Will a toll free number hurt my citations

prota

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Apr 28, 2013
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First of all, I want to say there's a lot of great information on this forum, so thank you in advance. My question is, if I only list one number on a citation and it's a 800 number or toll free number. Will this hurt my rankings? I heard mixed opinions, so I was wondering if you guys could help thanks.
 
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Linda Buquet

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Hi prota and welcome!

You may have heard conflicting info because citations don't count as much in terms of moving ranking up or down as they once did, but they are still important.

You asked about adding it to A citation as opposed to all your citations. So if I take your question literally, just one citation should not throw things off.

But the other problem is if lots of citations have the 800 # it could cause Google to create a duplicate listing for your business and THAT will usually hurt your ranking, plus can create other problems potentially like stealing some of your reviews AND it's time intensive to get duplicate problems resolved.

So the big question is - IF you are a local business (which you should be in order to even qualify to have a G+ Local page) then why do you even need to show an 800#? You will likely only rank in the city you are located in and to most potential customers, it would be a local call.

The other point I'll make is few customers will search a directory to find you compared to the # that could search Google to find you. So I would think pleasing Google and keeping that listing healthy and ranking would outweigh any directory listing???

Note: I'm talking blind with all the comments above, because all this depends partly on what industry and what directory we are talking about. For instance if a hotel, could be more important to list 800#.
 

prota

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Apr 28, 2013
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15
Thanks for your answer Linda. How would Google create duplicates of 800 numbers? Additionally, I work with a lot of car dealers if that helps at all? Would you advise using a local tracking number then instead? Thanks for your help.
 

Linda Buquet

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How would Google create duplicates of 800 numbers?
No sorry, should have explained better. It can lead to Google creating a duplicate Google+ Local page.
(Not duplicate 800#s).

Local phone # is one of the most important parts of NAP. (Name, address, phone.) Google finds listings on the net and tries to match them up with an existing business listing. If she finds a listing for Joes Auto with a different phone #, sometimes she thinks it's a totally different business and creates a duplicate listing on Google. 1 for Joes Auto with local #. One with 800#. Now there are 2 listings for the same business at the same address which can cause a wide variety of problems including ranking and review problems.

I work with a lot of car dealers if that helps at all? Would you advise using a local tracking number then instead?
Same goes for tracking #s. Best practice is to use the local # that's been in the yellow pages and everywhere for years and to be consistent and use the same NAP everywhere.

Another issue with car dealers that could tie into the 800 or tracking # issue as well. Many dealerships have multiple dealerships. Alpine Ford, Alpine Chevy and Alpine Toyota, all separate dealerships, different businesses and branding but all next door to each other, with same name. In this case they ONLY qualify to have 3 individual listings if they have 3 different phone #s. So if you were considering one 800 or tracking # for all 3, Google would either delete 2 of them leaving only one, or all 3 would merge together into one mixed up listing with the Ford name, Chevy pics and Toyota reviews. SOOOO really need the indiv local #s for each listing.
 

Phil Rozek

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Jul 26, 2012
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@Prota

If for some reason you must use a tracking number, I'd use the one with the local area code. And if you're going to use local tracking numbers, at least have a separate one for each location (AKA Google+Local page). If you don't do both of these things, it's Russian Roulette.

I'm still unclear on the answer to Linda's question: are you looking to use a different (that is, 800) number on just one site / citation source?
 

Linda Buquet

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Yes if you can share more about exactly what you have in mind and why, we can offer better suggestions.

Are you doing citation building only and want to use tracking # to track your leads to client or what exactly???
 

prota

Member
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Apr 28, 2013
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Hi all, thanks for your replies. I was just trying to see what the best course of action was moving forward. For all long as I worked at my new job(3 months). We have basically listened to the client, so if they want a tracking number on all of their listings we do that. So the answer would be if using a toll free number, make sure to list it as toll free on all your citations? Then, make the local the primary? Would this affect my rankings?
 

Linda Buquet

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We have basically listened to the client, so if they want a tracking number on all of their listings we do that.
I would suggest that your job in helping the client is to educate them to problems and solutions. If it's a local business they need to know that tracking numbers or toll free #s can cause problems on multiple levels.

So the answer would be if using a toll free number, make sure to list it as toll free on all your citations? Then, make the local the primary? Would this affect my rankings?
I don't really understand what you are asking. :confused: Don't know what you mean by make local the primary. The answer is don't use toll free for local if at all possibly. And again yes all this, if done wrong, could negatively impact rankings.
 

prota

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2013
Messages
15
Hi Linda, sorry the confusion. I'm trying to say, if I was to fill out a google local listing. I would choose to have the local number as the primary number, and the tracking number, as an additional number or a toll-free number. Does that make more sense? Sorry the confusion. Could you maybe expand on the
And again yes all this, if done wrong, could negatively impact rankings.
I would love to learn more. Thanks for your help once again.
 

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