8 Simple SEO Tips for Your Vacation Rental Website
- October 11, 2019|
- Mike Archer|
Vacation rentals account for over 1.5 million online searches annually. With this kind of traffic and visibility up for grabs, it’s worth your time to make sure your vacation rental website is properly SEO optimized. Attentive SEO can help make sure the renters you want to reach can find your vacation properties — quickly and easily.
Not sure where to start? It can be daunting when SEO algorithms seem like they’re constantly changing and strategies are constantly evolving. With some simple SEO tips however, you can reliably increase your vacation rental website’s visibility — which translates to more visitors to your site and more business for you, year round. In this piece, we’ll cover the most useful SEO tips for your vacation rental website as well as a quick background on SEO to give these tips the context to help you feel confident increasing your site’s relevance and visibility.
The internet has changed the way all businesses market themselves, and the vacation rental business has evolved from its cottage industry roots into a competitive field that requires on-target marketing in order to maximize results.
What is SEO?
Before diving into these essential SEO tips, it's important to be familiar with SEO generally, and how it pertains to vacation rentals in particular.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to a range of tactics for improving, or optimizing your website based on search engine best practices. These tactics can enhance your site’s relevance for the keywords and search terms potential guests use to find vacation rentals.
Search engines, like Google, are always trying to provide the most qualified web pages that meet your potential guests’ search queries. They do this using an ever-evolving algorithm that evaluates the site content of millions of websites to find the most relevant and usable content to match the particular search terms your guests ‘Google.’
Understanding this process allows us to make changes to — or optimize — websites to help search engines both find site content, and understand it better so they can rank and return content in search results where well-qualified guests are likely to find them
SEO Tip #1: Know Your Audience
The first step toward building an effective SEO strategy is prioritizing your market research. It's not about getting just any traffic to your website — you want traffic with the most potential for conversion — in this case, the guest who’s got their credit card in hand, ready to hit the ‘Book Now’ button on their ideal vacation rental.
This is why you want to focus on the type of keywords your guests are most likely to use. For example, if you're looking to boost traffic toward your vacation rental properties based in Cabo San Lucas, you’ll want to offer content that matches the geo-specific nature of those guest searches. This could take the form of travel advice, answers to travel-related questions, or insider tips from locals.
A great place to start is doing detailed keyword research to find the general keyword themes guests might use. Keyword research will also help you uncover more specific, longer tail terms that can help your guests have a great experience through every stage in the booking process.
SEO Tip #2: Lean Into Blogging
Blogging is one of the most effective SEO tools you can use to increase traffic to your website. It provides a natural and useful way for search engines to find the most useful content on your site, and return that content for the most well-qualified guest searches.
In addition to helping bolster search rankings, blogging for your vacation rental also gives you the opportunity to create content on a regular basis that is timely or fun. This can enhance your relevancy while adding to your credibility in the space and building trust with your guests
SEO Tip #3: Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
It’s easy to get carried away with keyword research once you know how effective it can be to help drive qualified traffic to your website. However, the goal here is to avoid keywords simply for keywords’ sake
Overusing keywords, or ‘keyword stuffing,’ and using words in an unnatural or gimmicky way can actually do more harm than good. This means you’ll be unlikely to get any of your sought-after traffic, and it could even result in additional work to get back in Google’s good graces.
The best advice we can give is to use your keyword research as a guide, but ultimately write content you would want to read, and that will be useful, readable, and actionable for your guests. If it sounds ‘off’ to you, then chances are it will to a search engine, too.
SEO Tip #4: Avoid Duplicate Content
While it can be tempting to use ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ while creating or maintaining site content, it’s a much better idea to take the time to create original content as much as possible and where it makes sense to do so.
For a long time, search engines discounted sites they found to be too repetitive. While Google and others have since refined their approaches to the so-called ‘duplicate content’ problem,’ it still makes sense from a user perspective to provide as much original content as possible. This approach generally means your site content will be more well organized and scannable, making it easier for guests to find what they’re looking for more quickly.
SEO Tip #5: Evaluate Relationships and Relevance
Search engines evaluate how relevant site content is by looking for keywords that appear in relation to other keywords — known as ‘semantic relevance,’ this is another way Google and other search engines spot phony, spammy content.
The idea is that rich, useful content generally has depth. As a result, it will naturally include related keywords and themes that help to place it in the larger picture of information on a site. A great way to get ideas for related content — and to see the kinds of content and keywords that naturally appear together — is to do more keyword research.
Specifically, look for long-tail keywords that have more detail (such as locational modifiers, like ‘vacation rentals in Cabo San Lucas’ or amenity-related keywords like ‘vacation rentals for sport fishing’). These types of keywords often have more relevance for particular queries and lower competition, which is a great opportunity to earn qualified traffic for your site.
SEO Tip #6: Balance Content Types
High-quality sites naturally have a variety of content — think videos, images, forms, even downloadable PDFs. It’s a good idea to periodically audit your site for content variety. Static word content is great and useful, but chances are there are some terrific use cases for additional forms of media that can help users, and search engines, identify how relevant your website is.
Using additional types of content can also add opportunities to optimize your site for SEO, which we’ll explore more in the next tip.
SEO Tip #7: Attend to the Details — Image Tags and File Names
Search engines crawl your entire site when ranking it, this means all of your code is up for evaluation. With this in mind, it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity to indicate your site’s relevance for certain topics.
A great way to leverage this is to make sure your image file names are specific and keyword related.
Additionally, all images on your site have what’s called an ‘alt attribute,’ or ‘alt tag,’ that helps both search engines, and visually-impaired searchers, understand your content. Using keywords — again not too many, or too unnaturally — in your alt tags is a great way to complete the ‘picture’ your site is painting.
Guests who visit your site won't necessarily see these unless they’re looking closely at the code, but it’s an easy and effective way to contribute to your site’s search engine relevance.
SEO Tip #8: Highlight Things to Do
One of the most important rules in content creation is providing information with value. One of the most important things tourists will want to know when considering whether or not to visit your vacation rental is "what is there to do during my stay?”
These types of topics are a natural way to provide valuable content that helps sell guests on your rentals, while overlapping search engine standards to appeal to the ways guests already search online.
Beyond SEO Tips
Websites are a lot like houseplants, or pets — the healthiest ones are well cared for. Because search engines algorithm updates occur regularly, paying attention to these updates and staying current with SEO best practices will help you maintain the overall health of your website
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