You might think of your self-storage website as a static tool meant to drive sales. But if you want to scale your business, you’ll be better prepared to grow if you think of your website as a living, breathing entity. And like any living thing, it ages. As this happens, out-of-date keywords, slow-loading pages and other factors can negatively impact its search engine optimization (SEO) rankings and authority score.
If your website is well-designed and thorough, and it hasn’t seen significant drops in rentals or rankings, you might assume you don’t need to change anything. However, what works for the site today may not be effective tomorrow. That’s why keeping it up to date should be an ongoing focus and process.
When you consider the countless algorithm updates Google has made to account for users’ ever-evolving search behavior, it’s really a full-time job to maintain your self-storage website. While some updates are minimal, others can be quite impactful. When those changes happen, it’s time to take a hard look at your existing content, keyword rankings and overall design. A thorough audit helps you identify opportunities to improve. It goes well beyond updating a keyword here and there!
If you’ve worked hard to rank high in the SERP (search engine results pages), performing routine maintenance on your website’s on-page and technical SEO can help you hold onto good rankings and support your overall user experience. If it’s been a while since you completed a website audit, this guide will help you understand the factors to check and how often. By tackling these tasks in small, manageable phases, you can keep your site current and competitive in the saturated self-storage industry.
A website’s organic performance is crucial to being found in the SERP, but what exactly should you focus on when you're auditing the site’s technical SEO? Common items to watch for include:
- 404 and 500 errors
- Broken links
- 301 redirect chains
- Missing title tags
- Missing meta descriptions
- Missing image alt text
- Compressed images that are bigger than 100 kilobytes
When robots crawl your website, they catalog the above errors, which can negatively affect organic rankings. Some deficiencies relate to user intent while others are connected to user experience. Both play crucial roles in your self-storage website’s authority score. Addressing these items monthly will ensure your site stays healthy.
Regularly updating the back end of your self-storage website will ensure it runs smoothly with the most current software to avoid crashes and maintain security. If your site is hosted with a service like Wix or Squarespace, any updates have likely been made for you. The same is true if you have a WordPress-based site hosted through an agency. (Typically, you pay the agency to have their web team keep your site current with the most recent plugins and security fixes.) If you self-host and are responsible for all updates, make sure the following items are renewed at least every two weeks: WordPress core and plugins, and server software packages.
Unlike relatively simple and straightforward technical SEO and website updates, refreshing your self-storage website content is a longer-term process. It can take months for new content to be fully understood by Google and other search engines, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. In fact, technical SEO and content are closely linked. Content encompasses several crucial on-page SEO elements that play a part in the ranking process, such as header tags, keywords, title tags and meta descriptions.
Furthermore, content is the element that gives your website meaning. Great design helps with user experience, but content ties that design together with your brand message. It shouldn’t only be well-written but optimized to rank for your chosen keywords and satisfy user intent.
When it comes to maintaining your website content, begin by inserting additional keywords and performing a competitive analysis to identify new keyword strategies. Ideally, you want to publish content on your site that’s already optimized, but it’s still smart to audit for potential improvements and opportunities on a regular basis.
You can audit your self-storage content on your own, but you might find it more helpful to use a program like PageOptimizer Pro that’ll quickly check your web pages and provide suggestions based on your competition. Keep in mind that this type of program is just an algorithm, and its recommendations should be taken only as long as they don’t significantly or negatively interfere with your website’s natural flow, prose and brand voice.
A Competitive Analysis
Running a competitive analysis is a great way to isolate website keywords your self-storage competitors are using and could be incorporated into your own content. You can easily find this data with marketing tools like Semrush. For example, if other facility operators in the area are ranking well for “climate-controlled self-storage units,” it would be in your best interest to develop content across your site that includes these keywords.
Competitive analyses also give you the opportunity to look at the design elements other companies use on their websites. You can then consider whether they might improve the user experience and enhance your own site.
One Step Further
It’s important to maintain your self-storage website on all fronts, but you can take your updates to the next level by keeping current with Google's latest algorithm. While not every algorithm will directly apply to your business, some could inspire you to change your layout or pages to improve the user experience. Reviewing your site’s analytics can also shed valuable insight on pages that need adjustment.
If your self-storage company has experienced significant growth in the last year, it’s time to revisit your website. If you’re rolling out a new website soon, conducting user tests or heat-map tests can help determine where users are getting confused in their journey through your pages.
Keeping your website updated is a big task, but it’s one you should stay on top of, lest you leave the site vulnerable to security breaches or a decline in search-engine rankings. If you want to keep these responsibilities in-house, designate a few members on your team to address them. If you’d prefer to outsource, consider a freelancer who’s well-rounded in web, SEO and content management, or a professional digital-marketing agency. An agency will keep your site current and analyze recent Google core updates to determine if any affect your site performance.
No matter which route you choose, updating your self-storage website isn’t just important to creating a pleasant digital experience for customers. It also ensures your digital footprint and business continue to grow and thrive.
Kara Johnson is a website-content specialist for Go Local Interactive, a Kansas-City based marketing agency. She specializes in developing social media content strategies to help self-storage operators grow their consumer base. Her expertise includes copywriting, SEO and social-media strategy development. For more information, call 913.689.3170.