When it comes to getting more bookings, the most important thing you can do is optimizing your listing the right way using Airbnb SEO.
A properly SEO optimized Airbnb listing can improve your Airbnb search ranking and boost your listing’s visibility year-round. This means more bookings for you, as long as your listing is attractive and capable of generating interest.
Since Airbnb only shows 306 listings for a given search and each page only shows 17-18 listings, you’re going to have to understand how Airbnb decides to rank listings if you want to stand out.
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SEO for Airbnb: Airbnb Ranking Factors
Airbnb now uses over 100 factors in their algorithm including booking experience, listing quality, and guest experience.
The reality is that you will NEVER be able to hit all 100 the right way.
Because the exact list of features Airbnb considers is confidential. Fortunately, you don’t have to perform perfectly on everything to rank well.
This article is going to focus on the handful of factors that matter the most.
And the good news?
Most of these factors are within your control, unlike your property location (another thing that Airbnb considers).
But before we dive into how you can boost your Airbnb ranking, I want to take a second to explain Airbnb’s business model, so you can better understand how you should approach hosting on Airbnb.
Related Post: Wishbox Review: Guest Experience Management System
Airbnb’s Business Model
For every booking, the host and guests pay a 3% and 6-12% fee, respectively. This tells us that Airbnb’s revenue is directly linked to the number of bookings that occur on the platform.
In other words, the more bookings that occur, the more money Airbnb makes.
That’s why Airbnb tries to show users the listings that they think will result in the fastest bookings and why they offer so many filters to search for properties. So the best way to improve your Airbnb SEO is to optimize your listing and property to get the most satisified guests.
Their goal is to have the entire booking process from initial search to booking confirmation take three days.
Notice how there’s no option to sort price from low-to-high or vice versa?
That’s intentional because Airbnb wants users to select the “best” listings and not the cheapest. It also doesn’t hurt that Airbnb makes more money from higher-priced listings.
So, when you’re creating or improving your listing, you want to ask yourself: what can I do to make the booking process as easy as possible for users? This is one of the best ways to boost your Airbnb SEO and visibility.
One quick way to make booking easier is to include photos of every room of your property.
For instance, if you have a three-bedroom house, make sure your listing has photos of each bedroom. Forgetting to post a picture of one of the bedrooms may deter guests from booking, since they might think something is wrong with that room.
Check out this guide I wrote about creating your Airbnb listing the right way.
Now, let’s dive into a few of the most important part of Airbnb SEO strategy and Airbnb ranking factors.
If you have a new listing, Airbnb will boost it in the organic search results (i.e. your listing will rank higher simply because it’s new). That’s why the first page of Airbnb’s search results will contain both newer and older, more established listings.
Airbnb SEO tip: Airbnb boosts newer listings to determine how well the listing will perform.
For instance, a listing that drives a lot of bookings in the “newness period” will signal to Airbnb that it’s a quality listing. As a result, Airbnb will show that property more often to users in the future.
If, however, a listing only drives a small amount of bookings in the “newness period”, Airbnb will perceive that listing as low or medium quality and will show it less often to users.
Fortunately, it’s not the end of your Airbnb hosting career if you have a bit of a rough start.
There are several other areas that you can focus on to improve your Airbnb ranking.
Having a high quantity of reviews is positively correlated with a higher position on Airbnb’s search results page.
While there’s still no conclusive evidence regarding review quality or recency, I wouldn’t be surprised if Airbnb puts more weight on longer and more recent reviews. One way to get more guest reviews is to leave reviews yourself and to respond to Airbnb reviews. You can even automate your guest reviews using tools like Hospitable.
An Airbnb SEO strategy you can stick to is to commit to leaving a review to each guest. They can't see what you've said until they publish theirs, so the curiosity gap usually encourages them to leave a review.
Note: If you look at the properties that Airbnb suggests at the bottom of the listing you’re viewing, you’ll notice that the ones that show up first are the listings that have a high number of reviews and a low price.
While Airbnb SEO is usually a long-term game, pricing is the one area where a small change can result in drastic changes in visibility and bookings.
If you lower your listing price, you can probably increase your occupancy rate, but that’s not always ideal.
The more your place is booked, the higher the chance there is for something to happen that may leave you with an unexpected cost.
As a result, a high occupancy rate (i.e. 88% occupancy rate or higher) is generally a good signal that you need to raise your prices.
However, if you are new to the platform, you can start with a lower price just to gain more reviews and get a good head start in your Airbnb hosting career.
In the end, pricing is a bit complicated because bookings not only drive revenue but also indirect benefits such as word-of-mouth referrals and repeat visits.
