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Search engine optimization is an increasingly talked-about topic in the vacation rental industry. With so much competition – from listing sites and competitors alike – the average vacation rental website doesn’t have much chance at succeeding without SEO.

And in order to really get your vacation rental website dominating Google search results, you’re going to need good SEO.

One of the most effective ways you can optimize your website for search engines is by taking advantage of a little something called keywords. According to Moz, keywords are the “words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines”.

Keywords are essential because they are the missing link between what users (i.e. potential guests) are searching for, and the information you can provide them to fill this gap.


Why are keywords so important for your vacation rental website?

New guests who don’t know about your vacation rental yet only have one way of finding you and actually arriving at your website: through organic Google searches.

This means in turn that Google has to be able to analyze your website and deem its content relevant enough to present it to travelers who are on the lookout. For instance, if somebody searches for “holiday home in Florida” Google will scan the texts of your website pages to determine if you offer exactly what this person is looking for. 

So should your vacation rental website not include the most important keywords that travelers are using to find accommodations like yours there’s no chance you will show up in their search results.

Thus, identifying the top searched keywords for your own vacation rental should be the first step you take to improve your website’s overall SEO and achieve visibility with your online target audience.

This how you ultimately increase your direct online bookings and convert window shoppers without having to pay for expensive ads first.

However, this naturally begs the question of how vacation rental keyword research should be conducted so that it’s actually efficient and effective.

Actionable tips for vacation rental keyword research: 

We’ve compiled these nine tips to help you determine your vacation rental keywords in order to start achieving high rankings for your website.

1. If your website is new, target low competition keywords to rank more quickly

New websites are more difficult to rank for competitive keywords, but there is a way to get your site noticed more quickly.

Just target certain keywords that have a lower difficulty and therefore lower competition than the top keywords. You can use a free tool like Google Keyword Planner to help determine which keywords you should try to rank for.

2. Always conduct keyword research before you write a blog post

The whole point of starting a blog for your vacation rental is to gain traffic – right? So make it as relevant as possible by researching keywords before you even generate blog post ideas.

Use a tool like Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find search volumes and new keywords for your business and upcoming blog posts. Check out this Google help center article for basic tips for building a keyword list.

3. Identify your competitors’ keywords, and use them yourself!

As the vacation rental industry is becoming increasingly competitive with more and more rentals popping up all the time, owners and managers have to get creative.

By identifying your competitors’ keywords and the amount of traffic they bring, you can aim to target these yourself to drive more traffic your way.

4. Rank for similar keywords by grouping them

Google is extremely smart and can identify relationships between keywords and other similar ones. Because of this, it’s now possible to rank for multiple keywords with just one page or blog post! So start by choosing one main keyword, then building groups of keywords that are very closely linked with this one to integrate into your website content.

5. Use Google “People also ask” to find other keywords to target

Often, when you carry out a Google search, Google will provide you with other frequently searched terms in the “People also ask” box. (Note: sometimes this appears at the top of search results, and other times it’s a bit further down). These related searches may help you find new topics to write about that other vacation rental guests are already searching for.

6. Make the most of Google autocomplete to find new keyword ideas

Simply type your original keyword idea into Google, and as if by magic, autocomplete will provide you with a list of suggestions.

It’s not magic at all, really. In fact, these are usually the most searched terms that start with the same phrase you entered. And can also provide you with more ideas for your content.

7. Delete words from Google autocomplete for even MORE keyword ideas

Ever accidentally deleted a word from a Google search and had tons more autocomplete ideas come up? Try doing this on purpose. Enter your full search query, then delete the bit you want more ideas for. Google will present you with a nice long list of ideas that cost you zero effort or time!

8. Target one keyword for each page of your website

One of the fundamentals when it comes to keywords and SEO is this: don’t target more than one keyword per page. If you do this, Google will decide for you which one is going to rank for that keyword and you might not be pleased with the result

Structure each page on your site to target one keyword, and one keyword only.

9. Google your keywords before creating any content

Due to the increasing presence of ads across Google search results, organic links are often pushed further down to make way for paid advertising.

By performing the Google search yourself first in an incognito window, you’ll be able to see if your content is likely to receive any clicks. If it’s all paid ads in the way and that is where all the traffic is going, it might be worth rethinking whether to target that search term.

These 9 keyword research hacks will definitely get you started, but they are only a beginning. If you really want to see your own website at the top of the search results and rake in those direct bookings download our full list of 50 actionable SEO tips for vacation rentals!

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