Last week, many of our clients received emails from TripAdvisor regarding changes to their Business Listing. The email was notifying the innkeeper or property owner that a new call tracking feature was going to be implemented on their listing. The email talked up the benefits of the feature but as of right now we’re recommending to opt-out of this feature that goes live Friday, Feb. 13. What could go wrong?
For starters, we’re saying to opt-out as this could cause issues with local marketing efforts and your property’s NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number). TripAdvisor is supplying your property a new number on their site that won’t match the phone number you have listed on every other directory your property is on. This’ll cause inconsistencies with your property’s NAP and the search engines do not want contradictory contact information for your business.
TripAdvisor says, “Placing a telephone number on your TripAdvisor property page is an important benefit of your Business Listing. Using a unique phone number will help show the quantity of calls this channel generates, along with an estimated number of bookings from those calls. Our goal is provide you with deeper insights on the value of your Business Listing subscription and the highly qualified traffic we drive to your property.”
But, using a unique phone number won’t benefit your overall online presence. They also include an FAQ that asks, “Will this confuse my guests?” TripAdvisor basically says no and that most travelers will return to your site to find the number if they intend to call. It could confuse your guests to see two unique numbers for a property and it will most definitely confuse the search engine’s crawlers.
Don't confuse your guests or Google.
The idea behind this feature is to show Business Listing subscribers the value and ROI of their listing. But we’re wondering if that’s just another way for TripAdvisor to increase costs associated to Business Listings and we know a few property managers who echo our sentiment. TripAdvisor is also releasing its Q4 earnings report today and analysts are already discussing expectations of the report.
Year on year, TripAdvisor has seen growth by 25% in click-based advertising revenue, 21% in display-based advertising revenue, and 76% on subscription and transaction revenue. The industry is closely watching to see if on-site booking is working for TripAdvisor. Go to TripAdvisor’s press releases page for the financial report (when released).
Now, we don’t want to scare you off call tracking as there are a variety of ways to do call tracking the right way, from using Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) on your website or using call tracking in your PPC ad campaigns. Search Engine Journal has a great blog article detailing DNI and why this method does not hurt your local SEO efforts, and if you want a real technical and in-depth read on call tracking and local search, please read the MN Search blog post.
Call tracking, when done correctly and on your own site, will not harm your SEO efforts. Local search marketers will not recommend call tracking on directories, citations, or other listing sites. Unless TripAdvisor can provide more details on how this number is more beneficial than a consistent NAP, we’re going to opt-out.