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There has been a great deal of discussion about SEO and call tracking lately. Several local marketers have written articles decrying call tracking, saying that it hurts SEO. Other local marketing experts have written rebuttals, stating clearly that call tracking does not hurt SEO when it is deployed correctly.

Our goal is this article to summarize a few of the arguments.

What is Call Tracking?

Call tracking is a way for online marketers to track which sources, campaigns, and keywords generate phone calls. Hundreds of thousands of marketers across the U.S. and Canada use call tracking to close the loop on their marketing ROI calculations. Some of the biggest companies in the world use call tracking to measure the effectiveness of their PPC campaigns, SEO efforts, and retargeting. These companies value call data significantly. They spend a lot of money on it.

Marketing agencies also use call tracking. They use it as a way to prove their worth to their clients. It is especially popular among agencies that do PPC and SEO work.

Call tracking is, right now, a $1B industry. It is mainstream.

What is the Truth?

Call tracking, when used correctly does not hurt SEO. That’s the truth. Even most ardent call tracking opponents admit that.

The correct way to use call tracking is to use call tracking DNI. This doesn’t hurt SEO. We’ll discuss more about this later in the article.

The problem is that the call tracking industry has traditionally done a very poor job of educating marketers about what correct use of call tracking actually is.

Why Do Some Say Call Tracking Hurts SEO?

Because of NAP.

Google makes it very clear that Name Address and Phone number (NAP) have to be consistent across all online directories. Having different phone numbers in a ton of different places confuses Google’s algorithms and will hurt your SEO. This is why a few local marketers have written articles criticizing call tracking.

They’re right about one thing. Call tracking numbers should not be used in various directory listings across the web. That will hurt your SEO. This is common knowledge (or should be).

However, far too often articles attacking call tracking will lump all uses of call tracking (on-site Dynamic Number Insertion, primarily) together with the erroneous use of call tracking in directories.

And, admittedly, some call tracking companies have not operated with care in this area. They have placed call tracking numbers all over directories without worrying about the consequences for their clients. This is bad business and bad for the industry.

Experts That Warn of Call Tracking Admit It Doesn’t Hurt SEO if Used Correctly

Adam Steele is one of the foremost local marketing experts on the web. He is the Founder of Nightlite Media, a Vancouver-based SEO firm. He wrote an article recently that discussed call tracking and SEO in great detail, this was after the barrage of call tracking and SEO articles on both sides of the debate.

“The solution [to call tracking and SEO] is quite well documented.

As long as precaution is made to make certain your tracking number doesn’t get scraped by Google, or some other authority, tracking numbers are totally fine.

Historically, and I think this is where a lot of this anger from marketers [about call tracking] stems from, companies in the call tracking industry…have abused these numbers without any regard for NAP or the SMB.

Call tracking companies need to educate. Tracking numbers are awesome. I use them all the time, especially in local lead gen. Naturally it is an incredible way to measure my campaign results.”

Other widely known agencies and experts confirm that call tracking doesn’t hurt SEO and recommend that businesses use it.

He says that marketers can use call tracking on their website. They would “…have more control and might see some interesting value to using call tracking numbers.”

He also says that an entirely safe and acceptable technique would be to “….use a Javascript to display a tracking number to the user, that guarantees that the Google bot and search from Google always see your local number.”

He later says he has participated in discussions with other SEO experts and “…confirms that this [using call tracking DNI] is acceptable.”

Entire state marketing associations, and other respected groups, confirm and endorse that call tracking is fine when if it is used correctly.

The list of sources confirming that call tracking does not hurt SEO when used correctly is too long to include here. Suffice it to say that call tracking is mainstream and when deployed correctly; it DOES NOT hurt SEO.

Ways to Correctly Use Call Tracking

One of the best articles regarding how to correctly use call tracking was written recently by the Minnesota Search Association. I STRONGLY recommend that you read this article. They lay out 5 specific ways to ensure that call tracking does not harm your SEO. At the risk of being repetitive, I won’t go into the details and methods they discuss. But I will mention one more method that ensures call tracking is safe, Dynamic Number Insertion.

 Dynamic Number Insertion is a call tracking method that actually virtually displays a unique phone number on a website based on the source or keyword of the visitor. This is done via a snippet of Javascript. The default number on the site stays hard-coded and does not change. Thus, NAP is not impacted and SEO is not harmed. This is the predominant method companies use to gather call tracking data. It is a failsafe way to gather critical call tracking metrics without harming SEO.

