Ask AI: Google Ads Vs. SEO for Self Storage

Storagely employee sitting next to text reading Ask AI: Google Ads Vs. SEO for Self Storage Facilities

Google Ads vs. SEO: Which should you prioritize?

That is the question.

Whether ’tis nobler to pursue organic traffic or suffer the monthly bills for Google Ads is a question that all storage businesses ponder as they venture into self storage marketing. 

Which path will lead to increased rentals? How can you improve your profit margins? 

Fear not—Storagely will answer your questions. As a leader in storage marketing, Storagely is here to provide you with the latest research and trends so you can go forth and make a splash in the storage industry. In this blog, we’ll ask AI’s opinion about this topic and give you our take on Google Ads vs. SEO for self storage

Let’s begin. 



Ask AI: Google Ads Vs. SEO Prompt

We asked Google’s Gemini AI, “If you have to pick between paid ads or SEO due to budget, what would bring a self storage facility the best results when considering marketing ROI, lead generation, and revenue?

And here was the response…


“On a tight budget, for a self storage facility, SEO would likely bring the best results in terms of ROI, lead generation, and revenue in the long run.”


Here’s why:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: SEO offers a long-term play. Once you rank well organically, you attract leads without paying per click. This translates to a higher return on investment compared to ongoing paid ad expenses.
  • Targeted Leads: SEO allows you to target relevant keywords people use to search for storage facilities. This ensures you attract qualified leads with a genuine interest in renting units, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Sustainable Growth:  SEO builds organic visibility over time.  While it takes effort upfront, the benefits compound as your search engine rankings improve, attracting a steady stream of leads without needing constant ad campaign management.


Addressing Paid Ads Appeal

While paid ads offer faster results, the benefits might not outweigh the drawbacks in a budget-constrained scenario:

  • Limited Budget, Limited Visibility: With a limited budget, your paid ads might not reach a significant audience, resulting in lower lead generation.
  • Dependence on Spending:  Once you stop paying for ads, your website traffic will likely drop. This creates an ongoing cost to maintain visibility and lead flow.


However, consider this:

  • Short-Term Boost: If immediate vacancy filling is critical, a small, targeted paid ad campaign alongside SEO efforts can be a good stop-gap solution.


SEO On a Budget:

  • Focus on Local SEO: Optimize your website and Google My Business listing for local search terms like “[city] storage units” or “storage near me.” This can significantly improve local visibility without a hefty budget.
  • Content Marketing:  Create informative blog posts or guides related to storage needs, packing tips, or moving checklists. This establishes your expertise and attracts organic traffic.
  • Track and Adapt: Utilize free SEO tools to track your website traffic and keyword rankings. Continuously refine your SEO strategy based on data to maximize organic reach.



Google Ads Vs. SEO: Storagely’s Response

Our response? We agree 100%. Why? Let’s look at the AI claims and how they relate to the self storage industry.


1. Cost-Effectiveness

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) does indeed offer long-term play. Although it may take some time and effort, it’s cheaper than Google Ads in the long run—even if you’re paying for marketing help or tools. 

Creating SEO-optimized content will drive traffic to your storage website organically without spending your hard-earned money for leads to see it. When you pay for Google Ads, you’ll have to pay for each click to your website. Ranking organically means leads find your website and explore content with no extra cost to you. 

Not all industries thrive on Google Ads. Specifically, self storage businesses often find it more difficult to succeed through paid advertising than organic strategies, largely due to competition from prominent Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

For self storage owners, the goal is to shape and control their future. However, Google doesn’t share critical information. Relying on Google Paid Ads to generate new rentals traps you into a cycle where reducing or stopping your ad spend isn’t financially feasible. The moment you cease funding the Google machine, your rental inquiries will plummet.

If your investment is solely in a Google Ads campaign without allocating resources to genuine SEO efforts, you may find it difficult to swallow the hard truth that Google, not you, owns your business.

Storagely has witnessed SEO transform the storage industry, and our success stories might just convince you to ditch Google Ads for good. Take a look at what our client from Bluebird Self Storage had to say about their switch to Storagely’s SEO-focused methods:



“Before we started using Storagely, we had a location in Leaside in Toronto. In October of one year, it was getting only 18 rentals. And then, the following year, after we gave it some time for some of the Storagely SEO to take hold and get some traction, we increased year-over-year in the same month from 18 rentals to 92 rentals. We’ve tested paid ads in at least three different time periods and across dozens of locations. So we’ve spent a lot of money testing. And you compare that $1,000 to something closer to maybe $200, which is what it’s been costing to get a rental from organic search…Today, we don’t run any paid ads. And we see traffic at most of the locations twice to three times as much rental activity.”

