Why do local listings matter?
If your self-storage facility lacks accurate, up to date local listings you are losing customers actively searching for self-storage.
Most of your customers will come from drive by traffic; a variety of sources address how to enhance the curb appeal to that group. As competition gets tougher in the self storage industry a fresh coat of paint and immaculate lawn care have become only part of the equation for success. We are currently at a stage in the industry lifecycle when no stone can be left unturned in the pursuit of tenants. Luckily there are other groups which a storage facility can cost effectively target. One of these groups is the motivated online tenant; actively searching for local facilities on the internet. About 20% of customers in 2013 found their storage facility in part through the internet. There’s no reason to expect that number to do anything but increase.
I have a website; why should I worry about local listings?
Your facility may have a website, but online business directories and review sites such as Yelp and Google Maps find information about your company from many sources. Public business records, other business directories, or even well-meaning customers may have had a hand in filling out details on these directories. Local listings are frequently created without your knowledge or input. Their accuracy can be questionable.
The impact of bad directory listings.
Imagine you went to a local business trade show and signed your facility up for a free signage drawing offered by a local sign manufacturer. You won! A dozen well placed signs are installed by this company in your community at zero cost to you. Fantastic! There’s only one problem. The number on half the signs is wrong and phone calls are being answered by an increasingly annoyed receptionist in a dental office one town over.
This is effectively what happens with inaccurate local listings for your facility. Since most self storage customers give their business to the first storage facility they contact you want every interaction with your online “signage” to be perfect.
There is hope!
With a little work you can find, claim, repair and manage your local listings.
Find your local listings.
By using a service that queries many directories at once you save hours of manual searching.
Moz Local is one option which returns a free accuracy score and offers basic advice without charge. There are further paid offers on the Moz site to wrangle those listings into coherent order which Local SEO Guide provides a fair review of.
Claim and fix your local listings.
If you prefer to manage your local listings on your own you will need to manually claim each one.
Each directory uses a slightly different procedure to claim your local listings but they all resemble the following steps.
- Submit a claim request for each instance of your business listed in their directory.
- Verify that you are the proprietor or are acting on behalf of the proprietor.
- Take ownership of the record(s).
Typically the second step will require either a phone call to the existing business number or a postcard to the business address. Once complete the local listing is yours to control.
Note: Should you find duplicate listings of any single facility in one directory, once you claim each duplicate delete all but the most accurate. Search engines do not look fondly on duplicate records and individuals searching for storage view duplicate local listings as a sign of unprofessional, sloppy business.
Create new local listings where none exists.
Here is a shortlist of the largest local listing sites. If your listings are complete and accurate on these sites that is half the battle right there.
For a more complete list of relevant local listing sites, here’s a list to get started.
There is no limit on how many directories to use but there are diminishing returns beyond a point. Once you deal with existing errors and add your information to the major local listings websites a brief monthly review and correction/addition of information to remaining websites is enough for most companies.
Complete 100% of the local listing information requests.
Do not leave form fields blank while correcting or completing your local listings. Hours and phone numbers are fine, but why stop there? Upload a photo of your facility or your staff, if the option is available. Are they asking for a website but you don’t have one? Use your Google+ page or your Facebook page.
Search engines and customers alike use that extra information to decide how to rank you versus the other self storage facilities in your area. A little extra work today will pay off down the road with better search rankings and creates an image of your facility as competent, trustworthy and professional.
Local listing repair does not happen overnight. It takes time to discover, claim and correct your online identity. Once the bulk of the work is completed it then takes more time for search engines to realize you’ve cleaned up your appearance and rate you accordingly. Depending on how much effort your competitors put into this process you may see an increase in your own position for self storage search terms locally. There is one thing you can be absolutely certain of now; that 20% of motivated, ready to rent customers mentioned earlier are finding the correct information the first time they come looking for you.