Are you sitting in your storage facility waiting and hoping for good reviews to show up on your Google Business Profile?
Or are you going out and getting them?
Ideally, you’re providing such an exceptional experience that every tenant leaves you a 5-star review out of the gratitude deep in their hearts - but I wouldn’t count on it.
The competition is out there drumming up 5-star reviews everywhere they can find them. If you’re sitting back and letting them come to you, you could find your website falling behind.
Good reviews are hugely important for self storage marketing. Not only do reviews show your customers that their neighbors trust you, but they also play an important part in building your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Good reviews are a strong ranking signal for Google - Google’s algorithm wants to show searchers the best answer for their query, after all. Reviews are one of the primary ways Google’s robots can tell the difference between a good storage facility and one that might disappoint their searcher.
Of course, the quality of the review is fundamentally important. Getting lots of 3-star reviews won’t do you a whole lot of good. However, once you start getting 4- and 5-star reviews consistently, the quantity of reviews begins to matter.
Imagine if one friend recommends a new restaurant. Maybe you trust their take, maybe you don’t. Maybe they like food so spicy the servers wear latex gloves to touch it. But if all your friends start raving about it?
Probably time to check it out, right?
Believe it or not, Google works off that same logic. The more positive recommendations your GBP has, the more likely Google is to show you to a searcher.
Important Note! No amount of reviews will outcompete proximity. If your searcher is thirty miles from your facility, you won’t show up in their local pack. Don’t bother trying to win these customers. Focus on your local community instead!
Good reviews also can’t outweigh a bad website. If your website doesn’t function or doesn’t exist, good reviews on your GBP have very limited value.
Once you’ve got a solid website, a strong Google Business Profile, and a great customer experience, then it’s time to target getting more reviews!
The best way to get good reviews on your GBP is to ask for them.
The conversation can feel awkward, especially if you’re not accustomed to asking your tenants for a review, but it will quickly become a habit.
The best time to ask a tenant for a review is after you have a positive interaction with them. You know best what a positive interaction looks like at your facility - maybe it’s after you answer some of their questions, or maybe it's after you bring them a bottle of water and chat for a minute.
Be aware that tenants currently moving in are likely to be stressed and won’t want another thing on their to-do list. If the tenant is sweating from carrying couches, give them some time.
When you can’t immediately ask for a review, consider texting the tenant later on. If you have the time, a personalized text message that includes a review link is the perfect way to add new reviews.
Thank the customer for their business, let them know you’re available if they need help, give them your office hours and any other information they might need, and then invite them to review you. Try to avoid the feeling that you’re only texting them for a review - but don’t hide that you’d like one, either.
Texting is the best way to get responses from your customers. Texts get opened more than emails do because they’re personal - and less susceptible to spam.
Be careful not to let your texting become spam in your customers’ minds! Ask once, and let it be for a while. You don’t need every customer to leave a good review.
Even if someone has a great experience at your facility, they’re not likely to jump through hoops to review you. If the process is irritating, they may even leave a worse review than they otherwise would.
Google makes it easy to send a review link. This is a one-click option that sends your tenant directly to the “leave a review” page (provided they’re logged in to their Google account). Get a link specific to your business, and use it often!
Include that link in your emails, in your texts, and on your website. Some operators worry that they might make it too easy to leave negative reviews, too, but this is generally not the case.
Negative reviews are coming regardless. People who are mad at your business (or at you) have far more motivation to leave a review than those who had a good experience.
Motivated reviewers don’t need your help. Everyone else could use a bit of encouragement and an easy review link!
Check out our advice on handling self storage customer complaints here!
Not all reviews are created equal - Google values reviews with certain characteristics more than others. Generally, this correlates to how useful a given review is for other searchers.
If you can, encourage your customers to leave reviews that:
This is a general SEO trend - don’t worry too much about the exact keywords used in your review. As algorithms have improved, they are better able to understand the meaning of any written text.
The reviews should be natural and not stilted towards any SEO aim.
Responding to reviews shows customers that your business is paying attention. It’s good for your customers - people are more likely to do business with a company that replies to reviews. But it’s also good for your SEO!
It’s only a minor ranking factor, which means it’s not going to shoot you up the rankings, but it’s a good practice nonetheless. Responses also enable you to contextualize negative reviews - though it’s important not to get defensive.
Try to be empathetic to the customer’s plight, even if you know they’re wrong.
Find a balance of professional and personal - you are running a business, but you’re also a person. A personal touch can take the sting out of a negative review.
For good reviews, the process is easy - thank them for choosing your facility!
Think of review responses as a way to showcase your customer service chops. It’s easy to put “exceptional service” on your website, but it’s another thing entirely to prove it out where everyone can see it!
As above, don’t worry about using keywords in your review responses. There’s no evidence that this has any effect on ranking.
Good Google reviews boost conversion - but they also help you get in front of customers in the first place.
Even better, they’re completely free! Getting more positive reviews should be one of the primary focuses of self storage operators who are working on a tight budget (and even for those who aren’t).
The exact number of reviews isn’t as important as getting a constant stream of them. This shows Google that you have an active business and that ownership is paying attention - rather than doing a big push to get reviews and then stopping altogether.
The first dozen reviews will make a big difference to your SEO ranking - but going from 50-60, or 150-160, won’t have nearly as much impact. If your business has only a handful of reviews, you should make acquiring more a top priority.
On the other hand, if you’ve got 134 and your nearest competitor has 165? That discrepancy won’t make a huge difference if the quality of your reviews is similar.
Don’t think of the number of reviews as a race to get the most. Like a lot of facets of self storage SEO, getting your reviews right functions as a ticket to entry. Without good reviews, Google won’t even let your website play the local SEO game.
More and more good reviews will function as more and more votes for your business, both in the eyes of consumers and the eyes of Google’s bots.
Make sure you have a way to get good reviews - local SEO is very difficult without them.
David Austin is SEO Content Manager for StoragePug, a self storage website design company working out of Knoxville, TN. David worked for StoragePug for two years as an SEO specialist and content writer. He's dedicated to helping small self storage operators compete with the big players in the industry. To reach out to David, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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