Transcript For Is There a Way to Use Multiple Tracking Numbers Without Messing Up My NAP Continuity? – 116;
Caleb Baumgartner: Welcome to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I am producer Caleb Baumgartner, and in this episode, Bob, Jesse, and Sue answer a listener question about using multiple tracking numbers for their business and how this may affect their SEO. The team runs down why NAP consistency for your business is important for SEO and why multiple numbers may interfere with your search engine optimization. Got a question for the team? Visit us at localseotactics.com/questions, and we may answer this question on a future episode. Thanks for checking us out, and enjoy the show.
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring in tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, here with Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg.
Sue Ginsburg: Hi.
Jesse Dolan: Ready to answer your SEO questions and help you succeed. Sue, I feel like I’ve been getting good at this, but I do not know where your background is today. What is that? Is that Minneapolis? No. Is it?
Sue Ginsburg: Close. It’s Austin, Texas.
Jesse Dolan: Oh, it is?
Sue Ginsburg: So it’s one that you’re very familiar with, and yeah, isn’t that great that it could look like the water in Minneapolis?
Bob Brennan: It could.
Jesse Dolan: Right.
Sue Ginsburg: Same recreational opportunity. And we’re back in Austin today because we have a really good listener question from a smart business. Thank you, David. Located in and around Austin, Texas. So our listener question for today is how best can I track to show my agency’s impact on inbound calls since branching out, and using lots of tracking phone numbers would screw up NAP consistency, with the second part being, is there a way to use additional tracking phone numbers that forward to the main tracking phone number, perhaps on the Yelp pages or the Facebook pages, et cetera, without messing up NAP? Really good question.
And with that, quote of today is, “The goal of measurement is to not only do things right, but to do the right things.” That’s a quote from Pearl Zhu, who’s the author of a bestselling book called Digital Master and like 20 plus other books. So this question about call tracking is one that we have heard before. It comes from clients who are interested in tracking back where their leads are coming from. And we always tell them tracking numbers can be a great tool for learning which tool is generating the most leads and businesses, and then diving into it, like David did in this question, you need to do it right. Is there an amount of tracking numbers that is too much, that is the right number? You don’t want it to get in the way of being found, as he’s saying. We don’t want it to mess up our NAP consistency, and really good, thoughtful question before he goes in and makes that mistake.
So what we will learn today, how can you demonstrate the inbound, sorry, how can you demonstrate the impact on inbound calls without using different tracking numbers? Or is there an optimal number of tracking numbers or way to use them? We know that we can learn so much from metrics and apply what we learn to make positive impact, but this big question is what are the right metrics, and how do we track them without messing up other things we have in place that are working on the bigger picture to help us attract leads? So we will again ask our experts, Jesse and Bob, and then we’ll all learn a little bit more about the right way to use tracking numbers and maybe even the right things to measure. So with that, Jesse and Bob, tell us what you know.
Jesse Dolan: Bob, I’ll kick it off. I think a couple precursors, one, we’re a huge fan of tracking numbers. We’ve talked multiple episodes here, that’s one of the most important stats, right? Like what do you track? Traffic, ranking, everything else, phone calls and emails, that’s huge. And if you’re not using a tracking number, find out a way to do it, which is not this episode, so we’ll kind of stop there. But that being said, that can be kind of tricky, and I’ll answer this, Sue.
And this is like my opinion, man, right? Big Lebowski reference, just to be clear. There is multiple ways to do this, and I’m sure somebody out there is going to hear this and it’s going to be conflicting for them. Or maybe there’s some software that we’re not privy to, which I’d love to hear about, but this is just going to be an opinion. I would take the stance of protecting my SEO, is kind of where I’m coming from on this. And that being said, that NAP, N-A-P, name, address, phone number. It’s kind of been a thing for SEO for a number of years now, that you want that consistency.
