[ by Marc Nashaat, Powered by Search ]
The year 2011 proved the self-storage industry was recession-proof. But capturing tangible business leads in downtimes is not as simple as being in the right industry. If you want to improve your lead acquisition and conversion rates, you need to make sure your customers can find you. Search engines are at the heart of this endeavor, so making sure that your website is optimized for search is becoming increasingly important to maintaining a competitive advantage.
Local, Local, Location
As a self-storage company, you might expect that it is important to rank for general phrases like “self storage,” and it is, but not as much as you may think. Research has shown that when a user searches with geographic intent, local results have higher conversion rates than do organic results. These are customers who are looking for a vendor offering services in a specific location. They know what they want, and they know where they want it.
An important step to understanding what keywords you want to rank in search results for is performing keyword research. You can do this with free tools such as the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
Let’s suppose your storage facility is located in Chicago. The first thing you want to do is determine what potential keywords you should be targeting. Going into the keyword tool, we type “Chicago Self Storage” and set the query to “Exact Match.” We specify searches from the United States, and ask to only be given keyword suggestions that closely resemble our own. This gives us two things: First, we get the search volume for our specific keyword(s), and second, we get keyword ideas that are closely related to the searches performed by our target customers.
Here, we see that “self storage Chicago” and “Chicago self storage” are the heavy-hitting keywords with a combined total search volume greater than the sum of the remaining phrases. These are the keywords we want to target. So what do we do with this information?
You should add these to your to-do list.
- Make sure that your website’s title tags contain relevant keywords: “Chicago Self Storage | Your Facility Name”
- Every page of your site should have a unique description containing targeted keywords.
- You already have a Google Places listing, right? Make sure that your name, address and phone number follow the exact format that is displayed on your Google listing.
- If your website covers one location, make sure your name, address and phone number are included in the footer or header of every single page, not just the homepage.
- If your website promotes multiple locations, make sure each location has its own dedicated page with name, address and phone number on display.
- Submit your NAP to local citation sites such as YellowPages, Yahoo etc.
The key to ranking for these phrases is to have content on your website generated around them. How can you do this? Here are some suggestions:
- Write articles that include your target keywords as anchor text, and reach out to other industry-relevant blogs to have them submitted as guest posts— like here on The Storage Facilitator self-storage blog.
- Create your own blog and post regularly, including keyword anchors that link back to other pages on your site. Fresh, updated content makes your site appear more relevant to search engine site crawlers.
- Develop infographics, videos and other interactive content relevant to your neighborhood or niche. Include a link back to your site, and promote on social media and across the web.
Marc Nashaat is an enterprise marketing consultant at Powered by Search and is responsible for the SEO operations at Public Storage Canada. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.