—Jason Koonin, CEO of Bluebird Self Storage 


We know what you’re thinking, “It’s too good to be true!” But we’re here to tell you that it’s 100% possible—and we have the data to prove it. With Storagely as your partner, you can enjoy more rentals without the hassle of paid ads. 

When considering Google Ads vs. SEO, it’s essential to weigh the long-term cost. Will you remain beholden to Google and lose money in the process with paid ads? Is it worth the hard work to employ SEO strategies that will last? 

With SEO,  you’re giving your facility the best chance for success. 


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2. Targeted Leads

Did you know that 53.3% of all web traffic comes from organic search, but only 27% comes from paid search? Additionally, 22.6% of digital traffic comes from local searches. Imagine what you can do if you combine those two elements. 

What exactly are targeted leads? They’re potential tenants who have shown interest in your storage facility by searching for related target keywords or phrases. These leads are more likely to convert into paying tenants compared to random traffic.

To attract targeted leads, you need to understand your audience and their behavior. You can use tools like Google Analytics or social media insights to gather data on your website visitors. This will help you identify which valuable keywords or phrases are driving the most traffic and tailor your strategy accordingly. SEO for self storage thrives on local, long-tail keywords. Local keywords will ensure you’re reaching your targeted audience while avoiding direct keyword competition with REITs. 

But don’t rely solely on keyword research. You also need to create high-quality content that resonates with your audience. This can include informative blog posts about self storage tips or customer testimonials highlighting their positive experience at your facility. By providing valuable information and building trust with potential tenants, you increase the chances of converting them into paying renters.



3. Sustainable Growth With Search Engine Optimization

SEO is a powerful self storage website strategy that enhances organic visibility in search engines over time. Initially, it requires considerable effort in terms of keyword research, content creation, and landing page optimization. However, the beauty of SEO lies in its ability to generate long-term results. Moreover, SEO is highly scalable, allowing storage businesses to expand their strategies as they grow, continually improving their online presence and reaching larger audiences.

As your self storage website ranks higher in search engine results, the benefits increase. Better ranking boosts visibility, drawing more potential leads without the continuous investment required by Google Ads campaigns. With a solid SEO campaign, your site keeps attracting traffic with minimal extra cost, making SEO a cost-effective marketing strategy over time. Moreover, as your site gains authority in search engines, it also builds user trust and credibility in your brand, boosting your business’s growth and success.

Do you want to hit the ground running with SEO? Storagely has a range of services that will ensure you’re ranking at the top of search engines. Whether you’re using an optimized Storagely website or taking advantage of professional marketing services with Storagely+, we’re confident we can help your storage business climb to the top. We understand what matters in the world of Google Ads vs. SEO. 


Want to know more about self storage SEO? Check out our free eBook!


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4. Examining the Appeal of a Google Ads Campaign

There may be times when Google Ads seem beneficial, especially for quickly filling vacancies. A small, targeted paid ad campaign, with both SEO and Google Ads, can be an effective short-term strategy. However, while PPC ads can deliver faster results, their benefits might not outweigh the costs, especially with budget constraints.


Here are some drawbacks of Google Ads:

  • A small advertising budget can limit your audience reach.
  • Stopping ad funding can lead to decreased website traffic, needing ongoing investment to keep visibility and lead flow.
  • Around 40% of internet traffic comes from bots, click farms, and competitors, which can deplete your budget through unqualified clicks, raising costs.


If you’re using Google Search Ads for your storage business, Storagely offers Google Ads Management that shields your business from bots, invalid traffic, and competitors that waste 1 in 4 of your clicks. Our AI quickly analyzes each click, blocking bots and invalid traffic to ensure only real people reach your ads, leading to more rentals. Fraudulent IPs are added to your Google Ads exclusion list in under 3 seconds, ensuring your ads efficiently reach genuine tenants without blocking legitimate traffic.


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Google Ads Vs. SEO for Self Storage: The Verdict

While Google Ads can be useful, SEO is the most effective long-term strategy for driving targeted leads to your self storage business. By investing in an SEO-friendly website and creating high-quality content, you’ll boost your site’s organic search results visibility and attract potential tenants searching for storage solutions. Effective SEO takes time, but it’s worth the investment for long-term benefits.  


The Storagely platform offers everything for dominating self storage SEO: an optimized Storage Website, Marketing Tools, a Reporting Engine, and a Rental System—all in one. Contact Storagely to discover more about Google Ads Vs. SEO and how our SEO solutions can elevate your storage business to new heights. 


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