What is Self Storage SEO?
Self storage SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of optimizing your self storage website to appear higher in the search results when a user searches for storage in your location.
The end goal is to improve the quantity and quality of your free search engine traffic (organic traffic).
It’s a key component of any self storage marketing strategy – in this guide we’ll aim to cover some of the key concepts and give you an understanding of how to do SEO for your storage business.
Google My Business vs Organic Listings
When it comes to SEO for the self storage industry, there are two main areas of the search results you should want to increase visibility in: the maps results and the organic listings.
An example of these two areas can be seen below:
While these are two different areas, and the search results for each can be completely different, for self storage related searches they are very much intertwined.
The vast majority of searches for self storage have local intent, for example ‘storage in London’ or ‘storage near me’ – this leads to a lot of overlap between the maps listings and the organic results. Improvements in one area will have a positive impact on the performance in the other area.
Finding the Right Keywords to Target
As mentioned above, there are two main goals to self storage SEO, improving quantity of search traffic, and improving the quality of that traffic. In other words you need to find searches that users are typing frequently, that are highly relevant to what you offer.
The process of finding these searches is called Keyword Research, and it’s an important aspect of digital marketing.
To discover which high traffic, relevant keywords you want to target, you’ll need to use a keyword research tool.
Some popular keyword research tools are:
- Google’s Keyword Planner
- Moz’s Keyword Explorer
- Ahref’s Keywords Explorer
These tools allow you to enter searches that are relevant to your services, and will return related keywords alongside the amount of searches you can expect from those keywords per month. Understanding these search volumes is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy.
From this you can dig deeper into the search results to see how competitive the search results are for each keyword, and whether you’ll have a chance ranking for them.
An example of ahrefs keywords explorer tool suggestions from the keyword ‘storage birmingham al’.
Self storage is a very location specific industry, which will affect which keywords you choose from your keyword research. It’s always tempting to target locations with large search volumes, but don’t waste your time and money trying to rank on a local search for a location that’s so far away that a customer wouldn’t travel that distance to use you.
How far away customers will travel is something that varies from country to country and region to region. As a general rule, the less densely populated an area is, the further customers will travel.
On Page SEO
Once you have an understanding of the main terms you are trying to target, you can start to make changes to your site to ensure it targets these terms effectively, and that it is set up in a search engine friendly way.
In order to do this there are a few main areas you want to be focusing on:
Optimize Your Page Content
Ensuring your page content is properly targeting your keywords is essential to help the search engines understand what your page is about.
Using the right content in the right places can send a clear signal about the topic of your page.
It may be tempting to use the same keywords over and over on the same page, but this is quickly becoming an outdated approach as search engines become more efficient at understanding natural language and determining the user intent behind searches.
Instead it’s much better to approach your on page content from the user perspective and try to understand what content is actually beneficial to users. Think about the frequently asked questions and beneficial features of your service, and be sure to include these.
That being said there are a few areas where you will still want to make sure you include your focus terms – namely in your title tags, header tags and on page text.
Optimize Individual Storage Facility Pages
Most storage companies will have dedicated pages on their site for each location, and these will be the pages you will be trying to get ranking higher in the search results.
To make these pages more relevant you will want to include these things:
Directions & maps – Providing directions on how to reach your store is useful for users, and can help provide some locally relevant content.
NAP – NAP stands for business name, address and phone number. Making sure you have these listed on the page is helpful for local SEO as it helps search engines to confirm your business details.
Local content – it’s also helpful to include a bit of a description about your storage facility and its relationship to the local town or city. Here’s a great example by Big Yellow on their Leeds location page:
There are too many on page factors to go into detail on all of them in this article. If you’re looking to dig into things a bit deeper why not check out the Moz guide to on page SEO factors, or of course get in touch with us to see how we can help.
Review Your Site Architecture
Your site should be structured in a search engine friendly way. This means that it should be clear to search engines how one page on your site is related to the others, and which pages are the most important.
The best way to do this is through internal linking. Your important pages should preferably be only one or two clicks away from your homepage. This is still possible even with hundreds of storage locations.
Below you can see an example of how Public Storage are linking to their important locations from their homepage:
So, despite the ‘storage in San Jose’ page appearing four steps down the hierarchy (Home / Locations / United States / California / San Jose), it is still only one click away from the homepage.
For smaller storage operators this is much easier. If you only have a few storage facilities you can link to each of the relevant pages straight from the site menu. This means no matter where you are on the site your important pages are only one click away.
Your site should have your main location pages, which will target the location of each storage facility, but you might want extra pages targeting the towns / cities / areas surrounding those facilities.
Below is an example of this from Big Yellow in the UK. They don’t have a location in Streatham, but they have multiple locations close to it, so they’ve created a page specifically targeting ‘Streatham self storage’: https://www.bigyellow.co.uk/streatham-self-storage/
It has all the things you’d expect from a well targeted page, including location specific content.
Here’s another example from Storage Works who have multiple locations in Birmingham, so they have create a page specifically targeting ‘Birmingham Self Storage’: https://storage-works.co.uk/locations/birmingham-self-storage/
Avoid Creating Doorway Pages
When creating these pages for yourself, the main thing to be careful of is not falling foul of Google’s Doorway page policy. Doorway pages are pages that are created purely for the purpose of ranking for a specific query, then funneling people to a more usable section of your site.
