Ever wondered if there was some trick to making your property listing rank higher on Airbnb? Well, there is a way…but it’s no trick. There’s no gaming the system here, but you can still optimize your listing to match Airbnb’s search algorithm’s preferences. Today you’re going to learn everything you need to know about Airbnb SEO.

Airbnb SEO = Search Engine Optimization

Airbnb’s search feature works the same way as Google’s by choosing relevant results using an algorithm.

What’s an algorithm? The simple definition is that it’s a set of logical rules that help solve mathematical problems, automated reasoning, and data processing. We’re only concerned with the latter.

When you perform an Airbnb search, their application takes a bunch of factors into consideration (user details, trip details, listing details), assigns each a certain value, then shows you a list of the highest scored properties.

So to rank higher, you just need to know what Airbnb actually values the most. Luckily, they’ve been very transparent about their ranking factors. All in all, it seems like a very fair system – they even give new properties a fighting chance to rank. Some ranking factors may come as a surprise though.

Take a look at some of Airbnb’s most valued features below and be sure to make the adjustments to your listing. Higher rankings are guaranteed – granted the competition isn’t too stiff.

Factors that you cannot change (and probably could’ve guessed on your own):

Guest Needs:

  • Location
  • Previous Trips
  • Wish List Items
  • Previous Listing Clicks

Trip Criteria:

  • Number of Guests
  • Booking Length
  • Availability

Also worth noting: Airbnb SEO strategies do not involve keyword placement in written content. Since Airbnb’s searches are entirely based on listing locations, there’s no need to go crazy trying to optimize your copy.

Factors that you CAN change:

1. Number of 5-Star Reviews

Airbnb actually states “we consider things like the number of five-star reviews…” when describing their ranking algorithm. We better take them literally here – you don’t want 4-star reviews, it’s 5 or bust.

 

How to Improve: Increasing your review quality comes down to the quality of your hosting and your property. You can find out how to do that here. That guide will also show you how to improve the quantity of reviews you’re getting. You need to solicit reviews from your guests using carefully crafted booking follow-up emails.

2. Price

Yes, of course price is a factor. But just how much of a factor? Price sorting and filtering are user controls, Airbnb doesn’t do anything like that by default.

So when Airbnb says price is a ranking factor in their algorithm, it could mean that prices within the location’s average range have more value. It could also mean that the price factor is given value based on your previous rental price ranges. We can’t know for certain. But after running some tests, it appears that the first 10 results hover in close range to the location’s average, becoming more varied thereafter.

 

How to Improve: We can say that competitive pricing based on location and season are always going to get you more bookings. Use this location rate calculator to get a good idea of where your pricing should be!

3. Host Response Time

Your ability and willingness to communicate with guests is a big factor in your ranking. Take a look at the top results in any populous area and see if there are any 50% response rate hosts. There aren’t.

 

How to Improve: Again, a pretty simple fix – respond to guest inquiries quickly. You can use Airbnb’s mobile app or a booking manager app like Tokeet to keep communications close. It also should be noted, your speed and tone are going to be major deciding factors for potential guests. You need to stay on top of this!

4. Invite Rejections (Pre-Approvals)

This factor depends on whether or not you use the Invite to Book option. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s just a way to nudge inquiring vacationers into booking your place. I’ve never actually responded to one myself, but apparently it works for some people.

 

How to Improve: Be careful with your request usage. If you’re continuously making requests to every single inquiry, it’s going to drop your rankings because a majority of people don’t respond to it. By making requests to only inquiries that have shown positive inclination, you’ll be able to boost your booking rate and your rankings at the same time.

5. Instant Book

Instant book is a feature that allows guests to book a property without needing prior approval from the host. It’s also a ranking factor.

 

How to Improve: Turn it on.

6. Past Clicks

Airbnb uses your listing’s click through rate (unique clicks only) as a ranking factor. It definitely sounds like something you can’t change, otherwise…why would you be here looking for help? But it is!

 

How to Improve: Appearances are everything. That will never change in the vacation rental business, so you better be up to the task. Your listing will absolutely receive more clicks if you have a beautiful, professional set of property images. Most importantly, your default image that displays first in your listings.
The quickest way to do this is to hire a professional real-estate photographer – it’s a worthwhile investment. Choose your property’s most defining, attractive features to display as the default image. Then, just sit back and enjoy the extra traffic.

7. Booking Requests

Your property’s overall booking requests are added up and factored in by Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm. This seems like another one of those “easier said than done” tasks. Just get more clicks, just be a better host, just get more bookings, cmon! There’s actually plenty you can do though.

 

How to Improve: First of all, if you’ve made some changes to your response rate, you’ve already improved your booking rate. That’s how important communication is in this business. Vacation rental properties are in no shortage, and booking them on Airbnb is extremely simple for renters. Don’t leave them hanging, otherwise you will lose that booking.

You also need to ensure your tone is cordial yet professional. If potential guests perceive you as an inviting person, they’ll have the confidence to choose you as their host. A single response has the power to make or break a booking.The next thing is your reviews. We spoke about this before too, but let’s re-iterate: you need to solicit reviews from your past guests gently. This guide will give you some pointers in drafting your follow-up emails.

If you’ve got a bad review on your page, make sure you keep your cool and address it professionally. Respond to the guest, not to the people reading the review. Each case is different, so advice has to be broad here: make sure they know that you appreciated their business. You regret that things weren’t to their satisfaction, and you’ve made efforts to ensure this will never happen again. Something along those lines will help restore confidence in potential guests. Soon enough, you’ll be able to bury that review with better ones!

Finally – enabling the Instant Book feature has proven to make significant improvements to booking rates.

What can I do if I have a new listing?

Airbnb has tailored their algorithm to include new listings in its upper results. Of course, there will be a disproportionate ratio of established listings to new ones. But you have a fighting chance. Taking these steps to optimize your listing will still improve your chances in early days, and more so later.

If you’ve just listed your property and can’t find it in the search results, keep in mind that Airbnb waits 6 to 24 hours before making it visible. This is to ensure that the host has made all necessary adjustments to perfect their listing before exposing it to the world.

A great way to get bookings early on is to reduce your minimum stay as low as possible, as well as increase your maximum. This will bring your listing to the top of the crowd when users have filtered their searches for small/large booking periods. If you can get a couple bookings early on and get some good reviews out of it, you’ll be well on your way!

Now it’s time to put your new Airbnb SEO ranking skills to use. You have a game-plan to get more bookings, so get to work!

 

…one last thing before you go though. Airbnb has this Superhost badge, you may have seen it around. This badge is highly sought after, but it doesn’t add any ranking power to your listings.

Fortunately, all of those factors listed above are going to earn you a Superhost badge if you follow through. If you have that badge, potential guests are more likely to book with you – it’s a seal of trust. The benefits of optimizing your listing are now two-fold!