In this series of articles we’ve been talking about web based business directories and how they can help your practice. We’ve shown you a string of things you should and shouldn’t do to boost your local ranking using these directories. Here is the absolute worst thing you can use if you have multiple locations: a single phone number.
It’s not uncommon for a dentist to have multiple locations. In the city you or your colleagues may have an office downtown and one out in the suburbs. In more rural areas dentists frequently maintain offices in two towns. Pre-internet it was not uncommon for the Yellow Pages ad or newspaper ads to list a single phone number ringing into a live person in one of the offices. But that was then, this is now!
The old Yellow Pages ads were confined to a local town or, if covering a broader area, multiple locations could easily be combined into a single advertisement. Readers knew which location was closest to their home.
But people are smarter than search engines such as Google. The algorithms search engines use are based on addresses and phone numbers to sort out who to show your ad to and which location to display. When there are multiple ads with the same phone number Google’s brain melts.
Some suggest Google has done this on purpose so that spammers can’t create multiple business listings with one phone number in an attempt to beat the competition. Whatever the reason, having multiple locations with one phone number signals a death toll to all of your listings. Use multiple phone numbers in your online business directories. They can still ring into a central location but they won’t confuse Google.