You might think of your self-storage website as a static tool meant to drive sales. But if you want to scale your business, you’ll be better prepared to grow if you think of your website as a living, breathing entity. And like any living being, it ages. In this case, outdated keywords, slow loading pages, and other factors can negatively impact its search engine optimization (SEO) ranking and authority score.
If your website is well-designed and comprehensive, and hasn’t seen a significant drop in rentals or ratings, you can assume you don’t need to change anything. However, what works for the site today may not be effective tomorrow. That is why updating it should be an ongoing goal and process.
When you consider the countless algorithm updates Google has made to account for ever-changing user search behavior, it really is a full-time job to maintain your self-storage website. While some updates are minimal, others can have a huge impact. When these changes occur, it’s time to take a hard look at your existing content, keyword rankings, and overall design. A thorough audit helps you identify opportunities for improvement. It goes way beyond updating a keyword here and there!
If you’ve worked hard to rank high in the SERPs (search engine results pages), performing routine technical SEO and on-page maintenance on your website can help you maintain a good ranking and support your overall user experience. If it’s been a while since you’ve done a website audit, this guide will help you understand what factors to check and how often. By tackling these tasks in small, manageable phases, you can keep your site up-to-date and competitive in the saturated self-storage industry.
A website’s organic performance is crucial to being found in the SERP, but what exactly should you focus on when auditing the site’s technical SEO? Common things to watch out for include:
- 404 and 500 errors
- Broken links
- 301 redirect chains
- Missing title tags
- Missing meta descriptions
- Image alt text missing
- Compressed images larger than 100 kilobytes
When bots crawl your website, they list the above errors, which can negatively affect organic rankings. Some shortcomings are related to user intent while others are related to user experience. Both play a crucial role in your self-storage website’s authority score. Addressing these items monthly will ensure that your site stays healthy.
Regularly updating the back-end of your self-storage website will ensure that it runs smoothly with the latest software to avoid crashes and maintain security. If your site is hosted with a service like Wix or Squarespace, all the updates have probably been done for you. The same is true if you have a WordPress-based site hosted by an agency. (Typically, you pay the agency to have their web team keep your site up-to-date with the latest plugins and security patches.) If you’re self-hosted and responsible for all updates, make sure you that the following items are renewed at least every two weeks. : WordPress core and plugins, and server packages.
Unlike relatively simple and straightforward technical SEO and website updates, refreshing your self-storage website content is a longer-term process. It can take months for new content to be fully understood by Google and other search engines, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. In fact, technical SEO and content are closely related. Content encompasses several crucial on-page SEO elements that play a role in the ranking process, such as header tags, keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions.
Moreover, content is the element that gives meaning to your website. Great design contributes to user experience, but content ties that design to your brand message. It should not only be well-written, but optimized to rank for your chosen keywords and satisfy user intent.
When it comes to maintaining your website content, start by inserting additional keywords and performing competitive analysis to identify new keyword strategies. Ideally, you want to publish content on your site that is already optimized, but it’s always a good idea to regularly check for potential improvements and opportunities.
You can audit the contents of your self-storage yourself, but you may find it more useful to use a program like Page Optimizer Pro which will quickly check your web pages and provide suggestions based on your competitors. Keep in mind that this type of program is just an algorithm and its recommendations should only be followed as long as they do not significantly or negatively interfere with the natural flow, prose and voice of the brand of your website.
A competitive analysis
Running a competitive analysis is a great way to isolate which website keywords your self-storage competitors are using that could be incorporated into your own content. You can easily find this data with marketing tools like Semrush. For example, if other facility operators in the area rank well for “temperature-controlled self-storage units,” it would be in your best interest to develop content on your site that includes those keywords.
Competitive scans also give you the ability to examine the design elements that other companies are using on their websites. You can then determine if they can improve the user experience and improve your own site.
One step forward
Maintaining your self-storage website on all fronts is important, but you can take your updates to the next level by keeping up to date with the latest Google algorithm. While not all algorithms apply directly to your business, some might prompt you to change your layout or pages to improve user experience. Reviewing your site’s analytics can also provide valuable insight into which pages need adjusting.
If your self-storage business has grown significantly over the past year, it’s time to revamp your website. If you’re rolling out a new website soon, performing user testing or heatmap testing can help determine where users are confused in their journey through your pages.
Keeping your website up to date is an important task, but it’s one you need to watch out for lest you leave the site vulnerable to security breaches or a drop in search engine rankings. If you want to keep these responsibilities in-house, designate a few members of your team to take them on. If you prefer to outsource, consider a freelancer who is well-versed in web, SEO, and content management, or a professional digital marketing agency. An agency will keep your site up to date and analyze recent major updates from Google to determine if they are affecting your site’s performance.
Whichever route you choose, updating your self-storage website isn’t just important for creating an enjoyable digital experience for customers. It also ensures that your digital footprint and your business continue to grow and thrive.
Kara Johnson is a Website Content Specialist for Switch to local interactive, a Kansas City-based marketing agency. She specializes in developing social media content strategies to help self-storage operators grow their customer base. His expertise includes copywriting, SEO and developing social media strategies. For more information, call 913.689.3170.