Google doesn’t rank websites based on skills and achievements. So, whilst the team at Storage Vault had over 15 years of experience in the self-storage industry, this alone couldn’t help them break through to the top of Google’s search result pages. They were experts in their field, but they needed to be heard.
Storage Vault came to us in 2016, knowing that they needed to invest in a strong digital marketing campaign to plant them firmly in front of their target audience online, boosting brand awareness and conversions.
Our collaborative team of SEO analysts, writers, developers, and designers worked hard to plan and execute a solid SEO strategy which in return increased Storage Vault’s rankings, traffic, and conversion rates.
Let’s go back to the summer of 2016.
Self storage is one of those things that, if you didn’t know it existed, you may never have given it a second thought. Self storage is also one of those things where, once you’ve been opened up to the idea, you’ll find yourself surprised with just how clever and convenient it is.
In 2016, people started opening their eyes to the wonder of self storage, and as a result, the demand started its exponential curve. It was a fight or flight moment.
With a fast-growing demand for storage, Storage Vault knew they needed to act fast and that their strategy needed to pack a punch. Would anyone search for “storage unit”, skip to page 5, and give them a call? Unlikely. They’d pick one of the top 3, of course. And dominating the top spot was the UK’s largest provider - Safe Store.
Storage Vault got in touch with us for help making their mark in the digital realm. We came up with a comprehensive plan to get them to the top spot on Google - they took a leap and invested heavily in a solid digital strategy.
With an aggressive strategy of acquiring of new premises, and opening new facilities on a monthly basis - they needed a new website with a flexible website structure and solid SEO strategy that would help them achieve top rankings for each location they opened.
We were faced with a website that had:
So, how did we help Storage Vault push to the top?
Here at Digital Impact, we developed and actioned a solid, all-encompassing SEO strategy that gave Storage Vault the ultimate push to the top of the SERPs. Our work was centred around some core elements:
Here’s how and why we did what we did.
When Storage Vault first came to us, their domain rating was below 25, out of a total score of 100. Meanwhile, their top-ranking competitors boasted scores that were at least 20 points higher.
Google’s search algorithm generally favours websites with high domain authority. If Storage Vault were to be in with a chance of competing with well-established, international rivals, their domain rating needed a significant boost.
To improve the authority of Storage Vault’s domain, we embarked on a top tier link building campaign. Links from authoritative websites are essentially a stamp of approval, and signal to Google that a domain is authoritative and merits ranking.
Our approach to securing these top backlinks was two-fold:
These top tier links increased Storage Vault’s domain authority, laying a solid foundation for the other strands of our SEO strategy to take full effect.
Focused on attracting business in several locations, Storage Vault needed a locally-targeted SEO strategy to ensure that the site received only the most relevant, qualified traffic.
We set up verified, complete Google My Business profiles for each location, optimised for high rankings which would earn them a sought-after spot in the “map pack”. A place in the map pack would place Storage Vault in full view of their target audience for each of their local keywords, leading to greater brand familiarity, trust, and higher traffic.
To foster further trust in the Google listings, we established a review management process to legitimise the profiles with real customer experiences. We reached out to current Storage Vault clients to leave reviews on Google, in addition to reviews on other platforms like TrustPilot.
We also turned our attention to the conditions under which users would be searching. An estimated 75% of mobile users have local intent, so the website had to be fully responsive on mobile. We made continuous tweaks to the page layout and added a click-to-call button to achieve better conversion rates for on-the-go local searches.
With a geographically scattered target audience, it made no sense to concentrate all of our efforts on directing leads to the general Storage Vault homepage. Conversion rates would dramatically improve if site visitors were immediately diverted to a page with details for the location nearest them.
Continuing on with a new thread in our local SEO strategy, we created a series of landing pages for each of their locations, optimised for local keywords. These landing pages would make the process of making a reservation one step shorter, tailoring and speeding up the user journey. These landing pages could be easily replicated for each new location they opened, allowing them to rank for new local keywords with ease.