It is worth nothing that this dynamic Javascript method is the same method that A/B testing companies like chúng tôi use to split-test sites. It is also the same method by which dynamic content and ad generation is accomplished. These things don’t hurt SEO. Why would call tracking?

The bottom line is this: local marketers and call tracking companies need to deal with this nuanced issue in a nuanced way. If a call tracking company says that call tracking numbers NEVER hurt SEO, they are wrong. If a local marketer says that call tracking numbers ALWAYS or even MOSTLY hurt SEO, they are wrong.

Using call tracking numbers on directories is bad. Using call tracking DNI on your site is good.

Featured Image: Deposit Photos

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The Truth About Activated Charcoal In Beauty Products

In the past few years, activated charcoal has become a common ingredient in over-the-counter beauty and health products—not to mention it’s also made an appearance in coffee, ice cream, and cookies, among other things, turning them all an elegant black. In particular, the substance has recently become a popular component in skincare, with its presence in this market expected to continue its rise for some time. There’s just one problem: There’s no proof it does any good, and in some cases it might be harmful.

Charcoal itself is simply the carbon residue left over after slow heating high-carbon-content materials like wood, coconut shells or even sugar to remove most of the water they contain. It’s lightweight, highly portable, and burns for a long time at a reliable temperature. Thanks to these properties, humans have used charcoal as fuel for thousands of years. And you know humans: If it’s around them, at some point they’re likely to try to eat it. Nobody knows exactly how or who came up with the idea, but by the time of Hippocrates (approximately 500 CE), some people were using it as toothpaste, thanks to its abrasive properties.

Documented cases of charcoal being ingested date as far back as the 1800s when documents show doctors used the substance to treat food poisoning, according to David Juurlink, a pharmacologist at the University of Toronto. When mixed with water, the stuff creates a slurry that attracts toxins to its surface, reducing the amount that goes into a person’s system. Speaking to Popular Science, Juurlink says doctors give activated charcoal to a person who has overdosed on a drug or been poisoned in another way. The slurry is administered by mouth or via a nasal tube that goes down into the stomach and attracts the dangerous toxins in an affected individual.

This system works thanks to its pores, which are all the little holes you may have noticed in charcoal briquettes. Activated charcoal has been specially treated with heat to have more of them—a lot more—which means more of its material is in contact with the outside world. This gives the stuff an incredibly high surface area—just a gram of it can have a surface area upwards of 32,000 square feet.

For people who are not actively experiencing an overdose, Juurlink says, drinking an activated charcoal slurry or taking activated charcoal pills probably won’t hurt them, “but it assuredly will do them no good.”

But, again, there’s absolutely no reason to be taking activated charcoal at home. It won’t detox your body or make you healthier. There’s also no benefit to putting it on your skin despite the fact that it’s now marketed as beneficial in a slew of over-the-counter skin care products.

Starting in about 2014, some skincare companies started heavily marketing charcoal-infused products with a specific focus on the acne treatment market. Because things “stick” to activated charcoal, the theory goes, the substance should be able to clear your pores of gunk and otherwise get potentially pore-clogging substances off the skin. Even Biore, maker of the classic pore strips, got in on the action with a whole line of charcoal products.

“It looks cool, it’s inexpensive and it’s not harmful… which is more than I can say for a lot of other beauty treatments” writes Michelle Wong who has a PhD in chemistry and runs a blog about the science of beauty, but there’s also no evidence it does anything, she writes.

“Since there have been few studies regarding charcoal’s effects on the skin, these products should be used in moderation and with caution,” the University of Miami researchers write. That’s particularly true for products that promise to unblock your pores with visible results (think those oh-so-satisfying-to-remove pore strips, which come off—often painfully—and bring tons of pore-clogging gunk with them.) If it hurts or causes irritation, don’t do it, no matter how clean it seems to make your skin.

In the case of both consuming activated charcoal and putting it on your skin, there’s another big issue clinicians worry about: Since it hasn’t been shown to have any positive effect, relying on it to treat genuine illness or injury could delay you getting the help you need. In other words, if you feel sick, see a medical professional because activated charcoal can’t help you. But if you just want your face mask to be a stylish black, well, nobody’s stopping you.

