Should SEOs Put Phone Numbers in The Meta Title Tag – Answered.

I just ran into a presentation wherein the SEO analysis claimed that putting your local phone number in the meta title tag was a wasted SEO opportunity – that there are other more important keywords that should go into the precious 70 characters available.

The Precious 70 Characters

Many SEOs focus a bit too much on that supposed 70 character limit in this most-important of meta tags – the Title Tag. Some SEOs spend hours playing their version of Scrabble in order to get their Title Tag just right, but…that means they should read up on Google and the 70 characters before spending too much time there.

I do include local phone numbers in the (meta) Title Tag. I think its a very smart online leads generation trick. But before we go there, I decided to search the latest forums to see what others had to say before I argued against the purported wisdom of another SEO.

Over at LocalSEOGuide there is an article wherein many of those local SEOs thought its a great trick.

Yet over at StackExchange webmasters, the opinion was much the same as my SEO Analyst.

Here was another well written perspective that includes phone numbers in the meta tags, and why.

So there is a range of opinions on the matter. Who is right?

Local Logic

I started this practice of putting local phone numbers in the meta tags when I realized that when I searched, if the phone number is prominently displayed in the SERPs I don’t have to go to the website (and I’m an impulse buyer), I might be inclined to immediately call the business. What do my clients want more than anything else? A phone call from an online shopper. Period!

The Best Leads

Further I thought, if I’m a car BUYER (not a tire-kicker), I just want to know if they have the car I want. Why bother with more clicking around to find what I want to know right now! (especially if I’m doing all this on my mobile phone)

Now I realize that might not be the majority of people in the market for a car, but that is the type of online shopper I want to call me first – before he shops the other dealerships. Smaller percentage, but better quality lead!

(If you are the SEO who stops here (I know you are out there) to argue that “but, but we can’t measure that call in analytics!” You need to get on the other side of your desk. Your client won’t care about the analytics if their phone is ringing. However, they will care about the analytics when the phone is NOT RINGING!)

Local Large-Ticket Products

This is partially a matter of local search vs global. If I shop for a product that I can buy on Amazon, I probably don’t need to talk to someone. But if I’m a few miles away from a couple of potential sources of my desired product (thinking automobile), then I would rather call first, then drive over to see it. Local shoppers are more likely to call than click. The other aspect to consider is whether a product requires a conversation in order to purchase? Large-ticket items ($) require more discussion than buying a pair of shoes, right?

Bottom Line

Cookie-cutter SEO is always wrong. Just because there are only 70-some characters Google will read from your Title Tag in order to index your webpage to your best benefit, does not mean somethings must get in there and other things must be left out. Typically the bigger the agency, the more standardize practices become. The SEO wisdom shared by our SEO Analyst turns out to be just that – generic large agency advice that will ultimately costs some of their customers the best Internet leads.