If your properties aren’t getting as many bookings as you’d like, improving your Airbnb SEO strategy could help.
It’s no secret that your Airbnb search ranking is key to getting more bookings and revenue for your vacation rentals.
What is a little more mysterious, though, is exactly how to improve your Airbnb search visibility and get your properties to appear on the first page.
Some factors are out of your control. For example, having a property in a sought-after location, being added to guests’ wishlists, and Airbnb’s personalisation settings all affect your ranking.
There might not be much you can do about those, but don’t worry, because in this article we’ll explain plenty of tactics you can use to get your properties ranking higher and help you increase your occupancy.
If you’re a property manager looking to scale your business, find out more about the Rentals United vacation rental channel manager. We help property managers optimise their listings across all major booking sites through top quality API connections.
To increase your visibility on Airbnb, you need to improve your Airbnb SEO and rank higher in searches – ideally on the first or second page.
Airbnb’s search algorithm seeks to match guests’ searches with the perfect property. Since Airbnb earns profit on each booking, it’s in their interest to ensure that searchers find what they’re looking for quickly, and property managers are matched with suitable guests.
Many of the tips we cover in this article will help Airbnb’s algorithm match your property with what guests are searching for.
So, what can you do to improve your ranking?
Airbnb’s algorithm considers over 100 different factors when it comes to ranking your properties in search.
Though the specifics of many of these are confidential, Airbnb has made some SEO ranking factors public. And the good news is that many are within your control.
When you add a new listing to your Airbnb portfolio, you’ll get an immediate boost in search results.
This helps new hosts establish themselves in the market and maximise their chances of getting bookings, despite not having any ratings.
Property managers who are looking to partner with new owners and add new units to their portfolio should bear this factor in mind.
Whenever you list a new property on Airbnb, you can make the most of this early advantage by optimising for other SEO ranking factors.
Vacation rentals with lots of good reviews will show up much higher in search.
The best way to accumulate 5-star reviews is to give your guests an amazing time. Small details such as a warm reception, a welcome pack, an immaculately clean property, and a stress-free check-in can make a big difference to your guests’ experience.
It’s also good practice to leave reviews for all your guests. They won’t be able to read your review until they’ve submitted one, so it’s a good way to motivate them to review their stay. Use a review automation tool like Wishbox to save time by automating the process. Find out how to connect Wishbox to Rentals United.
If you find yourself with a handful of bad reviews, don’t panic. Learn from that feedback and use it to improve the experience for future trips.
How you communicate with guests is important to Airbnb. They understand that it’s frustrating for guests who want to make a booking to wait a long time to hear back from the host.
When property managers are slow or unresponsive, guests could be more likely to browse a different site in the hope of getting their booking made faster. Therefore, it’s in Airbnb’s interest to promote hosts with a fast response time.
Respond quickly to all guest inquiries, and never to take longer than 24 hours to respond. To give your properties the best chance of standing out, respond within the first hour.
Of course, responding to guest messages can be extremely time-consuming, so it’s a good idea to use vacation rental software to automate the process. For example, the Rentals United channel manager allows you to automate your guest messaging and centralise all your communications in a unified inbox.
Pricing affects your Airbnb SEO. To ensure you get plenty of visibility and rank as high as possible, your pricing must be competitive.
Price is a big decision factor for guests, and though Airbnb doesn’t necessarily prioritise the cheapest accommodation (that wouldn’t be great for their business model), they are more likely to rank properties that have a fair and competitive price higher in listings.
When pricing your rentals, there are lots of factors to consider – local competitor prices, market trends, seasonality, and more. Pricing likely won’t be static all year, or even all season.
We recommend using a dynamic pricing tool to help ensure you always have the best price to maximise both occupancy and profits.
Furthermore, offering promotions on Airbnb can also help to boost your search visibility since guests can filter for discounted stays. We’ll talk more about setting up promotions in the last section of this blog post.
You may have reasons for setting your properties to “Request to Book”, and there’s no problem with that.
Just bear in mind, if you regularly reject guests who request to book, this could negatively impact your search ranking because it adds friction to the booking process.
Occasional rejections may be necessary. However, if you are overly picky about who can stay in your vacation rental, the high rejection rate could hurt your rankings.
If you have Instant Book turned on, this can improve your Airbnb search visibility.
Airbnb likes when property managers use the Instant Booking feature because it makes for a very smooth guest experience and allows bookings to happen quickly.
Guests have the option to exclude properties with no Instant Book from their searches, so make sure you consider this before deciding to opt out.
Instant Book may not work for everyone, and you might be worried that you won’t have the chance to vet potential guests. If this is the case, you can add rules so that you only allow guests who’ve been recommended by other hosts to use Instant Booking.
Click rate means the number of people who click on your properties after viewing them in search.
To improve your click rate, make sure you write a good headline which grabs people’s attention and highlights your property’s best features.
Also, take great quality photos. If guests see beautiful pictures of your property, they’re likely to click to view more.
Airbnb offers a complimentary photography service in some areas. If possible, you should take advantage of this. If it’s not available for you, invest in excellent photography and staging of your properties, including flattering shots of every room and any outside space.
Booking rate is the percentage of people who book or request to book after having clicked on your property.
Just like click rate, having beautiful photos and a catchy headline will also improve your chances of getting a booking.
Another way to boost bookings is to have a well-written listing description. This lets your guests know exactly what to expect, and it’s likely to affect your rankings.
Remember to keep it easily skimmable by using short paragraphs and clearly listing all the amenities and benefits of staying in the property.
Rentals United has a Quality Checker that runs reports and helps you optimise the content of all your listings.
Your minimum and maximum stay length settings can affect your rankings.
If guests are searching for a two-night stay, and you have your minimum set to three nights, your property won’t appear in the search. Similarly, if guests search for a two-month stay and you have capped your maximum at one, your property won’t appear.
How long you choose to set as maximum or minimum will depend on your business goals. However, if ranking is a priority, reducing your minimum stay and increasing your maximum stay will help you appear as much as possible in searches.
Besides boosting your rankings, increasing your maximum stay also helps to attract guests looking to book extended stays – like digital nomads or work-from-home guests. Learn more about incorporating mid-term bookings into your short-term rental strategy.
Ranking high in search is only half the battle.
Even if you make it to the first page of Airbnb’s search results, you still need guests who see your property to make bookings which drive revenue and help you maintain your high-ranking position.
Most of the Airbnb SEO tips we’ve discussed to improve your ranking will also help boost bookings – great photography, detailed listing descriptions, good reviews, pricing, and turning on Instant Book will all make your listing more attractive to guests.
Plus, you can aim for Superhost status. That way you’ll tick off many of the previously mentioned ranking factors, and also give guests a great reason to book your property.
One final important tactic for getting more bookings is to offer weekly and monthly discounts.
If you want to offer discounts on longer stays, you can apply a promotion that offers potential Airbnb guests a discounted rate for reservations between 7-27 nights, or for stays longer than 28 days.
This incentivises longer stays, helping you achieve higher occupancy with lower guest turnover.
For example, if you offer a 10% discount, this will:
If you have a lot of properties, you can apply discounts in bulk.
Best of all, you don’t need to log into the Airbnb extranet to set up your promotions. You can do it straight from the Rentals United channel manager.
To learn more about optimising your listings for conversions, watch the recording of our advanced Airbnb optimisation webinar.
Are you ready to build a tech-based distribution strategy? Discover how our enterprise-level Channel Manager can get you more bookings.