Now, there is some grumbling as Google gets more advanced in their AI and algorithm, that that may start to become less relevant because Google will understand all your different profiles and entities, which I’ll talk about in just a second, but as it sits right now, I do not want to take that risk. The overall goal here that we’re talking about is not just tracking how many phone calls you have, but we’re trying to track that to know what SEO is working, what isn’t working. And the overall goal is still to have better SEO, to dominate. That’s the overall goal.
This question of the phone numbers is kind of settled in underneath that. So that’s where I take this opinion and this kind of big disclaimer of this viewpoint is based on protecting my SEO and keeping that name, address, phone number consistency. Now what I mean by name, address, phone number consistency, or NAP consistency, what that means is wherever your business is listed, you want your name, your business name, your address, your physical address, and your phone number to be the same. That’s a easy way for Google or other search engines to understand your profiles. If you have a Facebook page, a Yelp listing, a Google My Business listing, and a website, if they all have the same business name, address, and phone number listed, those are very clear indicators to Google and other search engines that these are all, you know, Intrycks, right? Or whatever your business is.
There’s other methods that Google is starting to use again, so maybe this isn’t going to be as important down the road as it is today. But as we are here today, 2021 in the summer, name, address, phone number is still something that’s proven and relied on for SEO. So framing it up like that, I’m in the camp of wanting to use the same phone number for everything. Now, I don’t mean if you have 15 locations that you have the same phone number for every location. I mean this as in for that physical address. So if I’m a single location business, then it is everything. If I have multiple locations, each location has their own address and then their own phone number that’s tied to that location. And I’m going to want that on my website. I’m going to want that, that phone number, on my website and my GMB and everywhere else that my address and my name is mentioned.
And ideally, that’s a tracking number. Now, whether it’s a tracking number on the front side, meaning that you’ve purchased this number through a tracking number service and that’s your public facing number, or in some cases, maybe you have a long standing number you’ve had for 35 years for your business location and you work with your telecom to route a tracking number kind of behind that, either way hopefully you’re tracking that number and you’re using that number across all your properties.
The question here that David is asking is should I have a different tracking number on my Yelp listing? Should I have a different tracking number on my Facebook listing, a different tracking number on my GMB, and a different tracking number on my website? Then the idea here is you’d be able to know where you are getting the calls from, which is not a bad thing. I mean, that’d be awesome data. I think, Bob, again, we like tracking numbers for so many reasons. One of them is to track where I’m getting my calls from. But unfortunately, again, this is my opinion, you’ve got to kind of pick which way you want to go. Do you want to get that granular detail on all those different profiles and potentially mess up your NAP consistency, and then harm your SEO? Or would you rather have all these phone calls be tracked and then have to kind of figure out a different way to disseminate where they’re coming from?
I’m in the camp of I’d rather have that problem. I’d rather know that I’m getting a hundred phone calls this week and then trying to figure out where they came from, because they’re all using the same tracking number. I’d rather have that problem than to have a different phone number on all these properties and potentially have my overall SEO start to degregate, because now you’re just getting less phone calls overall. That’s the thing here. So hopefully that makes sense and leads me to then what I would do in my opinion, in my model, where I’m using the same tracking number on all my properties.
Hopefully you’re getting some kind of analytics from these properties, how many visitors to your website, how many visits or impressions on your GMB, your Yelp. Most of these things should give you some, or if you have to install some kind of tracking code or software program to help you get it, you should be able to get some kind of idea on the volume of traffic to these sources.
And if I’m getting a hundred phone calls a week, if I stack these traffic sources up, my GMB is getting so much visibility, my website’s getting so much visibility, I should be able to make the determination that yeah, half these calls are from my website, a quarter are from my GMB, and a quarter are from my Yelp, kind of based on other data sets. That’s a little fast and loose, and it’s not super granular, but in this scenario, I’d rather opt for that, again, than to have multiple tracking numbers and potentially risk my SEO getting messed up.
The last part I’d add to this, which is kind of the kicker for me, is how many spots are you really getting leads and traffic from? If you do a search for your business name, any combination of name, address, phone number, just see what shows up. Most of these places, if you’re getting business from it, it’s probably a spot where you can get reviews. So if you’re in the yellow pages, or yp.com, yellowpages.com, things like that, do a Google search for your name, address, phone number, or versions of that.
