To track or not to track?
Local companies have been tracking customer metrics forever, and understanding what triggered a customer to call might be the most important of these metrics. Start asking, which keywords, paid advertisements, calls to action, profile listings, etc. drove this customer to my business? There is a ton of value in the answer to that last question. How you get that answer depends on you, the business owner. Today, we want to show you a new feature in GMB.
For years, many SEO’s have been afraid of call tracking, citing that it hurts SEO results. And to be honest, I was one of those beating the drum and telling some customers to avoid it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen it work beautifully in the Attorney SEO market with little to no effect on a clients’ cumulative rankings in search. But, I’ve also seen the other side of the coin, and have experienced first-hand the damage it can do if you get it wrong. I still think that a local service area business should stick with their local number rather than a phone number designed for marketing purposes. Here’s why:
– A “trustworthy” local business should find the best “local” option for a potential customer to contact them directly.
– Google’s quality guidelines state:
a. Use a local phone number instead of a call center number whenever possible, and;
b. Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or “refer” users to landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business.
Call Tracking Solutions?
If your business operates in a local market, and you have a Google My Business page, you could be in luck. Over the last few weeks, Google has been testing call tracking directly from your GMB dashboard. We’ve seen this recently in the PPC marketing world, and I expect it to roll out to GMB soon.
The call tracking dashboard is very basic at this point, but it does provide some nice insight for each of your business locations. While it may not provide you with features of a more sophisticated tracking software, I do see it as a step in the right direction for most local business owners. There is no doubt that G can build out additional technical features as the demand and interest builds.
While I don’t believe call tracking software is dead (not even close), I do believe a simple interface like what is provided by Google is necessary to help business owners capitalize on their digital marketing. Let’s take this feature as a step in the right direction, and applaud Google for listening to business owners!