Tracking Phone Numbers & SEO: Think Twice

by | Oct 3, 2013

Google, listing sites, business directories—there are lots of ways for prospective residents to find you online. Some top property management marketers purchase tracking phone numbers in order to see where exactly their web leads come from. Their main website lists one number, while their Facebook page lists another, their Google+ Local page yet another, and so on.

While it’s important to track your leads, multiple tracking numbers are a double edged sword: it may hurt your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors, a report by David Mimh, states that the third highest negative ranking factor is “tracking phone numbers across data ecosystem.”

So what’s the best practice?

This topic was hotly debated on the AIM LinkedIn group, and there was no clear consensus. In my opinion, tracking is important if it’s actionable.

It’s nice to know you're getting leads from free online directories—but is that actionable? For this reason, I think it's best to have uniform name, address and phone number information, except on your website where the benefits of Dynamic Number Insertion outweigh the SEO consequences.

It’s a good idea to periodically check your online business listings to ensure the information is current and accurate. There are hundreds of directories and online Yellow Pages, but it’s best to start with the ones that matter the most (based on traffic volume):

Google+ Local – http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/local/
Bing Places – https://www.bingplaces.com/
Yahoo Local Listings – http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/local-listings/
Yelp – http://www.yelp.com
MerchantCircle – http://www.merchantcircle.com/

Periodic listing checks ensures that prospective residents will see the right information and reach you the first time. But as I mentioned above, this there is no definitive answer to this question. What do you think?