See if yellow pages even shows up, if you’re even relevant within the yellow pages, or if yellow pages are even relevant to your area. And then within that, if you have no reviews on there, are you even getting any calls from that? There’s certain things I think like somewhat, like from an esoteric standpoint, you can say, yeah, this exists, but do I think I’m even getting any business from it? Is it worth me even going further down this road to track this?
I think there’s a point of diminishing returns there. Your GMB and your website should be the number one and two traffic generators and phone calls generators for you, period. First page of Google, they’re showing up in results. Now, if you’re in a scenario where you do a search, in this case not for your name, address, phone number, but just like auto repair Minneapolis, if your yellow pages listing is the number one result in Google, okay, you might be the exception to the rule, where you’re like, maybe you are getting a lot of leads from that yellow pages and not your website or not your GMB. But I would challenge everybody that’s listening and maybe has a different opinion to do some searching like that, to see why you think you’d even want to track these other sources.
And I guess in that way, too, is there SEO you can do within those, right? So if you do have a listing on yellow pages and it is showing up, but you have no reviews on that, maybe you could be getting more action there if you had some reviews on it, like for an example. So there’s a little bit of devil’s advocate there for you. But long story short, I don’t want to confuse the issue there, I would always right now, 2021, until proven otherwise, protect my NAP. Keep that consistent for my location. Use the same tracking number across the board on all those. And then find a way to parse out that data with another data set. Like, here’s all my calls, now here’s my other analytics, to try to get an understanding where those calls are coming from.
Thinking on the fly here, too, Bob, maybe you can speak to this from a phone scripting and leveraging the call tracking a little bit more. This is a little bit of a side path, but maybe if you had a campaign internally, because one of the beauties of having a tracking phone number is it’s recorded. And then you can listen back to the calls.
One thing you could do is tell the people answering your phone, say, “Hey, for the next month, we want to find out where these calls are coming from. When you answer the phone, I want you to ask this question, where are you calling from? Right now, on your screen, how did you get this phone number?” And just kind of do a survey once in a while to capture that data. That’s kind of like, you know, you listen to the radio, they have these things to call in. I mean, different gauges, just to see what works. And again, different ways to pull in analytics and data sets. But without sounding like a broken record, my number one goal would be to make sure I have the same phone number listed everywhere, at the end of the day. Everything else is a creative way to how to get your analytics parsed out from there.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. And the thing I would, and maybe you can speak to this a little bit, Jess, but the thing I’m a big fan of is there’s a product out there called Leadpages. So they’re like a landing page. So whenever you’re going to explore a new method of marketing, be it digital or otherwise, where you can, and it doesn’t affect your SEO, I’m a huge fan of Leadpages. So essentially what they are is they’re a one page representation of a website that will allow you to track that. And in those situations, you can put a tracking number on.
So we had a client, they wanted to take out a radio ad. It’s very expensive. It’s like $5,000 a month. And they’re like, “Yeah, you’ve got to do this for six months before it’s effective.” So it’s like, so we can make $30,000. So they said, “Well, okay, we’ll try it for a month.” Well, they got like two calls. That ain’t going to fly.
Jesse Dolan: Pure evidence right there how good it works.
Bob Brennan: I mean, I don’t know what it comes out to, but if you double it every month for six months, I mean, you only in your six months, you begin to get return on investment. So those Leadpages, that’s one brand. There’s a couple of them out there. And then having multiple phone numbers for us only works when we have multiple locations. That doesn’t compromise the NAP, so to speak. And it’s beautiful. In some situations, we have service area. We have clients that have service area locations, if you will, that are 20 minutes outside of where they’re at, but it has a tracking number.
