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An Email About SEO and Call Tracking from Adam Steele


Late last week on Twitter we connected with Adam Steele, of Nightlite Media, a Vancouver SEO firm. Adam had been observing the several articles written about call tracking and SEO recently and offered to write a few thoughts about the subject. 

When Adam sent us this email about call tracking and SEO, he didn't initially intend for it to be made public. But once I read it and realized how awesome it was, I asked him if we could post his email. He said yes!

Here's the email...

Adam's Email About Call Tracking and SEO

I got to thinking about it, read everything I could find on call tracking and local SEO, and realized that the solution is quite well documented.

As long as precaution is taken to make certain your tracking number doesn’t get scraped by Goog, or some other authority, tracking numbers are totally fine.

Alternatively, if your business is brand new, and you have full rights to your tracking number – that is, whoever you are renting it from, if they went out of biz, or some worst case scenario, you would never lose that number – use said number in all your marketing. Right from the start. And forward it to your real number. You just need to be VERY diligent about making sure your real number is never used – even on a biz card.

Historically, and I think this is where a lot of this anger from marketers like myself stems from, companies in the call tracking industry, and outside of the call tracking industry have just abused these numbers without any regard for NAP or the SMB.

Hell, I have had client’s businesses held hostage to these companies once. 

I think the biggest problem is education. Businesses that employ tracking numbers need to understand the associated/possible implications. They need to know what NOT to do. They aren’t marketers. They don’t understand that if they use this number in their NAP, and then decide they don’t want to use that number anymore, fixing NAP is a pain in the ass.

For even the determined SMB, correcting all instances of NAP can be almost impossible. Once it enters the local search ecosystem, it will get scraped and published everywhere. Especially over a good amount of time.

So is this the fault of call tracking companies? Some.

Are companies like [name of our competitor deleted] assigning tracking numbers to lawyers, and publishing those numbers on their authoritative, well trusted (by goog) profile? Totally screwing up NAP in the process? Yup.

BUT I think at the end of the day it boils down to education on both ends. Those companies who aren’t intentionally bending businesses over need acknowledge the danger associated with these numbers. Not because tracking companies are implementing them wrong, but because ABC company will take this number and throw it on all their other materials. They don’t know any better!! Call tracking companies need to educate. They need to make it crystal clear what NOT TO DO. And ABC company needs to read the bloody fine print (which shouldn’t be fine print).

Tracking numbers are awesome. I use them all the time, especially in my local lead gen projects. Naturally, it is a wicked and incredible way to measure my campaign results. But I know how to use them. I know what not to do.

Damn. That was supposed to be a one liner email. 


Adam is, of course, right. Some call tracking companies have done a poor job of educating their clients on what to do with tracking numbers and what NOT to do. This is a big deal. We take it seriously. That's why we're so committed to writing article after article on call tracking and SEO on It is also why we're committed to helping clients, as they sign up, figure out how they're going to use tracking numbers. 

The other takeaway though is this: if used correctly call tracking is a 'wicked' and incredible way to gather data about local marketing campaigns. It is the best way. Calls matter. 


I set up call tracking for one of my clients recently. It's interesting to see how many calls they're getting from their website. I like not because it validates our SEO work to some degree. Beyond that one benefit though, validation, I'm not sure I see the value in continuing to pay for the tracking service.  
You seem passionate about the value of call tracking data. Do you have any suggestions on valuable actions I can take based on the call tracking data? 
Posted @ Sunday, June 02, 2013 12:15 AM by Darren Shaw
Good question Darren. I think validating SEO is big big deal. But beyond that I think there are 4 ways people use it. 1) Agencies use it to keep clients that are considering dropping them. The data is very valuable for that. 2) They use the data to get new clients. You can now tell new clients with some reliability how many calls you'll push them. 3) Listening to calls. Giving this tool to clients is a big deal (might be the coolest thing). 4) Marketing automation from calls. Automate CRM, SMS, and automation actions.  
Posted @ Monday, June 03, 2013 9:46 AM by McKay Allen
I have seen marketing companies totally ruin a business' organic rankings almost overnight by assigning a fresh tracking number to their Google places listing and leaving all their other citations with the original NAP. Unfortunately I think some of these marketing companies don't understand the important of a consistent NAP across the entire local ecosystem. Great article.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 23, 2013 7:50 AM by Dave Eddy
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