For local search marketers, deciding whether to implement call tracking can be a nerve-wracking process despite the many benefits of knowing which marketing channels are driving calls to your business. However, adoption of call tracking has grown steadily among SEO-savvy marketers, who are learning how the old wives’ tale of it having a negative impact on search engine rankings isn’t true in practice. The key is knowing how to properly implement and set up call tracking for local search campaigns.

We’ve seen that stigma debunked by multiple clients, most recently with self-storage unit provider STOR-N-LOCK Self Storage. As one of the top self-storage operators in the U.S., They serve more than 10,000 customers, providing 1.5 million square feet of storage in 22 locations in Utah, Colorado, California, and Idaho.

Making the decision to track more data about how their website was delivering value was an easy one. After all, STOR-N-LOCK Self Storage believed their website was generating a majority of phone calls–at least that’s what they thought before implementing a main line tracking number.

Their first foray into call tracking gave them the benefit of call recording for team coaching and lead qualification, but they were unable to access the data they wanted- specifically, which search keywords drove visitors to their website. This meant they were in the dark when it came to understanding which keywords and landing pages drove calls to their business.

They started searching for a call tracking provider that would allow them to view keyword data and CallRail got their attention. According to Matt Casady, Marketing Manager of STOR-N-LOCK, CallRail’s keyword-level call tracking and pricing structure are why they made the switch:

We liked what we were getting for the price. We got demos from lots of other top-rated call tracking providers out there and ended up deciding what we wanted for the price was best with CallRail.

Using the Main Line Tracking Number Method

STOR-N-LOCK needed to implement call tracking for more than 20 locations, while also making sure it wouldn’t have a negative impact on their search ranking or NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency.

They decided to implement call tracking using the “main line tracking number method.” A main line tracking number is a call-tracking-enabled phone number that local businesses use as their primary phone number on the web. Think of it as your regular phone number but with call recording, advanced call routing, a cloud IVR, and call analytics technology for attribution reports. Any phone number can become a main line tracking number (even a business’s existing main phone number on the web) through a simple process called porting.

When setting up for NAP consistency, STOR-N-LOCK used their main line tracking number everywhere on the web their business information appears.

“We wanted our business name, address, and phone number to be consistent on our website and all our online citations but we also wanted to be able to track the source of calls we get from our website,” said Matt.

The second part of STOR-N-LOCK’s call tracking strategy was session tracking phone numbers. They had their main line tracking number configured and placed on their website and wherever their business information is listed online, but they also added a session tracking number pool to their website. This provides them with more comprehensive call tracking data, so they get a better understanding of what behaviors on their website lead to phone calls.

“We use our main line tracking number for all online citations and display that on our website so Google will see it when it crawls our site. We use our other session tracking numbers for all other site visitors which allows us to see their sources,” said Matt.

With this method, they’ve seen first hand that their search rankings haven’t been impacted, and they’re still able to use call tracking for granular information on how their marketing is growing their business.

Reaping the Benefits of Call Tracking

Since implementing call tracking through CallRail seven months ago, STOR-N-LOCK has a completely different view of where their time and ad spend should be focused. One of the surprising things Matt found was how many calls were driven from directories, saying “Believe it or not, Yellow Pages do still work in the self-storage industry for some markets.”

They were spending more time and money on their website before realizing just how many calls directories were driving. Using main line tracking numbers from CallRail they saw that a whopping 83% of their calls were driven by printed directories and local online citations, calls driven by their website were at 15%, and only 2% of their calls were coming from AdWords. Contrary to what STOR-N-LOCK Self Storage thought before implementing CallRail, their off page local SEO work was responsible for the vast majority of their leads.

Now they’re able to view data on which online sources are actually driving new business without negatively impacting their local SEO efforts or rankings.

“Reviewing keyword ranking data from several months before we implemented DNI and now six months since, none of our 22 locations saw a drop in local organic rankings from implementing DNI,” said Matt.

With CallRail, STOCK-N-LOCK is able to grow their business while having the peace of mind that their call tracking campaigns won’t negatively impact their SEO efforts. Learn how call tracking can drive insightful and impactful marketing for your business: Request a demo of CallRail or start your 14-day free trial.


CallRail is currently looking for participants for a Local SEO DNI Impact Study to determine the precise impact of session level call tracking numbers on local search rankings. If you or someone you know has a business with multiple locations, we invite you to read about the study and apply.

  • When you say 83% of their calls were driven by printed directories and local online citations, are you referring to people that clicked to their website first and then called them? I’m assuming you can’t track the people that called straight off the directory listing itself since they were all using the same phone number.

    Where were all the organic search calls? Is that what you mean when you said “calls driven by their website”?

    • Hi Joy! That 83% is inclusive of organic calls that weren’t driven from the website. With the main line tracking number method, you can get calls tracked off of directories in the aggregate. Because Matt from STOR-N-LOCK has visitor-level (via dynamic number insertion) call tracking installed on each location site, any calls generated from website visits were tracked by those phone numbers. I think the most surprising thing about this case study is that it puts real numbers on the amount of calls driven from non-website sources like citations, GMB, etc. I’ll see if I can get Matt to jump in here with any more detail or clarifications. 🙂

      • Interesting! So the 15% was calls on site that came from organic search or someone who clicked from a directory but didn’t call until they got to the site?

        How do you keep the old/main phone number from coming back on the data providers? I remember a guy at Yext saying it’s really hard to eliminate the “main” phone number for a business.

        • From my understanding the 15% of their calls were ones from their website via organic, referral (including directories), and direct visits. With CR there is a way to setup the dynamic number insertion to only trigger based on certain referring sources; in STOR-N-LOCK’s case they tracked all calls from visitors to their website, which gave them super granular attribution for those phone calls.

          Re: how to keep old/main phone number from resurfacing
          This depends on how the main line tracking number was implemented. I’m not sure what Matt did in this scenario but here’s the two ways I know to keep this from happening.

          1. If you port the existing business number for a location into a call tracking provider, then the data providers don’t exactly know anything has changed. In the porting method (detailed here:, you would still need to have a receiving phone line to take the calls from the ported number that is now a tracking/forwarding number.

          2. If new numbers are created for each location (I’ve done this method but #1 above is my preference due to work/risk involved in this way), then all the citations have to be updated, big data providers must be corrected (I used a citation syncing service on top of manual cleanup), and Mike B. recommends adding the original number as a secondary phone line on any citation that allows for 2 phone numbers. Once I’d taken to cleaning up citations for a location and working with big data providers, I rarely saw resurfacing of old phone lines. I think we Local SEOs often perceive risk differently than Google’s local algo, which is much more interested in overwhelming signal than a small amount of noise.

          Does all this make sense? I’m always happy to talk more about it and even do a webinar on it in the future. We’ve done some in the past with MozLocal (George Freitag), Mike Blumenthal, and Greg Sterling where we’ve touched on this subject and there’s always been a ton of interest. I think so many of us Local SEOs are hungry for some sort of golden performance metric–and first time caller volume is one of the best. 🙂

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