How to SEO a Phone Number with HTML click-to-call and more..

Click to callMany businesses rely on making first contact by phone, but the phone book  has been replaced by web-search..so how do you get your phone number listed on the web?  In this post we take a look at best practice for getting phone numbers listed and highlighted in search results. 

Some of us remember the old days when natural search optimisation meant renaming your business to ‘Aardvark & co.’ for the Yellow Pages top spot.  Fortunately for some (like Zebra & co.) this has changed, the usual way to find a business now is through Internet search. But did you know that in 2016 mobile Internet took over from desktops and laptops as the #1 form of Internet access ?  In 2017 smart phones account for over 50% of global web browsingThat means over 50% of Internet users could make a call to your business at the click of a button (or more correctly, web link). So how ready is your business website for phone search or click-to-call ?

Let’s  take a look at the right way to list your business phone number online.

1) Add A Click-to-call Link

Everyone is familiar with a web link that opens another web page …but did you know a web link can also be used to dial a phone number ?  Placing a link on your website that can be clicked-to-call is almost the same as placing a link to a page, with one small difference; the address format starts with tel: instead off http://, then follows with the phone number to dial. For example: our number is 08444870487, we would use the link tel:08444870487 (Note that the full international format is preferred, that’s tel:+448444870487).

If you are using a CMS or WordPress you should be able to type this ‘tel:’ link directly on the link  field. Alternatively here’s how it looks in raw html code (code that’s used for making web pages):

<a href="tel:+448444870487">0844-487-0-487</a>
<br><!-- or using text -->
<a href="tel:+448444870487">Click-to-call</a>

Here’s how those link examples look in a browser.

Click to call links

We could also apply some CSS styling to improve the presentation.

<style>
.btn {
 background: #3498db;
 font-family: Arial;
 color: #ffffff;
 font-size: 20px;
 padding: 10px 20px 10px 20px;
 text-decoration: none;
 line-height: 300%;
}

.btn:hover {
 background: #3cb0fd;
 text-decoration: none;
}

a[href^="tel:"]:before {
 content: "\260e";
 margin-right: 0.5em;
}
</style>
<br>
<a class="btn" href="tel:+448444870487">0844-487-0-487</a>
<br>
<a class="btn" href="tel:+448444870487">Click-to-Call</a>

 

Click to call button

Mobile surfers who click the ‘tel:’ link will be asked to complete the call, desktop or laptop users can also use the link if they have a ‘software phone’ installed.  This is all regular html code, search bots like google will crawl and understand your ‘tel:’ links. The ‘tel:’ link has been in use for some time and is widely supported on browsers so don’t worry about compatibility!

2) Use Structured Data

Web pages are generally designed for humans to read and ‘search robots’ struggle to consume the mess of information on the Web. Enter structured data, hidden information embedded in your website content to help those ‘bots’ understand it.  We’re going to see how structured data schemas like LocalBusiness  can be used to index your phone number on the Web.

First an overview:- what is structured data ?  All the major search engines use structured data to help comprehend your contents relevance for a search, however it’s also used to enhance the layout of results with rich snippets and other features.

For example it’s how this search for ‘apple pie’ (below) displays a feature snippet as the  first result.

Feature Snippet

Ok, so ‘what the hell has apple pie got to do with phone numbers?‘ I hear you ask.. Let’s  try a search on ‘Apple phone number’ instead to give us some relevance.

Apple - example search result

The phone number is displayed as the first result featured content and additionally we see a rich card (below) with comprehensive company information, including the phone number (which is clickable!)

rich card example

 

So we can now see and understand the benefits of adding structured data to our website.  With a name like ‘structured data’ is sounds like it’s going to be complicated, right ? But wrong .. it’s just a list of tags and values hidden in the content into your Web page.

So let’s explore this a little further: To structure structured data various schema have been defined. A schema is just a defined collection of tags which describe the thing you are trying to describe. All schema’s possible are listed on schema.org.

Example: It’s easier to understand schemas if we apply it to the Apple rich card example . Apple is a corporation, so guess what ?, there’s a schema to describe corporations. This schema will define all the information (tags) we expect for describing corporations. Such as; logo, location, founders, phone number etc.. .

Ok, so now we know what structured data does, how it helps search, and we know there are different schemas  we can use to describe different things.. but how do you use it ?  Let’s take a look.

Structured data is embedded in your web pages, it just extends the page markup that’s there already. There are 3 different options for formatting supported by schema.orgRDFa, Microdata and JSON-LD.  You can choose any one but Google recommend using JSON-LD so it’s the best option if you’re adding new data.

Markup Example: Let’s say we are fictitious London business ‘Majik Karpet Kleaners’, with phone number 0203-123456789. This is the code we will add to our web sites home page to list our phone number using the LocalBusiness schema.

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
 "@context": "http://schema.org",
 "@type": "LocalBusiness",
 "address": {
 "@type": "PostalAddress", 
 "addressCountry": "GB",
 "addressLocality": "London",
 "streetAddress": "123 High Streen",
 "postalCode": "W1X 7BX"
 },
 "description": "The best carpet cleaners in the world",
 "name": "Majik Karpet Kleaners",
 "telephone": "+44203123456789"
}
</script>

Once the data has been added Google provide a testing tool to check it.

But there’s an easier way!: If the idea of ‘coding’ makes you feel weak at the knees then take a sigh of relief, Google also have a Structured Data Markup Helper tool which can generate code for you.  Using the tool is easy, you simply highlight sections of your website and identify the tag from a drop down list. When your complete site is tagged the HTML code will be generated for you or your webmaster to add.

Google Structured Data Markup Helper phone number

3) Be Mobile Friendly

We said this already, but it’s worth saying again: In 2017 smart phones account for over 50% of global web browsing. Apart from missing a mobile opportunity you should be aware that search engines will also penalise your site for not being mobile friendly, so you’re going to miss other traffic too.

So how do you know if your web page mobile friendly? Google provide mobile friendly test of course !

The tool is easy to use, simply enter your website and you will get a result.

Google mobile friendly test

Fixing the problem may be as simple as applying a ‘mobile friendly’ theme or template if you are using a CMS or WordPress. Whatever the case, the mobile friendly test will give you a mobile preview of your website and a comprehensive list of changes required to improve it.

 

4) Add Your Phone number in Facebook

Search engines also collate information from social media sites. Make sure you have your phone number displayed in the about section on your facebook page .

Phone number on facebook

To add or edit a phone number login to your facebook account and select About from the left menu, then edit Contact info.

Add Facebook phone number

5) List on ‘My Business’

The best way to let Google know about your business is to list on Google My Business.  Listing is completely free and especially effective for mobile search which uses maps to locate nearby business listings (it works equally for non-local business).

Google my business

Conclusion

Getting your phone number online is not hard when you know how, and understanding the methods we provided will also improve your sites search rank. So now you’ve done all the steps you can sit back, relax, and let the search bots do their work..  Well yes, but there is one caveat:- Don’t forget to keep information refreshed and consistent across platforms or risk being penalised by search engines.

If you do need help with phone numbers why not contact LazyPBX by  CLICKING HERE  🙂

References & Further Reading

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