I was recently posed this question – using call tracking solutions that dynamically generate a different number so that we can track incoming phone calls from different sources and mediums, how does that impact SEO?
Going one step further, if we put different numbers on third-party sites such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, or any other third-party provider sites, will that have an impact?
In Short? It's a Definite Maybe
Dynamic Number Replacement On Your Site
For swapping out numbers on your site, the way most applications work, is that your original number is coded on your site, then a script runs each time a visitor hits your page. That script replaces your phone number with a sourced number based on how they arrived ad your site.
Typically this is used to track incoming calls from paid search campaigns on Google & Microsoft, social campaigns, email marketing, organic (SEO) traffic, and a wide variety of other sources of traffic to your site.
For these instances, what the web crawlers/bots for Google, Bing, and other search engines see is your actual phone number. So for dynamic number insertion, it’s all good.
Adding Hard-Coded Numbers on Third-Party Sites
When adding in a hard-coded number on Google My Business, Bing Places, Angie’s List, or any other third-party site where the phone number is not dynamically switched out, but hard-coded in there, things are a little more complicated.
For Local SEO, one of the important ranking factors is referred to as NAP, or Name, Address, Phone Number. Search engines like to see consistency across the web for a location’s name, address, and phone number.
So when they are seeing your business shown on the web with a consistent name and address, but a different phone number. That may indeed have a negative impact on your Local SEO rankings.
For these instances, we highly recommend using your actual phone number.
A Way to Preserve SEO Value While Using a Tracking Number on GMB & Bing Places
According to a blog post from call tracking industry leader, CallRail, you can add multiple numbers to your Google My Business and Bing Places listings in order to preserve SEO value.
To do this, login to your GMB profile, and on the left select Info, and then navigate over to your phone number section.
As the primary number put in the number you want tracked (often a tracking number from CallRail, or Call Tracking Metrics) and then the Additional number should be the number that is the number on your site, what the crawlers would see.
By doing this, Google, Bing, and the rest should be satisfied in you remaining consistent across the web.
The primary number will show in your listing, with the additional number mostly being shown if you use the Google sites feature of GMB.
*** Note that the original version of this blog post said that there was a choice to make when using call tracking on GMB or Bing Places due to not being consistent across the web. However, upon discovering the blog post on CallRail’s site, we have updated our stance and now suggest using tracking number for Google My Business and Bing Places, with a secondary number being your regular number that is shown on your website to web crawlers.
It’s great learning about new ideas, features, and techniques to improve SEO, Paid Search, and everything Digital!