Airbnb SEO Strategy

If you're in a position where you feel that your Airbnb listing could be performing better inside the platform, you're probably right! It can and should be.

Today, I want to walk you through a strategy that initially helped me increase my Airbnb rankings with only a day and a half's work.

That may seem like a lot of work, but it's what I consider foundational to your listings performance.

You don't want to build your house on a poor foundation, right?

Before using the first version of this strategy, my listing was constantly sitting on the 4th-6th pages, and even the 12th page at one point.

However, after careful consideration of what was working for my competitors and modifying my listing, I saw a positive effect within a few weeks and landed on the first page (picture below)!

Since then, our strategy has evolved and will continue to improve because every day, we're learning more and more about the Airbnb search engine.

After running multiple tests, collecting tons of data from Rankbreeze, talking to users, reading a gazillion articles from Airbnb themselves,  and watching countless videos from the engineers working on the inside - we've started to unlock what the really important ranking factors are for Airbnb.

Before we dive into this key strategy, let's fill in some foundational details first.

What is Airbnb SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

Very simply, it's the practice and study of enhancing your search visibility in the Airbnb search engine through a variety of factors: an analysis of your competitors, optimizing your listing(s) to compete better, and simultaneously pleasing Airbnb's internal metrics.

In the world-wide-web, there are plenty of search engines.

The most popular being Google.

You may hear that Airbnb is similar to Google's search engine and I'll be the first to say they're only 5% correct.

The basic concept of the two search engines are comparable.

Google uses a bot that crawls the internet and renders pages that it doesn't control.

On the other hand, Airbnb, controls the content on their site (for the most part) so it's an internal search engine with many layers they can monitor inside of their users accounts.

When it comes to supply, Google doesn't suffer from any limitations and a piece of content can be viewed an unlimited number of times.

Whereas Airbnb has a limited supply of their properties so a searcher can't be served a listing when it's not available.

Because of this, the comparison between Amazon and Airbnb is a much better one.

To give you a better example, here's what happened when one of our listings was booked for an entire month...

That's right, we actually lost search visibility because our listing wasn't available to be booked during that time.

But hey, that's the trade-off right?

Yet with our new strategy, we bounced back stronger than ever (more on this below).

Why Optimize Your Airbnb Listing?

If you've asked yourself the following questions, then you're in the right place:

  • How do I increase my views on Airbnb?
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    How do I boost an Airbnb listing?
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    How do I rank higher on Airbnb?
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    Why are my Airbnb listing views so low?

You don't have to pay attention to the process below... but you should, if you want to see improvements, because after working on dozens of listings and measuring the effectiveness of this strategy...

I can't stress enough about why it's worth taking the time to set this up properly.

Even before you need it.

The best approach is to be proactive with SEO because the results are not immediate. We typically see results in 20-30 days.

Also, if done correctly, you should see something similar to this in your "views" on Airbnb and your rankings:

Before we start step #1, I'd like to mention that this isn't a replacement for great hospitality. 

It's in addition to it.

Hospitality should be your number one metric to measure. Although on the flip side, we know you can't get more hospitality points if your listing isn't getting any views or bookings.

So, let's get started!

Step #1: Create & Measure Your Optimization Goal

The first step is to see where your competitors are and to find your one "optimization goal" within them.

There are 3 parts to pay attention to:

A) Find Top Earners In Your Area

Track down the top properties in your area pulling in the highest yearly revenue. We use AirDNA and other services to get this information.

Find the "Top Properties" in your area using the MarketMinder tool.

B) Filter Listings With Clean Rankings

After you've narrowed down the list of high revenue properties in your area, it's time to see how "clean" their search visibility is. To do this, take the top 10 properties and review their Airbnb rankings in Rankbreeze. You want to pay attention to the properties that are           1) consistently ranking high in the top-level city search and 2) also in the open calendar rankings.

This is an example of a listing with "clean rankings". It ranks high on the first page for open calendar rankings & out of the entire city too.

C) Be Sure They Are Close To You

The properties closest to you are the most relevant. If your list of high revenue generators have listings all over your city, choose the ones that are closest to you and which have the cleanest looking rankings. AirDNA has a built in map that is helpful in this department.

Step #2: Research Your City & Top 13 Competitors

At this point, you should have plugged in the top 10 properties from AirDNA (by revenue) into Rankbreeze and examined their rankings. 

Now pick 1 listing that is closest to you which has 1) a nice blend of high rankings and 2) is a top earner in your city. 

This listing is what we call the "Optimization Goal".

From here, we need to create a list of the other 12 competitors from the eyes of Airbnb. This is what we call your "Competitor Set".

Create Your "Competitor Set"

This is your main optimization goal (highest earner, best looking rankings, and closest to you) AND the 12 "Similar Listings" found inside of that listing.

Sidenote: Why "Similar Listings"? We've chosen to work alongside a small part of Airbnb's personalization algorithm to our advantage. From what we know, Airbnb derives a high percentage of their bookings via personalization of the search results and the similar listings area. What we want to do is squeeze ourselves into similar listings of highly ranked and profitable listings.

For additional info on how this works inside Airbnb, check out the following video from one their engineers:

Collect "Search Suggestions" From Your Area

These are the landmarks when you start typing in the Airbnb search bar. Adding in these search suggestions to your listing is one of the quickest wins you'll get.

Research The Top Words & Phrases Your Competitors Use

Of those 13 competitors from your Competitor Set, start to gather words and phrases most often used. These are called "keywords".

From this, we create a "keyword density report" which tells us the most commonly used words from the following sections: title, summary, space, and guest access.

