How to Rank #1 on Airbnb

The best Airbnb SEO Advice

There are over 6 million vacation rental properties on Airbnb. Unfortunately, it takes more than the right price point to attract enough bookings to remain profitable; it takes advanced Airbnb SEO tactics.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of appeasing search engines (in this case Airbnb) in an effort to improve the likelihood of having your property being listed higher in the search results. When most people think of search engines they often think of Google or Bing, not Airbnb; when in reality, Airbnb is just a large search engine for finding vacation rentals. Rather than your search query being question-based (ie. How old is Airbnb?), your search is filtered by location, availability, and price.

Top Airbnb SEO Tips

  • Unique content in all fields
  • Maximize the number of amenities your listing offers
  • Develop a comprehensive manual guide book
  • Utilize Airbnb’s Instant Book
  • Grow your 5-star reviews
  • Respond to all inquiries within an hour
  • Accept all qualified inquiries
  • Never cancel a booking
  • Ensure your calendar is always up-to-date
  • Utilize dynamic pricing, do not use static rates
  • Showcase 20+ high-quality photographs

Airbnb’s Category Filtering System

In May 2022, Airbnb launched a new category filtering system which has forever changed the way Airbnb guests navigate and filter properties.

So, what factors are now critical for influencing the machine learning system that organizes the properties displayed under each category?

Create in-depth Guide Books

These links will help the machine learning system understand what attractions are close by to you.

  • Link to the closest National Park
  • Link to your local Public Pool
  • Recommend your local Golf Courses
  • Recommend the Lake or Beach nearby
  • Recommend your nearby Ski Resort

Write compelling and descriptive photo captions

Mention all of the Amazing Views that your property includes

Describe your Cabin, Tiny Home, or A-Frame home if you have one. Make sure you include these category.

Write a in-depth Description

The machine learning system is going to read your description and use that help better understand your property, location, and design elements.

Mention your proximity to nearby attractions (National Parks, Surfing, Caves, Farms, etc)

Be intentional with your photographs

Ensure that your photographer takes clear photos of your Amazing View, your Lakefront View, the nearby Lake, Golf course, and any other category types that are relevant to you and your property.

Content is King

It may sound obvious, but ensuring your listing has been completely optimized for the search engines meaning you need to answer all the questions a guest might have in the content. Use the listing description section to answer all of your potential guests’ questions about the unit, the location, and even the fun activities they could expect to do. Look through all of the amenities/ essentials Airbnb lists for you and immediately go to the store and buy as many of them as possible.

When potential guests are looking for a place they can filter the search to only showcase properties that include specific items. So if you cheap out and don’t have them, you will NOT appear. It doesn’t matter if you had the best location at the cheapest price – you just lost the booking!

Things that need to be addressed in your listing

  • Submit a comprehensive house manual so Airbnb knows you will take care of the guest.
  • Create a guidebook about all of the amazing attractions surrounding your place.
  • Upload 15-20 photos clearly showcasing the interior and exterior of the property.
Harrison Hot Springs Guide Book

A comprehensive guidebook map for an Airbnb in Harrison Hot Springs, BC.

Instant Booking Provides A Major Boost To Your SEO

Airbnb claims that hosts who use instant book can get up to 2x the number of bookings!

Believe it or not – guests don’t like the idea of waiting to have their booking accepted by the host. Especially when that traveller is a seasoned vet on Airbnb. Enable instant-booking to allow for guests to easily reserve their accommodations if they have a good “Airbnb track record”. A good track record usually means they have several 5-star reviews and a verified account. If for some reason you do not feel comfortable with the booking you have the option to cancel penalty-free for 24 hours. In

At Lifty Life Hospitality all of our properties utilize the instant-booking feature and have never had any issues. With over 200 bookings relying on instant-booking we have found it is one of the easiest ways to increase your search engine positioning.

5-star Reviews

92 percent of customers say that a bad review has convinced them to avoid a booking.

Review management is the lifeblood of any good vacation rental. The hospitality industry lives and dies on ensuring they’re regularly receiving 5-star reviews. Even a 4-star average on Airbnb is recognized as a relatively low-performing property and you will see a decline in your average position on the search results, thus resulting in fewer bookings.

Some tactics we suggest

  • Add something unique to the property like board games, local art, even an arcade game would be cool!
  • Encourage your guests to leave a 5-star review if they enjoyed your property.
  • Respond to every review in a friendly and professional manner.
  • NEVER bribe or extort your guests into giving 5-star reviews.

Pro Tip: If you believe a guest will leave you a negative review then do not review them until you notice they have reviewed you. Airbnb allows the host and guests 14 days to review each other if after 14 neither party has reviewed than the reviewing period is closed.

How to respond to bad reviews

  • Guests want to be heard so ensure you address their concerns head-on.
  • Thank them for bringing their concerns to your attention.
  • Sincerely apologize!
  • Explain that you will personally correct the issue.
  • Encourage them to book again and confirm you will ensure they have a great experience the second time.

