During one of my recent SEO webinars, there was one question that kept popping up:
“How do you track phone calls from your SEO campaign?”
Since this is such an important topic I’m going to answer this question in this article. Even if you’re already tracking your phone calls, I urge you to read this to make sure you’re doing it correctly. Unfortunately, if you track calls the wrong way, then you could unknowingly sabotage your SEO efforts!
Why Track Phone Calls?
First, if your business does not receive phone calls and all of your business is generated via e-commerce sales and online webform submissions, then you can stop reading this article. In that case, you can track all of your SEO conversions using Google Analytics.
However, if your business does receive phone calls from prospective customers, then you’ll need to track those calls so you know where they are coming from. For example, if you receive 20 calls in a month, how many were from your SEO efforts versus all of your other marketing? If you’re not sure, then you don’t really know the effectiveness of each marketing channel.
That’s why phone call tracking is important. When done correctly, you’ll see how much business is generated directly from your SEO campaign.
Warning: This Is The Wrong Way!
Unfortunately, there is a wrong way to track phone calls and it can sabotage your SEO campaign. That’s because the phone number listed on your website must be 100% consistent with the phone number listed on all the other websites, like business directories, across the Internet.
If your phone number is not consistent across the Internet, then that will negatively impact your search engine rankings.
Uh oh, that means you can’t use unique tracking numbers to track your SEO! Again, if you use unique tracking numbers, then those numbers will be inconsistent with what’s listed on your website, which in turn, hurts your SEO.
But don’t worry, there is a workaround!
The Correct Way To Track Your Calls
Now that you know how not to do it, let’s introduce the correct way to track your calls. It’s called DNI, or dynamic number insertion.
This is a bit technical so bear with me. Once you understand how this works, then it’ll be more clear why this is the only way to track calls without hurting your SEO.
As the name suggests, DNI dynamically (or automatically) changes the number on your website based on the source of the visitor. For example, if the visitor clicked on a Facebook ad, then DNI could automatically change the number listed on your website so you can track all calls from Facebook. Or in our case here, if the visitor clicked on your website in the organic Google results, then DNI could change the number so you can track calls from SEO.
Why doesn’t this hurt SEO like the “wrong way” explained above?
I’ll repeat that so it’s crystal clear. The underlying code on your website does not change when you use DNI. That means the phone number in the HTML code that Google reads does not change. DNI doesn’t change the code. Instead, DNI just changes what is displayed to the visitor.
Think of it like putting on a mask. Your face didn’t change. You just covered up your face with a mask. That’s essentially what’s going on when you use DNI to track phone calls.