Renting out vacation homes is one of the most lucrative ways to make money in real estate. But, like any business, it takes work to make it successful. A big part of that is having a website for it and making sure it is optimized for search engines. This is where vacational rental SEO comes in. In a way, it is not that different from regular SEO. The goal is still to get your site to rank as high as possible in the search engine results pages (SERPs). But there are a few key differences.
For one thing, you're competing against other vacation rentals, not just businesses in general. And, people searching for these properties are usually looking to book one, which means they're further along in the buying cycle than someone who's just doing general research.
That means your vacation rental SEO strategy needs to focus on getting potential guests to your site and converting them into paying customers.
Creating Your Vacation Rental Website
There are a number of different factors that go into creating your vacation rental website and making it as search-engine-friendly as possible. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Before investing in a vacation home, it would be smart to have a professional website designed specifically for your rental business. This will give you an edge over the competition and make it easier to rank high in the SERPs.
Your website should be easy to navigate and include all the information potential guests would need to know about your vacation rental, such as rates, amenities, policies, etc. It should also be visually appealing and mobile-friendly, as more and more people are searching for rentals on their smartphones.
Your domain name is another important factor to consider when creating your vacation rental website. Ideally, you want a .com domain that's short, memorable, and relevant to your business. For example, if you're renting out a beach house in California, a good domain name would be something like beachhousecalifornia.com.
Once your website is up and running, it's time to start filling it with content. Your content needs to be well-written, keyword-rich, and informative. It should also be unique—don't copy and paste descriptions from other websites or listings.
Some good topics to write about include the following.
- The area your vacation rental is located in
- Things to do in the area
- Why people should choose your rental over a hotel room
- Special features of your rental
- Tips for getting the most out of a vacation rental stay
By offering relevant and useful information on your website, you'll not only attract more visitors but also encourage them to book a stay at your property.
Search Engine Optimization
Like optimizing any other website, there are best practices that you should follow to implement a vacational rental SEO strategy that generates results.
1. Use the Right Keywords
When you check out every beginner's guide to SEO, you will learn that keyword research is the foundation of any website optimization strategy. You need to target the right keywords in order for your site to be visible to potential guests who are searching for a vacation rental like yours.
For starters, you can brainstorm a list of relevant terms and phrases that people might use when searching for a vacation rental in your area. Then, use a keyword research tool, like SEMrush or Ahrefs, to get search volume data and further refine your list.
Once you've settled on the right keywords, make sure to sprinkle them throughout your website—in the content, titles, tags, etc. But don't go overboard with it. Using too many keywords (keyword stuffing) will not only turn off potential guests but also get you penalized by Google.
Moreover, vacation rentals are all about location, so it's also important to optimize your site for local SEO. This means including city and state names when relevant, as well as keywords like "near me".
2. Create Compelling Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Your title tag is the clickable headline that appears in the search results, while your meta description is the short blurb of text that gives potential guests a preview of what they'll find on your website.
Both your title tag and meta description should be unique, keyword-rich, and no more than 160 characters long. They should also match the content on your website—if you're promising one thing in the title tag/meta description but delivering something else, you're going to end up with a high bounce rate.
So, how do you write an effective title tag and meta description?
Here's an example of a good title tag: “Vacation Rentals in California | Beach House California”
And, here's an example of a good meta description: “Looking for the perfect vacation rental in California? Look no further than Beach House California. We offer beautiful rentals up and down the coast, so you're sure to find the perfect one for your needs!”
3. Use Optimized Images, Infographics, and Videos
Make sure to use images, infographics, and videos in your content to break it up and make it more visually interesting. But don't just add any old photos—make sure that they're high-quality and relevant to your vacation rental business.
And, just like with everything else on your website, you need to optimize your visuals for the search engines. This means adding keyword-rich alt-tags to all of your images. For example, if you have a picture of your vacation rental's living room, you might use an alt-tag like "cozy living room with fireplace."
4. Build Backlinks
Links directing to your site act as votes of confidence, telling the search engines that your site is popular, relevant, and authoritative. The more backlinks you have, the better.
To build backlinks, start by creating great content on your vacation rental website—content that other website owners will want to link to. Then, reach out to those website owners and let them know about your content. If they like it, they'll be happy to link to it.
