SEO for vacation rentals

Learn tips, strategies and tools to help organically grow your vacation rental.

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As we previously outlined in our marketing guide for vacation rentals, marketing is one of the most important aspects of managing your vacation rental. These will help boost your vacation rental business. This along with search engine optimization, known as SEO, is one of the easiest ways to get started with your own marketing plan. In this guide you will find the main tips and tricks with regards to SEO strategies for vacation rentals, the importance of content creation and other ways to improve the appearance of your vacation rental on the web. This will result in more visits and views on your website, and increase your direct bookings.

The fundamentals of SEO for vacation rentals

SEO, or content optimization for search engines like Google, is where it all begins. When it comes to building a valid marketing strategy for social media, websites and ads, it is not enough to invest in promotions and advertising: organic content is just as important.

Especially for your own vacation rental website, carrying out an SEO strategy will help you get more page visits, views and a higher web ranking all by making use of keywords and topics of interest to users. This will not be in vain: up to more than 50% of the traffic that your website will receive will come from organic searches.

Promotions through social media or paid campaigns (SEM) produce good results and in some cases results come faster than SEO, but at the same time they involve significant costs that many small businesses and vacation rental hosts cannot afford. However, the optimization of keywords, meta descriptions, titles and content of your website will only involve an investment of time and not money, if you do so on your own.

Also keep in mind that the big OTAs like Airbnb, or Vrbo invest a lot of money in paid SEM and PPC (cost per click) campaigns, so competing against these giants will not be easy.

Above all, if you are still starting out in the vacation rental sector, it is best to lay the groundwork for creating content focused on your business, i.e.: descriptions that are well written and interesting for potential guests, that your website is easy to navigate and shows the necessary information without beating around the bush, contains high quality photos, videos, typography, graphics that attract attention and reflect your brand image.

SEO for vacation rentals ᐅ Guide


On-Page SEO

First things first, there are several content optimization techniques that it is important to differentiate. Among them, the so-called on-page SEO is the most common and the one that best encompasses what we consider as content optimization, i.e. keywords, titles and descriptions, image captures, breadcrumbs, etc.

The content should be of high quality, highlighting the main keywords related to your vacation rental business, which can be the name or location of your vacation home, for example.

The content in well written paragraphs allows visitors to read and find the information they need faster. One of the most important keys to optimizing a website is to ensure that it has original content. Search engines like Google have come a long way in recent years and algorithms now easily identify quality content. It is no longer enough to include a handful of keywords on a page. Quality design, fresh content and the use of appropriate, spaced, natural-sounding keywords are now rewarded.

Technical SEO

As its name suggests, SEO also has a technical part aimed mainly at helping the page to generate more impressions, visits and clicks on Google through a series of elements that we cannot see with the naked eye, such as the page loading speed, that it is suitable for mobile devices, that the links that exist are correct and that there are no security errors, etc.

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO refers to the interactions of your vacation rental website with other websites, something like the public relations of the internet. If your website is mentioned by other blogs, companies or users, you will receive backlinks to your domain, which will give authority in front of search engines. In short, receiving backlinks lets both users and algorithms know that your business is serious, professional and trustworthy.

3 reasons to invest in an SEO strategy for vacation rentals

Now that you know what SEO is and the most important aspects for its development, we tell you why it is important and relevant to grow your vacation rental business.

Better brand reputation

Competition in the vacation rental industry is fierce. More and more owners are deciding to become hosts and use their second homes as rentals. For you this means that standing out from your competitors is vital.

Therefore, the first thing to do is to build trust among potential guests who do an organic search for vacation rentals. It is quite normal that many of them trust pages that appear higher on the search page than those that are paid ads. 

You will save money

As we mentioned before, for many hosts paying to advertise can be a problem. In the long run and with a good marketing plan, the positioning obtained through SEO will help you generate more bookings, repeat customers and expand your business without having to use so many paid ads on a search engine or social networks. In addition, SEO and organic content always remain on the web, while SEM and other paid digital marketing campaigns disappear as soon as you stop investing in them.

You will gain more independence in your business

Undoubtedly, for many hosts the goal is clear: to be small independent entrepreneurs. Moreover, the less you depend on the big vacation rental booking portals, the less commission you will pay and the better you will be able to distribute your business according to your priorities.

SEO strategy for vacation rentals: where to start?

1st step: Keyword research

Keywords are the cornerstone of any website. Let’s say a potential guest is looking for a vacation apartment for this summer, and searches Google for “vacation rentals in San Diego”. The first thing they will find, besides paid ads, will be accommodations with that name in the titles and descriptions of the pages.

Therefore, you should focus first of all on finding out which keywords users that fit your target group, such as families, couples, international tourists, search for and use them on your website, social networks and communications. By doing so, Google will analyze your website and see that you have used these keywords, for which you will rank better when a user uses them in an organic search.

How to analyze and find these keywords? Very simple. Use platforms like Google Adwords, Semrush, Ahrefs or Sistrix to find out which keywords your competitors are using, which ones are the most important for users. You can start using those with lower search volume to get a better positioning in a short time.

Also use the keywords used by your competitors, and see how they use them throughout their web pages.

2nd step: Incorporate relevant content

Once you have analyzed your competitors’ websites and chosen the keywords you are interested in, it is time to take action.

You can start by optimizing the titles and meta descriptions of your website posts, but if you don’t have a blog yet, it’s time to get started!

Creating blog content will allow you to incorporate additional content, news, promotions and other relevant information about your vacation rental business, industry news, your daily life as a host… Without a doubt, it is a good way to humanize your business and offer a closer image to your guests, especially if you write about topics that can be of help to them. In addition, it is a double advantage: you will be offering quality content to Internet users while generating organic traffic to your domain.

3rd step: Social Media

Nowadays, being present on social networks is almost an obligation, especially if you have a small business. Making yourself known to potential guests of your vacation rental, interacting with your community, telling your first-person experience, and any other content generated can benefit from SEO. Social media search engines also rank higher for accounts that use hashtags, videos, and keyword mentions.

For a deeper dive into the world of social media, check out our special guide on the subject.

4th step: Promote yourself to your partners

We mentioned earlier that backlinks are an important part of any good SEO strategy because they allow Google to get information about your site more quickly.

You can start by asking other local businesses and those other companies with which you share services to include a link to your website on their pages. For example, local restaurants, craft stores, cleaning or laundry services, car and bike rentals, etc. can also benefit from searches on your site. In the end, building this exchange network is positive for everyone, so add them to your web content as well.

5th step: Use Smoobu’s web page builder

To create your own website you don’t need to invest time, money or have technical knowledge. Our website builder tool is all you need. Even if you already have one, you can integrate our Booking System seamlessly and include other tools such as availability calendars, take payments from guests all online.

In addition, you can benefit from Smoobu’s positioning as the most prominent Channel Manager in the industry – it’s not like starting from scratch!

Conclusion: SEO will give you the boost you are looking for

We know this is a lot of information and it may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s a lot easier than it looks. A good SEO strategy will boost your online position and make you reach more users, generating more bookings in the long run and making a name for yourself in the vacation rental industry in your area. This, combined with a good channel manager, will make you unstoppable.

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