Local business, particularly those that fit into the small-to-medium category, have different marketing and search needs compared to large multi-national companies. Often the focus here is driving customers to either visit the store, or calling to enquire.

Filling out an email form is usually quite far down the list of priorities. On the other hand, click-to-call on mobile devices gives convenience to the customer, driving up inbound calls to local businesses. Many of these leads are not even visiting websites, but are calling direct from the search results.

Manage your marketingLocal Search

Managing your marketing is as important for an SME as any other, often more so as the marketing budget is often limited. If a large proportion of the leads come via phone calls, local SMEs need an effective way of tracking and analysing all campaigns. If this is achieved effectively, money can be spent in the areas where ROI is highest.

Could call tracking software hurt your SEO?

Traditionally, this is achieved by installing call tracking software into your system. However problems that have been reported by critics in the past, who state that call tracking hurts SEO. The argument is that call tracking can damage NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) which Google says needs to be consistent across all online directories. Hypothetically, using different phone numbers in different places could potentially confuse Google’s algorithms and ultimately hurt your SEO, or so opponents state.

How to track your calls correctly

Luckily for the sake of your marketing budget, if call tracking is used properly, it actually benefits your local search results. Not all call tracking is equal, so look for an established company such as AVANSER who will help you use call tracking effectively to manage your local search.

This is achieved by using AVANSER’s DNI – Dynamic Number Insertion. This allows you to place different numbers for different channels, campaigns, keywords or split testing.

It also allows you to show a local phone number which could increase odds that a prospect calls you immediately. This is particularly pertinent to certain industries and retail shops.

If used properly, it won’t hurt SEO as long as you make sure Google does not scrape your tracking number. Please note that it’s important not to abuse these numbers by not paying due regard to NAP, and upsetting Google and other search engines.

To use call tracking effectively, use a JavaScript to display a tracking number via DNI, which Google will always track and see as your local number. The default number on the site is hard-coded and hence remains the same. This means NAP is not affected, and your SEO is unharmed. On your website or campaign, a unique phone number will be virtually displayed, which is used to track the effectiveness of each campaign.

The benefits

The benefits to local SEO (if call tracking is implemented correctly) are numerous. You can optimise your budget, provide local and toll free numbers, track social media ROI based on phone numbers associated with social content, as well as track keywords, split testing, campaigns, and channels, including offline campaigns.

Worrying about doing the wrong thing can sometimes stop you doing anything at all, which could ultimately hurt your marketing budget. Why not speak to one of AVANSER’s experienced team and get all your questions answered today?

By James O’Neill

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