You can also submit guest posts to other websites in your niche. Here, you can include a link back to your vacation rental website in your author bio.
5. Create Keyword-Driven URLs
When creating the URLs for your vacation rental website, make sure to also include relevant keywords. This will not only help the search engines understand what your pages are about but also make it easier for potential guests to remember your URL.
For example, if you have a page about vacation rentals in Los Angeles, you might use a URL like www.example.com/vacation-rentals-los-angeles. On the other hand, if you have a page about vacation rentals in general, you might use a URL like www.example.com/vacation-rentals.
6. Provide Good User Experience (UX)
As you would like to provide the best accommodation and services to your guests, you would also want to provide those who are looking for vacation rentals online with the best UX on your website.
User experience includes everything from the overall design and layout of your website to how easy it is to navigate and find what they're looking for. Some things you can do to improve UX on your site are the following.
- Having a responsive design: Make sure your site can be easily viewed on all devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones.
- Creating clear and concise text: Write in short, easy-to-read sentences and use bullet points when possible.
- Using easy-to-understand language: Avoid using jargon or technical terms that most people wouldn't understand.
- Putting clear calls to action (CTAs) on your pages: Tell visitors what you want them to do, whether it's contacting you to book a rental or subscribing to your newsletter.
- Using engaging visuals: As previously implied, you should use images, videos, and infographics to break up the text and add visual interest to your content.
7. Add Fresh Content Regularly
One of the best things you can do for any SEO campaign is to regularly add fresh content to your website. This could be in the form of blog posts, new photos, videos, or even just updates to your existing pages. Not only will this help keep your website looking current, but it will also give you more opportunities to include relevant keywords and phrases—helping you attract even more guests to your vacation rental.
8. Track Your Results with Google Analytics
Make sure to track your vacational rental SEO efforts with Google Analytics. This will allow you to see how much traffic you're getting from the search engines, which keywords are driving the most traffic, and where your visitors are coming from.
These pieces of information are essential for understanding what's working and what isn't so that you can make changes as needed. It's also helpful for developing future vocational rental SEO strategies.
Vacation Rental Business: Other Effective Marketing Strategies to Use
Apart from rental SEO, there are also other techniques that you can use to increase your property's visibility online.
List Your Vacation Rental Property
There are a number of vacation rental listing sites available, where you can list your property and reach a larger audience of potential guests. Here are our top picks.
- Airbnb: One of the most popular vacation rental listing sites, Airbnb offers an easy way for guests to find and book vacation rentals around the world.
- HomeAway: With over 2 million vacation rental listings in 190 countries, HomeAway is another excellent option for those looking for vacation rentals.
- VRBO: Short for “Vacation Rental by Owner”, VRBO is a vacation rental listing site that offers travelers a wide selection of properties to choose from.
- TripAdvisor: Although known primarily as a travel review site, TripAdvisor also has a vacation rental listing section where guests can search for and compare different rentals.
Share Your Content on Social Media
By sharing your website's content (such as blog posts and photos), as well as any special deals or promotions you might be running, on social media, you can help increase traffic to your website. Not only that, but it will also give you a chance to connect with potential guests and build relationships with them.
When using social media, be sure to post regularly and interact with those who comment on or share your posts. Also, take advantage of hashtags to reach a larger audience—just be sure not to use too many, as this can come across as spammy.
Take Advantage of Google My Business (GMB)
GMB is a free listing service offered by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across the search engine and Google Maps. This includes adding photos, your business hours, contact information, and more. By taking advantage of this service, you can help increase your vacation rental's visibility—especially if potential guests are searching for vacation rentals in your area on Google Maps. Plus, it's an easy way to connect with potential guests and get them to book a stay at your property.
Vacation rental marketing can be a bit daunting, but by using the above-mentioned tips, you can definitely make it work. And, if you are new to the game of real estate, it will also be helpful to seek the support and guidance of the experts.
At the Cash Flow Note Pad, for example, you can get access to a wide range of resources that will help you learn more about vacation rental investing, as well as how to effectively market your properties. Take advantage of these resources, and you'll be on your way to successfully market your vacation rental business in no time.
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