According to Inside Airbnb, as of July 2020, there were over 37,000 Airbnb listings in New York state, with a 32.8% estimated occupancy rate. While this is not how every city looks, the competition is fierce in most cities. And for you to be a successful Airbnb host, you need to be proactive and ahead of the park, i.e., your property must stand out and be visible to prospective renters.
How do you make your property stand out and visible to prospective renters? You need to optimize it for Airbnb search using SEO. Yes! That’s Search Engine Optimization.
With an appropriate Airbnb SEO, your property will always be visible to prospective renters, which will increase your revenue. So how do you go about Airbnb SEO? That’s what we want to discuss! Here, we’ll discuss why your listing needs to be optimized and things you can do to improve your ranking on Airbnb search, and how to increase your Airbnb bookings. Are you interested in knowing this? Let’s dive right in!
What’s Airbnb SEO?
Airbnb SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your listing on the Airbnb marketplace to make it visible to renters who want it. As we’ve discussed in the introduction, Airbnb is a marketplace for lodging where short-term property investors list their property. This platform is two-sided — the host’s side and the renter’s side.
The first side, which is the host’s, allows the homeowner to list their property, hoping that someone finds and book. Alternatively, the second side, which is for the guests, let prospective renters search for property and pick the one that resonates with their current need. Here’s what we’ve been trying to explain:
- The hosts listed their property on the Airbnb platform (the host’s side)
- The prospective renter (traveler, tourist, businesspeople, party millennial, etc.) visits the platform and search for the property they want (the renter’s side).
- After clicking the search button, the website algorithm brings up the result page. It indexes about 20 listed properties per page from which the renter can choose.
That looks familiar, right? Yes! That’s similar to how search engines (like google, bing, etc.) works. The only difference is that search engines (like google and bings) are general-purpose, while Airbnb is specific to the short-term real estate market.
So to index your property among the 20 properties on the first page, the algorithm should recognize it. That is, it must be optimized for the Airbnb search engine. In the next section, we’ll discuss why Airbnb SEO is important.
Why is Airbnb SEO Important?
Apart from increasing visibility, Airbnb SEO also offers some advantages. And we’ll discuss these benefits here in this section. So why is Airbnb SEO so important? Here are why!
A Hubspot research, a marketing SaaS company, reveals that 75% of internet users will never scroll past the search results’ first page. What does that mean? It means that (either your property is of a high standard, your listing is highly descriptive, or the picture used is of the highest quality) if you don’t make it to the first page of the Airbnb search result, you only have a 25% chance of getting booked and making income.
That means you only have a higher chance of making a chunk of the $11 billion earned by the hosts (remember that?) if your listing is part of the first 20 listings indexed on the first page of the search result. With this, you can increase guest engagement with your listing.
Airbnb Optimization Generates More Lead
Airbnb optimization increases visibility, no doubt. And so, the more it’s visible to prospective renters, the more awareness it creates for your brand, which translates to more leads.
Moreover, optimizing your property listing with the appropriate keywords also brings renters interested in your property type. As a marketplace for lodging, there are different properties listed on Airbnb — from townhouses to beachfront properties to homes with pools, and so on.
So, even if your property is indexed on the first search result page, it may still not be seen by renters that want your type of property. And with this, your property may not generate enough revenue as you want. However, with SEO and correct keyword optimization, you’d take your Airbnb to your renters, and this, in turn, will lead to more leads and higher conversion rates.
Tips to Improve Your Listed Property’s Ranking on Airbnb
Now that you’ve understood what Airbnb SEO is and how important it’s to your success as a host, you should know how you can improve your ranking so you can constantly make it to the first search page.
One thing you need to know, however, is that the search result algorithm is not open source. That means the way Airbnb’s search algorithm ranking system works isn’t known to the public. The tips we recommend here are just the things you can do to get noticed by the algorithm.
Now that you know that, here is how to get your Airbnb listing to the top.
Complete Your Profile
One way to stand out from your peers is to have a complete profile. An outstanding listing profile leaves a great first impression on your potential guest. And they say, “first impressions last longer.” However, it doesn’t only last longer on your visitors but also on the Airbnb algorithm.
Airbnb search algorithm is programmed to filter out any profile that looks unsafe for potential guests. And one of the top red flags to the algorithm is an incomplete profile. An incomplete profile signals an unserious and careless host. And since Airbnb puts the guests first, they programmed the algorithm to filter out incomplete profiles.
So, to rank high on Airbnb search, be sure to complete the following:
- Write an interesting description that resonates with the potential guest.