There’s clearly some subjectivity in this because you could argue this applies to the Big Yellow example used above.
However, you won’t be impacted by this policy unless you’re creating lots of pages that have identical content except only the location is changed. Each page should have unique content that is relevant to the location and search query you’re trying to target. And remember, if you care about this page ranking you should make sure it’s linked to from multiple relevant parts of your site.
Consider Implementing Location Schema
Schema is a way of telling search engines what a page is about in a format that is easy for them to understand. It is especially important for local SEO.
It might not be easy for people to read, but it formats everything you want to tell search engines in a nice package.
There’s even a self storage schema type – https://schema.org/SelfStorage
All you have to do is add the schema to your facility pages, below is an example of what this schema would look like in your site code.
Bear in mind that any content you put in the schema should appear on the page as well. If you’re adding an address, or reviews to your schema, these should be visible to the user.
How to correctly use schema for storage facilities is a topic that requires multiple articles to cover properly. If you would like to know more on this topic then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Improve Page Experience Signals
Page experience signals are a group of ranking factors that will improve how well a page ranks on the search results regardless of the term it’s trying to target.
These are signals focussed on giving users a better experience on your site, so really you should focus on these even if there was no benefit from Google.
Here’s a quick summary of what is included in page experience signals:
- Mobile Friendliness – make sure your site looks good on mobiles
- Safe-browsing – ensure the site doesn’t have any malware, phishing, or security issues
- HTTPS – make sure your site is using HTTPS
- No intrusive interstitials – don’t use certain pop-ups
- Core Web Vitals – make your page quick to load, quick to use, and don’t let it shift around much while loading
Focusing on these areas will lead to a better user experience, and better performance in the search engines.
Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Everything we have discussed so far has been relevant to your website, and how well this performs in the organic listings.
However, your Google My Business profile, not your website, is what will rank in the map pack on local searches. So any local SEO strategy will also require you to have claimed your listing (you can do so here) and ensure it is set up correctly.
What factors affect your ranking
Your Google My Business profile is one of the most important factors in determining how well you show up in local search.
Some of the key factors used to determine rankings are:
- The proximity of your address to the location of the search
- Having a physical address in the city of the search
- Selecting the proper GMB category
- Having your service keyword in the GMB title – in this case ‘storage’
- Having your location keyword in the GMB title
Obviously the proximity and location aspects you cannot control without moving your facility, but ensuring you can tick the other boxes as well as possible will be beneficial.
Fill out your profile
Make sure your profile is as complete as possible. Add videos, photos of your storage units, and keep your opening hours up to date. A better profile creates a better user experience and makes you look more professional.
The more information you provide on your profile the more likely a customer is to interact with your business so it’s essential that you keep this up to date.
Not only do reviews count towards the performance of your GMB listing, but they also have a big impact on how you are perceived by visitors to your profile.
Having a system in place to encourage reviews after someone has been a tenant for a while is a great way to keep these coming through.
You also want to ensure that you stay on top of them, responding to reviews as they are posted and dealing with any negative reviews in the right way.
For more information on reviews why not check out our article on the importance of reviews for self storage.
Off Page SEO
While there’s technically more to it, off page SEO is essentially the process of getting links to your site from other sites on the web. There’s two main factors to consider when it comes to these backlinks: quantity and quality.
Quality backlinks are links from topically relevant pages, or links from high quality sites. For example, a link from the BBC, or a government website would count as a high quality link. However, your chances of getting these links are slim.
You can make up for not having backlinks from the BBC by getting links from smaller, more topically relevant sites, or from locally relevant sites such as local newspapers or local organizations.
As a general rule, all else being equal, the site which has more links is going to rank higher.
Link Building Ideas
Link building can be a difficult process, and the approach to building backlinks can vary from industry to industry.
To make life easier for you we’ve included some ideas on what self storage businesses can be doing to help build relevant links.
Local directories – For most towns and cities there are local directories available where you can get your site listed.
Sponsorships – sponsoring a local team can be a great way of building links as well as having the added benefit of building your presence in the local area.
Supporting local charities – this is a great way to give back, and can also result in some strong links back to your site as well as positive PR.
Business partnerships – go through a list of businesses that you have partnerships with and see if there’s any mutually beneficial way you could work together. For example you could see if any local real estate agents have relevant content on their site where they could mention you as a preferred partner.
Key Citations – Citations are mentions of your site that include your name, address, phone number, and a link to your site. It’s important that you get on key sites, such as Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare etc as these can benefit your Google My Business rankings. You should also ensure that your name, address and phone number are all accurate and consistent from citation to citation.
There are so many more ways you can build links to your site, take a look at our article on citations for more info.
When it comes down to it, link building is just a form of digital PR – anything positive you can be doing online or in the real world can have the opportunity to build links into your site.
So there we have our guide to SEO for self storage. While it’s by no means exhaustive, we hope it gives you a good starting point and highlights a few areas you can be working on to increase rankings and get more tenants.
If you have any questions about anything or want to discuss your storage marketing with us then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.