All storage businesses are fighting for more online visibility and one great way of getting your website seen by more visitors is to set up and optimise a Google my business listing.
At Weeare, we provide SEO for self storage businesses and often we see storage companies missing out on free traffic by not having an optimised Google my business listing.
In this blog post, we will explain what a Google my business listing is, why your storage business is missing out if you don’t have one and how to optimise it so you can dominate your local search area.
Why Google my business?
With over 3.5 billion searches being carried out on Google every day, your business is missing out if it isn’t listed on the search engine with the highest market share.
For local searches such as “storage units near me” or “storage in london” the Google map pack delivers 26% of search clicks, being in the map pack can generate you leads every single day. Getting your business in this map pack though can be hard work and in this article, we will discuss some of the best optimisation tips to get your website to show there.
Registering an account
The first step is to register a Google my business account. You can do that by going to Google.com/Business.
Next click on the manage button and Google will take you through the steps of setting up an account, this step is easy and there are many other guides out there that can show you how to do this if needed.
When you have set up your account you will need to verify it. It’s important to verify an account as you don’t want your business profile taken down or for potential customers to think you are a scam business.
You can verify your listing via post which takes a few days. If your verification postcard doesn’t come within a few days, get in touch with Google’s support team and they will be able to help.
With your listing confirmed you are now ready to optimise your listing so that potential customers can find you.
Fill out every section
It may seem obvious but many self storage business owners don’t fully complete their profile as they don’t see the benefit of doing so. However, the more information you can provide potential customers along with Google’s algorithm the higher the chance of being found on Google’s searches.
To complete your profile you will need to fill out the following:
Special Opening Hours
Questions and answers
Products and services
All of the above are important and should be double-checked when you add them to your listing, if any of these are wrong now and you start marketing your website it can be a nightmare to fix.
Keep your NAP data consistent
NAP data are also known as your name, address and phone number should be consistent on your Google my business listing, on your website and anywhere else you post your website such as online directories.
To show up in the Google map pack these details need to be consistent everywhere. If you are a new business this shouldn’t be a problem, existing businesses however could have moved addresses and may have NAP data related to old addresses.
This will stop you from ranking, I have seen it many times in the past where companies have the wrong NAP data and Google finds it hard to figure out if they should show a business for a relevant query.
If you do have inconsistent NAP data you should clear it up yourself or hire a company to do it for you.
If your business looks like the following:
The Storage Brothers LTD
Unit 1 Wayne Street
And you list your business as:
The Storage Brothers
Unit 1 Wayne ST
To you and I, they are the same business but Google doesn’t like this, as you can see in the first line they have lost the LTD from the business name and also the street name is abbreviated to ST instead of street.
This may seem pedantic and I would agree, however, Google isn’t a human and even small changes like this can put them off. Bigger changes such as different phone numbers or full address changes will require you to change all of your details on your listing, website and other websites that your details are on.
Choose the right category
Choosing the right category is also vital for optimising your business listing. Quite often a business owner will go to their listing and put in a category that they think describes their business best, but sometimes this is the wrong category.
The best way of finding out what category to use in your Google listing is to go to Google and search for something someone would use to find your business. For example, you may want to search “storage in London.” Look at the results that come up in the map pack and you can see their category listed.
In this example, the category would fall under “Self Storage Facility.” As a business owner however you could have selected the “luggage storage” category if you were in a rush, so it’s always important to check what is currently ranking and use the same category.
Add photos and location data
Adding photos to your business listing is not only going to make you look more like a legitimate business but it also helps with location data. When you take a photo your camera captures something called EXIF data which contains information on where the photo is taken.
If you run a storage business in London but all your EXIF data is telling Google that the photo was taken in Liverpool it’s going to cause some confusion. As a ranking factor, the effects may be small on this but it’s worth uploading photos to your profile anyway so if you can make sure the photos you upload are from the area you are looking to service.
You can edit and add metadata to your photos if you have Photoshop so if you do find you have images you can show off of your business it would be worth adding metadata to your images to help with your search engine rankings.
Get reviews and respond to them
Getting reviews for your business is difficult and often the only people who want to leave reviews are people who have had bad experiences with your business. To combat this you are going to need to ask your customers for reviews.
To get reviews for your Google my business listing you will firstly need to bring up Google maps, type your business name in and then click write a review. Before writing a review though, go to the URL address bar at the top of your web browser and copy that URL, you should have something that looks like the following:
The above is for the Kew garden centre in London, your code will look different. You could potentially send this link to past clients but it looks spammy and people may be hesitant to click on the link. What you will need to do is go to a URL shortener website and put the code in and get a shortcode back.
Google “URL Shortener” and use one that works for you. If you are going to invest time into getting reviews for your business you could invest in a paid URL shortener so you can create a brandable link.
Bitly.com is a URL shortening service that offers this but a free version is also fine. Your code above after being shortened and branded could now look something like:
As you can see the link looks more friendly and if you were to print it on business cards and hand it out after a customer purchases from you then it would make it easier to type in on their computers.
You can ask past customers for reviews via email, social media marketing, and even in person, just make sure that the user had a positive experience with your business before asking for a review.
When a customer leaves a review make sure to thank them and try to include some of the keywords that you would like to rank for in your reply. This is a great way of getting your keywords into your business listing and these keywords will show up in bold when someone searches for your product or service.
An example of this could look like the following:
“Thank you for leaving a review with us, Miss Jones. We know you found it hard to find an affordable self storage container in London so we were more than happy to provide you with our services when you called. Thanks once again.
As you can see we have included the keywords affordable storage, self storage and London. Someone searching for these services could now see the above review.
When adding keywords to your reply it’s important to make the reply sincere and human. You don’t want to spam your keywords in here as it wont read naturally and the customer won’t feel valued either.
Answer any questions
In your Google my business listing you can generate your questions and then answer them too. This could be your most asked questions and it saves you time from answering them constantly and it also allows potential customers to learn about your business before contacting you.
Questions could include:
- Does the storage location have disabled access?
- Does the storage facility have access 24/7?
- Can you sign up online?
- Do you need keys or a pin?
- Is the storage location insured?
You probably know your most asked questions so put them here and answer them. It will help with cutting down on your customer service enquiries and it will also help you rank higher in the search results.
Track your listing
Google changes their algorithm all of the time so tracking your local rankings is a must. If you don’t track your rankings you won’t know what is working and what isn’t and you will end up wasting your marketing budget.
Google my business allows you to release posts on their platform so you could test out if writing 1, 2 or 5 posts a week makes any difference to your rankings.
You can also test the same effect by releasing content on your website, getting your website mentioned on other websites and even the categories you are listing your business in.
Without testing and tracking all of the optimisations in the world won’t mean much so track and test as often as you can. When making changes to your business listing only make small changes so you can see if your changes made a positive or negative effect.
Optimise your website for local searches
To rank in the map pack you will need to optimise both the GMB listing and your website. We have covered on-page optimisation for self storage companies in another post, so you should check that out too as you will need to build out local landing pages if you want your GMB listing to show up when someone from that area searches for storage.
Link building for storage companies
Link building for self storage companies is needed as it’s a competitive industry and by getting links from authoritative sources your website has a better chance of ranking in the organic listings as well as the map pack.
You can get links to your website by guest posting on other relevant websites such as DIY blogs, Family Blogs and anything else you can think of that would be related to storage. If you don’t want to build links yourself you could hire a company like ours that provide link building services.
Optimising your Google my business listing and actively adding posts to it is going to help your storage website show up to customers in your local area looking for self storage. If your website isn’t showing up you are losing out on these customers to your competitors.