Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2010 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Don’t know a lot about local listings? You’re not alone. The web’s local marketing landscape is rapidly changing, what with search engine and listing giants like Google, Bing and Yelp all vying for local ad dollars. In the midst of all that evolution, it can be difficult to figure out where, what, and how to market your business effectively.
Here, our team of local search experts walks you through the setup of today’s most popular local listings. Read on to get step-by-step instructions on how to get started managing your business’s local listings, or click on the links below to jump ahead:
Before you get started, you’ll need to understand the importance of local business listings. A local business listing is an online directory entry that contains your self storage business’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) information as well as other pertinent details, like office hours, access hours, reviews, and amenities. But the keyword here is local. When a user enters a search query like “self storage near me” on a directory that supports local listings (like Google, Apple Maps, Yellow Pages, or Yelp), the search will return results based on what’s near the searcher.
Because of all this, it’s extremely important that your business information appears correctly in local search results. If your NAP information is outdated or incorrect, you’ll miss out on potential business from searchers who are looking for your services. Local business listings are free, local marketing for your business, and maintaining your listings so that they’re always up-to-date and accurate will increase your chances of being found by storage seekers online. There are literally hundreds of online directories, so some storage owners use aggregator tools like citation management to update all of their local and directory listings at once.
Google My Business (GMB) is undoubtedly one of the most popular local search tools. It’s free and easy to create and manage your Google My Business listing, and doing so allows your business to show up in local search and maps results with your NAP information, website link, and Google reviews. By creating, verifying, and managing your GMB listing, you’ll be able to nab top local search results, manage reviews, and show up near the top of Google’s “three-pack” for local search results near the searcher. And ranking near the top in local results is a big deal - more and more searchers are finding businesses with fast, hyper-local queries like “self storage near downtown Kansas City” or “self storage in Lake Chaubunagungamaug.”
For example, here’s Google’s three-pack result for my search of “self storage in Lenexa, KS.” Notice that JOCO Self Storage scores the top spot in the three-pack of local search results for this query.
Local search result for “self storage in Lenexa, KS.”
By verifying and maintaining your GMB information, you can boost your rankings for local search queries and help leads find you faster online and in Google Maps.
If you’re building a new storage facility, you’ll need to create a GMB listing for your new business. If you’ve recently acquired a facility, check to make sure it doesn’t already have a GMB listing before you create a new one. (Read more about that below!)
To set up your new business listing on GMB:
Go to google.com/business and create an account. Follow the setup instructions and enter the name of your business, your NAP information, your services offered and more. You’ll need to verify your phone number and your address. To do this, Google will call you, then send you a postcard to your business address via snail-mail with a pin number.
Once you’ve received your postcard from Google, verify the pin number you received to finish your verification process. From there, you can update photos, add more information, and manage your new business’s reviews.
It’s really that simple! For more help, check out this guide to getting started with Google My Business.
If you’ve bought an existing property, it may already have a GMB listing. To see if your business has an existing GMB listing, simply look up the facility’s location on Maps. If a business listing appears, then the GMB listing already exists and you’ll need to claim ownership of it. Even if the name is no longer the same or the NAP information has changed, you’ll want to claim this listing and get the information updated to your new business information.
To claim a current business listing on GMB:
Go to google.com/business and look up the old business listing on GMB. Type in the business name that matches the one you found on Maps. If your business is on the list, you may see that “Someone else has already verified this listing.” If you're the owner of the business, click “Request ownership.” (Learn more in Google’s article on how to request ownership on a business.
From here, you’ll simply follow the on screen directions to claim your business. You’ll need to verify your phone number and your address. To do this, Google will call you, then send you a postcard to your business address via snail-mail with a pin number.
Once you’ve received your postcard from Google, verify the pin number you received to finish your verification process. From there, you can update photos, add more information, and manage your business’s historical reviews. We suggest responding to negative reviews to let dissatisfied renters know that the business is under new ownership.
Millions of people use Yelp every day to find top-rated goods and services near them. Yelp covers everything from restaurants and laundromats to dentists and gyms - including self storage! Yelp is powered by real user reviews and photos, so you’ll want to find and claim your business’s Yelp listing to see what people are saying about your business online.