Top 20 Call Tracking Softwares To Track Inbound Calls

If you’re looking to increase traffic, one of the best ways to do that is over the phone.

Phone calls are a high-quality and lead-generating source – 43% of internet users convert through phone calls!

But how can you tell which of your marketing efforts are driving conversions?

How can you optimize your campaigns so that you’re spending money on efforts that are working best for you?

The answer is Call Tracking Software!

Let’s dig deeper into this.

What is Inbound Call Tracking Software?

Inbound phone calls can be attributed in a number of ways used to track how many times people dial a specific number for more information about your company, website, products or services.

They are often generated using multiple numbers, like local numbers (typically area codes), 1 – 800 numbers and pay-per-call keywords that may appear on third-party websites or papers.

These innovative digital solutions enable any brand to track customer interactions by creating unique routing scripts based on the specific phone call source.

What are the Key Benefits of Call Tracking Software?

The Call tracking software offers multiple benefits, some of which are: 

Call tracking helps you have insight into marketing campaigns. It is important to be efficient in developing and handling strategies for what are your critical search engine marketing efforts so that you can get a good return on investment from your campaigns. One way that you can be more aware of how people respond to different marketing tools is by using call tracking software. When used well, you will be able to see information on phone calls such as the caller’s geographical location and recording of the telephone call; this will help you make adjustments based on the data and identify where there might need to be some changes made to improve campaign performance.

Regardless of company objectives, however, a not-so-secret desire that many businesses have is to please customers and keep them coming back in the future. If you can provide them with a dedicated number for customer care, it enhances your customer experience and here is where Call tracking software can help you.

Call tracking technology helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. By monitoring their performance, companies are able to get a better idea of how well their team is functioning and if they need any additional training or guidance.

How to Choose Right Call Tracking Software?

Now that you know how call tracking software can enhance your marketing efforts multi-folds, it’s time to find out which call tracking software is good for your business.

Dynamic Number Generation

Call tracking numbers are MOST useful when they’re dynamically generated. This will allow you to centre your call campaigns on the market you want – whether it be a certain industry, geographic location or more generalized demographic, etc.


Your call tracking software should be customizable to meet your specific business requirements. Every business is unique and so are its requirement and the more the customization is possible, the better will be your call tracking tool

Uptime and Reliability

When choosing a call tracking solution, you should look for a company that works with your business needs and delivers excellent service. Whether you run a SaaS company or a brick-and-mortar business, we can help you track who’s calling your cellular or landline number using our tried-and-true call tracking analytics system, whatever the industry and context of your business.

Call Recordings and Transcriptions

Your call tracking software should facilitate call recordings and transcriptions. This data can be very beneficial for your company to analyze your prospective customers and their needs.

Detailed Analytics

A call tracking tool should offer detailed analytics like call time and date, caller ID, call source, caller location, call duration, and caller details.


Pricing of the call tracking tool cannot be ignored, pick the best pricing plan based on your campaigns and call frequency.

Now when you know how to pick on the right call tracking tool, here are a few call tracking tools you can explore.

Top 20 Call Tracking Software To Track Phone Calls 1. Hubspot

😍 Pros

For sales calls, there’s a lot of attribution, transcript, and outcome tracking functionality.

Maintains a list of tasks that occur from phone calls.

😢 Cons

Lacks effective and full-time customer support.

💰 Pricing

Starter: Starts at $50/month

Professional: $500/month

Enterprise: $1200/month

2. EngageBay

The platform is aimed to integrate sales, marketing, and customer care into a single web-based solution for small businesses and startups that offers high functionality at a low cost.

EngageBay includes a CRM module that includes ticketing, help desk, and knowledge base operations, as well as basic call tracking features including call recording, call profiles and databases, call routing, and campaign tracking. Advanced call monitoring features like automated transcription, keyword tracking, and interactive voice response (IVR) are not supported.

