tracking calls vs citations
so, google plus local for business is huge now. we all know consistent citations, especially phone number are key.
so, is there a way to use call tracking software, which changes the phone number on the site it's used on, -- and not have that mess up your citations?
Wow, I didn't even see this thread till today. Oddly enough I was just bouncing around a discussion on this same topic with others who work on Local. The main issue with tracking numbers is actually putting them on the local sites, which in time creates dupes and split pages which are a pain in the butt to get rid of... I've played around with a few other local lead tracking tricks before, but let me look into this a little bit further.
I think there might be an acceptable way to do this, but the issue is that you wouldn't be able to capture all leads from local, just those who go from the local page to your website. You would only be getting a fraction of the actual local calls which would be recorded since many people will simply use the contact info on the local site to give you a call.
You can't simply put the tracking number on the local page, because like I said above you would run into too many problems and headaches down the road. That is a huge issue with what yellowpages.com and some other sites that sell ad space are doing. They give out a bunch of tracking numbers to businesses to show better roi with local, but in the end it creates more problems than there needed to be.
I do have an idea though on how to make it work, but i've never tried this before. If you create a dedicated "local" landing page, which gives the contact info as well as additional product/service info, and possibly a "local deal" or something that only would be available by going to that landing page from a local site, then maybe it could work.
Then you can use something like a google url builder to create a custom url. Add tracking info on that url (so you can track in GA and run the phone tracking script on the landing page), set up a separate profile in GA to track website visits, and compare phone calls from the tracking number to # of people who visited the page, and to # of impressions the Google Local page got.
Then on the local page, specify that users need to visit the website landing page to see new "local deals." It's kind of a lot of work, but in the last 20 mins of thinking about this that's one solution I came up with.
I'll try to come back with a more detailed solution at a later time. This was the first thing that came to mind (that actually made sense, lol).
@zero risk mo, to track calls coming from Google local to your website set up a new rule type for the tracking phone number with "referrer contains" "plus.google.com"
Doing that will collect data on how many visitors came from a Google local page to the website, then called. That still misses a crazy amount of untrackable calls from people who find the local page and call directly from that. I'm still working on figuring out a good way to do that.
Thanks Eric, sorry I just saw your replies. I got on this kick because I listened to this local IM "guru" http://realstrategic.com/evp/?seed=wilke-local-marketing-training David Sprague --
He sounds great in the video -- but one thing that struck me as odd and he never addressed is the disconnect between two things he said were important
1. having control and information about leads we generate for clients by having them call a tracked phone number that goes away if client drops our services
2. needing to have consistency across the web in citations, especially the phone number.
I don't get how both can be done. But, you've given me some ideas. Thanks!
I'll let you know if any of them work. Or, maybe I'll just fork out the $299 for his materials...
before you fork out the $299, let me take a look at what he's telling people to do, and let me get back to you. I've had this discussion with other local seo's before and we've all pretty much agreed on similar points of view.
I'll do some additional research and get back to you on this forum. You need to be careful when doing something like this with clients because if you tank their G+local page, or get them suspended it could take months and months to get them back up. I'll report back when I can get a better read on what he's telling people to do.
great, appreciate it. he sounds convincing on the video... maybe a few of us should band together and buy his package, might be worth $50 :)
I watched the video, and the thing I don't get is how he's actually using this "tracking number." The tracking number on Dr. Eickhoff's (his prize example) is everywhere on the internet. How can you show value that the Google page is creating these leads/customers when I can find hundreds of mentions of this phone number.
How can you pinpoint which leads came specifically from the Google page? Personally I think he's trying to scam people by promoting himself as a "guru" of local search. Lets think about this logically in terms of value. The "tracking" number on the Google page shows up whenever you search for the dentist, the citations are spread everywhere. It would make more sense to use a tracking number on printed advertising, radio, organic listings (swapping the number using the phone script to identify specific search engines), and paid search. There you can tell definitively where the lead came from.
I just can't buy into this product because if the tracking number is different than the official business number it will make tons of problems when you need to deal with citations because there will be no consistency. Like you said, if the client leaves they're essentially SOL'ed because it could take years to fix the damage done by one tracking number.
What's the use of a tracking number if you have it listed on your website (static code) as well as thousands of other directory websites? What are you tracking? How can you tell where it came from? Was it organic, local, other????
Sorry to burst the bubble and be cynical of this, but this won't work like this guy is describing. I've seen the damage caused to local businesses when using only a tracking number. I'm still working on a sufficient way to quantify local leads... and so is the rest of the Local SEO professionals working at this. I would have learned about a "secret" like this a long time ago if it actually worked the way this guy says it does.
Okay, this may be far off but what if you we're to select a tracking number for local listings. On your website in the header and footer create an image of your regular number and put the tracking phone number in the image tags? That way search engines can't see the normal number and when they crawl the site they pick up what looks like the tracking number in the tags. I know it's a long shot but I thought I'd throw it out there. It's really only the crawlers that we're trying to fool.
That's actually backwards of what you want to do. You wouldn't want to list tracking numbers as text on the webpage because bots would crawl that, which could potentially create major issues with local listings. Duplicate pages and verification troubles could arise because of that. If anything you would want to use the tracking number in the image.
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