More threads by joegrape

joegrape

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Hey Everyone!

I have an unusual situation with a client and a phone number change.

They are an adventure motorcycle training facility, located west of Austin. There are only a handful of these schools in the United States and they are geographically dispersed. There are not a lot of "near me" searches going on for these schools, so I'm not concerned about this impacting their local SEO. I'm just concerned about creating headache for myself with a re-verification.

We need to change the phone number for the business. We are doing it on the website now, and then I was going to also do it on the GBP to maintain NAP consistency.

If I submit a phone number change, what will that trigger at Google? Is there any risk of re-verification? Or will they just reject or accept it?

And if there is a risk of re-verification, what is the danger of leaving it as is? Does NAP in any way impact general SEO? I can't find any industry literature on this subject. Everyone talks about NAP and local SEO. Not NAP and general SEO.

BTW, the phone number change is just going from the owner's number to the number of his sale guy. So it is not like people won't reach us if they call the old number.

Thanks,
Richard
 
Hey Richard, hope all is well with you! It has been a little while since we've had to change a client's primary GBP number, but when we did it was painless. However, it seems lately that Google has become a lot more unpredictable with re-verifications in general.

In regards to NAP, it really isn's as important as it once was, but the phone number is probably the most important as far as consistency is concered. Since GBP allows you to have a total of three phone numbers, one primary and two additional, I'd suggest you start out by adding the sales phone number as the 2nd phone number. That is what we did the last time and then we waited a couple of weeks and switched them around. That way all the old citations/backlinks with the previous number are still recognized by Google as belonging to the GBP, in other words you are maintaining the phone number consistency with Google since both will be on the GBP.

I would consider it very unlikely that a single change like adding an additional phone number would trigger a re-verify. The more changes made in a short window seem to increase the likelihood of a reverify. However, it is entirely possible that a reverify could happen once you change the primary number. I've read anecdotal evidence that if the GBP was originally verified using the existing number, it is more likely that Google will reverify if you change the number which makes sense to me.

Hopefully some others will chime in with their expertise.

BTW, if you are still in Chattanooga and happen to make your way thru Cleveland, please give me a shout :)
 
Hey Richard, I'm tagging @JS Girard. He manages a ton of GBPs and may be able to give some advice and share feedback on any risks or best practices to change the primary number.
 
Hi Joe,

What I usually do is to send easy instructions to the client and make sure that any NAP change is made from the primary owner email and the real time location of the GBP.

Here are the instructions:
  1. Log in to your Business Profile
  2. On Google Search, select Edit profile
  3. Near the top, select Contact
  4. Next to «Phone number», select Edit
    A3MPTu-l7iZf0bB22qEJqg2LgWzlys8475Tw2WNPL-jva0WpYo.png
  5. Enter the new phone number:
    • (XXX) XXX-XXXX
  6. Then, select Save
I hope that can help you.
 
I should note that we work in Quebec, where Google is significantly less touchy with suspensions. That being said:
  • Yes changing a phone number may trigger reverification. Reverification chances are always higher on NAP edits.
    • There is very little control over it, however, you can try making sure the number is changed on the connected website and other citations first to reduce the risk.
    • You can also try changing it via user suggestion (after updating the website!) and then accepting the edit. We do that regularly for address changes, and it's very convenient when it works.
    • Be mindful of the completely separate possibility of hitting the locked number bug, though.
  • Secondary numbers can be added and removed freely. I've never heard of them causing a reverification unless Google is in a period of unusual scrutiny.
    • Note that secondary numbers are not visible on the profile, but they can be used to search for the business.
  • Citations are not as big a concern on pure ranking grounds, but...
    • As I noted above, when up to date they can be helpful to help secure an edit without triggering a reverification
    • On the other hand, if NOT up to date, there's always a risk that Google will use the erroneous info and create a duplicate. I just had to report such a duplicate for our own agency profile twenty minutes ago.
 
Hey Everyone!

Thanks so much for all the advice!

So it sounds like the safest course of action is to add the sales number as a secondary number, just so Google is aware of it, and then leave the primary number as is. It is already changed on the site. And the old number still rings through to the company, it just goes to the owner and not the sales guy.

Like I mentioned in my original post, this motorcycle training school is not competing against any local businesses, so ranking in the map pack is not a concern. And we don't get phone calls (as far as I know) from the GBP. Though now that we have two different numbers, I guess we can test that assumption.

We do get traffic from the website button on the GBP, but that is almost certainly the result of a brand search and not phrases with local intent.

best,
Richard

PS... @JeffClevelandTN I am still in Chattanooga!

 

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