😍 Pros

The forms and reports are highly customizable

Can manage bulk contacts

😢 Cons

Does not support many high-end features like IVR

💰 Pricing


Basic: $11.99 per user/month

Growth: $39.99 per user/month

Pro: $79.99 per user/month

3. Analytic Call Tracking by Invigo

😍 Pros

Easy to use

😢 Cons

Pricing is not available online

💰 Pricing

Starting price: $19.99 per month


Their call centre dashboard provides a deep data look at how your team is tracking in real-time so you can zoom into trends, priorities, and actionable insights. This way, you know exactly where each member of your team stands and what they’re up to while they’re on the job. There are three main parts to that software: 1) Call Histories – where you can see an event breakdown, resource utilization and volume analysis. 2) Data Visualization – where you can get an overview of activity for any day with the ability to filter by the last 7 or 14 days to just get the high-level view. 3) Individual Call Details – Here’s where you track what happened, who was involved and what actions were taken from beginning to end of each call.

😍 Pros

They are AI-powered

Offers superb call analytics and voice transcription. 

😢 Cons

They only offer web support.

💰 Pricing

Starter: $240/month

Basic: $420/month

Pro: $900/month

Custom: On quote

5. Phonexa

Phonexa offers a sophisticated call tracking solution for businesses. It provides multi-level IVR (Interactive Voice Response) that’s voice-recognition based and that also enables consumers to text their answers next time they get a call from this business. In other words, the IVR can tell them what they have to say in order to reach the person they need by responding with their verbal response instead of having to write down something or put it in a box. Phonexa also has reporting tools such as analytics and data reporting capabilities. This means phone companies using Phonexa can be far more successful and increase user experience above all by optimizing routes based on real-world usage making sure that callers who call in don’t get frustrated or lose time trying to find someone who is available so they know somebody will pick up when they’re done recording voicemails!

😍 Pros

High-end and powerful features


😢 Cons

Complicated Usage

💰 Pricing

Lite: $100/month

Premium: $500/month

Enterprise: On quote

6. LiveVox

LiveVox call tracking tool is positioned as a solution for businesses of all sizes that focuses on managing agents from any location. It comes in Mac and Windows desktop editions, and it contains campaign management, reporting and analytics, call recording, real-time chat, and IVR speech recognition technology. It along with the CRM platform, allow for integrated call centre capabilities.

😍 Pros

User Friendly

😢 Cons

Pricing is not available online

💰 Pricing

Starting Price: $2500.00/month

7. JustCall

Justcall is a cloud-based business call tracking tool for sales, call centres, and support teams. For their regular calling and messaging operations, businesses can purchase local and toll-free numbers from JustCall in more than 70 countries. It can also be installed on Mac and Windows systems, as well as on iPhone and Android phones locally.

😍 Pros

Easy to use

Great integration capabilities.

😢 Cons

No free subscription

💰 Pricing

Standard: $25/user

Premium: $50/user

Enterprise: On quote

8. inConcert Allegro

inConcert Allegro Voice Contact Center software both cloud-based and on-premise services.

inConcert Allegro Voice Contact Center offers various call tracking services including

inbound and outbound calling

call tracking and management

messaging and IVR functionality

predictive dialling

😍 Pros

The design of its IVR self-service system is powerful

It offers great call centre management features.

😢 Cons

Pricing is not available online.

💰 Pricing

Offers a Free Trial

Another plan pricing is available on quote

9. Clixtell

😍 Pros

User friendly

Powerful analysis tool

Strong anti-bot

😢 Cons

No IVR functionality

💰 Pricing


Monitor: $15/month

Protection: $50/month

Agency: $75/month

10. CallFire

CallFire has many of the fundamental features of a modern call monitoring service, such as agent-client histories, reporting and analytics that can be linked to Google Analytics, IVR speech recognition, and integrated CRM databases. Customers may also customize agent scripts and record calls, and the system’s audio broadcast and text messaging capabilities make it easier for agents to update information, send alarms, and track employee performance. Its IVR features, which include an auto-attendant and speech recognition, facilitate call routing, phone surveys, appointment booking, and results tracking.

😍 Pros


Good features

Easy to use

😢 Cons

No call transcription facility

💰 Pricing

Pro: $599/month

Grow: $299/month

Startup: $199/month

Lite: $99/month

Pay as you go: 6 cents per minute/text

11. Callcap

Callcap, which has been operational for nearly two decades, was a pioneer in the field of call tracking software. For call routing, tracking, and recording, the company now offers a cloud-based VoIP service. It allows for a variety of complex call monitoring features, such as the ability to grade and summarise calls and generate reports based on that data.

