SEO for vacation rentals

Tips for Hosts

SEO for Vacation Rentals

23 Mar , 2016  

SEO for vacation rentals. Is it important?

The answer to that question is yes.

In the most simple term, SEO or search engine optimization is just a way to get organic and “natural” traffics to a website…in this case, your vacation rental booking site, by the mean of search engine, like Google.

“Why, you said just?”

Because there are other ways to get traffics, for instance, from advertising, both online and offline.

However, we are aware that advertising can be costly. It can be even pricier when it comes to online advertising. Why? Because search engine like Google uses PPC or pay-per-click method for all the ads displayed across its Adwords platform. The cost is usually calculated by the competitiveness of the keywords, determined by the search volume and the willingness of those who targeted those keywords to pay for that one precious click.

To put this into perspective, if you have $100-200 advertising budget for your AdWords campaign, and the keywords that you target cost like $30-50 per click, then your ad won’t even last for a day. Imagine how much it will cost you for a week or a month to get the amount of traffics that make conversions possible? Because, let’s admit it, not everyone in the traffics is going to book your place. Most of them will pass on… And before you can capture a few bookings you need to capture not so few traffics first.

I can’t emphasize enough on the importance of traffics for an online business. Traffics are what make a website alive and business runs properly. They are the source of your leads and conversions; a testimony to your online presence.

So, with this in mind, we can conclude that anything that brings free, real and natural traffics to your site is an important thing to have. And that’s what SEO is.

However, I think now it’s important for us to shift the SEO paradigm, from just a tool to please Google get traffics (as opposed to pay for them), into a standard practice of making a good website. By us I mean not just vacation rental owners, but also all of us in this world wide web.

Why? Because by abiding to even the most basic of SEO principles on your website you actually improve its quality substantially. And this is a good thing in itself.

What is good SEO practice that I can use in my vacation rental website?

The thing that many people feel frustrated about SEO is that the rules always change. Trust me,  I know. I came from the day when people used to stuff keywords on the background of their websites! What!? Yeah. You heard that right. There were days when a webmaster used the so-called “hidden texts” in their page. They wrote the keywords they targeted on the same color of their page’s background (hence the name). That way, although the users couldn’t see them, search engine’s crawler would and give you score for those keywords. You actually got a better rank in the search result with this method. (This was a loooong time ago…don’t do it now!)

So yeah, in order to stay one step ahead of everyone else, Google keep updating its search algorithm.

However, some thing has never changed. Namely, providing your user with the best experience with your service. So, if anything, this is what we have to maintain…SEO-wise or non-SEO wise.

The Basics

1. Keywords and Search Terms

  1. It starts with determining your keywords.
  2. For villa owners, descriptive keywords/keyphrases are more important than your property’s name.
  3. Put the location or the name of the place/area as a keyword is also wise.
  4. Then combine No. 2 and 3 together. So, instead of putting your villa’s name, use for example, “two bedrooms villa (the descriptive keywords) in Seminyak (the location)”
  5. Your property name is your brand. Brand symbolizes authority. And both are dotted by Google. This is handy for direct name searching. So don’t abandon it completely. Make sure you use it as your domain name and occasionally throw it on the pages.
  6. Target some related keywords as backups. Either long-tail keywords or anything that has relevance with your target keywords. Find keywords ideas by using Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool
  7. Incorporate those keywords into the title of your pages including your contents as well.

2. Map and Social Media

  1. Register your vacation rental to Google My Business
  2. Create page and accounts for your vacation rental across social media: Facebook, G+, LinkedIn Twitter and Instagram. Each will come in handy. They can be the media to share your links/contents as well as a mean to increase brand awareness and authority.

3. Display and Multimedia

  1. Make your site mobile friendly. As search engine gives emphasis on mobile format, your display need to be responsive these days. That means, it can follow the dimension of whatever gadget visitors use to visit your website without breaking the aesthetics.
  2. Engaging website design. Note: This is more for UX (user experience) than SEO.
  3. Some property owners think it’s good to have music in their booking website. It is not. So don’t, for whatever reason… and I’m not even talking from SEO point of view, which is totally useless. If your visitors need music that bad, they’ll open their own playlist, don’t you think?
  4. That great photos can boost the chance of bookings of your VR is a no-brainer. However, giving each of them proper title and alt name tag also are equally important. Don’t be lazy. Rename those ugly DSC_1567 to something that includes your keywords.

4. Content Marketing

Vacation rental isn’t exactly a content rich niche that can be easily converted to content marketing. But you’re going to need more contents other than selling your place sooner or later. The idea is to offer extra values to the visitors of your website other than the pictures of your beautiful villa. Some of the visitors can be your next guests. Another purpose of content marketing is to get as many backlinks as possible. I mean, there’s only so much people who wants to link to your main page, but what about an informative piece of article?

  1. Create a blog section in your vacation rental website, dig some ideas and start writing.
  2. Identify your customers. Are they mostly surfers, elderly couples, solo travellers or families vacationing together? The topics of your blog should cover all the informative piece you can find for your guests-to-be. For example, list of all the closest left-hander for your surfer guests. How to deal with retirement visa for your elderly couples etc.
  3. Be authentic when writing your article. Use great headlines. Be hilarious. Whatever works. Lastly, be informative.
  4. Include the keywords you already determined above into some of your posts.
  5. Moderately interlink your posts with the rest of your website.
  6. Always a plus: get someone to link to that article in their own websites.

5. Link building and sharing potential

Sharing potential is one important parameter that has become more important each day. Having great contents (No. 4 above) means you leverage the chances for someone to either link back to you or share your content. The more links and shares you get is, of course, the better because they’re testimony to its level of goodness.

  1. Exchange link with other websites in the same industry, either villa management websites or those own by fellow property owners.
  2. Join social media groups, like as many relevant pages. Share your contents there (make sure you follow their rules).
  3. Better yet. Create your own Facebook groups. You can build your audience/clients there by giving regular 2-cents on relevant issues as well as sharing your contents.
  4. Be part of a larger community using social media or forum, because:
  5. Sometimes the best link building technique is done offline. Join relevant events and meetups and let those who attend know who you are, or your website address. Hints: bring as many as possible business cards or stickers containing both your brand and your website address.

That probably sums up things that you can do yourself to optimize your vacation rental’s visibility on the web.

Do remember that the goal for doing SEO for vacation rental websites is always to get more bookings. Increasing the traffics to your web, reducing the CAC (customers acquisition cost) and providing great contents for your visitors are just objectives to reach that goal.

Next Post: SEO Tips and Tricks for Vacation Rental Websites

Some handy checklists that can boost your vacation rentals SEO further.


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