Why Call Tracking Numbers Are Bad – Tuesday Tip Video Clip

After my session at Digital Dealer 17 last week, several dealers had questions about using call tracking numbers on their dealership websites. Since so many dealers were interested in the answer, we thought we should share the information with everyone in this week’s Tuesday Tip Video Clip.


Welcome to another Tuesday Tip Video Clip. This week’s topic comes directly from dealers we met at the 17th Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas. After my session, several dealers had questions about call tracking. I thought I’d share the answers to their questions in this week’s video.

In my presentation I talked about how call tracking and 800 numbers can completely wreck your rankings in local searches. Dealers that use call tracking numbers always freak out when I tell them it’s a bad idea. Side note – we’re not talking about call tracking for PPC – that’s totally OK, and encouraged by Google.

When I ask them how often they look at the reports, at least half of the time they’ll tell me that they don’t really look at the reports. Obviously, in those cases, it’s a lot easier to convince them to switch to a local phone number.

For dealers that DO look at the reports, the majority of them are only using the tracking numbers so that they can record the phone calls. If that’s the case, again – it’s an easy switch.

In the cases where dealers are using a boatload of different 800 numbers on every possible location online, it’s a much more difficult battle. They love to look at all the data and see where their calls are coming from.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t really give a squat about your call tracking numbers. For local searches, Google expects businesses to have a phone number with a local area code, and it expects that wherever your business is mentioned online, that same number will be used. If you’re not using a number with a local area code – especially on your Google My Business (google places) page, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. You’re already giving your dealership a huge negative factor before Google even looks at your website.

That’s bad enough, but if you’re also using a unique number everywhere, it’s even worse for your ranking. Your listings don’t match, and that’s bad.

Several dealers pointed out “but Greg, I rank #1 in my city in Google, and I’m using call tracking.”

Oh really? They’re ranking #1 in searches for their dealership name, or the brand they sell. Hello! If there’s only one or two possible results for Google to serve, of course you’ll rank high. Search using phrases that matter, that customers are using, like “used cars Denver” or “auto repair Denver,” they’re nowhere to be found.

One more bad thing about call tracking numbers: you usually don’t own the number. If you change providers, you’ll change numbers… which means will be even more problems with multiple numbers that don’t match.

What it ultimately comes down to is this – would you rather keep using call tracking numbers and getting tons of data that you don’t REALLY use… or would you rather switch to a local phone number, rank higher, and get more phone calls? One will give you lots of data that won’t really matter, and the other will help you sell more cars.

Here’s a tip – if you want to use a tracking number just to get the call recordings, you need to find a call tracking provider that will give you a phone number that you own, so you can take it with you if you ever leave them. You’ll also want to be sure to use that same tracking number everywhere online instead of using different numbers on different sites.

Virtual high five – you just learned something new. As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them down below. Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you again next week.