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October 4, 2022
Getting your self storage website on the front page of Google search results is hard.
Every competitor is trying to beat you to the first position on search results! Sometimes your competitors have way more resources than you do, too. The REITs have a much easier time ranking high on Google than you will, just because of their size.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t hit the front page anyways. In this article, I’ll show you how to get your self storage website on the front page of Google when it counts!
For SEO, getting that first result on a Google search is winning. It’s a touchdown. A goal.
There are a lot of steps you can take to move your business closer to that victory, too. Perfecting your Google Business Profile, encouraging your tenants to leave good reviews, creating compelling content, and even just waiting can all improve your website’s rank for self storage SEO.
Then there are the paid options, which can be well worth the money in certain circumstances (but not all)!
I’ll cover all of these steps in this article so you can be certain that your website is performing at its very best. But I’ll also show you how to focus on SEO for self storage online rentals - which is the real target. If you rank first on Google but no one rents your units, your win isn’t worth much.
As the SEO guy at StoragePug, sometimes I get overly excited about search results. I want clicks, I want rankings, I want snippets!
But what I really want, and what you should want too, is sales. That means focusing on SEO for self storage online rentals, rather than focusing on Google search positioning. Ranking on page one doesn’t make you any money, after all.
If you want your website to generate rentals, you have to focus on your Local SEO!
The majority of self storage renters come from within 5 miles of the facility. In particularly widespread, rural areas, that number could go up to 15-20 miles.
That’s your audience.
89 percent of people search for a local business at least once a week, with 58 percent doing so daily. That’s a big pool of people using their phone to find places to spend money.
Of those people, 72 percent will visit a store within five miles of them!
With all of this information, we can determine that the vast, vast majority of your customers are going to be in your area. So the only SEO you need to worry about is local SEO.
This is great news for small operators because it means you don’t need to compete with all the self-storage REITs that have full marketing teams and powerful domain authority. You only need to compete for the people that are near your facility.
When someone searches for a local business through Google, they get this:
All four of these can be targeted by the right self storage SEO, but they don’t all have the same value. In fact, if you could choose one of these to show up in, it wouldn’t be the organic search results at all!
Local businesses want to show up in the local pack results.
Why? They get the most clicks.
In fact, the local pack results that display your reviews, address, hours, and phone number, get 44% of the clicks on a local search.
Organic results get 29%, pay-per-click ads get 19%, and the remaining 8% of clicks go to the search results past page one.
Searchers who are looking to make a purchase click the local pack results most, which means if you can rank here you’ll get more visitors, more rentals, and more money.
Even better, the local pack results are much easier for small businesses to rank for, too! Instead of having to play by the big company rules of content, backlinks, and metadata, you really only need to focus on a few things.
The SEO rules are different for the local pack results. Normal SEO ranking comes from backlinks, domain authority, proper data structure - all the sort of complex stuff you might not feel you have time for.
Luckily, to rank on the Local Pack, all you have to do is run a good business! And maintain your Google Business Profile (GBP) to prove to the search engine that you’re running a good business.
Moz - one of the foremost SEO companies - has released the ranking factors for local search. This lets us know what Google considers when deciding which sites to rank highly in answer to a query.
First, and most important, is your Google Business Profile. You need to have your GBP filled out thoroughly and accurately, otherwise, Google won’t have a good understanding of where your business is, your hours, or what you even offer!
Be sure your address, phone number, categories, and hours are all accurate. Then, upload lots of quality photos of your facility!
Check out our guide to maintaining your Google Business Profile (formerly called Google My Business) so you can be certain you’ve covered all the bases!
The next most important factor is your reviews!
Google considers how many reviews you have, how many of them are good reviews, and how often you respond to those reviews.
StoragePug offers easy one-click review requests from our Insights tool, which makes it easy to build a review profile via text and email. You can also ask customers to leave you a review after you have a positive interaction on-site!
Be sure to respond to as many reviews as you can, even if you’re just saying “thanks!” This shows both your customers and Google that you’re attentive and engaged.
The third-ranking factor is location. The strength of your rank here depends on how close the searcher is to your business. You can’t really do much about this (other than making sure your GBP information is correct).
Google (and other search engines) will try to give the searcher the most relevant response - if that’s your business, great! If not - there’s not a whole lot you can do to capture the interest of a potential customer that isn’t close to your business.
This is particularly tricky in crowded markets (like major cities). The best way to take your share of the business from overly crowded markets is to offer something your competitors don’t!
Also, you’ll have to be patient. Ranking high takes years of effort! You’ll likely show up in the local pack earlier than that, but there’s no magic button to press that’ll get you on the front page - unless you’re willing to pay for it.
After these, be sure that your address and other information is accurate across platforms (think Yelp, Bing, Apple Maps, etc.). If your information is inconsistent, Google may not know which is correct - which leads to the robots simply not listing you as an option, rather than risk sending a searcher to the wrong place.
Remember, Google’s goal is to help the searcher, not you, so you have to position yourself in a way that your business is the most helpful option!
You’re absolutely right - you do need a certain amount of content before any search engines can even determine what you do.
This leads a lot of self storage operators to try to generate a lot of content - mostly by starting a blog. And blogs are great for SEO, and can be good for your customers! But they aren’t always the best use of your time.
Most good self storage websites have plenty of content and keyword optimization. Adding a blog on top of good website content is rarely effective, and it can take a lot of time and effort.
If you have the time to write and update a blog, it can have benefits even for your local SEO results. However, if you’d have to sacrifice other aspects of your business (including your marketing budget) to run a blog, there are usually better options.
Content contributes to your organic SEO more than your local pack SEO and a self storage blog may have to compete on a global scale rather than a local one. This makes it much harder for a small operator to keep up.
If you’re going to do a blog, make it as local as possible. This is more useful to your tenants (which helps your website rank through better time on site, lower bounce rates, etc.) and allows you to avoid competing with the REITs.
Ranking first on the local pack and organic search doesn’t do you any good if you can’t convert those to rentals!
For that, you need a website that is attractive, informative, and effective!
If your website looks like it should be on Windows 96, you need to upgrade. You have to speak Google’s language to get in front of customers, but once you’re there, you have to close the deal.
A good website will do most of that work for you. Unlike people who visit your facility, you can’t be there to smile and present a good front - these potential customers are basically walking through your facility unchaperoned.
So make sure that what they see convinces them to choose you. Quality pictures, good design, and then a solid final product (offerings and rates) will get people to want to rent with you. Then, make it easy for them to get a unit.
Online rentals are a game-changer in the self storage industry. Customers expect to be able to do almost everything online, from ordering food to paying their electric bills.
Your website should make renting as quick and easy as possible. Remember earlier - local searchers want to make a purchase, and they’re in a hurry. While it’s good to have content on your website, make sure that content doesn’t get in the way.
Have a rent now button easily visible from every page on your site. Try to reduce the total number of clicks needed to rent a self storage unit. All of this will improve your customer experience, leading to happy customers, good reviews, and better self storage SEO!
Learn more ways to improve your self storage facility with these: