Airbnb SEO: 7 Steps to Optimize Your Listing 

 March 27, 2024

With over 7.7 million listings on Airbnb, getting yours to stand out is no small feat.

Understanding and implementing Airbnb search engine optimization (SEO) strategies can significantly increase your listing’s visibility, leading to more bookings and higher revenue.

If you want to boost your Airbnb’s search ranking, you’re in the right place.

This article will guide you through my Airbnb SEO strategy, with insights gained from helping dozens of listings reach the first page in Airbnb search results.

RankBreeze Airbnb search rankings data

In this article, you will learn what Airbnb SEO is and the seven steps I take when optimizing Airbnb listings.

Read on to learn how I’ve been able to help dozens of Airbnb listings reach page 1 in the Airbnb search results pages — and how you can, too!

Want me to do your Airbnb SEO for you? Click here to fill out an application form to work with me!

What is Airbnb SEO?

When I say “Airbnb SEO”, what I’m referring to is using search engine optimization strategies (such as including keywords in your listing description, pricing competitively, and having high-quality photos) in order to have your listing show up higher in Airbnb’s search results.

Ideally, your goal is to show up in the top 3 results, like so:

Airbnb search results example

You can also optimize your listing(s) to show up higher in other search engines (like Google) for keywords like “Airbnb in St Petersburg, FL”.

However, Airbnb already has dedicated landing pages (like this one) to rank for keywords like this, and the chance of your specific listing ranking well for these keywords is pretty low.

Not impossible, but highly unlikely.

That’s why this article will focus on SEO specifically for Airbnb search results — i.e. optimizing your listing’s title, description, price, amenities, etc. with the goal of reaching the coveted first page.

In doing so, you’ll also optimize for Google and other search engines; it’s just not the priority here.

Want me to do your Airbnb SEO for you? Click here to fill out an application form to work with me!

Airbnb’s Search Algorithm Ranking Factors

Airbnb’s search algorithm might seem mysterious, but it’s designed with one goal in mind: to match guests with the perfect accommodation for their needs.

The algorithm considers a variety of factors, ranging from the completeness of your listing to guest preferences and booking history. This means that the more information you provide and the more tailored your listing is to your ideal guest, the better your chances of appearing at the top of search results.

Airbnb’s ranking factors include:

  • Completeness of Listing: Airbnb favors listings that provide detailed information, helping guests make informed decisions. This includes a comprehensive description, amenities, house rules, and a fully filled-out host profile.
  • Guest Preferences: The search algorithm personalizes results based on past searches, bookings, and interactions on the platform. Tailoring your listing to appeal to your target audience — such as families with kids or couples looking for a romantic getaway — can increase your visibility to them (as well as increase your chance of them booking after landing on your listing).
  • Price Competitiveness: Competitive pricing, based on location, amenities, and time of year, can influence your listing’s rank. Utilize Airbnb’s pricing tools or a dynamic pricing tool like Pricelabs to stay competitive without undervaluing your offer.
  • Quality of Reviews: High-quality, positive reviews signal to Airbnb that your listing provides a great guest experience, which can boost your search ranking. You should aim to get as many 5 star reviews as possible, and try to keep your listing at a 4.9 average rating or higher.
  • Response Rate and Time: Being responsive to inquiries and reservation requests shows Airbnb that you’re an active and engaged host, contributing positively to your search ranking. You should always respond to all booking requests and messages, even if they don’t seem like a serious inquiry. Ignoring messages or booking requests can hinder your search rankings.
  • Booking Rate: A higher booking rate (the percentage of people who book your listing after landing on the page) indicates to Airbnb that guests find your property appealing, which can improve your position in search results.
  • Listing Freshness: Regularly updating your listing, whether it’s tweaking the description, adjusting the price, or adding new photos, signals to Airbnb that you’re actively managing your listing. This can help improve your search ranking.
  • Quality Photos: High-quality, well-lit photos are crucial for making your listing stand out. Airbnb’s search algorithm favors listings with attractive photos that accurately represent the space.

By focusing on these key areas, you can optimize your listing to perform better within the Airbnb search engine, leading to increased visibility and more bookings.

Let’s talk more about how to do that…

7 Steps to Rank Higher in the Airbnb Search Results

When I work with clients on Airbnb SEO, these are the exact seven steps I run through every time:

1. Complete Your Listing

The first step is to ensure your Airbnb listing is fully completed — this means you’ve selected every amenity your Airbnb has and you’ve filled in all the “Listing details”.

You’d be surprised how many clients I’ve worked with who still have questions/action steps in the “Next steps for you” section on their listing:

Next steps to improve your Airbnb listing

If you have any of these next steps, completing them is the first thing you should do.

2. Take High-Quality Photos

Taking high-quality photos of your listing is arguably the single most important thing you can do not only for  Airbnb SEO, but for getting more people to click on and book your listing.

Here are a few examples of excellent Airbnb photos:

Examples of good Airbnb listing photography
More examples of good Airbnb listing photography

If you’re not a professional photographer, the first investment you should make in your property is hiring one. A good photographer will run you around $500 for photos — and this includes staging as well.