One of Callcap’s unique features is call recovery, which analyses instances where a prospect hangs up without completing a deal or when customer service falls short of expectations.

😍 Pros

High-end call tracking features

Easy to use

😢 Cons


💰 Pricing

Starting Price: $45.00 Per Feature/month

12. ActiveDEMAND

The call tracking software from ActiveDEMAND has a lot of capabilities. Statistics and call tracking are available. It also records and transcripts calls, maintains a caller database and provides incoming caller profiles and ID, and supports speech recognition and automated interactive voice response (or IVR), which allows callers to interact with a call-in system only through their voice.

😍 Pros

Extensive call tracking features

It can be customized 

😢 Cons

It does not support direct integration with a CRM tool.

💰 Pricing

Call Tracking: $0per month per user

Recording is an extra 1/2 cent/minute

CallForensics also has an additional /minute charge that varies by region

13. Marchex

Marchex Call tracking tool is a call management system that, as the name suggests, focuses on providing detailed insights on the most efficient marketing channels for generating inbound calls and prospects. It classifies incoming call outcomes, associates them with certain search phrases and actions, and automatically redacts call recordings to ensure security and privacy.

😍 Pros

Good customer service

Strong reporting tool

Powerful analytics

Easy to manage

😢 Cons

It lacks CRM integration.

💰 Pricing

Free Trial

Pricing is not available online

14. DialogTech

DialogTech is a virtual call centre that provides targeted sales and customer service through call tracking, data tracking, reporting, and analytics.

😍 Pros

Good data tracking and analysis

Trustworthy IVR feature

😢 Cons

Difficult to use

Not enough usage tutorials are provided by the company

💰 Pricing

Quotation-based starts at $500 per user/month

15. Invoca

Marketers can use Invoca a call tracking and analytics solution powered by AI.

Invoca claims its real-time business intelligence analysis as a standout feature, which includes insights on call outcome and conversion potential.

😍 Pros

Real-time and detailed analytics

Easy to use and user-friendly

😢 Cons

Not good for small business

Is not available for ioS and android

💰 Pricing

Pro: On quote

Enterprise: On quote

Elite: On quote

16. has been providing call tracking services since 2012. It includes AI-powered analytics, automated conversation transcription and analysis, real-time sales performance evaluation, call recording, and event-based AI-powered notifications.

Additional call tracking capabilities include IVR support, the scheduling of follow-up calls, the ability to monitor and record dialer calls, and reporting and analytics for outbound dialer calls.

😍 Pros

Good call control

Offers randomized numbers

Built-in CRM integration

😢 Cons

Minor performance issues

💰 Pricing

Core: On quote

Professional: On quote

Pro Plus: On quote

17. CloudTalk

😍 Pros

Easy to use

Detailed reporting

Good CRM integration

😢 Cons

Can be a little expensive

💰 Pricing

Starter: 25 Euro per month per user

Essential: 30 Euro per month per user

Expert: 50 Euro per month per user

Custom: on quote

18. CallTrackingMetrics

With clients in more than 90 countries, CallTrackingMetrics has a constantly growing position in the call tracking industry. This call tracking software is an all-in-one call monitoring that also offers a comprehensive contact centre management solution, as well as a conversation analytics platform that uses AI-driven call tracking to increase contact centre automation. At various levels of service, users can get call tracking, predictive dialling, text messaging support, auto-tagging, chat and text messaging assistance, and an open API for further customising their own solutions.

😍 Pros

Good features

Large third-party integrations

😢 Cons

Does not facilitate on-premises software deployment

💰 Pricing

Performance: $39/month

Growth: $119/month

Connect: $329/month

Enterprise: on quote

19. RingCentral MVP

RingCentral MVP is a cloud-based call tracking platform for phone calls, faxing and messaging. Its cloud-based design adapts to desktop and mobile devices. It offers flexible access control to various users and has a robust set of management tools. It offers voicemail forwarding, automatic call recording, and IVR voice recognition.

😍 Pros

Solid customization of API

Easy to configure

😢 Cons

The basic plan comes with very limited features

💰 Pricing

Essential: $14.99/user/month

Standard: $20.99/user/month

Premium: $26.24/user/month

Ultimate: $37.49/user/month

20. CallRail

CallRail is a call tracking and marketing software that gives you a lot of information about incoming calls and where they are in the customer journey. To discover trends and establish which channels and campaigns are creating the most calls, it leverages email, phone logs, and caller ID databases. It connects to Google Analytics and AdWords call tracking campaigns to get a comprehensive picture of caller history.

