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Understanding Self Storage Website Traffic with Google Trends

January 18, 2023

a line graph wit ha downward trend and a website icon in the corner
6 min

Want some extra insight on why your self storage facility's website traffic is up one month and down the next?

It’s not uncommon for facilities to see more or fewer rentals based on the season. This trend is also reflected in web traffic. So if you’re seeing a low (or high) amount of visitors to your site or you’re not sure why your online rentals grow or shrink, you might just be seeing seasonal market trends.

Before you panic about your online numbers, take a look at search trends for the self storage industry. There’s a simple way to do it for free: Google Trends.


What is Google Trends?

Google Trends is a tool that allows you to enter search terms and see—you guessed it—their search trends! Specifically, it shows you the popularity of the term on the search engine.

Google Trends allows users to enter multiple search terms and even define the period of time that data is shown for. If you want to see how today’s search volume for “self storage units near me” compares to five years ago? Well, you can do that very easily!

We should also touch on what Google Trends is not: a scientific data source with precise search volume data.

Google Trends shouldn’t be taken as a way to research how much search volume a term has. Instead, it is best used to see how a search term rises and falls in popularity or to compare the search popularity of multiple search terms. This can help you understand why your self storage website's traffic looks the way it does over time.

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Why should I use Google Trends for Self Storage?

Without context, there’s no way to know if you’re doing something wrong or if the result you’re getting is to be expected.

For example, what if I told you that I run a self storage facility and last month I got five online rentals? Is that good or bad?

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You can’t tell me, can you? You could make a guess based on your own storage facility’s online rentals. Maybe your facility sees two online rentals a month, so five seems outstanding.

Now, what if I told you that I’m in a dense market and my average month sees ten online rentals? Suddenly, five goes from looking amazing to being just 50% of my average.

That’s why you need context. Google Trends helps provide context for some of your online traffic and rental metrics.

Before you decide you need to make a change to your website or start running Google Ads, do a little bit of free research and see if there's even a problem!

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How can I use Google Trends to see self storage search trends?

So, we need to find context for our website’s performance, and we know Google Trends is supposed to help.

But how?

One key feature of Google Trends is its ability to display search popularity over a period of time in the form of a line graph.

To do this, navigate to Google Trends, type your keywords into the search bar and hit enter, then select your desired timeline from the drop-down menus above the graph.

Take this example:

A google trends line chart showing "storage unit near me" search popularity

In this example image, we can see the twelve-month trend for the search term “storage units near me.” Compared to June of 2022, search popularity declined a good bit by December.

Looking over your numbers for December, you may notice a dip in web traffic and even rentals compared to just a few months prior.

If you're ever concerned or curious about your web traffic, you can pop open Google Trends and see this very chart. Plug in some popular self storage search terms and see how their search popularity is looking. Compare this to the web traffic trends for your website.

With the context of the image above, we can see that people just aren’t searching online for storage units as much as they were six months ago.

If you see your website traffic decline and it matches the trends on Google Trends, it probably declined due to seasonal market factors. Similarly, if you see your numbers going up, you can check search trends to see if it's due to something you've changed or if people are just searching for storage more often.

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How to compare the popularity of different self storage keywords

In addition to seeing the search popularity of a given search term (or keyword) over time, you can also compare the popularity of multiple search terms relative to each other.

When would this come in handy? If you’re debating between focusing on, say, “mini storage” or “self storage” terminology, you could compare how the two stack up against each other, for example.

Let’s take a look at them now:

a google trends line chart comparing self storage and mini storage

Overall, we can see that the term “self storage” sees a lot more traffic than “mini storage.”

With this in mind, you probably want to prioritize self storage keywords over mini storage where applicable.

However, there is another angle to look into. Scroll down and look at the second set of data on the comparison.

a google trends map showing that most states prefer self storage aside from three

Notice anything about the map on the left?

That’s right. It shows at least three states in red, which is the color it assigned to “mini storage.” This means mini storage sees higher search popularity with users in those states.

a google trends graph showing Alaska prefers mini storage at 61% vs self storage 39%

According to Google Trends, “mini storage” is almost twice as popular as self storage with Alaskan searchers, as one example.

This means that you may want to incorporate more mini storage language on your site if you’re in Alaska compared to some other states!

You can also use this functionality to investigate the search popularity of other storage-related terms by region, such as seeing if customers are searching for smart storage units in your area or if RV and boat storage is popular.

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What are the main self storage keywords?

If you’re curious about using Google Trends to research search term popularity, here are some of the main self storage search terms to look into:

  • Storage units
  • Storage units near me
  • Self storage near me
  • Storage unit prices
  • Storage rental near me

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In Conclusion

Context is key to understanding your web traffic. Lagging numbers may not be a mistake on your end; instead, low numbers could reflect current industry search trends such as seasonality or even looming recession.

Conversely, you can also use this context to understand sudden increases in traffic and online rentals. It could be related to changes you've made in SEO, new Google Ads you're running, or a byproduct of the industry's seasonality.

Thankfully, using a tool like Google Trends, you can easily research these search trends and check if industry-wide searches are falling or if your facility is an outlier!

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