If you want your local business to appear in search results and on Google Maps, you need to follow the guidelines set out by Google, which include recommendations for your phone number. If you fail to comply, you may sacrifice a top ranking in the search results, or even risk your business being removed from Google Maps entirely.


What Phone Number Can You Use?

A single authoritative phone number offers a direct link to your business. Whenever possible, opt for a local phone number with an area code as your primary number, rather than a central number or call center helpline number. This means you should avoid 800 numbers if an alternative is available, although you can set a toll-free number as your secondary telephone number in the listing.

Never use any phone number that redirects callers, or numbers linked to anywhere other than your local business. Google is looking for a number that people can use to reach your business and speak to a representative.


Creating Multiple Listings

Google may penalize your business if you create multiple listings for no reason. An exception to this rule is when a large organization has a number of different departments, each with their own phone number. In this case you may create a separate listing for each. However, if several departments are routed to the same phone number, include them all under one listing.

A similar situation is when solo practitioners are working under the same branded organization. You may create listings for every practitioner with a separate phone number, provided the practitioners are frequently at the location and are usually available by phone.


Verifying Your Business

After you list your business, Google will need to verify it actually exists. Using a phone number is faster than mail verification — which takes between 1 and 2 weeks. If you are eligible for phone verification, make sure you are available at the phone number you submit. You will receive an automated message with a PIN, which you will need to enter for verification.

Including a phone number with your business listing can be useful for improving visibility, but it is only worthwhile if you have a phone number at your location. If you only have a number that directs callers to the central location or anywhere other than to your local business, it is better to include no phone number at all.