😍 Pros

Good features

Good customer services

Easy to use

😢 Cons

Auto dialling feature is not available in outbound calling

💰 Pricing

Conversation Analytics + call tracking



Call tracking software can be a great boost to your marketing efforts. But with a plethora of tools available in the market, it is best to analyse the best available tools and pick the most suitable call tracking tool for your business requirements.

The above list has briefly explained the various aspects of the best call tracking software available in markets, analyse them and finalize the one that best suits your needs!

FAQs of Call Tracking

🤔 Q: What is the meaning of Call Tracking?

🤔 Q: Why is call tracking important?

🤔 Q: How does call tracking software work?

🤔 Q: What Is Dynamic Call Tracking? 

✅ Ans: Dynamic call tracking is a versatile technology that helps businesses determine which customer behaviour is the best target point for their marketing campaigns. This is achieved by displaying different phone numbers to users depending on where they are located, their IP address and information collected during previous searches and site visits.

🤔 Q: Can I track a cell phone with just a number?

✅ Ans: There are only two approved ways of doing this. The first and most recommended option is to seek help from a trusted phone number tracing solution. Using an application is the second-best way since it can handle any problem that arises with a few quick taps of your fingers.

Everything You Need To Know About Wearable Health Tracking

How Is It Being Used?

Wearable technology is in a semi-nascent stage. People are still finding new uses for such devices, but for the most part, health tracking has proven to be very promising. For consumers, this means that doctors are able to have a complete picture of their patients’ health.

Sensors can also be used in private businesses, allowing them to understand when employees begin feeling overwhelmed or stressed and lets them take this into consideration when making decisions on what roles employees are ready to play. Sports teams can use sensor input to determine when players are feeling too tired to continue playing and bench them.

Implications in Big Data

Wearable sensors not only give us an idea of our own bill of health, but also play a major role in a much bigger spectrum (hence the use of the term “Big Data”). With wearable technology in the workplace, we can better understand what conditions employees need to be more creative by measuring spikes in gamma brain waves that occur just before that big “aha!” moment. By making large-scale studies, compiling data from multiple workplaces, we can understand what makes people tick and provide environments that promote productivity and creativity harmoniously. Life for employees can improve, while businesses can become more competitive. It’s a complete win-win for everyone!

Things to Watch Out for

Of course, whenever there’s a new technology, pitfalls come along to ruin the party for us. By storing more data about employees and consumers, we potentially expose them to data breaches that can have very negative implications to their own personal privacy. Security will have to be the number-one priority as adoption moves forward. Remember, online credit card payments have been happening every day for years, but we still see breaches happening on massive scales. We still do not understand completely how much more a security breach will negatively affect employees and consumers whose health data we are recording, but we should definitely work on making sure that the benefits of the technology outweigh its risks.

What’s in the Future?

Wearables, as far as health is concerned, show a lot of promise for doing some good in this world. But wearables can have many more implications in our lives. I’ve already explained in an earlier piece how the HoloLens from Microsoft can improve the way we work with the added benefit of being addictively entertaining. The ability to make sensors, wear them, and then use those wearables for our convenience and benefit will provide a significant boost to almost every industry. Should the technology overcome all of the things that may hold it back in the future, we should be seeing these devices making a strong presence in our lives by the year 2023.

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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What Are Call And Put Options?

Options are “derivative investments”, meaning the price movements of the investments are based on the price movements of another financial product. The financial product from which the derivative is obtained is called the “underlying.”

Call and Put Options

Options are contracts that provide the buyer the right to buy or sell an underlying asset, at a predetermined price and before a specific date.

A call option is bought by a trader if the investor expects the price of the underlying to rise within a certain time frame.

A put option is bought by a trader if he/she expects the price of the underlying to fall within a given time frame.

How Call Options Work

For American-style options, the call option buyers get the right to buy an underlying asset at a pre-decided price at any time before expiry.

In case of European-style options, the buyers may exercise the option— to buy the underlying—only on the expiration date. Options expirations may vary and can be either short-term or long-term.

