlebot or Bingbot user agents, then you should be OK.
 

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