JeffClevelandTN

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We have a new client with a single location that has been in business for 40+ years that has been using an 800 phone number. They are in the travel/tourism industry and have customers that are local, regional, and national. Therefore, in the past it was very important for them to provide a toll-free number. The 800# is being used on their GMB Page and found on the great majority of existing citation listings. I vaguely recalled for NAP reasons that using a local number is preferable over an 800 number, so I researched trying to find some type of case study or any type of authoritative article showing the benefits of a local phone number versus a toll-free number, or conversely the drawbacks of a toll-free number.

After spending about an hour searching and reading, I couldn't find anything really compelling or substantiated by facts. Pretty much everything out there says a local number is preferable over a toll-free or call center number, but with no real explanation as to why. It wanted to make sure I wasn't repeating the "Grandma's ham story".

If there is a benefit to using a local number, now would be the most ideal time for us to implement the change as we are preparing to perform a lot of NAP cleanup. However, I need to justify our plans to the owners (and ourselves) that there is a benefit. Google has this to say: Guidelines for representing your business on Google - Google My Business Help
  • Use a local phone number instead of a central call center helpline number whenever possible.
Not super helpful as the 800 number isn't really a call center number but it isn't a local number either. Also, the cost savings of eliminating the 800 # is not really a motivating factor as it is bundled with their current phone plan.

I would very much appreciate the community's feedback, wisdom, and possible links to any real-world studies.

Thanks!
 

cfazio

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Just based off of logic - when someone presses that call button on mobile, and an 800 number appears on their keypad ... it seems kindof off. Subconsciously yes, consciously - not sure maybe it seems suspicious and they do not call.

Having a local number is obvious that you are a trusted local business.

Dont know of any case studies on this, but I would imagine it decreases leads conversions to have an 800 number on GMB.
 

whitespark

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Hey Jeff,

I don't believe that a local number vs 800 number has any SEO impact. The only reason you might prefer a local number would be for potential conversion considerations, as @cfazio mentioned. I doubt it would be worth it to get a local number and update all your existing business listings. If it was my call, I'd keep the 800 number and focus my SEO work on things that have a bigger impact.

Hope this helps.
 

JeffClevelandTN

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@cfazio and @whitespark
Thanks for your feedback!

We likewise were thinking the same thing, it potentially might be a conversion factor. However, that may be for a shrinking audience as I think Gen Z and possibly some Millennials may not even know the purpose of a toll-free number :). Personally I'd like to see a local number, but as you mentioned Darren, is it really worth the ROI. We are still debating this and the feedback helps in the decision process.

BTW, you did a great job hosting the last LocalU webinar Darren! Very much looking forward to WhiteSpark's Local Search Summit at the end of September.
 

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