Here, the strike price is that at which a put buyer can sell the underlying asset. For example, the investor who chooses to go for a stock put option with a strike price of $10 can use the option to sell that stock at $10.

The Buyer Gets 

The call buyer can buy a stock at the strike price before the expiration. To get the right, the call buyer needs to pay a premium. If the underlying’s price moves above the strike price, the option will be worth money. The buyer can sell the option for a profit or exercise the option, which means he would receive the shares from the person who wrote the option).

The Call Seller Gets

The call writer/seller which is usually a bank receives the premium. Writing call options is a way to generate income. However, the income from a call option is limited to the premium, but a call buyer has theoretically unlimited potential of earning profit.

Calculating the Call Option’s Cost

One stock call option contract usually contains 100 shares of the underlying stock where each stock’s call prices are basically quoted as per share rate. Therefore, to determine the price of a contract, the price of the option should be multiplied by 100.

Call options can be “in”, “at”, or “out of” the money −

In-the-money refers to the underlying asset price that is above the call strike price.

Out-of-the-money refers to the underlying price that is below the strike price.

At-the-money is when the underlying price and the strike price are the same.

How Put Options Work

For American-style options, a put options contract provides the buyer the right to sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price at any time up to the expiration date.

The purchasers of European-style options should exercise the option, that is sell the underlying only on the expiration date.

Here, the strike price is that at which a put buyer can sell the underlying asset. For example, the investor who chooses to go for a stock put option with a strike price of $10 can use the option to sell that stock at $10.

The Put Buyer Gets 

The put buyer gets the right to sell a stock at the strike price. For gaining that right, the put buyer needs to pay a premium. When the underlying’s price moves below the strike price, the option will be worth money. The buyer can also sell the options for a profit or exercise the option, that is sell the shares.

The Put Seller Gets 

The put seller, or writer, gets the premium from the sale. Writing put options is also a way to generate income. However, generating income from writing put options is limited to the premium, while a put buyer can continue to maximize their profit until the stock price goes to zero.

Calculating the Put Option’s Cost

Put contracts also represent 100 shares of the underlying stock. To find the price of the whole contract, one needs to multiply the underlying’s share price by 100.

Put options can be “in”, “at”, or “out of” the money, just like call options −

In-the-money refers to the fact that the underlying asset price is below the put strike price.

Out-of-the-money refers to the fact that the underlying price is above the strike price.

At-the-money implies that the underlying price and the strike price are the same.

Google Brilliance, Fake Steve Jobs Truth, And The Death Of Blu

As we wrap up 2007 there have been some potentially wide ranging events, and what should be some lasting lessons. For the next several weeks I’ll explore these two or three at a time, and for this week I’d like to pick some of the biggest.

Google is trending to be a company with power that eclipses Microsoft, IBM and AT&T combined and, partially anticipating a Microsoft Evil Empire-like set of problems, they have taken on Big Oil with their aggressive alternative energy strategy. This movement could have global implications for them and for us.

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Finally, one of the big battles this year was the one between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Over the Black Friday weekend, the total number of HD-DVD players purchased so far reached 750,000 players. There are a number of lessons on why Blu-Ray has become the albatross around Sony’s neck and I’d like to close this week making sure you don’t make similar mistakes.

Google: Learning from Microsoft’s Mistakes

Google may turn out to be the exception for at least one big problem: image. Whether it was Standard Oil, AT&T, IBM, or Microsoft, when a company gets large it both gets an image problem and grows a tendency to misuse its power, exacerbating this problem. With all of the companies, short of Microsoft (which really still doesn’t seem to even comprehend they have a problem) this repeating issue has cost them billions to correct in image recovery.

The risk is going to war with the Oil Cartels and these guys don’t have much of a sense of humor. Still, Google has been defined by big bets that have paid off for them successfully and this may very well do that.

The lesson here is that image is important. How you are perceived can drive you in, or out, of a market and moving on image problems early and aggressively can have massive monetary and competitive benefits. I’m just pleased that Google has apparently learned from one of Microsoft’s mistakes and doesn’t feel the need to repeat it. I also really like the idea of someone standing up and doing something material about our addiction to Oil. So their action certainly resonates with me.