So it comes in, they answer it. They say, hey, this is the Millerville location. Jim, what can I help you with? Well, I’m trying to reach the Johnsonville location. Well, we don’t have a Johnsonville site, but we have a service deal or whatever, or if you want to come to our location, we’ll take $20 off. You know what I mean? But their people are trained in such a way that they’re listening for that remote location because they know they’ve got to put extra effort in there to convert them, to get them to come in or whatever the case is. So those are my only two thoughts, the Leadpage deal and then only assign a phone number when it’s dedicated to that location.
Jesse Dolan: I think your point there about knowing where the call’s coming from, to expand on that, that’s one of the things, again, we love about the tracking numbers, is not only is it recorded, but also as the person who answers the phone at the business, you can get, it’s commonly referred to as the whisper feature. We’re going to tell you, this is a phone call coming in from this Leadpages, right? Or this other thing. So you can prepare, and maybe, again, ask certain questions or have a slightly different script.
Your other point about Leadpages, hey man, if it’s a radio ad or a billboard or on the side of your truck or a sign out front, use different tracking numbers for all other marketing except for search engine optimization, search engine related marketing, like where you have your business name, address, and phone number listed online. If Google can find it online, keep that phone number with that physical address. If you have another page, like you said, Bob, on Leadpages on your website, you don’t even need Leadpages. You can just create a new page on your website. Maybe you have an email blast you’re going to send out for some new idea, and you want a landing page to push people from that email to that landing page. You could just do that and put a different phone number.
That doesn’t mean just because you put a new page on your website and then that website is your business at this address and this phone number, whatever, that’s fine. If you just have a random page on your website with some different phone number, that’s fine. That’s not going to break your NAP, like we’re saying, right? Because we’re still expecting your phone number to be on your contact page. Someplace on your website, you’re listing, like here’s our hours, here’s our location, here’s our phone number, like contact information. That’s what you want to be the same. Random landing pages, marketing materials, go crazy and have a hundred different tracking numbers to know, kind of like your radio commercial example, Bob, to know if this marketing form is viable or not.
What we’re doing is lumping in all your SEO related marketing into one bundle, using one tracking number for that. And then within there, it gets messy, because you’ve got your GMB, you’ve got your website, and other stuff. But again, value-wise, find a way to figure that out with the things we’re talking about, but keep that NAP consistent because you’ve got to protect your search engine rankings.
To this day, I don’t think, Bob, we’ve ever stumbled across anything that gives you a better ROI than SEO. Billboards, TVs, everything else can be great, and you hit a certain critical scale. At Coca-Cola, you’ve got to do it, but for regular businesses out here, everybody listening to this show, if you’re doing it right, your SEO should be the number one most dominant form of marketing in your business. And that’s what you want to protect. That’s the stance that we’re taking at the end of the day.
Bob Brennan: Yeah, we’ve watched clients almost start from nothing, to, again, this is all dependent on your market, so I’m not saying we can do this for everybody, but literally starting from nothing, and I talked to one guy and he’s hired four salespeople, plus himself. So that means, you know, in my mind, as a business person, the low end, they’re doing 400 to 500,000 in a service-based business a year, which is great from starting from nothing. But I can tell you that that came from being at the top of Google for the services they provide. Otherwise, it’s a long road to get to that 500,000.
Jesse Dolan: And Sue, you can speak to this if you want. Otherwise, I’ll sing the praises and toot the horn for you here. You’ve been with us, again, July 2021, for about a year and a half, a little over that now. And literally just today, we’ve had talks with clients, you and I run Zoom meetings, and you’re getting the same feedback where people that have engaged with us, not to promote our services here, but when the SEO has worked, they’re like, hey, I’m raising my prices. I’m cherry picking the better leads. I’m hearing more people, the same stuff you’re saying, Bob, too. People have heard you and I talk about this for years. Sue, new to the team, relatively speaking, but having the same feedback, and that’s SEO, right? That’s what’s happening for these people. It’s not the radio, it’s not the billboards, other stuff. And again, if it’s working, don’t screw it up. Protect it.
