Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving your website’s ranking on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. You want your website to pop up first in the search. Why? Because 33% of all Google users click on the number one ranked website. Even staggering–92% of all search traffic clicks on the top 10 ranked sites. That means only 8% of users view the second page of Google.
Although not quite the same, as an Airbnb host you should apply the same logic to your Airbnb listing. Statistics aside–you can pretty much guarantee that first page listings receive a lot more traffic than second page listings (and so on). So how do you get your listing ranked on the first page? Airbnb posted a blog on their website regarding this issue. We are going to explain their post on our site and hopefully help you understand how you can improve your Airbnb listing’s search position.
1. According to Airbnb, there is no single metric that will guarantee high search engine rank position.
This is good news (and bad news). It would be nice if there was a silver bullet that hosts could apply to their listing and instantly boost their rank on the search. This isn’t the case… The good news, though, is that Airbnb’s search algorithms are designed to scan through hundreds of signal factors. This will weed out listings that are incomplete and allow for rank increases by Airbnb hosts who are more serious about their listings.
Solution: The best approach is to create a very comprehensive listing in order to meet all the search engine algorithm requirements. You want to set off as many search signals as possible. Think of it as a 1-10 scale… Does your listing meet 2 our of 10 requirements? 5 out of 10? 10 out of 10? The more the better.
2. There is no one single search ranking.
This means that while your listing might pop up on the first page of Airbnb for one traveler’s search, it could pop up on the 4th page for another, based on the user’s search criteria. Airbnb’s search algorithms are designed to find the best two-way match between a host and guest. Where you pop up is going to be dependent upon user’s the booking preferences.
Solution: Less is more. The less restrictive your listing, the more frequently you’ll pop up in the search.
3. Acceptance rate does in-fact affect your rank position.
According to Airbnb’s blog post, users with a higher acceptance rate are more likely to appear in search results. While you will still have to meet the user’s list of booking requirements, hosts that accept more reservation requests will be shown first versus hosts that have a record of declining reservation requests. Airbnb says that hosts will always have control over who is able to reserve their listing, but keep in mind that declining too many reservation requests might hurt your search engine rank placement.
Solution: Accept more reservation requests. Set aside an hour every week to look over your calendar and make sure that you have blocked off dates that you will be unavailable. Being proactive with your calendar will help you avoid having to decline reservation requests. Also ensure that your hosting preferences are set up correctly so that you are only matched with users that meet your guidelines.
4. Instant Book listings might get a boost.
Airbnb hosts that have enabled Instant Book might get a boost in the search. Airbnb explains that users with Instant Book enabled will automatically have a quicker response time and will most likely accept more reservation requests. Although I don’t know how much of a boost users will receive by enabling Instant Book, it’s safe to say that if Airbnb says it will increase your rank position then you should consider it.
Solution: I suggest turning on Instant Book and making sure your calendar is always up to date so that you do not run into any booking problems due to conflictions in your schedule. Hosts have the ability to choose which dates are open for Instant Book so be sure to block off any dates that you will not be available.
Although these are only a few tips that may lead to improved Airbnb search rankings, we always suggest creating as thorough of a listing as possible. As a marketing consultant who specializes in search engine optimization, I cannot stress the importance of writing lengthy descriptions where applicable. Even though Airbnb’s search algorithms are not Google–one can only assume that a comprehensive, complete Airbnb listing will rank higher than one that’s lacking text. Use keywords. Take a lot of pictures. See what happens when you make changes to your listing.