Fake Steve Jobs – Real Silicon Valley

One of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time is Dan Lyons’ Fake Steve Jobs book. Many of us in the valley were followers of the Fake Steve Jobs blog and a number of us, including me, were thought to be the author. I’m not that good. In the Blog, Dan captured the spirit of Steve Jobs and by reading the Blog it was almost like you were reading Steve Jobs’ mind. Others have tried this, but the only one that has consistently been believable, funny, and thought provoking is The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.

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The book is a masterpiece of insight. Dan has taken many of the reported behaviors of a lot of executives in technology and woven them into a parody of Steve Jobs, Apple, the Silicon Valley, and the Technology market in general. If, in reading this book, you doubt what he is talking about is possible you clearly don’t follow technology closely. For instance there was a tech CEO a few years ago who used to like to hire Pizza Delivery boys and chase them with his restored Sherman Tank (which eventually crashed against a very large tree), he also used to dress up as a nun and go bar hopping in some of the seedier parts of the city. And this is only one of the untold stories in technology.

Good parody is both humorous and gives you an enlightened perspective into events, and people that you otherwise wouldn’t have. This book, to my eye, is good parody. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have more money then you could ever think of spending this is a good way to see how the other half lives, and why the grass can be anything but green on the other side of the fence.

I’ve known a lot of very wealthy people in my career as an analyst, and have seen some die early before experiencing some of the best parts of life or really enjoying their wealth. I’ve observed massive pettiness and downright childish meanness in their behaviors, and realized that far too many think of themselves very poorly and live in constant fear. Granted you don’t have to end up this way but far too often fast wealth results in really nasty behavior and, after reading this book, you’ll look at a lot of these wealthy self-absorbed CEOs differently.

If the cost of wealth is the destruction of your life and those close to you, the lesson buried in this book is that that this cost is too high. As is working closely with people like this, something that many more of us should constantly remember.

How Blu-Ray Committed Suicide or the Tech Version of the Naked Emperor

On paper Blu-Ray was a failure on day one. Unfortunately the details of this paper weren’t apparent to those of us following technology until after the offering had launched. Blu-Ray is the cause of low attach rates between HD TVs and HD movie players. It has dropped Sony from uncatchable first place in console gaming to a distant 3rd, and it has almost assured that when the market does move to HD media it won’t benefit Japan or optical drive manufacturers but someone else.

Had the industry supporters of this – particularly the now fired head of Sony’s Playstation Group – known this they would have run, literally, screaming from this technology.

This is the Emperor Has No Clothes problem that seems to plague companies of all sizes. Someone who should have raised their hands and said, Hey, maybe we should spend our billions on something that could actually result in comparable revenue like maybe fixing the digital delivery of HD content problem, or the mobility problem (putting movies on portable players), or even expending the gaming segment which is what Nintendo did with a fraction of the cash.

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But no, some powerful executive at Sony (and if there was any one company that should have known better it’s Sony, which remakes this same mistake several times every decade) pushed through an initiative that trashed their strongest asset, the Play Station. Now Sony is stuck. The effort is a hole that takes critical resources and they can’t even walk away from it without doing even more damage to critical parts of the company.

To be clear, all Sony has accomplished with a massive waste of resources is assuring that HD optical penetration in the market is about 1/20th of potential. And the collateral damage to Sony will go down in the history books. It’s the business equivalent of the Iraq war.

The lesson here really is that folks need to do their homework, and I mean builders not buyers (though it can apply to both), and think about the big picture before making big bets. We started out with Google being repetitively very smart as a young company and ended with Sony being repetitively stupid, suggesting that age does not always make for good decisions, analysis does. Google appears to be doing good analysis with respect to most things (though there are exceptions even there) and Sony is the walking example of what not to do.

Remember to Think

In this piece we talked about Google learning from Microsoft’s mistakes and Sony not even learning from their own. We also pointed to the Options book by Dan Lyons as a great way to learn about some of the movers and shakers in technology and suggest that reading this book would be vastly more fun and less painful than experiencing some of this stuff first hand.

While I too have made some incredibly stupid mistakes in my life, I try very hard not to make the same mistake twice, and to learn from others because I feel no compelling need to experience pain (though there have been times I’ve wondered about this last point).

As we move towards the end of 2007 take a moment to reflect and evaluate the paths you are on. Even the best make avoidable mistakes by not thinking enough.

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