The SEO described in this article is not the same as Airbnb SEO.

You’re the proud owner of a vacation rental, and they told you to get a website so prospective guests could find your listings online. Getting this website would be fun, they said. It would also be easy, they said. Are you feeling frustrated and like you’ve been lied to when it comes to online marketing?

Frustration is understandable. There is a lot to digital marketing and making sure that your vacation rentals show up in the search engines. Not only that, but your listings need to get in front of the people who are most likely to book your property. How can you do that? What it comes down to is understanding a few basic SEO tips for vacation rental websites.

What are some of the basic SEO terms you should know?

  • SEO – search engine optimization.
  • Keywords and keyword phrases – the words and terms that your web pages are centered around, and that people will enter into the search bar. For example, this page you’re reading right now has the keyword phrase, “basic SEO for vacation rental websites.” You probably entered that phrase or similar into the search bar when you came across this page.
  • Algorithm – the code or “robot” Google uses to read, find, and rank web pages based on a multitude of factors that make up the term, “SEO.”

How do website pages show up on Google?

Google and other search engines like it use what are called algorithms to determine where, and for what words a web page should show up on the search results page. Keywords, and keyword phrases and how they trigger the algorithms is the primary language of Google and search engines like Yahoo and Bing. The more helpful and optimized a web page is, the higher it will rank on the search results page. The first three positions on the search results page tend to get the most traffic.

But while it’s true that an algorithm or robot is serving up the web pages, it’s really human beings who determine what pages are going to rank. Google and the search engines want to serve up the pages that are going to be the most helpful and beneficial to readers. You can’t “trick” the search engines by stuffing keywords into your pages. That may have worked fifteen years ago when the algorithms were infants, but they’re teenagers now, and they’re a little more sophisticated.

Winning the SEO game boils down to creating web pages and content that are designed with human beings in mind. Are you creating content that answers your target customer’s most pressing questions? Then keywords and keyword optimization is going to follow naturally. Your priority for SEO is to create helpful, valuable content. The more valuable your content is to your target customers, the more likely your pages will display to people who are most likely to convert and book your listing.

How can you make sure that your vacation rental web pages are valuable to online viewers?

You need to think like your target customer. What questions do they have? What keywords and phrases are they going to enter into the search bar, and how can you make sure that your pages will display to them and answer their questions and meet their needs?

What are some other basic SEO strategies to increase traffic to your vacation rental website?

People who own local vacation rentals often can’t compete with the big, national or international brands when it comes to web traffic numbers. But there are few things you can do to optimize your vacation rental website for local SEO. You can reach out to local businesses, visitor bureaus, niche directories, and local events websites and ask them to list your vacation rentals as recommendations to their visitors.

This strategy is also called “link building,” and it’s another crucial part of SEO. Link building also helps you attract more website traffic. Also, consider submitting your vacation rental website link to online directories like Yelp or Mapquest for added Google link juice.

Doing SEO the right way can take time and consistent effort. However, link building, keyword optimization, and creating valuable content that’s geared towards your target market can significantly increase your online visibility and your conversions. Be sure to keep these basic SEO tips in mind when building your vacation rental website and adding content to your pages.