A few things to keep in mind with your photos:

  1. Make sure you properly name your photos. Instead of the generic “001.jpg” or whatever the file name of your photos might be, try to name them what the photo is an image of, like “front_porch.jpg” or “St_Petersburg_Airbnb_home.jpg”.
  2. Don’t neglect your captions. Captions not only give you another chance to sell the space, they also tell Google (and Airbnb) more information about what is in the photo.
  3. Your featured image should always be the one that has the most “wow!” factor. Whatever the biggest selling point of your home is — that should be in the featured image. If it’s a great view, pop that up there. If your hot tub space is a vibe and your guests love it, use that one.

Check out this article by Airbnb for more tips on photographing your property.

3. Optimize Your Listing’s Title and Description

I’ve worked with a lot of people who haven’t given their listing description and title much thought, but this is a huge mistake! Your listing title & description play a pivotal role in attracting potential guests and influencing your search rankings.

To prove my point, I got this listing from page 2 to page 1 JUST by updating the description:

RankBreeze Airbnb search rankings change over time to page 1

That rankings boost led to a 28.6% occupancy rate increase month-over-month!

Proof of Airbnb occupancy rate increases of 28.6% month-over-month

As you can see, a well-crafted title and a detailed, keyword-rich description can significantly enhance your listing’s visibility and appeal.

Crafting a Compelling Title: Your title is the first things guests see when they click on your listing. Make it sound enticing by sharing what makes your space special (e.g., “Yurt Getaway W/ Stargazing, Waterfalls & River Fun”). You get up to 50 characters to write your title, so use them all!

*Pro Tip — I like to use a character counter to make sure my titles are within the 50-character limit.

Writing a Detailed Description: Your description is where you can elaborate on what you mentioned in the title. This is your opportunity to tell the story of your space and convince the reader to book.

Include details about the amenities, the neighborhood, and any extras you offer. Use natural language that flows well, but also try to incorporate keywords that potential guests might use to search for a place like yours.

For example, RankBreeze has an “optimization” tab that shows you keywords to use in your title and description to help improve your Airbnb search rankings:

RankBreeze keyword suggestions to optimize your Airbnb listing

If you don’t have a RankBreeze account, you can just look at competitor’s listings who are on the first page in your city and try to figure out what keywords they have in common.

However, avoid keyword stuffing (stuffing the keyword in your text too many times) as it can make your description read unnaturally and negatively impact the guest’s experience.

When it comes to writing your description…

  • Use Keywords Strategically: Research and use keywords that are relevant to your listing and that potential guests are likely to use when searching for a place to stay. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your title and description. Airbnb recommends software like Wordstream, SEMrush, KWFinder, or Google Ads to find keywords. I personally use Ahrefs and RankBreeze.
  • Highlight Unique Features and Amenities: Make sure to mention any unique features or amenities your listing offers, such as a hot tub, a fireplace, or proximity to major attractions. These details can make your listing more attractive to potential guests and help it stand out.
  • Include Information About the Local Area: Provide guests with insights into the neighborhood and local attractions. This not only helps guests get a better sense of what to expect but also assists in attracting those who are looking for a place in a specific area.

By optimizing your listing’s title and description, you not only improve your Airbnb SEO but also enhance its appeal to potential guests, increasing the likelihood of bookings.

Here are a few listings whose descriptions have a good blend of copywriting technique and SEO, to give you an idea of how to write a proper description:

How do I know these each have a good Airbnb listing description?

Because they are all past clients of mine and I watched their rankings increase after updating the description.

Want me to do your Airbnb SEO for you? Click here to fill out an application form to work with me!

4. Turn On Instant Book

Airbnb’s Instant Book feature allows guests to book listings without waiting for host approval, streamlining the booking process and enhancing the user experience.

Airbnb Instant Book filter

For hosts, enabling Instant Book can significantly impact your listing’s visibility and attractiveness on the platform. This is for several reasons:

  1. Airbnb guests often filter to only show listings that have Instant Book turned on. If yours is off, you immediately get filtered out for these guests.
  2. Airbnb’s search algorithm tends to favor listings that have the Instant Book feature enabled. This preference stems from the feature’s ability to provide a frictionless booking experience, aligning with Airbnb’s goal of facilitating smooth transactions between hosts and guests.
  3. Listings with Instant Book tend to have higher booking rates, which in turn positively affects their search ranking. A higher booking rate signals to Airbnb’s algorithm that guests prefer your listing, prompting the platform to rank it higher in search results.

While Instant Book can increase your Airbnb listing’s visibility and appeal, it also means relinquishing some control over who books your space, and that can be scary.

To mitigate concerns, Airbnb allows hosts to set specific requirements that guests must meet before booking, such as a verified ID or positive reviews from other hosts. This way, you can enjoy the Airbnb SEO benefits of Instant Book while maintaining a level of security and comfort.

Before enabling Instant Book, make sure you can manage an increased flow of guests, especially if you’re juggling hosting with other commitments. Instant Book can lead to more last-minute bookings, requiring you to be on top of your hosting game in terms of readiness and communication.

