Getting your self-storage facility well-ranked on search engines has a number of benefits including increased brand awareness, website traffic and, optimally, customer conversions. A traditionally undervalued benefit of search engine optimization (SEO) is the brand legitimacy that’s carried with ranking well. A prominent listing is an implied endorsement from the search engine, and your brand is most likely perceived as an authority in your industry.
Accordingly, ranking well also means delivering the searcher—typically a prospective self-storage tenant with an immediate need—with the digital experience he’s seeking, including direct access to information or an easy transition to a “next step,” such as inventory availability or pricing.
Last year was a wild ride in the SEO world. The list below summarizes key terms and tactics that will help you gain better online ranking for your self-storage business.
- Authority: After 10 months when Google’s public-authority measure wasn’t updated and there was plenty of speculation that it would be gone forever, this public measure of authority was finally updated in December 2013. It remains one of the hundreds of items Google's algorithm looks at when evaluating which results to return in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Backlinks: This is another word for inbound links that, when ethically gained, are still helpful for improving organic rankings. Search engines continue to develop new ways to find—and punish—sites with unethical link-building practices.
- Content: Any guide to SEO success would be positively incomplete without a mention of content—specifically fresh and high-quality content. Google’s own quality guidelines should be your BFF.
- Conversion rate optimization (CRO): Actively working to improve conversion rates is a good SEO move because it tells Google that readers find your content helpful and your site is sticky (more on this below).
- Duplicate content: Generally, you should avoid this stuff at all costs. So long as the vast majority of your on-page copy is original, you’re likely in the clear.
- GYM: This isn’t referring to where you go to burn calories. It’s actually a common acronym for “Google, Yahoo and Microsoft (Bing),” the three largest search engines. Yahoo and Bing are sometimes forgotten, but they still capture 8.1 percent and 3.4 percent of U.S. search traffic, respectively.
- HTML: The native language of search engines and the basic structure that holds up your Web pages.
- Responsive design: A responsive website uses a code base that allows it to appear properly proportioned and easy to read on any device, like a tablet or a smartphone. These sites can improve conversions, as self-storage traffic from mobile devices is increasing.
- Indexed pages: The number of pages on your site that are crawled and indexed by Google’s bots.
- Latent semantic indexing: A term you can use to sound smart, or a descriptor of the fact that Google’s gotten much better at indexing the right results for variations of longtail (three or more words) phrases.
- Meta descriptions: The description of your website pages that appear in SERPs. Meta descriptions are primarily a function of user experience, and the best marketers use this space to hook readers’ attention.
- Natural (or organic) search results: The result of an awesome SEO strategy, these are the search results that are earned, not bought like paid ads.
- Social sharing: Google's looking more and more at social shares as a signal of content quality and, thus, a reason to elevate a site's content in the SERPs. So for better SEO, you should be incorporating social sharing and social media marketing into your inbound marketing.
- Stickiness: A measure of how well-designed and enticing your Web pages are. Sticky pages draw in readers to engage with your website or convert into leads.
- Time on page: How long Web visitors spend on each page, a crucial measure for determining the relevance and quality of your Web content.
- User-generated content: The practice of incorporating other people's words, images and videos into your own outreach for social proof of your shared awesomeness.
- White-hat SEO: An old-school but entirely relevant term used to describe the only proven way to win the Google game. Publish quality content, build relationships with other bloggers, maintain your community and repeat. The opposite would, of course, be black-hat SEO.
- XML sitemaps: Think of your website’s XML sitemap as an open letter to Google. Technical marketers should learn to review and update this content to communicate whether pages should be indexed.
Keeping up with SEO best practices can be challenging but also critical to your online presence. Use this list of terms and tactics as building blocks to expand your SEO knowledge and launch initiatives to improve organic rankings and traffic to your website.
G5 is a provider of Digital Experience Management software and services for the self-storage industry. For more information, call 800.656.8183; visit http://getg5.com.