Have you “Googled” your vacation rental website lately?
Few people will look past the first page, so if you end up at the bottom of the search results, you are most likely missing out on potential guests.
Every month, more than 135,000 people search for the term “vacation rental” and with a good SEO strategy, you could improve your ranking on Google and manage to drive more traffic to your property website.
No idea of how to rank your own website in the first position?
Don’t worry, there is a solution and it’s called vacation rental SEO (search engine optimization).
If you are a property manager or vacation rental owner who is taking the first steps into search engine optimization, following these simple SEO tips can help you start to achieve a good ranking with your website.
But before you begin, we have a surprise for you!
Download the complete SEO guide for vacation rentals and get to position number one on Google!
SEO tips for property management and vacation rentals
If you’re here, it probably means that you’re a property manager or vacation rental owner with your own professional website.
But, if that’s not the case, don’t worry. There are plenty of tools you can use to build your own website quickly and easily – such as Lodgify.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to optimize your website for search engines.
Just think about all the potential travelers you could reach through Google or other search engines. Getting better rankings will increase your website traffic, and, as a result, your direct bookings.
Ideally, you will want your vacation rental business to appear within the top three results for optimum booking conversion.
Using a few basic techniques will allow your vacation rental or B&B website to rank highly on search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing.
Here are five simple tips that will help your vacation rental business to become more visible through search engine optimization (SEO).
1. Find the right keywords for vacation rentals
A search engine scans your business website for certain keywords and uses this information to determine your ranking. Consider which terms people would search if they were trying to find a vacation rental or B&B in your area, and add these to the content of your website.
Not sure how to find the right keywords? You can begin by checking out our blog post “Vacation Rental SEO Hacks: Keyword Research” where we show you how to use free tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest and help you discover key search terms that could bring relevant traffic to your website.
2. Choose the right keywords
Using your property type and location can be a good place to start. For example, “bed and breakfast Charlotte” or “Maui vacation rentals”. However, the main issue here is that these keywords are likely to be highly competitive and you’re unlikely to be able to compete with the OTAs which hold the top spots.
An alternative strategy for your main keywords is to choose relevant but not so competitive keywords, in order to rank higher for that specific term.
If you’ve recently created your first website or if you’ve never adopted an SEO strategy before, it might not be easy to rank on the first page for those more general terms.
Instead, try to target low competition and more specific keywords. Start with long-tail keywords, which contain at least three words and have less search volume. For example, “vacation home rentals for weddings”.
Travelers might search less for that keyword, but the chance to rank on the first page is higher and could end up driving more traffic eventually.
That said, you do not want to overdo your keywords. Totally focusing on what you believe search engines want will make your copy keyword-heavy. Doing this not only displeases your website visitors but also search engines and you may be penalized.
There are many different ways to perform keyword research for your vacation rental in order to truly optimize your website.
3. Optimize your images
All of your images should be fully optimized so search engines like Google can “read” them. They can be optimized in 3 ways:
- File size: Aim to keep your file size below 100KB whenever possible.
- File names: Use names that describe your property, e.g. vacation-rental-santa-barbara-villas.jpg
- Descriptions (also known as “Alt text”): Include keywords that describe your property, e.g. Vacation rental villas in Santa Barbara
For more information, check out our blog post “How to Optimize Images to Improve Vacation Rental Website SEO“.
4. Use appropriate page titles
Whenever you search for something on Google, you will have noticed that the results shown in the search engine page have all (or almost all) the exact same layout. The results shown are usually divided into three parts: a blue title, a green web address and a short gray description.
The specific terms to define these three elements are:
- Meta title
- Meta description
Together, they make up the “snippet”.
The meta title or title tag is certainly the most important part of the snippet, as it’s generally the part that attracts the attention of the user (or not!) and the part that makes them click on your link above your competition.
Consider it your ‘first impression’.
5. Write a good meta description
The meta description is the short text paragraph that is visible underneath the title in search results. It gives you the opportunity to advertise content to searchers – let them know what your page is about. While this will not necessarily increase your SEO rankings, it is essential for attracting visitors to your page.
A relevant snippet on your vacation rental webpage settings will influence the click-through rate, as potential guests will use it to determine if they want to learn more about your business.
The description should optimally be between 150-160 characters. Even so, Google measures this length in pixels – i.e. how much space the text takes up on the page. You can verify the length of your meta description using a tool such as Google SERP Simulator.
Every page of your website has these elements, so optimizing them from an SEO standpoint is crucial for ensuring potential guests are able to find you on search engines.
How do you optimize the snippet for your vacation rental website?
If you have carefully read the previous paragraph on keyword research and applied our pieces of advice, you will simply need to choose the right keywords and use them.
Search engines expect title tags and meta descriptions to include relevant keywords and phrases that succinctly describe what that page is about.
Do it for every single page of your website and you will be one step closer to getting more travelers to find you on search engines.
Once your website has been optimized internally, it is time to move into off-page optimization. This refers to all the actions that can be taken outside your own website in order to improve its position within search engine results pages.
Start by asking local businesses to link to your site from their website’s ‘Partners’ page. Local attractions, activities, restaurants, and other nearby businesses are all places that vacationers may go to for information.
Not only will it allow you to bring traffic to your site, but also to obtain authoritative links that will help increase the value of your website.
Link building is a way to foster endorsements for your business. By building links, search engines and potential guests will see your property or B&B as a great place to vacation.
7. Start a vacation rental blog and develop great page content
Successful content marketing includes establishing a vacation rental blog.
There are so many ideas for vacation rental content already available, you can easily begin to produce one or two blog posts a month and use your social media outlets to promote your posts. Blogs are a great way of providing more information to website users. And in the vacation rental industry, in particular, they can be a real driver of conversions and direct bookings.
In time, internet users and potential guests will begin to share your blog posts around, which results in links and endorsements – thus improving your site’s SEO.
It is worth stating, however, the need to be patient and not expect instant rewards. When beginning a blog, results often take weeks or months. The smaller your business is and the newer you are to doing business online, this may take even longer but will be entirely worth it in the long run.
Once your blog begins to take effect, it can turn into your most powerful method of online marketing. Better yet, it’s free!
Social media is an SEO tool that you can use outside of your website.
Creating a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profile just takes a few minutes but it will let users find you while they’re looking for accommodations for their holidays.
When creating your various profile descriptions, keep each one unique. A search engine responds better to material that is not ‘cut and pasted’.
Use your keywords strategically in your username/profile, and when updating or adding posts to your social media sites.
Create content, photos and videos and share all the relevant information regarding your vacation rental on social media channels. This is the best way to reach new potential guests and convince them to spend their vacations at your property.
In addition, as a property owner, you can make the most of user-generated content. That is to say, the photos and videos your guests take at your property. Create a hashtag and let guests know what it is (hint, your brand name would be a great place to start) so they can tag their uploads.
If you really want to push for social media interactions, you could even set up a “social media moment” in your property. This may be an outdoor area with a great view, a painted design inside your property or even a standout feature of your home – such as an outdoor pool. The vacation rental Netflix series Stay Here really emphasized the need to make vacation rental properties instagrammable.
Finally, add social media buttons to your website to make sharing your content easy!
Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, there are many other steps you can take to help your website’s SEO. Keep an eye on our blog for more in-depth expert advice and industry knowledge!