Call tracking improves local SEO

Category: Call tracking
If call tracking is implemented correctly, it works wonders for your local SEO and wider marketing activities.

However, if some basic installation factors are overlooked, you might confuse search engine crawlers about your business’ locality. But this can easily be rectified.

In order to get the most from your call tracking software, follow our basic principles and tips.

First, what type of problems can arise?

The problems occur when search engine crawlers look at your online profiles and see multiple, different numbers. These were likely put in place to attribute telephone conversions to each channel.

This confuses the search engines because the information is not consistent. As we know, search engines strive to deliver the best possible results to the user, and judge consistent information as more likely to be correct; it therefore favours these results over yours in the SERPs.

However, you can still track calls generated by these channels with some simple methods.

Use Dynamic Number Insertion

Use Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) tracking numbers. You can use DNI numbers to control what number is displayed to a website visitor based on a countless range of conditions. This means the numbers for your social networks can display to those referred from social media rather than applying social media dedicated call tracking numbers to your updates. Only your ‘regular’ number is displayed to a search engine crawler, this way it is less likely to get confused.

Use a “No Script” Tag

Call tracking works by adding a piece of JavaScript to your website. Alongside this, we use a “no script” tag so that an official NAP friendly phone number is indexed by Google, leading to a lack of confusion.

This tag also allows websites to provide alternative content if the JavaScript isn’t executed. This sometimes happens if visitors, spiders or user-agents visit the site using an old browser, have JavaScript turned off or are unable to activate the script. By having the “no script” tag in place, it means that if the JavaScript fails to load the visitor will still be able to see a telephone number, so that a lead isn’t lost.

Use Schema markup to send a clear NAP signal to Google

Schema markup (or microdata) is a great way to markup your pages in order to send more details about your content to Google.

One of the lesser known schemas is “itemprop” and it works really well for local businesses. This piece of data tells search engines your official business number.

To use it correctly, simply add:

itemprop=”telephone” to the HTML source code of your phone numbers.

Mobile click-to-call tracking with Google Analytics

Most smart phones have the ability to click a phone number and call it. Due to this functionality, and when combined with a little coding, you can set your mobile web pages to trigger analytics conversion tracking at the same time. This type of mobile initiated tracking provides a great deal of data and is NAP friendly.

To ensure you set this up correctly, you’ll need to make sure your phone numbers are ‘clickable links’ using an attribute like this:

<href="tel:Your-Telephone-Number" >Call: Your-Telephone-Number</a>

Your next step is to add an “On Click” function:

onClick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Call Tracking’, ‘Clicked’, ‘Mobile Call’]);”

This will trigger an event in Google Analytics assigned to the URL you are creating. The event can be tracked as a Goal in your Google Analytics.

Once you put all of the tracking code together, it should look like this:

<a href="tel:Your-TelephoneNumber" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Call Tracking', 'Clicked', 'Mobile Call']);">Call: Your-Telephone-Number</a>

Make sure you set this up as a Goal in Google Analytics to make sure you track all mobile phone conversions.

Other experts have suggested that you track virtual pageviews too. Both work just as well, but with event tracking you can assign monetary values to every click-to-call which aggregates greater levels of data.

See the benefits to local SEO

Once SEO friendly call tracking is in place and your rankings are uncompromised, it’s much easier to see the benefits of call tracking to local SEO. These include:

  • Improving your understanding of the keywords your offline customers are searching for. This insight is great for optimising your content for keyword driven searches and making your messaging more effective by answering the questions these customers may have.
  • Justifying your marketing spend by comparing the quality of organic traffic to the quality of traffic from your local PPC campaigns. Call tracking is the only software out there that can provide a full-lead generating picture.
  • Including telephone conversions in your conversion rate testing (CRO) to discover when and where visitors on your site are more likely to call or fill in a form.
  • Use conversion data from mobile devices to understand how well your site is optimised for mobile.

If you’re concerned that call tracking might be damaging your local SEO campaigns, get in touch and we can review your account. We’ll make sure your call tracking is performing at its very best.

About the author

Author: Natalia Selby

Marketing coordinator at Mediahawk, with over 10 years experience in analytics, content management and eCommerce.

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