Boost the SEO of your self-storage business

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Having a website for your self-storage business is one thing; getting people to find it is another. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. As consumers increasingly go online to search for self-storage units and other things they need, getting a good SEO is more important than ever.

During the pandemic, people have increasingly turned to the internet for shopping and entertainment, prompting a massive expansion of e-commerce. People want to do business online, even in self-storage. Over the past two years, the number of leads from web sources has increased, while walk-ins have decreased. This trend has brought a renewed focus on industry websites and ways to outrank competitors. The goal is to land at the top of a search engine results page (SERP), since the first and second positions command more than 50% of the total number of clicks.

Traditional tactics of mastering title tags, meta descriptions, and keyword-rich content remain key components of any effective SEO strategy. However, there is another often overlooked factor in self-storage that has emerged as a major differentiator: online user experience (UX). Customers now expect more from your website than opening hours and contact information. They want to check your unit’s inventory, rent space, sign a lease, and make payments. They even expect to be able to do it using their mobile device. If your website can’t support these features, leads will switch to a competing website that can.

If you want to boost your SEO, this article will help you. We’ll look at the critical factors to assess and how to improve both your self-storage website’s performance and UX.

The impact of user experience

When it comes to determining organic rankings in today’s search environment, UX has become an important consideration. Simply put, when a user visits your self-storage website and finds what they are looking for, Google understands that your website should rank higher in searches and should send you more visitors. However, IIf this Internet user wants to reserve a storage unit online and does not succeed, he will “bounce” on the SERP and continue his quest.

Although bounce rate is not a direct ranking factor, a high rate indicates that your website is not meeting the needs of its visitors. This is often accompanied by other issues that Google looks at to determine rankings, many of which are discussed below. Conclusion: A better user experience will boost your SEO. Here are some areas to focus on:

Page speed. This is the time it takes to load all the content on a web page. It is also known as the “first byte delay”, or the time it takes for a web browser to receive the first byte of data from your host service.

Of all the UX factors, page load speed is perhaps the most impactful when it comes to improving SEO. Web developers generally believe that Google uses this metric to rank your website. A slow loading is “painful” for users, while a fast loading site earns significant points with the search engine. You can check your page speed stats using the Google PageSpeed ​​Insights tool.

Fixing page speed often requires a degree of technical expertise. However, one simple thing you can do is make sure that the photos you use on your website aren’t larger than necessary.

An image width between 500 and 1000 pixels is ideal. Also, make sure the images are in the correct format. Use PNG files for graphics and JPG files for photos.

User-friendly design. Having a well-designed self-storage website with easy-to-read text and simple navigation is essential if you want to land at the top of search results. The better your site is designed, the longer users will stick around. Similar to bounce rate, time on site is a good indicator of the quality of your UX.

Mobile optimization. About 50% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. If your website is designed for desktop users only, half of your visitors will probably have a terrible experience. Use a mobile-friendly design, so no matter what device a visitor uses to access your website, it will display correctly.

Page stability. Have you ever visited a website and noticed that certain elements on the page moved around before you could click on what you wanted? Frustrating, isn’t it? Google measures how often these unexpected changes occur using a metric called cumulative layout change. These and other types of issues are usually the result of incorrect coding or outdated plugins. Ensuring your pages are up to date and regularly checked for these types of errors will help you provide the best UX.

Online rentals. When it comes to evaluating your website, Google wants to see high levels of engagement. The main metrics are time on page, bounce rate, and click-through rate (a measure of how many users click the link to your website from the SERP versus how many see the link but don’t click on it). When potential tenants use Google to search for self-storage space, most expect to complete their transaction online. Google will likely show a preference for websites that offer online rentals, as these are more likely to have better user engagement scores.

Checking your page’s experience report

So how do you know if your self-storage website is good or bad, and how do you make a good experience even better? Since Google has focused on user experience to determine rankings, it has also rolled out tools to help website owners gauge performance. One of them is the Page Experience Report, available in the Google Search Console, which provides an overview of the technical factors that Google uses to assess user experience. They understand:

  • The greatest happy painting: This is the time it takes for a site to fully load the largest piece of content, such as a hero image.
  • Cumulative layout change: I talked about it above. It is a measure of unexpected movement among elements on the page.
  • First Entry Delay: This measures the time between when a user clicks on an item (like a “book now” button) and the time it takes to respond.
  • HTTPS security: HTTPS is a secure communication protocol that you should use for all of your web pages. You can check your security through Google Chrome Help.
  • Absence of intrusive interstitials: Some pop-up dialogs are necessary, but those that get in the way of your site navigation can hurt your search performance.

put it all together

There are many aspects of a great UX that can positively impact your SEO. While some are easy for a novice to understand and accomplish, getting everything right usually requires the help of a skilled web developer or team. Another option is to use a website platform with turnkey solutions for self-storage businesses. There are options that allow you to create a fully optimized website right out of the box, with a proven UX that won’t hamper SEO performance.

Choosing a website provider that will fully integrate with your facilities management software can also provide huge benefits. For example, the integration allows you to provide up-to-date and accurate inventory information online without having to enter it manually. This ensures a great UX for site visitors and business operators.

Al Harris is the editor of storage beat and content manager at storable, an Austin, Texas-based provider of cloud-based access control as well as management software, marketing services, payment processing, website development and other services. He earned his journalism degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He enjoys reading Elmore Leonard novels and listening to classic country music. For more information, call 888.403.0665; E-mail [email protected].

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