With a careful internal linking structure, we divided up page authority, passing link juice from the most authoritative home page and location-specific blog content towards these location landing pages.
Google’s search algorithm differs when it detects that a user is looking for location-specific results. Whilst top tier backlinks boost overall domain authority, the local algorithm pays more attention to relevance and locality of backlinks when it ranks sites. If you Google ‘storage unit’ in Newcastle, Glasgow and Brighton, you will get very different results due to local factors.
In a bid to boost Storage Vault’s rankings for their local search terms, diverting potential customers to their most relevant location landing page, we set up a local link building strategy.
We researched and compiled a list of local charities, community groups, and sports teams to outreach to and arranged sponsorship agreements in return for backlinks to the relevant landing pages.
The links on these local websites gave Storage Vault another avenue to catch the attention of prospective customers, legitimising the business and helping to build trust and local authority.
As self storage is a fairly new industry, it isn’t necessarily the first solution potential customers jump to when they need something stored.
Storage Vault’s blog content strategy was their “in” to attract people searching for a range of subjects related to storage, decluttering, and organisation. By writing helpful content pieces like “Moving Home Checklists” and “How To Pack A Box” guides, we helped Storage Vault to introduce potential customers to the wondrous solution of self storage.
For potential customers who were a little further into the buyer’s journey, we created content specifically answering their questions and queries, such as how to pick the right storage unit and how best to store their belongings in the unit.
To remain competitive in the SERPs, Storage Vault’s content needed to adapt to the ever-advancing changes in Google’s search algorithm. In the past, it was enough to approach each blog post individually and rank it for one specific keyword alone. What site visitors were left with, however, were thin pieces of content that briefly covered all strands of a topic in a thousand words.
Google’s algorithm has evolved to favour websites which cover topics in depth and also cover other contextually relevant subjects. Rather than attempt to rank a single post on a broad topic, we had to look more holistically at their approach to content.
We revitalised Storage Vault’s blog by crafting several “pillars” of content. This approach involves writing a core “pillar” article which provides a comprehensive overview of a topic. This piece then internally links to multiple other “cluster” articles which explore specific aspects of the broad topic in more detail. We created pillars that matched the main search intents of Storage Vault’s main target groups, including business, students, and Glasgow-based customers.
These pillars signalled to Google that Storage Vault’s website merited ranking for competitive keywords like “storage” since the website had a wealth of content on storage, as well as contextually relevant subjects, like organisation and decluttering. The pillars successfully boosted Storage Vault’s rankings for their main target storage-related keywords as well as their rankings for long-tailed keywords for specific topics.
Moreover, these pillars played an important role in circulating link juice around the website, particularly to the local landing pages where building links naturally at scale can be an issue. Through carefully placed call-to-action internal links, the pillar and cluster content acted as a mechanism to funnel traffic to relevant landing pages, boosting on-site time and conversion rates, and boosting page authority.
From the beginning of August 2016 to the end of May 2019, Storage Vault saw great results from their SEO campaign.
The campaign ended with 29 out 39 target keywords in the top 3, including their primary local keywords (and their secondary variations) for Glasgow, Paisley, Greenock, East Kilbride, and Cambuslang.
In the top 10, they nabbed spots for the remainder of their broader target keywords like self storage, storage near me, student storage, and furniture storage.
Their domain authority shot up from less than 25 to 40, and their referring domains increased by 594%.
With the improved keyword rankings and the increase in quality, relevant backlinks, Storage Vault’s organic traffic exploded, increasing by a staggering 994.61%.
Continuous CRO work to direct this mass of traffic towards relevant landing pages as quickly as possible led to a 247.92% increase in organic conversions, with overall conversion rate of 12.11%.
Through Storage Vault’s SEO campaign, they have cemented themselves as an industry leader across central and western Scotland, a very competitive space where the majority of competitors are national and international providers that have been around for many years.
Storage Vault has been able to increase brand awareness and foster trust which has been critical in their expansion to 7 more sites since the start of the project, as well as multiple workspaces - and they’ve got plans to open even more.