In the modern era, it’s important to have a basic understanding of digital marketing and website ranking, especially if you operate a business like self-storage. You need to get your brand in front of online customers who would otherwise not know of your existence.
To begin, it’s imperative to understand how search engine algorithms and search engine optimization (SEO) work. Both are constantly evolving in response to societal and technological changes. Let’s discuss the main concepts you need to know as a self-storage operator and some best practices to follow.
A search engine algorithm is a list of rules and parameters that determine the quality of a website and its relevance to particular online queries. For example, Google algorithms currently use more than 200 ranking factors to help ensure the highest quality search results. These update continuously, aiming to deliver relevant, useful, readily available information to users. They also make searching for answers on the web a naturally conversational experience.
Over the years, many companies have found ways to manipulate search engine algorithms, using practices like keyword-stuffing and over-linking. These’ll help a website rank well in the short term, but shady tactics will only hurt your digital progress in the long run. Google will continue to improve its parameters, which become more sophisticated and complex every year, to wipe out sites that use such methods.
As people spend more time conducting business and living life in cyberspace, Google will invest more to enhance its user experience. As a result, we can expect more algorithm updates that make online information easier to find and more accessible than ever.
SEO Best Practices
Again, Google’s top priority is to provide online-search results that give the most relevant information and best user experience. If you want your self-storage website to rank well in searches, here are a few best practices to follow:
- Make sure you have a clean, fast website that’s easy to read and accessible. It should be full of industry-relevant information.
- Optimize your website content and tags.
- Earn Google Trust by adding your company and facility information to online business directories and social media pages. Verify that all NAP (name, address, phone) details are correct and consistent across the web.
- Complete and verify your Google Business Profile. It’s also important to stay active by adding pictures over time, responding to all reviews and answering questions promptly.
- Don’t forget to submit your website to search engines and set up Google Analytics. Track your data and results for ultimate success.
- Scan your website with speed and performance tools, and adjust as needed.
When You Displease Google (and How to Fix It)
Google penalizes websites for violating its best practices. If this happens to you, the first thing you’ll notice is a drop in website traffic and a decline in your ranking position. If you don’t acknowledge this and take corrective action, Google may de-index your site.
The best way to avoid such issues is to keep up with Google algorithm changes. Always follow SEO best practices. Monitor your data, analytics and keyword rankings.
If you’ve offended Google and find your ranking has dropped or, worse, your website has disappeared altogether, you’ll need to determine the reason. My best recommendation is to hire an SEO expert who can analyze your website. They’ll check your Google Search Console (GSC) to see if there’s been any manual action from a Google auditor. If so, they’ll correct any errors they find and submit the fix to GSC. Once this is done, you should see improvements within a month.
If you’re less fortunate and were penalized from an algorithm update, your SEO expert will need to look through all the latest updates to see why and correct any errors. Traffic improvements tend to take significantly longer in these cases, with some businesses reporting that it took up to two years to full recovery.
As a self-storage operator, it’s imperative that you keep up with the latest SEO trends. A great way to do this is to subscribe to related articles from credible sources such as Moz, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Semrush and Yoast. This’ll help you stay in the know. In addition to understanding how algorithms operate, learn everything you can about past updates.
Once you have a solid knowledge base, keep building on it and stay current. As you now know, algorithms are constantly changing. Keeping up with modifications and understanding how they impact your self-storage website rankings will help your business compete for organic results within your local marketplace.
It's important to note that not all search engine updates are explained or even announced. To help you identify what updates may be impacting your self-storage website, it may be helpful to do some A/B testing. Then make any necessary corrections based on the results. It may take a couple of months before you see any improvement. If you instead see your rank drop, more testing may be needed, or you may need to reach out to your SEO expert for assistance.
The best advice is to keep up with Google’s best practices. Following them along with the other items mentioned above is vital to your self-storage business’ online success.
Jody Mann is the director of operations of The Storage Group, a digital marketing agency specializing in self-storage technology products and services that ensure industry success and an improved customer experience. With more than 10 years of self-storage marketing management, her systematic approach to business creates efficiency both internally and with the client base, resulting in long-term business success with lasting relationships. To reach her, call 407.374.0689.