Matt Casady

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So I work with a multi-location self storage company and we'd like to get citations on some or all of the top citation sources for storage according to Whitespark but we noticed several of these sites won't allow us to use our phone number, we'd have to use their provided numbers instead.

In this case, would it probably be ok to just use their random phone numbers with our business names/addresses on these sites because Google is smart enough to know how these sites work or would it be best to ask these citation sites to just list our business names/addresses without a fake phone number to prevent any possible NAP issues?

Thank you in advance for your help!
 
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The number will definitely get noticed (indexed), but depending on the directory it may be worth more than the NAP damage, especially if it's a directory that could reasonably lead to new leads. For Photographers for example, absolutely everyone should be on weddingwire, and while you could ask them to not use a tracking phone number, you'll just be wasting your time. Weddingwire's too valuable to skip for NAP reasons, and you'll need to make a similar case-by-case judgement with the directories you're looking at in your industry.
 

Matt Casady

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Great points and good example. Thanks for your help, James!
 

JoshuaMackens

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So I work with a multi-location self storage company and we'd like to get citations on some or all of the top citation sources for storage according to Whitespark but we noticed several of these sites won't allow us to use our phone number, we'd have to use their provided numbers instead.

In this case, would it probably be ok to just use their random phone numbers with our business names/addresses on these sites because Google is smart enough to know how these sites work or would it be best to ask these citation sites to just list our business names/addresses without a fake phone number to prevent any possible NAP issues?

Thank you in advance for your help!

What directories are you submitting to that won't allow you to use your phone number?
 

JoshuaMackens

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Really? Hard to believe. Are they pay to play? If so, it sounds like they may be like other niche directories out there that take a tracking number, put it on your listing so they can prove their value to you, and then also use Yext to disperse your number across the internet.

We had veterinarians.com do that. Hijacked our Vet's Yahoo listing so anyone who called us via Yahoo looked like they came from veterinarians.com. I'm not sure they did that on purpose but that's what happened. They may just not have considered all of the ramifications.

Anyways, sorry, I'm rambling.

Have you talked to them and specifically asked if you must have their tracking number? Even on a free profile? If they say yes, I would just skip them.
 

Matt Casady

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Yeah, they are pay to play because they're basically lead gen websites where you pay to be listed and pay for reservations they get for you. So that's why they require you to use one of their tracking numbers that forwards to their call centers, etc.

But yeah, I thought it was weird that Whitespark listed them (as well as some of the others) as top storage citation sources given the circumstances.

If we do decide to use them, though, I'm hoping they don't hijack our listings like you had happen that would definitely not be fun to try cleaning up.

Thanks for your advice,
Joshua!
 
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My own personal way of making decisions like this, is that I never recommend making a paid investment purely for citation reasons (aside from the normal expense in citation building that is). WeddingWire is an interesting example, in that their paid program also gets you in their list of associated directories as well (weddingbee, etc) so you're getting 6~7 high quality citations along with a featured spot on wedding wire. I did some data mining early this year to look at the photography industry online, and there was definitely a correlation between ranking and having those 'pay to play' citations, but it wasn't a big one, it might have just been correlation and not causation. Even if that bump was purely due to those citations, it wouldn't be worth WeddingWire's featured program if that's all the benefit you were getting for their cost.

When deciding whether or not to use sparefoot and selfstorage, I'd personally set the question aside until you're done with your main SEO work, and come back to the question when you're looking for new value to bring to the client. If sparefoot can bring them leads in the same ballpark as the leads the client's already getting, you can suggest it as just another paid advertising option that may have slight SEO benefits as well. Purely on the SEO front, 2 high quality backlinks will do more for you than two high quality niche citations, especially when there's concern about NAP integrity. Whitespark's citation recommendation resources are great, but they're not a hard list of sites you need to get on to succeed.
 
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