Respond and Accept Inquiries

The Airbnb algorithm heavily favours hosts that respond and accept guest inquiries quickly. Imagine you’re trying to book a property and it takes 2 days for the host to even respond. You would probably become very frustrated and move onto a different property or completely give up on the Airbnb platform. For this reason, Airbnb expects all hosts to respond within an hour of a guest’s initial inquiry. By responding within an hour to all of your inquiries you will increase your average conversion rate and appease the search engines.

If you’re just starting out we recommend you reduce your nightly rate to encourage an influx of 5-star bookings. The last thing you want when you’re just getting started is a review saying your place is overpriced. Make sure you exceed all expectations and provide extremely helpful and timely responses to any of your guests.

Try to accept over 90% of the inquiries you receive to show Airbnb you’re motivated to accept bookings and eager to make the guests’ user-experience as simple as possible. At the end of the day, Airbnb is focused on providing great experiences to their customers and if you don’t meet that expectation they will gladly give the bookings to someone else.

Calendar and Pricing Optimization to Improve your Airbnb SEO

Regularly updating your calendar and pricing will show Airbnb that you’re up-to-date with availability and providing competitive pricing for your guests. We advise all property owners to update their calendars every single day. Even if it means adjusting your pricing by a couple of dollars.

Airbnb recognizes that the more you sign in and make adjustments the more eager you’re for bookings and the less likely you will deny the inquiries they send you.

We have experimented with Smart Pricing (Airbnb’s in-house pricing algorithm) and found it to be extremely generous to the guest. Smart Pricing often left thousands of dollars a year on the table. Providing affordable accommodation to guests is one thing, but discounting so deeply that it affects your bottom line is another.

We recommend using a 3rd party software that performs daily price optimization and calendar updates. This software often generates home-owners 10-20% more in revenue than if they were to try and manage it themselves.

Here’s a list of the top dynamic pricing software

Professional Airbnb Photography Improves SEO

The Airbnb ranking algorithm is able to detect high-quality photos and will penalize listings that don’t. Guests rely on the images to accurately showcase the property. Airbnb punishes listing with poorly lit, over or under-edited, or highly inaccurate photos and pushed off the first page of search results; reducing the number of potential guests that see your listings.

For the best Airbnb SEO, pay the extra cost to hire a professional photographer to properly showcase your vacation rental. A few hundred dollars on a professional photographer will have the largest bang for your buck. You will notice significantly increased rankings and higher conversions.

Important Statisitics Signaling the Importance of Professional Photography

  • Hosts with professional photos tend to earn 40% more than other hosts in their area
  • Photos are one of the top reasons guests choose to book a property and results in 24% more bookings
  • Many hosts are able to raise their nightly price by 26% after upgrading their photos

How to stage your short term rental for a photography session

  • Clean, clean, clean
  • Stage the property with unique decor and centrepieces
  • Keep people and dogs out of the photoshoot
  • Adjust for optimal and natural lighting

Vacation rental photography DIY tips

  • Purchase or rent a tripod
  • Use wide-angle lenses
  • Multiple lights for enhanced flashes. Bounce the light off other walls
  • Use a DSLR camera (your iPhone won’t cut it)
  • Declutter. Make no mistake – clutter is not your friend.
  • Use professional editing software. If you’re a beginner photographer you can use software like “Snapseed”

Proper staging and photography are critical components of the ranking algorithm.

staging and photography for airbnb

Lifty Life Hospitality prides itself on being able to improve our homeowners Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway rankings. We utilize the latest Airbnb SEO tactics to maximize pricing and occupancy.

In fact, our CMO, Keiran Griffiths, spearheads one of the leading SEO agencies in Abbotsford, BC. With such an in-depth understanding of how search engines are designed and developed we have a significant advantage when it comes to ranking on Airbnb.

Reach out to us if you’re looking to improve your exposure and generate more bookings!

Frequently Asked Questions

Airbnb SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, refers to the strategies and techniques hosts use to improve the visibility and search ranking of their property listings on the Airbnb platform. It’s essential because a higher search ranking means more exposure to potential guests, leading to increased bookings and revenue.

Airbnb’s ranking algorithm considers over 100 factors that fall into three main categories: guest needs, listing details, and trip details. These factors include the location of the guest, listing quality, pricing, responsiveness of the host, guest reviews, booking rates, and more.

Hosts can leverage guest behavior by optimizing their listings to cater to specific guest needs and preferences. By anticipating what types of travelers might be interested in their property and tailoring their descriptions, photos, and amenities accordingly, hosts can attract more clicks, bookings, and positive reviews.

Yes, it’s true. Airbnb’s algorithm tends to favor listings that offer Instant Bookings because it enhances the user experience for guests, making the booking process more convenient and efficient. However, hosts who choose not to offer Instant Bookings can still improve their ranking by excelling in other ranking factors, such as responsiveness and listing quality.