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For self-storage facilities, online local search is like highway signage: It provides the visibility that drives brand awareness, phone calls and occupancy. Learn more reasons why search engine optimization is critically important for your business and how to make your efforts count.

Tyler Suchman

December 1, 2022

5 Min Read
Local SEO for Self-Storage Operations

In simple terms, local search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of ensuring your self-storage facility’s “web footprint” is fresh, consistent and accurate. This footprint isn’t limited to your website; it also includes your Google Business Profile (GBP) and dozens of business listings found on sites like Bing, MapQuest, Yahoo and others.

If you want to draw more online attention to your self-storage business, local SEO is critical. Following is some guidance to help you master it.

Manage Your Web Footprint

When your self-storage facility’s web footprint is well-managed, you show up in Google search results. This includes Google Maps, the right-column knowledge panel and the coveted local pack, which is Google’s group of three local business listings. More visibility generally means more traffic, inquiries and leads. This increase can even be quantified, depending on the platform. For instance, GBP will show “insights” data, including number of views on search and maps, phone calls, website visits, and more.

When you aren’t actively managing your web footprint, you may have much less visibility in search results, possibly being relegated to the second or third page in your target geographic radius (including “storage near me” searches). When this occurs, it’s often due to inconsistent data, a problem which tends to be compounded with older self-storage facilities. This bad data becomes persistent and damaging to your overall internet presence. In the end, failing to actively manage your local SEO puts your business at the whim of Google and any number of data aggregators.

Address Data Inconsistency

Data inconsistency occurs when the signals Google receives about your self-storage business from across the web don’t match. For instance, you might have an old phone number on Facebook, or maybe your office hours are inaccurate on your GBP. Perhaps you rebranded but the old brand is plastered across dozens of business listings. In fact, rebranding can wreak havoc on a company’s web footprint. It isn’t uncommon for a new listing on a platform such as Yelp to compete directly with an old listing showing your previous name and phone number.

Data inconsistency is a significant problem from a local SEO standpoint. First, you’ll have less visibility in search results because Google can’t confirm your data. When you do show up in search, the information could be wrong, which is confusing for your self-storage prospects. Something like the incorrect phone number or office hours can lead to a poor user experience, which makes for a bad first impression and maybe loss of business.

So, how do you fix it? Let’s say Martha’s Self Storage is acquired by Local Guys Storage. The facility is rebranded and given a new phone number; however, after 30 years in business, the original is still listed on hundreds of websites. How does Local Guys claim and update these listings? It’s generally done in the following ways.

Get platform information from the seller. A well-managed self-storage facility has well-managed data. During the acquisition, all logins should be conveyed upon close of deal, including those for Facebook, Google, Yelp and so on. The seller may even have information for one or more location-management platforms such as Brightlocal or Yext.

Use a location-management platform. This functions as a one-stop shop where directory listings are already claimed and fresh information can be pushed out with a keystroke. These platforms also have support in place to assist with claiming more difficult listings and might have the ability to suppress older listings for businesses that are no longer in operation.

Reach out to directories. Plan for hours of frustration, lack of reply and onerous requirements such as uploading business and personal documentation. They may also require signup and even payment to manage your listing. Keep in mind that directories are pretty good at acquiring data so they can build out millions of pages that may appear in organic search results. They’re less nimble and interested in updating and providing direct access to data.

Get More Customer Reviews

Part and parcel of actively managing your local SEO efforts is the acquisition of customer reviews. Visibility in search results tends to be amplified by a steady flow of them. Hopefully, your self-storage facility receives five-star reviews with only the occasional outlier.

You should have a process for engaging your customers at the right time and directing them to a web page to review your facility. Where reviews appear is also part of the craft. For most facilities, leading with Google and then weaving in feedback from other websites such as Yelp, selfstorage.com and sparefoot.com can produce the right signals to Google, resulting in higher visibility. To get more reviews on Google, simply give your customers the link generated by the platform. Just log into your GBP account and click “share review form.”

Any planning to improve the frequency and quality of reviews should include budgeting time to respond to every single one you receive. Google pays attention to these replies. Your prospects will also see how you respond when presented with an unsatisfied customer. Ideally, it should be with empathy and an imperative to make things right.

The Bottom Line

So, why is local SEO so important for self-storage facilities? The obvious answer is that ranking in Google search produces leads, phone calls and customers. Ignoring your web footprint compromises your visibility like a palm tree planted right in front of your street signage.

Whether you budget time and money for a DIY approach or work with an internet-marketing agency that understands your needs, actively managing your self-storage facility’s web footprint is essential. Focusing on good data and positive reviews will have enormous benefits. They can also be supplemented by other SEO tactics such as content development and backlink procurement. You might take comfort in knowing that while it’s a basic cost of doing business, managing local SEO properly is likely to have a positive return on investment and overall business success.

Tyler Suchman is the founder of The Storage Agency, a web-marketing agency exclusively focused on serving self-storage owners and operators with unbeatable performance and pricing. The Storage Agency is powered by Tribal Core, a boutique agency Suchman founded in 2002. To reach him, email [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Tyler Suchman

Founder, The Storage Agency

Tyler Suchman is the founder of The Storage Agency, a web-marketing agency exclusively focused on serving self-storage owners and operators with unbeatable performance and pricing. The Storage Agency is powered by Tribal Core, a boutique agency Suchman founded in 2002. To reach him, email [email protected].

 

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