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Over the past few years, many  online directories and search engine advertising agencies have begun to offer inexpensive call tracking phone numbers.  These can be used in your practice listings and search engine advertising campaigns to track results of your advertising dollars.  On the surface, this seems like a great idea.  Unfortunately, due to the way search engines work, it is not.

Search engines put a very high value on the number of  “citations” your business has around the web – in fact, citations are the 2nd most important ranking factor in local search.  A citation is simply your (practice) name along with your phone number and/or address.

When you use tracking numbers, you don’t have just one phone number.  Every phone number you add dilutes the value of your citations, creating confusion for the search engines, leading to a negative effect on your rank. It is critical for your medical practice SEO campaign to list your business information as consistently as possible, everywhere it is found online.

For an in depth discussion of this issue, see this Search Engine Land article.