Airbnb is one of the biggest vacation rental listing sites, and arguably the best place to get bookings for your short-term rental. Millions of hosts and property managers run very successful vacation rental businesses listing only (or primarily) on Airbnb.
But Airbnb can also be very competitive. In this post, we’re going over some Airbnb SEO strategies you can implement to improve your Airbnb search ranking.
A Quick Overview of Airbnb SEO
First, let’s talk for a minute about SEO, and specifically Airbnb SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Given that Google handles something like 90% of all internet searches, SEO usually means optimizing your content to rank in Google search results.
When we talk about Airbnb SEO, we’re talking about how to improve your search rankings on Airbnb specifically.
The Airbnb search ranking algorithm takes into account several different factors including price, reviews, percentage of clicks and bookings. Some of these you can only influence indirectly, while others are completely in your control.
Think of this list as an Airbnb SEO Cheat Sheet, but also keep in mind that none of these are required to show up in Airbnb searches.
As you weigh the pros and cons of implementing each of these strategies, you may decide not to implement some based on your preferences. Ultimately, how you choose to manage your Airbnb is up to you.
15 Ways to Improve Your Airbnb SEO Strategy & Search Rankings
1. Turn on Instant Book
Turning on Instant Book is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do to improve your Airbnb SEO. Airbnb prioritizes listings with Instant Book enabled, and the conversions are higher as well.
That said, many hosts prefer to communicate with guests before booking, and choose not to turn on Instant Book. It’s up to you, but be aware that turning off Instant Book can negatively affect your search ranking.
2. Update Your Calendar Daily
If you don’t want to turn on Instant Book, one alternative is to update your calendar daily. If Airbnb can’t offer guests the ability to Instant Book, they at least want to know that your calendar availability and rates are accurate and up-to-date. Most channel manager software platforms can automatically update your calendar daily.
On a related note, it was also once rumored that regularly updating your listing details (description, photos, etc.) would improve your Airbnb search ranking. Airbnb has since confirmed that this doesn’t affect your ranking.
3. Be Responsive to Guest Messages
Your average response time and response rate both affect your Airbnb search ranking. You should respond to all messages within 24 hours, and shoot for much sooner if possible. Even responding with something like “Thanks for your message, I will get back to you soon with more information” is better than nothing.
You should respond to every message, even if it appears to be spam. In such cases, a simple “No thank you” can do the trick.
If you aren’t available to respond quickly all the time, you can use software like Smartbnb or another vacation rental management system to send automated messages to guests. Smartbnb and other vacation rental management software will allow you to create a range of message templates and rules.
4. Lower Your Minimum Length of Stay
The lower your minimum nights required to book, the more you will show up in searches. This is one of the easiest ways to increase your Airbnb search visibility, because you will now show up in searches for shorter stays.
The trade-off is more turnovers and cleanings, so you’ll want to consider if it’s worth it for your situation.
5. Get More Positive Reviews
Granted, this strategy is much less ‘simple’ than some others in this list, but you should be focusing on getting as many 5 star reviews as humanly possible. Reviews are one of the biggest factors influencing your search rankings, not to mention your booking conversion rate.
6. Price Your Airbnb Competitively
Price is one of the single biggest factors that guests consider when choosing a place to stay. Airbnb knows this, and they want to offer guests the best deal possible.
Airbnb likes to promote listings that are offering special pricing. You can apply custom promotions or length-of-stay discounts.
At the same time, you want to maximize your profits. It doesn’t help to get more bookings if you’re ultimately making less money. We recommend using an Airbnb pricing tool, which will help you automatically optimize your Airbnb pricing strategy.
7. Get Superhost Status
Every 3 months, Airbnb checks to see if you’ve met the requirements for becoming a Superhost (see requirements). While Airbnb says they don’t specifically prioritize listings from Superhosts, the factors that cause you to achieve Superhost status definitely do directly impact your search ranking. Guests are also more likely to book if you’re a Superhost with good reviews.
8. Limit Your Rejections
Airbnb takes into account how often you reject bookings. It’s up to you who you decide to reject, but keep in mind that your rejection rate will factor into your search ranking.
You should also avoid cancelling a confirmed reservations at all costs.
9. Optimize Your Listing Title & Photo
Your search ranking is also influenced by the percentage of people who see your listing and click on it (your click through rate or CTR). Sounds obvious, but this means you want to encourage clicks on your listing.
There are two primary ways to do this:
- Use professional photography.
- Write an effective listing title.
In your title and description, you might also include keywords like local attractions, state and national parks, landmarks, and other things guests might type into an Airbnb search bar. Learn more about optimizing your Airbnb listing.
10. Improve Your Booking Conversion Rate
Once guests have clicked on your listing, you need them to convert. Here are some ways to do that. Here are a few ways to imrpove your conversion rate:
- Have lots of information in your listing (so you answer any potential FAQs from guests).
- Include a ton of photos (include one of each room, and add descriptive captions).
- Respond quickly to guest messages.
You might also consider loosening some standards like your cancellation policy.
11. Fully Complete Your Airbnb Profile & Listing
Make sure your profile is verified, and fill it out with relevant, up-to-date information.
You should also go through every section of your listing, and make sure it is completely filled out. The more information you can include, the better.
As an added bonus, having a longer listing description means guests are less likely to scroll all the way to the bottom and see other recommended listings.
12. Offer More Amenities & Self Check-in
Because guests are using filters to search for listings, you should offer as many amenities as you reasonably can. For example, spending some money on an iron, hair blowdryer, or CO detector might be worth it if it means you show up in additional Airbnb searches.
13. Create an Airbnb Guidebook
Airbnb wants to offer guests a complete experience. Adding a guidebook to your listing is a great way to do this. You can create one on Airbnb, or use a service like Hostfully (you can use code EGNTNJ494 for $100 off your Hostfully subscription).
14. Get Wishlisted
Guests can add your listing to their Wishlist by clicking the heart icon. Airbnb confirmed that having your property ‘Wishlisted’ can improve your search ranking over time.
Other than having a great listing, there’s not a lot you can do to influence this. But you can at least ask friends and family to add you to their Wishlist.
Airbnb takes cues from their own traffic analytics. If your listing is getting a lot of traffic from outside websites (like Instagram or Facebook, for example), it takes this as a sign that your listing is popular. This can positively affect your Airbnb SEO.
But if you are getting some traction with your own marketing, we recommend creating your own vacation rental website, so you can take advantage of the many benefits of direct bookings.
Some Final Thoughts
We hope the information here gives you a better idea of what you can do to improve your Airbnb SEO strategy. Given that Airbnb takes into account 100+ data points for its search algorithm, the ideas in this post are still only part of the equation. But anything you can implement from this list will be a win for your Airbnb listing, and help you boost your Airbnb search ranking.
If you’re looking for extra help with your Airbnb SEO strategy, consider trying out a service like RankBreeze. They offer Airbnb SEO optimization services and a dashboard to give you more insights and ideas. You might also look into Your Porter’s Airbnb ranking feature.
We also recommend using an Airbnb pricing tool, like Wheelhouse. A pricing tool will optimize your pricing, helping you to rank higher and convert more bookings at the best possible price. Check out our list of the best Airbnb pricing tools.
Ultimately, the best way to get more bookings is to provide an excellent experience for your guest. That means well priced for the value, and something they want to write a 5 star review about. If you can do that, the rest should take care of itself.