Starting in early November, Google will allow advertisers to use local area codes in their call extensions that utilize Google forwarding numbers. Previously, you had two options: use your own number and lose the ability to track calls in AdWords, or use an (866) forwarding number randomly assigned to your ads. With this new feature, local advertisers will get the added benefit of call tracking while keeping the friendly feel of a local area code number in the search results.
How do I set it up?
Easy! Google will automatically transition all eligible local phone numbers where available. According to Google, there will be some cases where local Google forwarding numbers are not available for your specific area code. In these cases, ads will get assigned a number with an area code for the geographic region your business is in or a toll-free forwarding number.
Who should give it a try?
This is a great new feature for all local advertisers that rely heavily on phone calls for business and do not have internal call tracking software. With local call forwarding, you will now be able to utilize the free call tracking already built into AdWords without sacrificing benefits gained from having a more appealing local number.
The only real drawback that still persists is that the number displayed in the search engine results still will not be your own. It will still be a Google generated number that forwards calls to your real number, which some advertisers might not like. Regardless, this is a step towards more localized SERPs, which is a good thing.
As mentioned, this feature is set to roll out early November 2014. Keep an eye out for it and let us know what you think.