- Upload high-resolution pictures (if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional photographer, Airbnb offers a service that gets one for you that your next listing payment will pay for)
- Get verified
Get More Positive Reviews
In traditional real estate, before two parties (a buyer and seller) can agree to do business together, they’d had to run background checks on each other. This background check is nothing more than to know if the other party is trustworthy and to know if spending time on the deal will be worthwhile.
With Airbnb, this is different — it’s two strangers dealing with each other virtually. Although it looks different, the underlying mechanism is still the same. Both parties can also verify each other through the Airbnb review system. This system lets either party (the host and guest) check if they have a good track record.
While the unique review system offers a way for either party (host and guest) to run a background check on each other, it also serves as a ranking mechanism for the Airbnb search engine. To increase the guest’s experience of getting a satisfying stay, the algorithm filter through the database and comes up with a listing with positive reviews. So if you want to improve your Airbnb rankings, you should get more positive reviews.
Set Competitive Prices
Another way to improve your ranking on Airbnb search is through pricing. Yes! If your listing price is competitive, you’d rank high on search results. Why? Most guests put a price range on their search to filter out property listing that’s out of their budget. And by this, if your listing is too high, the algorithm will filter you out.
A potential guest looking for where to stay during her vacation visited the Airbnb platform to check out properties. As a budget traveler, she puts a range of zero to $50 per night on her search. And since you set your property listing price to $80, the algorithm will filter your property out and index only properties within the price range, which reduces your chance of your property getting booked.
That gets even worse if you set the listing price way too high. Your chance of getting booked will be limited. And if you set the price too low, although you’ll get bookings more often, you’re cutting down your profit. So you need a sweet spot between too expensive and too cheap to set a competitive price to get indexed and earn a maximum income.
How do you set a competitive price for your Airbnb listing? You can do that with comparative analysis (comps). (Yes! The same comparative analysis!).
For those that don’t know what comparative analysis is, it’s an analysis tool used by real estate agents to decide an estimated value or rental fee of the property by comparing it with similar properties in similar locations, with similar features, size, etc. How can I do this when I’m not a real estate agent? Don’t worry it’s easier than you think. Here is how to perform comps!
- Check out what your competitors are listing for: check through the Airbnb platform for similar properties like yours. Properties with the same features, located in the same area (or close to your domain), and have similar designs. Check out multiple properties and define a sweet spot for your price based on your income generation goal.
- Use real estate property analysis tools: the advent of technology has disrupted every industry, and it has also changed the way things are in the real estate industry. Instead of needing to access an industry-specific database (like the MLS) for some information for your comps, there are real estate analysis tools (like Mashvisor’s investment property calculator) you can use. All you need to do is to input your property’s location, and you’ll get the result in minutes — no hassle at all.
The Mashvisor’s investment property calculator is a real estate analysis tool that analyzes a rental property to determine if it’s profitable or not. This online analysis tool calculates the property’s cap rate, cash-on-cash return, cash flow, and occupancy rate. More importantly, the calculator can help analyze and calculate the earning potential of Airbnb rentals. So if you want to know the average price to set for your listing to increase income, you should try the tool out.
Advertise your Airbnb listings on Social Media
As we said earlier, you need to be proactive with your Airbnb investment strategy to stand out from the pack. And one of the ways to prove your proactiveness is not only to rely on Airbnb leads but to attract leads from social media.
Social media (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, etc.) is a great source to generate leads for your Airbnb listing. These platforms already have a wide userbase, and all you need to tap into these gold mines is to get yourself in front of the audience.
Once leads start gushing in to view your listing from social media, the Airbnb algorithm will surely notice and likely place you as a priority. After all, visitors rushing in from social media signals that your profile is unique.
So, if you want to get started with advertising your Airbnb listing on social media, here are some steps to increase your odds of success:
- Upload high-resolution pictures of your property from different angles on your social media page
- Don’t forget to use hashtags to optimize it for your perfect audience
- Promote places and experiences to make people visit your city
- If you have the financial capability, set up a social media marketing campaign for your Airbnb listing.
Airbnb rental strategy is a lucrative niche. Unlike the traditional rental strategy, it’s more profitable, provides an additional source of income, and you’re in control of your property. But because it’s more lucrative, it’s also more competitive and requires you to be proactive with your strategy.
Like the conventional search engines (like google, bing, etc.), Airbnb search also requires optimization for the best result. And if you follow the above tips, the search engine will surely compensate you by increasing your ranking in the long run.