If you’re a vacation rental host, you’ve most likely already heard of Airbnb SEO (search engine optimization). Known to be one of the best ways to boost your Airbnb listing and increase your bookings, this process is a must for anyone promoting their property on the platform.
The primary goal for vacation rental owners is to get as many bookings as possible at the highest rate. There are plenty of ways to achieve this – e.g. by improving your amenities, taking professional photos, or creating a website for your rental business. While you should invest time into all of these methods, there is one thing every host should master in order to be successful on Airbnb, and that’s the search ranking algorithm.
This article will take you through all the best tips and tricks for successful Airbnb search optimization. From the algorithm to simple ways to improve your listing, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the topic.
What is Airbnb SEO?
Just as you need to optimize a website for search engines like Google and Bing, you also need to optimize your listing for the Airbnb search engine.
Unlike Google ranking factors, however, Airbnb SEO strategies do not take into account keywords or written content. It’s more about understanding the actions searchers take and how you as a host can meet their needs.
For example, one of these actions is the number of clicks in the search results. While this is out of your control as a host, Airbnb considers it a really strong sign if guests are clicking on particular listings to find out more information. That said, Airbnb only counts clicks from different guests. So, don’t try clicking on your own search result hundreds of times as that won’t get you anywhere!
What Are the Airbnb Search Algorithm Factors?
Airbnb is transparent about the fact that they use more than 100 factors to determine your listing’s search ranking. Although the Airbnb algorithm itself is a secret, the company has revealed that those 100 elements fit into three main categories.
Airbnb Algorithm Ranking Factor #1: Guest needs
This is something that is impossible for hosts to control. Airbnb looks at factors that relate to the guest, including the location where they are searching from, previous trips they’ve taken, the places on their Wish List, listings they’ve clicked on, and more.
Airbnb Algorithm Ranking Factor #2: Listing details
These are ranking factors that hosts can influence. Listing details include things like how many five-star reviews a property has, the price and location of the listing, whether it uses Instant Book, how quickly the host responds, and so on.
Airbnb Algorithm Ranking Factor #3: Trip details
Trip details are also hard for the owner to impact. They take into account how many guests are traveling, the length of the trip, how far in advance they are booking, as well as any maximum or minimum prices.
But the question is, what can you do to improve these areas?
How to Get More Airbnb Bookings
Airbnb search optimization is the first step to getting better visibility, attracting more guests, and increasing your bookings. Here are the top 14 suggestions to rank higher on Airbnb and begin to boost your income!
1. Keep your calendar up to date
First thing’s first: always make sure that your Airbnb calendar is fully updated. Not only will you be considered an active and responsive host, but you’ll also immediately improve your SEO for Airbnb. By updating your availability, you’ll show up in the Airbnb ranking algorithm and draw in more potential clients.
2. Think like a guest
Put yourself in the traveler’s shoes. If you are using Airbnb as a guest, you want to find the perfect listing for your trip, and that’s what Airbnb intends to deliver. So, when you prepare your home and create the listing, think about which kind of traveler will love to stay at your place. Is it for the adventurous solo traveler, a busy workationer, or is it more for families with kids? Prepare your property and listing for these specific audiences, and they will find you more easily.
3. Don’t skip on high-quality photos
Use professional pictures in your listing. Although this tip won’t impact the Airbnb search algorithm by itself, it will help a lot. Your photos will be the first impression people have and will determine whether they click on your listing or not. It will also help them decide whether they include it in their Wish List! The more travelers who click on your listing and add it to their Wish List, the better your search ranking will be.
4. Seal the deal
Close as many bookings as possible to improve your Airbnb SEO. Getting guests to click on your listing will boost your search ranking but keep in mind that the ratio of reservations against clicks is also an essential factor for the algorithm. According to Airbnb, “successful listings do a good job helping guests decide to book.” So, having an impressive listing with professional photos and a perfect description won’t be enough. In order to be among the first listings in your area, you will need to close those bookings.
5. Respond in a timely manner
Being responsive and providing great guest communication is a simple way to boost your Airbnb listing. This will help you to close bookings and get the Superhost status, too. Try to answer every question and comment made by your guests and do it as quickly as possible. Both response rate and time are measured by the algorithm. Never take more than 24 hours to answer your guests.
Remember: Airbnb doesn’t give an explicit boost to Superhosts, but the factors required to become a Superhost do help your listing rank higher.
6. Be instantly bookable
Make the booking experience as easy as possible. Since 2016, Airbnb has been implementing the Instant Book feature, and the reality is that now, most of the guests and hosts use it. Due to the huge success of instant booking, Airbnb gives a boost to those listings that accept it.
Nevertheless, if you choose the Request to Book method of accepting reservations, you can still obtain a good Airbnb SEO as long as you perform well in the rest of the decisive factors.
7. Refuse and cancel as few bookings as possible
In order to stay at the top of search results, you should aim to keep the number of cancellations and booking request refusals as low as possible. If you choose the Instant Book option, you only have a month during which you won’t be penalized for canceling bookings. After that month, cancellation penalties will apply – unless you have proper reasons. If you choose the Request to Book method, you can theoretically refuse as many requests as you want. However, it’s highly important to remember that the ratio of clicks to bookings is vital for your search ranking. Therefore, the more requests you refuse, the worse your search ranking will be. In order to avoid refusals and cancellations, make your house rules as clear as possible on your listing.
8. Price to beat your competition
Competitive pricing is essential as it is a big decision factor for guests when comparing listings. Sometimes, a slight change in price will leave your listing out of certain searches. Design and implement a good price strategy to get the best results. You can even use a third-party pricing tool.
9. Gather as many 5-star reviews as you can
Both the number and the quality of the reviews you receive are some of the most well-known factors of ranking on Airbnb. Encourage your guests to leave you positive reviews by simply asking them to do so. Explain to them how you would like to improve future guests’ experience by taking their comments into account. Be supportive during their stay and try to accommodate any additional requests (as long as they are within reason!).
10. Under-promise, over-deliver
Sometimes a complimentary bottle of wine can make a huge difference in your guests’ impression, but a noisy neighbor’s dog can ruin their experience. This is why you should always present guests with realistic expectations and never hide anything from them.
11. Fill out your personal profile
Although it is sometimes forgotten, your personal profile is very important. A nice and welcoming description of yourself will help potential guests to decide between two listings of the same kind. Also, get verified by adding all the information and official documents Airbnb asks you to. Building trust is always a good technique in any business, so why should it be forgotten here?
12. Have flexible policies
While it might not be ideal to set your minimum stay duration to just one night because it can attract unwanted guests, it’s definitely an effective Airbnb search optimization technique. Having a flexible listing means it will show up more often in the search results, therefore improving your ranking.
13. Use vacation rental software
Vacation rental software provides hosts with the tools needed to improve their Airbnb SEO. With a channel manager that makes it easier to keep track of your calendar and automated guest communication, you can ensure that your listing stands out and ranks higher on Airbnb.
By creating business profiles online and linking your Airbnb account, you’ll improve the traffic to your listing. By doing so, you’ll appear in more search results and you will also enhance your reputation.
Not to sound dramatic, but these are tips that every Airbnb host should know. It’s a lot to take in, but if you start tackling each point one by one, you’ll be on the road to successful Airbnb SEO in no time! All the hard work you’ve put into creating the perfect property will pay off and you’ll soon see those bookings pour in.