Telephone Number SEO?

The telephone number – easy enough; it’s just ten digits – who could screw that up?

Truth told, it’s pretty difficult to get this so wrong that it messes up with your online visibility, but there are some best practices with respect to formatting that may help search engines understand the context of our text a bit better.

Since these ten underrated digits are primary lead generating for so many businesses, nailing this is kind of important.  So here are my top-four SEO best practices to formatting your telephone number in a way that can help users connect with you more and increase your page indexation.  

  • Make sure your telephone number is HTML text and not text within an image. Easy test, if you can copy and paste your telephone number from your website to something like a Word document – it’s most likely in HTML format.
  • Use schema markup to better classify your data to search engines (all the biggies accept this). I’ve been advocating schema for several years – you can find more about it here.
  • Make sure it’s not in an iframe. Here’s a quick way of checking it out – press the CTRL+U buttons on your PC (Option+
    ⌘ Command+U for Apple folks) to view the source code of any page of your website. Look for “<iframe” references and if your telephone is in close proximity to any reference. Another shortcut is CTRL+F or 
    ⌘ Command+F for non-PC users.
  • And lastly – for the deepest indexation, consider how you use your number in different online settings.
    • Use (###) ###-#### as your website format – this has great indexability by search engines.
    • Use ###-###-#### for citation management if the format above is not accepted.
    • Under no circumstances should you use ###.###.#### (dots!). It’s sketchy from a usability perspective, but as illustrated in the chart below, it is the least indexable by an unbelievable margin.
Telephone Number SEO? 1

Now, you would be justified for thinking that my example is just one site, but I ran the same test on several of my clients both local and national as well as for a university client and the results were similar in that the (###) ###-#### format was the most indexed of all format types in every case. Every one.

So use your formats wisely – and in all cases, don’t use dots – their lack of indexation was universally horrendous!

About Chris Sheehy

Chris has been helping businesses increase online leads since 1997. Experienced, published, University SEO course instructor, speaker & presenter. Experience pays dividends - more info at https://sidewalkbranding.co
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