Sue Ginsburg: What better position does a business owner want than to be able to be selective about the business that is coming in that you get to work with, and to raise your prices? That’s another day in paradise.
Jesse Dolan: Heck yeah. That’s why everybody’s in business, to make money. That’s the overall goal. And hopefully you can do some good along the way. And if you can start to make it easier for your business, tide rises for everybody right there. So like I said, not to toot our own horn or turn this into a pitch fest for us. It’s more about SEO as an avenue of marketing and where you’re going to get great ROI.
So hopefully we muddled through some stuff there, Sue, but I think we answered the question hopefully for David in the right way. Again, I’ll say, everybody, if you want to give us feedback, if there’s some technology we’re not privy to, that we haven’t tested, that has a better angle on this, let us know. Reach out to us. Love to explore it and talk about it more.
Sue Ginsburg: I would also say this question was specifically for tracking purposes, but Bob, you brought something up, or Jesse, you did, that another reason that businesses get call tracking is so that they can look at the metric of which script, if you want to call it that, is working better to convert the leads that are calling in. And then you listen to the recording, and maybe you’re finding that this one person or this one location, something that they are saying slightly differently is working more effectively to engage and convert the leads that are calling in. He didn’t ask about that, but just another aspect of call tracking that I know you both have a lot of experience with.
Bob Brennan: Yeah, and your customers are going to tell you what that script should be. So if you listen, and it takes 10 to a hundred calls to listen to the common questions that are being asked for the customer every time, and then you flip that, and the first 30 words that you say should answer most of those questions. And then after that, the dialogue escalates to a higher level where there’s closing opportunities and converting opportunities.
Because we’re all, I mean, we’re all busy. And if you can get to the chase before the customer, it just tells them that you know what you’re talking about. Geez, the person read my mind. I mean, we’ve all had good customer service experiences like that, that geez, how’d you know I was thirsty? So it takes patience. You’ve got to listen for it. But when you do, you’re rewarded very well.
Jesse Dolan: That’s what makes stand out service, too. At the end of the day, that’s one of the big arguments for call tracking. As you get all these insights, making your business better is a big part of it. Then you get more reviews. You get five star. I mean, things really snowball from there in a good way for doing it right. And again, now you’re raising prices, being selective. It’s a great spot to be.
Sue Ginsburg: Okay. If you remember one thing and one thing only from what Jesse and Bob just shared, tracking numbers are a great tool when used properly. And I love this quote, “The goal of measurement is to not only do things right, but do the right things.” I love this because that’s basically what forms the foundation of your business success or not. And I also think that this requires looking at metrics, interpreting them, and applying, taking action on the right things to do.
You’ve all heard us hammer home the importance of metrics. Well, it’s not just tracking metrics. It’s looking at them and getting the insights and doing something about it. They don’t do something on their own. And if there is a way they do something on their own, I’d love to know about it. Anyway, yep, measurement is important as long as you’re tracking the right things and doing something from what you learn.
Jesse Dolan: Yep. Then it makes an impact. Okay, great topic. Hopefully that resonated with everybody out there. If you’re listening and you’ve got a topic, or again, some correction for us, even, whatever it is, reach out to us. If it’s something that you feel needs to be covered on the show, that’s what we’re here for, is to help everybody out and shed some light on things and maybe even learn some things along the way.
Going out to localseotactics.com, go down to the bottom, click on the link to submit a question. You can type it in, send it off, and Sue will get it and be in communication with you, let you know when we’re going to air it, if you will, put it on the show, so you can check it out.
And if you would take the next step, we’d love to have you call in, leave a voicemail about the same question. We’ll play it on the air, and we’ll send you off an Intrycks t-shirt for doing that, too. We’d love to do more of that. If you’re out there and willing, this is the bat signal for you to call in. So please do. We like hearing other people, too. All right, I think that does it for this episode. Great question, Sue. Great insights, Bob, as always. Appreciate everybody’s time, and thanks for tuning in. Take care.
Bob Brennan: Bye now.
Sue Ginsburg: See you.