Local Search Results with Portable Phone Numbers
Everyone wants transparency into their search marketing progress, but it seems that at each turn there are new obstacles presented by one component or another of the campaign. Today we're going to look at how you can use a tracking number on your website and your local listings, while using diligence in number portability.
I'll Use My "Real" Number in my Local Listings, and my "Tracking" Number in my My Site
Nope. Due to most local listings requiring near-perfect "NAP" consistency, this approach will leave you wanting for better optimization. This means that you'll need your company name, your company address, and your company phone number to be identical on your website and on all local listings you want want maximum impact.
But "It's Better Than Nothing" If my NAP is Inconsistent, Isn't It?
I hear this a lot in discussions about optimization. It usually sounds like this: "Yeah, but this will be better than what we're doing now right? I mean, it won't HURT anything if my info doesn't match will it?"
I'll answer this question with our mantra here at Upward Brand Interactions. "Doing No Harm" is probably what most of our customers are doing before they hire us. Avoid the DNH trap at all costs. Our customers don't pay to do "better than nothing", our customers pay us to optimize them. So, of course "not hurting" is a fundamental goal, but our top goal is to help them beat their competition, and just "not hurting anything" will not get us there.
Why Don't I Just Use My "Real" Number Everywhere?
You can, if you have a "real" number that allows for transparent reporting. We've found that most numbers do not. At Upward Brand Interactions we use a modern phone number provider (ifByPhone) for our tracking numbers for the following reasons:
- They offer a rich API allowing us to bake phone call data into monthly reports
- They offer call recording (but it's not required)
- We "pre-buy" numbers and monitor whether they see a lot of telemarketing or wrong number calls prior to using them
- We can add our tracking numbers to "do not call" allowing for a cleaner data set in your reports
OK, Then I'll Just Use My Tracking Number Everywhere
Yes! But. Of course there's a but.
You need to be sure that you "own" that number (in as much as you can "own" any number). What if you disengage with your agency or phone number provider and they tell you "Sorry to see you go, we'll de-activate your number at the end of your campaign"? This means that you'll need to go through each of your campaigns and change the number. This will get harder the longer you use the tracking number.
Enter the Portable Number
The LNP act allows you the right to "port" your number from one carrier to another. The carrier cannot stop this from happening - you just need to be sure that your partner will not become an obstacle if they bought the number.
Work with a Transparent Partner
Be SURE you have the right to exercise number portability before you allow anyone to use a "purchased" number on your campaign. Upward Brand Interactions allows our customers to port their numbers when the campaigns end, and so should anyone you work with. Ask this question before any numbers are setup.