Find Common Patterns In Your Competitors Photos

This one is fairly simple but takes a bit of a trained eye to catch.

Take a look at your 13 competitors featured photos and find patterns. For example, from our "similar listings" picture above (Step #2), you can see they all have pictures of the lake and mountains.

This isn't by coincidence.

For more information on finding profitable photo patterns, head over to this article detailing a study that examines over 510,000 Airbnb photos.

Step #3: Optimize Your Current Listing

This is the where art and science combine! 

At this point, you want to rewrite and revise your listing descriptions based on the research you've gathered.

Rewrite Your Listing Using The Keywords

The sections we've gathered our keyword data for will be used for: the title, summary, space, and guest access section.

Now it's time to rewrite those and add in the popular keywords from your competitors. This is where the "art" part comes in because we still want to sound human and inviting.

Add In Search Suggestions Closest To The Top

The higher up you place these, the better.

I generally like to place them inside the "summary" section. At the time of this post, that area only allows for 500 characters so it can be tight but this is what it generally looks like:

Add In "Call-To-Actions"

After a potential guest has browsed your images and wants to learn more inside the listing description, your goal is to make sure they stay. 

I see this mistake all the time where people forget to ask their potential guests for the booking.

Something as simple as "We'd love to invite you to stay here this winter. Book your stay with us today!" can make all the difference.

Make Sure It's "Scannable"

You don't want a wall of text that looks like a legal disclaimer.

The space section has unlimited characters so you can really spread out your listing description.

Make sure people can zoom in specifically to what they're looking for. From there, they can make the decision to learn more or book immediately.

This is what I mean by scannable:

Stand Out With Emojis

We look at A LOT of listings. I can't properly describe how many we look at per week.

But the main benefit from all that work is we're able to see which listings really stand out.

Whenever we optimize listings for our clients, we're always sure to sprinkle in a few relevant emojis.

For example, if you're on a ski hill, include an emoji of someone skiing. You can always use the classic star emoji too.

To be frank, this works better when others in your area aren't using them because it stands out more.  But remember, the key part of this section is trying to create a listing that stands out beyond your images.

This is fundamental and spicing up your listings description with unique graphics inside the text will grab peoples attention.

Some may think it's a cheesy tactic but there are ways to make it elegant too.

Here's an example of someone using emojis to create bolder checklists:

Stop people from scrolling past your listings again...

Download this "Featured Image" pack with 25+ examples of click-worthy photos that are meant to stop guests dead in their tracks and take a second look.

We've also included a pack of our favorite emoji's to spice up your title and description.

Step #4: Sprint (Promote Your Listing)

With the foundations set in place and your new listing description in hand, you can either let the optimization slowly take care of itself,  while you keep up with the usual hospitality metrics (response times, guest satisfaction, etc.), or you can take back a little more control and take some additional actions.

Sidenote: With our own experiments, we've noticed that when a visitor stays on the listings page for longer, it helped improved rankings. So the goal is to drive more clicks by using the strategies below and getting them to stay on your listing for a longer period of time.

Test With Advertisements

One thing everyone should do is take advantage of Facebook ads.

This not only gets you additional views but speeds up your knowledge of which description and photos work best in attracting more clicks. This is much more important as it's the first step to getting you more views.

You can either target travellers using Facebooks travel ads or "re-target" visitors from your social media accounts.

You could also target a much wider audience but don't stray from your goal of remaining relevant with your ads, which Facebook likes too.

Applying this strategy is going to give you the quickest results to optimizing your image and title.

When it comes to business, you want to know whether or not something is going to work fastest, right?

Ask Others To Add Your Listing To Their Wishlist

In the past, Airbnb has mentioned that getting your listing onto more Wishlists will gradually raise your search visibility. 

Althought Airbnb recently removed every listings' "Wishlist count" from its source code, making it a little more difficult to track whether people are really returning the favour, we still think it's a part of their ranking signals. Just because we don't see it, doesn't mean it's still not a core part of their search algorithm.

Here's a deeper video explaining the removal of that information:

Build Your Social Media Pages 

Although it's not easy converting someone scrolling through Instagram or Facebook to finalize a booking with you, it's still key to generate views and build your brand for social proof.

Depending how your listing is set up, you could add all your social media visitors to a specific list on Facebook (called a re-targeting list) and get better control of whether someone books your listing or not using advertisements.

This way you're not just sending people to Airbnb (or Homeaway, etc.) without any reward of booking with you or not.

This is something we're working on in the background so to stay tuned and join our email list below.

Run a Sweepstake

Consider running a contest to build awareness of your property. Try to utilize options in pricing such as a free stay, discounts with local businesses, and products specifically designed for travellers in your niche.

These experiments will often lead you to other opportunities and get your marketing mind revving with ideas.

Final Words

Now that you've got all the necessary tools to go forward with optimizing your Airbnb, I encourage you to try it yourself or let us take care of it for you.

Our business style has always been to share what we know first and offer our help if you'd like it.

At this point, Rankbreeze has collected and researched the highest quality data for improving search results. The insight we've gained is from paying attention to these things day in and out and has put us on the map for many.

Our goal is to be the most qualified out there to handle this part of your vacation rental business by combining data and providing top hands-on service. 

For additional information on getting started with Rankbreeze and our optimized listing description service, check us out here. We look forward to helping you!

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BONUS


VIDEO TRAINING TO RANK YOUR AIRBNB LISTING HIGHER!

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    Learn to optimize for what people are already searching for
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    Use your competitors listings to increase your own rankings
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    Write the perfect description that gets more bookings
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