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November 28, 2018
You’re the owner of a self-storage facility, and you have all of your bases covered: you've invested in the layout of your facility, the location, the security, and surveillance, offer outdoor storage units and indoor climate-controlled storage units that are well-lit and inviting.
Your office support staff is friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and always available. You offer competitive pricing and terms. You offer sign-up bonuses and deals.
The problem is, people can’t find you online. You’ve heard much talk about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and you’ve even considered spending some money on online advertising, or on a firm that can help you rank higher in online searches.
Most online searches have a local component.
SEO is a powerful concept that can help your business get found online and is worth every second and every penny you spend on it. It has some of the highest return on investment markers of any marketing you can do.
SEO can be a complicated process, but taking a few necessary steps can help your business go a long way to ranking ahead of popular listing sites and even national self-storage brands that spend a lot of time and effort on online marketing.
The world of SEO has changed dramatically in recent years. Now, the most important thing is to make sure your business is found locally by people who are searching for self storage facilities. According to Google, 46% of online searches have local intent behind them.
People’s searching habits have become localized. So instead of searches being “self storage facility,” they have become “self storage [location]” or “self storage near me.”
Google continually makes adjustments to its search results display. The latest and greatest is called the Google 3 Pack – a display of a marked map with the top three businesses that match a person’s search results.
A person searching “self storage facility” in New York City would, therefore, get a search result with a map of their immediate area followed by business listings for the top three businesses that fit that search. These listings have your business's name and a link to your website as well as the number of your online reviews, your operating hours and contact information.
Studies show that ranking in the top three results here can give your business an exponential leg up on your competition. If you can rank consistently near the top of search rankings, you may not not need to spend as many marketing dollars in online advertising. So how do you make it so that your self-storage facility ranks in the Google 3 pack?
Before you begin trying to optimize your website for Local SEO, you need to do some research into keywords. These are the most common search terms people use when they try to find a self storage facility in your area on the internet.
You can start your keyword research by using the keyword planner tool on Google Ads. Set up an account to get access. You may have to enter payment information, but you will not get charged for using the planner. Next, start playing around with search terms you think people would use to find your facility!
Doing research will be valuable for you as you begin to optimize your website, or hire an outside company to do this for you.
While you may not work on your website directly, it always helps to be able to communicate to whoever runs your website what you want. You’ll want to know whether people are searching for “self storage facilities” or “storage units” or just “self storage” before you invest the time, effort and any future money in optimizing your site and your literature on one keyword phrase or the next.
Google has a great tool called Google My Business. It’s a tool that allows you to claim your business’s name online, and fill out specific information about your company such as your hours of operation, address and other contact information. The first step in Local SEO is to fill this out correctly, as it will feed into the Google 3 Pack explained earlier.
Next, you need to make sure that your business has correct and complete citations on other popular websites. For example Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing, or any other website that would link to your business or in your industry. If these places don’t have the correct information for your self storage facility, then the search engines won’t return accurate results (or none at all) to people who are looking for you. Additionally, conflicting information across online listings will hurt your SEO.
Both of these steps will help Google verify information about your business and creates more online credibility which is called domain authority. When someone is searching for self storage in your area, you are more likely to pop up in the Google 3 Pack than your toughest competitors.
This final area of Local SEO has a few steps which you can accomplish in various ways.
First and foremost, your business needs honest reviews. Hopefully, those reviews are good. If they are, and if there are a lot of them, it will only build more confidence in your facility for people who are considering leasing a unit from you. It also helps you show up in the Google 3 Pack!
Next, you’ll want to generate some content on your website. It doesn’t have to be expert-level or written every day.
Getting on a schedule of writing a blog once a week, bi-weekly or once a month – or hiring someone to do it for you – will go a long way in not only ranking you high in search results but also positioning you as an expert in your field. The key is to be consistent.
Think about it in terms of writing helpful hints for people looking to rent a self storage unit and items in that realm.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure your offline marketing – in print ads, radio, billboards or just on flyers you pass around – include your company’s social media pages or website. Driving traffic to your website will help your SEO ranking go up as well.
Local SEO can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s such an essential part of marketing nowadays, as the nature of internet searches are becoming more and more local by the day.
Moreover, even if you had the money to compete dollar-for-dollar (thousands and thousands of them) with some of the national REITs to advertise your self-storage facility, Local SEO would still be the best investment you could make to get your facility found online and, therefore, attract new customers.
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