0800-WHOOPS: phone numbers and SEO

Posted on June 30, 2011


How many times have you come across a phone number that makes use of letters? Probably a lot. Clever, word-based phone numbers, which look something like 0123-CALL-NOW, are an old marketing trick. They’re a way of getting a phone number noticed, and an easy way for customers to remember which numbers to dial. Everyone wins, right? Well, maybe in real-world situations.

On the internet, spelling out your phone number is a major mistake. It’s not difficult to see why. These numbers are made for human eyes. When a person sees this format, they are able to deconstruct it, knowing that their keypad has letters attached to specific numbers. When you’ve got search engine spiders looking, though, everything changes. They’re not there to deconstruct anything.

Why is this bad?

Including letters within a number is a quick and easy way to get Google to overlook your phone number. Google uses real-world contact details for a number of things, such as determining locality and reliability. Obscuring your phone number means you’re hobbling your local search engine optimisation efforts, and, even when you’re not interested in establishing your physical connection to the Wirral, hamper SEO generally.

The solution to this problem is an easy one. Simply resist the temptation to advertise your phone number as anything other than a number. If you’re fixed on using words as an aide memoire for customers, include the real number as well as the worded version. It’s a very small step which could take your website a long, long way.

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