The other day I was talking to my wife about picking up some prescriptions from the pharmacy down the road. I needed to know what time they open so I can get there as early as possible. Naturally I pull out my iPhone to do a quick search.
Right away I see that the store near me opens at 8:00 am which means I can stop in after I drop the kids off at school, right? Not so fast! You see, the store opens at 8:00, but the pharmacy doesn’t open until 9:00.
You see similar things happen with phone numbers. Let’s say you have a customer service question or a billing question. When you look up a company’s phone number, you want to be able to go straight to those departments rather than be shuffled around a phone system.
Google attempts to find all of this information by crawling your organization’s website. You can help identify the correct information by using schema.org markup, which is basically tagging pieces of information with a code that identifies it … things like addresses, phone numbers and business hours.
Google’s New Phone Number Results
Google has announced updated support for the schema.org markup by including four phone number types:
- Customer service
- Techincal support
- Billing support
- Billing payment
The idea is that when someone wants to make a payment to your business over the phone, they can search for your company name and “payments” and then Google will return the appropriate phone number. Or they can search on your company name and Google will return your business information along with a list of phone numbers identifying where each one goes. With a tap on their smartphone, your customer can call and quickly get to the right person.
Here are the results I get when searching for “Nest Labs customer service” with my iPhone:
Google Recommendations for Local Business Websites
Google also announced recommendations for formatting your contact page to help Googlebot crawl it and easily grab information. This is great information for any business with a physical location, whether you have one location or multiple locations.
The guide also addresses the pharmacy issue I mentioned earlier. It helps to identify businesses that have departments that may have different contact information and operating hours. Examples they gave were:
- A bank can have an ATM and lobby service
- A supermarket may have a pharmacy in addition to selling food and household goods
- A clothes shop may have a tailoring and alterations department
A question you may have is,
Why should I go through the trouble of making this easy for Google when my customers could simply go to my contact page to find all of this? Isn’t it better to have them on my website?
It’s simple. Today’s mobile web environment is full of friction. The more difficult we make it to find the information they’re seeking, the better the chance of losing them. Every website is different and it may take time for your customer to find the information they need … especially in a mobile environment.
Google has a consistent layout so users always know where to look. Your customer can go from search to phone call in one step with very little friction IF you give Google the right information.
Are you currently using schema.org markup on your website? Will you use these new phone numbers? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.