You shouldn’t sacrifice price for more bookings since that will lower your revenue and increase your chance for property damage.
Lowering your prices to get more bookings can get you into the circle of success – you’ll get more bookings in the future if you’ve had a lot of positive bookings in the past.
You’ll have to figure out for yourself what a good balance between price and bookings means for you.
One good way to increase your revenue and to always keep your pricing up to date is to use automated pricing tools. These account for demand, events, hotel and competitor occupancy and more. Plus, you don't have to spend your time researching and updating prices.
While Airbnb may not boost your ranking for having a listing with a high word count, it’s likely that they will punish you for having a super short listing because:
- It adds more friction to the booking experience. A shorter listing description is probably missing important information that may require users to contact hosts before they consider booking.
- It shows a lack of effort. If a host is unwilling to write a longer, more comprehensive description of their property, they may also be unwilling to put in the effort to ensure that their guests have an amazing experience.
As a result, I recommend having a listing description that is longer and scannable. This means splitting your content into readable sections and paragraphs. This helps people can skim and find the information they care about right away (unlike terms and conditions).
However, this does not mean adding in a bunch of random words to increase your word count.
A listing description that is easy to read will increase people’s willingness to book, since they can understand what your property is like right away.
This will also increase the chance that people will read your listing and not bombard you with questions that you may have answered already.
Another benefit of having a longer listing is that people generally won’t scroll to the bottom of the page and see the other properties that Airbnb is recommending.
And if you don’t consider yourself to be an amazing writer, check out the Hemingway app. I’ve used it to improve my own writing, as it gives you suggestions on how you can improve readability.
Read my guide about how to write a great Airbnb listing description with examples.
If you’re new to the platform, I’d suggest setting your minimum stay length to one day. While one-night stays can be a hassle, it can drastically increase your number of reviews.
For instance, if you have 20 one-day bookings, that’s 20 new reviews that can improve your visibility compared to the four or five you might get from three-day stays.
Booking Rate Percentage
A huge indicator of listing quality is booking rate percentage. This refers to the percentage of people who book after viewing your listing page.
The more frequently guests are booking after viewing your listing, the higher Airbnb will rank your property.
When it comes to communicating with guests, Airbnb looks at three main factors:
- Response Time: You should respond to messages as quickly as you can. Aim to answer all messages within 24 hours.
- Response Percentage: Ideally, you want to answer every single message you get. There should be no reason for you to have less than a 100% response rate.
- Response Conversion: While out-of-your-control, this refers to how many people end up booking with you after messaging you.
One solution to this is to automate your guest communication. This means they'll get intelligent, tailored responses instantly, even if you're sleeping.
Another ranking factor is how often users add your property to their wishlists. This is a long-term game: getting 50 “saves” in a day isn’t going to boost your property to number one.
Airbnb personalizes the results users see based on the listings they’ve clicked on and booked in the past (if they’re logged in).
While Airbnb’s search results aren’t 100% personalized, there is some degree of personalization.
That’s why you probably see your listing ranked first when you’re logged in since:
- You’ve viewed and clicked on that listing over and over again
- If hosts don’t see their listings when they search, they’re likely going to complain to Airbnb
One easy way to boost your search ranking is to turn on instant book.
You may be worried about who you’re letting into your home. In that you can add rules so that only people who have been recommended by other hosts can instant book.
Other Airbnb SEO Factors
There are other Airbnb ranking factors. For example, having a flexible cancellation policy and a high number of amenities can also improve your search visibility.
I won’t be covering them all here. As a rule of thumb, you should create a listing that removes as much friction as possible during the booking process. That's because since Airbnb likes listings that make booking easier.
Tools to Optimize and Improve Ranking
You can use tools like Rankbreeze to help you optimize and improve your listing. This tool helps you compare your listing to similar ones. It also allows you to view by guest count andview the numbers that are most relevant to you.
They provide this software and they also provide add-on services for those who need expert help. I can’t really think of anyone more suited for this stuff either.
They're offering a package that comes with an optimized listing description (applying their own methodology) plus promotions campaign. It's truly a good deal for Airbnb hosts who take Airbnb SEO and ranking seriously.
Still Not Getting Any Bookings?
Maybe you’ve edited your listing based on the suggestions given above and still aren’t getting any bookings. In that case, you may want to contact Airbnb about this for help.
I recently talked with someone who’s listing wasn’t showing up in the search results. I had to zoom in a lot on the map in order to find her listing. She called Airbnb about this, and an Airbnb employee manually changed something. Soon after that, she got a few bookings right away.
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