Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2012 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Here at storEDGE, we are constantly harping on our self storage clients about best practices in search engine optimization –the “unpaid” organic type that you can only get from having a modern, well-designed website with useful content. Just take a look back through this blog and you’ll see: Many of our articles cover search engine optimization (SEO) topics and trends that may help self storage operators understand how to get ahead in search.

We invest huge amounts of time and energy in staying on top of SEO—studying, testing, attending conferences, and pretty much driving each other crazy in-house with debates. Why are we so fixated? Because nine out of ten prospective renters start their search for self storage online. The majority of users go to Google and pick something on Google’s front page. At storEDGE, it’s our job to grab those searchers and deliver them as leads to our web marketing clients.

Benefits notwithstanding, SEO best practices can be a hard-sell to self storage operators because measurable results take time. Optimization is a slow, meticulous – and frankly, annoying – process. And when other SEO companies promise faster results, most self storage operators don’t see their drawbacks.

Not right away, anyway.

The old school, quick and dirty ways of getting Google’s attention - like keyword stuffing - don’t work anymore. And at storEDGE, we don’t use SEO shortcuts or recommend them to our clients. Best case scenario: the positive search engine results don’t last. Worst case scenario: Google gives the website a big spanking and drops it into page 17—aka, no-click land.

The fact of the matter is, SEO best practices are the only way to guarantee that a website can climb to the top of page one while also staying on Google’s good side. But no matter how much we harp, self storage operators aren’t sure until they see the proof.

So where is your self storage website ranking? Rather than just Googling yourself, we recommend checking your Google rank by following these two easy steps:

  1. Get setup with Google Analytics. If you have a professionally designed self storage website, you might already have Google Analytics. If not, it’s easy to get started! Google Analytics tools offer a number of ways to track website visits and search rank, including advanced stats like bounce rate, page load speed, dwell time, and more.

  2. Use a search ranking checker. We recommend this one from GeoRanker. Simply type in your website’s full URL. Then, type in a relevant keyword for your business (like “RV storage near me”). Then, select “local” and your country before choosing the number of cities you’d like to search from. (These cities represent the searcher’s location, so think of your market.) Enter the zip codes for the cities you’d like to see results from and hit “Create Report”, and you’re done!

An example of the keyword checker.

The rank tracker tool will then spit out a report with your ranking history for the search term and the selected cities. Don’t forget to assess your search rank for other relevant keywords, like “self storage in Blue Earth” or “affordable student storage.” You can also download your report and save it to keep track of your search engine rank over time.

Not a fan of GeoRanker? Another great ranking checker is this one from Link-Assistant. There are tons of rank checkers out there, and it’s far more beneficial to use rank checker than to Google yourself. (For more info on why, check out this blog post.) Whatever rank checker you use, if you’re less than pleased with your current search engine ranking, don’t be discouraged! There are tons of ways you can improve your site and boost your search ranking, and rankings are constantly evolving.

The bottom line: It’s a smart choice for a self storage operator to get SEO help from professional web marketers, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your search ranking. You’ll get a high-quality, mobile-responsive website with tailored keyword content and self-service tools like online rentals, bill payments, and more. And, if you keep your SEO nose clean and to the Google grindstone, you’ll be climbing the ranks of search results in no time.

In the meantime, download our free ebook to evaluate your website and find out what you can do to improve your site to kick up your search ranking. It’s a short, fun read packed with tons of useful information.

Click here to download our free ebook on the 7 deadly sins of web design.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post, you may also like: Does this affect my rankings? 5 SEO myths you’re better off ignoring, 5 easy ways to rank better in Google search, and How users search for self storage + the #1 reason why you shouldn't obsessively Google yourself.