Turning on Instant Book is the #1 thing you can do to enhance your listing’s search ranking and appeal to guests looking for a seamless booking experience. If you’re ready for it, you can leverage Instant Book to boost your Airbnb SEO and attract more bookings.

5. Use Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing is a strategy where the price of your listing changes automatically based on various factors like demand, time of year, competition, and other market conditions.

For example, you might raise prices during peak tourist seasons or lower them during slower periods to stay competitive. This approach helps ensure your listing stays appealing to potential guests and can maximize your profits throughout the year.

Dynamic pricing in itself doesn’t impact your Airbnb SEO, but your listing’s price absolutely does! Oftentimes, the lower your pricing, the better your chance at appearing on the first page of Airbnb.

However, setting the lowest price possible eats into your profits and is no fun for anyone (except maybe the guests). That’s where dynamic pricing comes in — it allows you to have the lowest price possible compared to demand, while still maintaining a healthy profit.

Airbnb has a built-in Smart Pricing feature that can do this for you, but it’s not the best option.

A dedicated dynamic pricing tool like PriceLabs is better because it gives you more control and has more sophisticated pricing strategies to fine-tune your price.

6. Add Popular Amenities

Did you know that you can see what amenities are popular with guests in your area?

To do so, search for Airbnbs in your city, then click the “Filters” tab and scroll down to the Amenities section. The first thing you’ll see is “Popular in [Your City Here]”:

Popular amenities Airbnb filter

This info is as good as gold for Airbnb hosts! It tells you exactly what guests in your area want in an Airbnb. If you don’t have these popular amenities, consider adding them to your property to both boost your SEO and get more bookings.

One of the most common amenities I see that almost always boosts bookings is a hot tub. But it could be as simple as adding a washer & dryer or a desk to say that you have a “dedicated workspace”.

7. Get More 5-Star Reviews

Ratings are one of the most important Airbnb SEO factors. Afterall, Airbnb only wants to show guests the best houses — and the reviews are the #1 thing telling other guests (and Airbnb) how good your home is!

You should aim for as many 5-star reviews as possible. Here are a few strategies to make that happen:

  1. Obviously, make sure your guests have an excellent experience. This is #1!
  2. Have a printed manual/guidebook in your home that has a page explaining the review system. Tell your guests that a 5-star review means “Nothing is perfect, but our stay was excellent and we had no major issues!”. From there, a 4-star review means it needs some major work, a 3-star review means it was awful, etc. This primes your guests to understand that 5-stars doesn’t mean it was the best thing ever, but that it met their expectations and they would recommend the place.
  3. Respond quickly to your guests and do your best to meet all their needs. Read the book Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara for more insights into how to do this.

No matter how hard you try, you’re still going to get people who had a great time but refuse to give a 5-star review. Just accept that and try your best anyway.

Other Airbnb SEO Tips

If you’ve followed the seven steps above and want to make your listing as optimized as possible, here are some more things you can do to improve your shot at hitting page one:

  • Create a Guidebook. Airbnb allows you to add a guidebook to your listing, which is essentially a virtual book with recommendations for local attractions, restaurants, and other things to know about your local area.
  • Lower your minimum night stay. You have a better shot of ranking higher if your minimum night stay is 2 or less. At most, I suggest my clients never go above a 3-night minimum unless they have a good reason to.
  • Complete your host profile. If you haven’t already, go through the steps to verify your identity as a host and fully complete your bio and questions about yourself. Also make sure your host photo is high-resolution and friendly.
  • Opt for flexible policies. You can set how relaxed or strict you want your cancellation policy and house rules to be. Guests are more likely to book Airbnbs that are more flexible, and their search algorithm knows it. So unless you’ve got a reason to keep things tight, choosing the more flexible options can be a smart choice. It’s worth testing to see what performs best.
  • Keep your booking calendar up to date. This goes without saying, but you should always keep your booking calendar up to date. Airbnb doesn’t like it when your calendar is messed up — especially when you’re booking across multiple platforms, like Vrbo or Booking.com.
  • Ask people to favorite your booking. Guests can “heart”, or favorite, bookings. Some SEO specialists believe that getting more favorites leads to a higher ranking. I’m not convinced, but it certainly can’t hurt.
  • Strive to become a Superhost. Superhost status is reserved for the best hosts and can help your rankings. You earn Superhost status by receiving positive reviews, being responsive, and avoiding cancellations.

What’s Next?

Throughout this article, I’ve explained Airbnb SEO and shared the exact strategies I use to help my clients optimize their Airbnb listings.

As you implement these strategies, remember that SEO is an ongoing process, requiring continuous refinement and adaptation to trends and guest preferences. It’s not a one-time action.

If you want help with your Airbnb SEO strategy and copywriting, click here to fill out an application to work with me! I’ve helped dozens of Airbnb hosts increase their listing rankings and bookings, and I’d love to help you with yours, too!

Bill Widmer

Bill has a passion for teaching others how to build and grow their own online business. He's started and grown several sites from $0 to over $10k per month and has worked with many prestigious clients such as Sumo, Shopify, and Single Grain.

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