This post was originally written by Carrie Royce.

Here at Red Nova Labs – parent company of StorageAhead – we are constantly harping on our self storage clients about best practices in search engine optimization –the “unpaid” organic type. Just take a look back through this blog and you’ll see: Most articles cover 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 eight out of ten prospective renters search online first for self storage. Six of those ten go to Google. Five-point-nine-nine-nine-nine of those ten pick something on Google’s front page.

It’s our job to grab those searchers and deliver them as leads to our clients. If we can’t do that naturally – if we have to rely on the alternative of millions of dollars in pay-per-click campaigns and engines – we’ll all be standing in the soup-lines holding our cardboard signs saying “Will optimize for food!”

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.

Sure, there are quick and dirty ways to get Google’s attention. But at StorageAhead, we don’t use them 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—a.k.a. no-click land.

The fact of the matter is, SEO best practices are the only way to guarantee that a website can climb to 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. That’s why we’re excited to share this month’s Compete data.

Compete.com is an independent marketing data website that provides free information for every site on the web, like site traffic history and competitive analytics. The data comes from a statistically representative cross-section of two million consumers across the United States. As you can see in the graph below, StorageFront’s traffic has slowly and consistently climbed thanks to SEO best practices.

As of this month – more than two years since we began our SEO work on StorageFront.com – we’re topping the charts. You’re darn right we’re patting ourselves on the back! (Click the graphic below to enlarge)

Compete shows traffic patterns for StorageFront, Sparefoot and USStorageSearch

It’s a smart choice for a self storage operator to subscribe to an industry marketing platform. In fact, any one of the platforms shown in this comparison probably has better odds of getting a facility to the top of Google than a facility has on its own.

Nonetheless, all self storage marketing platforms are not created equal. We differ in three major areas: our fee models, our market penetration agendas, and our methods of search engine visibility. At StorageAhead we’re proud to say that we keep our SEO noses clean and to the Google grindstone.

photo credit: Lin Pernille Photography via photopin cc