Are iPhone type PDAs the way of the future. Will most searches be performed from such devices? I don't think any of us can argue against it … it will happen … and in fact the transition is well under way.
Accordingly, I thought the topic of getting better results from iPhones warranted a new blog series, beginning with a quick and simple gem detailed below. In the weeks that follow, I'll provide more tips, so stay tuned.
The first finding and tip is this; if you include your company's phone number in the meta description of pages that rank in the search results, the iPhone turns the phone number into a link (see image above). Click it, and the number is dialed … no memorization necessary. Almost instant gratification, and in this world, instant gratification rules! Virtually no one else seems to be aware of this gem!
Most Benefit For:
While this isn't necessarily a revolutionary find for all businesses, it has some powerful implications for:
a. local businesses (often people will just look for the phone number of a business)
b. emergency services (eg. tow trucks, plumbers)
c. impulse or on-demand purchases (eg. pizza, taxis)
Sure, it won't help your site rank better, but it will definitely increase the number of phone calls received for certain types of businesses.
As an example, imagine this situation; you're car has broken down on the side of a busy highway. You need a tow truck pronto. So you use your iPhone to access Google, and perform a search for "tow service toronto". Of the 3 listings you see above the fold … the 3rd shows phone numbers that are clickable. This makes the 3rd listing much more attractive than the first two (all other factors equal) as you can achieve your goal much faster (ie. calling a towing service) than having to navigate through to another web page that may or may not have a phone number on it.
Precisely the same as with calling a taxi, ordering pizza or Chinese food, etc.
Now, the only issue I have with this solution. Unfortunately, it works really well for phone numbers that are within the local calling area, but not so well for phone numbers that require long distance since it doesn't offer the option to place a "1" in front of the phone number to make a long distance call. Mr. Steve Jobs if you're listening … this would be a really nice addition!!!!!!!
In conclusion, why not provide a clickable phone number in your meta description … its really very simple to incorporate? Add to this the fact that the penetration of iPhones is becoming significant (expecting 3% iPhone penetration in 2008, 6% in 2009). I really enjoy finding these types of solutions … powerful, yet incredibly simple!
Try it today, and let me know what kind of an impact you see!
* Please Note: I realize the PizzaPizza example above does not show the phone number in a meta tag, but it is a good example none-the-less.