by CDK Global | 22 February 2018

Call Tracking: The SEO Update You Need to Know

As SEO specialists, we’ve always been taught that every business needs a consistent NAP (name, address and phone number). SEO experts have always considered the consistency of business information to be a strong ranking factor. It was believed that using a call tracking number in your business listings would provide an inconsistent signal to Google, and cause rankings and visibility in the search engines to drop. If your dealership information matched on Google, Yellow Pages, Bing and Yahoo!, these search engine algorithms considered your business a local authority and, as a result, you would be ranked higher in the search results.

As search has evolved, the question arose: should the rules around call tracking numbers still apply?

Google has recently updated their phone number rules to say a business needs to use a “local phone number.” They no longer mention call tracking numbers at all. And maintaining consistent information across search engines is no longer like jumping through hoops. Third-party services like Moz Local, Yext, Whitespark and BrightLocal allow you to manage your online directory information in a single dashboard.

What’s New?

Image removed.As Google’s goals for search have evolved, the importance of the phone number has changed. Google’s goal is to provide the answer to a search query directly in the search results. A customer no longer has to visit your website to get your phone number. Google pulls that information from the business listing and offers it in the search results. So the question now is, does using a local call tracking number cause rankings and organic visibility to decline?

The Experiment

For the past four years, we’ve tracked Google Search Console metrics for 25 dealerships located across the U.S. We tracked impressions, keywords in the top three, overall keywords, and clicks for each dealership, pulling the information in both January and July.


Over four years, we saw consistent growth in visibility for the dealerships. Keywords ranking in the top three increased 150 percent in four years, while overall keyword rankings increased 87 percent over the same time frame.The continual growth of keyword rankings shows that the use of local call tracking numbers did not negatively impact ranking, especially for those keywords in the top three. We also saw a 15 percent increase in impressions for the sites. Even with using a local call tracking number in the NAP, these sites continued to rank for keywords, and rank well. Not only were they visible for the right keywords, customers continued to click through to the site. Using the call tracking number did not make them any less of an authority.

What Does This Mean for Your Dealership?

Bottom line, using a local call tracking number properly will not have a negative impact on organic rankings. With the right tools, a local call tracking number will give you a chance to finally see the impact your business listings have for customers.