How to Improve Your Local SEO: An Interview With Greg Gifford

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greg gifford interview

As part of our SEJ interview series, I recently caught up with Greg Gifford of AutoRevo to discuss local SEO.

In the video below, Greg explains some things local SEOs are doing wrong and how they could be doing better.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • What Greg sees most is local SEOs and small businesses who don’t understand how important NAP information is — which includes name, address, and phone number.
  • There are so many small businesses that, at some point in their existence, have either moved locations or changed phone numbers. The problem is that those businesses don’t do anything to clean up all the incorrect citation information.
  • A lot of local SEO agencies will start working with these businesses and won’t think to ask if they have ever moved or if they have ever changed phone numbers.
  • The local SEOs may never know there’s a whole mess of incorrect information out there they need to clean up, and that really hurts these businesses when there are multiple addresses and phone numbers floating around confusing the local algorithm.
  • For PPC purposes, some businesses may put a dynamic number on their site. Does that hurt their SEO? Greg says he was just recently debating this question with a PPC guy, and there is one way you can do it correctly where it won’t hurt your SEO. Make sure the number embedded on the page is your actual primary phone number, and then you can have JavaScript in place that will flip the number and show something different. That way when a human looks at the page, the phone number will change as the page loads.
  • Adding to the above point, the PPC guys will tell you that’s OK because the search engine spiders are going to crawl the page and see the number that’s hard-coded. However, the problem is if you’re feeding in all of these different dynamic phone numbers then inevitably someone is going to see your website and publish the number that’s being displayed, so you’re going to end up with various numbers making their way out on the Internet. Over time, these dynamic phone numbers will start to appear online and then that just creates more work for you to clean up.
  • Greg strongly advises against call tracking, unless you’re dealing with a company that offers “manual” call tracking.
  • If you use call tracking, but you’re not using the data in the report, then Greg asks why not get rid of your call tracking and do local SEO correctly? That way you will get more phone calls because you’re ranking better.

For more video interviews please visit SEJ’s YouTube page.


John Rampton
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, full-time computer nerd, and PPC expert. Founder at payments company I enjoy helping people and am always online to chat +/@johnrampton
John Rampton
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  • Norman

    To prove the point about consistent NAP data, I had a case where a client wanted to save money so I showed him how to claim his own Google Local listing. A few months later he contacted me because Google changed this business address. We logged into the account and put the address back and submitted and waited 4 to 8 weeks for that to populate.

    A few months later he contacted me again, and yet again Google changed his business address from that which was verified.

    I spoke to the adwords group and in that process learned that indeed, if Google feels they have stronger signals of what your address is that differs from that which was even verified, their system may change your verified information to that which they feel is more accurate. Even if it’s months after your verified, twice.

    In this case the issue was, he was a CPA and his business name was his name, and Google was changing the business address to his home address. I suspect there are a slew of other instances where this could happen, doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc.

    This was 2 or 3 years ago. Hopefully the system has been improved since then to give more credence to verified listings, but it highlights why consistent NAP data is so important.

    • Vishal Singh

      I don’t think it has changed at all. I had similar problems with one of my client recently :p

  • Paul lovell

    I had a new client that contacted me, and they had the same problem with NAP infomation,
    You always get the same Question “is that really that important?”

    I total agree with the call tracking, I have never adviced it as for some local businesses it can be confusing to local customer if every time they go to your site there is a different phone number, Makes you business look a bit dodgy

  • Steve Yancharas

    Is there any way that we can do call tracking without changing the clients’ phone number?

  • Eric

    i think to improve local SEO, we can share our site’s links to the local facebook pages ? will it give a little seo booost ? what u do think ?…….

    • Kelsey Jones

      Hi Eric, I don’t think that will be helpful, especially when it comes to SEO (and it’s just not a good practice).

  • Rank Watch

    Consistency of NAP information is very important for local ranking improvement. You can try out White Spark for better optimization.

  • Pierre M Fiorini

    Terrible advice. Simply terrible. Dynamic call tracking is NOT going to negatively impact your local search rankings. Furthermore, it’s simply absurd to suggest that car dealers do NO call tracking.