If you’re building a new storage facility, you’ll need to create a Yelp listing for your new business. If you’ve recently acquired a facility, check to make sure it doesn’t already have a listing on Yelp before you create a new one. (Read more about that below!)
Go to Yelp for Business Owners to sign up. Fill out your new business’s profile with your NAP information and email address and submit.
Once you submit, you will receive an email to verify your listing. After you verify, it can take up to a week for Yelp to activate your new listing. In the meantime, fill out your new business profile with business details, your logo, and lots of high-quality facility pictures. (Yelpers love pictures!)
You’ll receive a confirmation email when Yelp has activated your new business listing. Once your listing is live, be sure to let people know you’re on Yelp to start collecting reviews.
If you’ve bought an existing property, it may already have a Yelp business listing. Even if the name of your business is no longer the same, your NAP information has changed, or the facility has terrible reviews, you’ll want to claim this listing and get the information updated to your new business information to start fresh in the community.
Go to Yelp for Business Owners to search for and claim your business.
Follow the steps on this guide to find your business and create your business user account.
To verify that you are the owner of your business, Yelp may call the number listed on your business page and prompt you to enter a verification code. After you’re verified, you’ll be able to update your business listing with your new business name, NAP information, photos, and more. Reviews are key on Yelp, so be sure to check out your business’s historical reviews and overall star rating to start managing your Yelp reviews.
Apple Maps is the default map app on iPhones and iOS devices, and millions of people use it everyday. Users can search in the app for self storage and use the nearby feature to find storage units near them. It also connects you to Siri! Apple Maps is a great tool for storage businesses, so you won’t want to skip it.
Use the search function to add or find and claim your business. Select “I’m the business owner” to begin setting up your Maps listing. Claim or create your business, enter your business details and confirm by adding hours, location details, links to your website, and more.
Verify your business by answering a call on the business phone number you provided. That’s it!
Bing is a lesser-popular search engine, but it still has a ton of daily users. Similar to GMB, you can add your business to Bing to show up in local search results. Yelp reviews are pulled into Bing Local results, so you’ll want to set up your Bing business listing after setting up Yelp. Instead of a “three-pack” of local results, Bing pulls in the top five, which appear at the top of search under the paid search results.
For example, here’s Bing’s local search results for my search of “climate controlled self storage in Lenexa, KS.” Notice that JOCO Self Storage scores the top spot in the five-pack of Bing Local search results for this query.
Local search result for “climate controlled self storage in Lenexa, KS.”
Adding your business to Bing is free and easy, and it helps bring your business information to customers on the search engine of their choice.
Search for your business on Bing Places for Business and claim your listing. If you’re building a new facility, you’ll need to create a new listing.
Complete your Bing business profile by adding your NAP information, as well as photos, access hours, office hours, and a link to your website.
To verify your listing, you’ll receive a pin at your business address, phone, or email. After that, you’ll be able to log in and manage your Bing business listing to add photos or change business information as needed.
Facebook Local is an app that was launched at the end of 2017. It functions just like Yelp, but uses the data, reviews, photos, and more that it collects from businesses’ Facebook Pages to help users discover local businesses in their area. Like Foursquare, you can see friends’ reviews and check-ins on Facebook Local.
Since Facebook Local is relatively new, it’s usage stats are unknown at the time, but since it’s free and connected to your Facebook Page, it’s relatively fast and easy to set up!
Set up your business’s Facebook Page, if you haven’t already. (Find out how to create a Facebook Page for your storage business from the experts at storEDGE!)
Download the Facebook Local app on your device in the App Store or Google Play Store. Log in with your personal account, then search for “self storage” in your business’s area to see if your business shows up. (Tip: you might need to “like” or “follow” your business’s Facebook Page to see the result.)
From there, you’ll be able to see your business’s reviews, hours, star rating, and more. Friends can check-in to your facility, share their experience, and recommend your business to friends. You’ll be able to monitor these interactions in-app and from your business’s Facebook Page.
Search for self storage near me in the Facebook Local app.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post, you may also like: Local link building: What it is and how your self storage business can get in on the action, The scoop on the latest Google My Business updates: Texting, Q&As, and more!, and How voice search will change local SEO.