The Perfectly Optimized Property Page
- August 16, 2017|
- Mike Archer|
The On-Page SEO Guide for Property Pages
There are many factors to consider when learning and implementing SEO on your website so we've created this guide to help property managers optimize their pages like the pros.
Knowing that SEO can get very technical we’re only going to focus on the most important on-page SEO factors in this guide. These are the factors that you can directly influence by making strategic changes to your website.
Note: We intentionally omitted ranking factors like domain authority, local seo, backlinks etc. because the focus of this guide is on-page SEO factors. Keep in mind that these are also extremely important to the success of your site but are outside the scope of this guide.
Since there is so much to consider when optimizing an entire site, we’ve decided to focus on the optimization of your most important pages: your vacation rental property pages.
These are the pages that your visitors will spend the most time on so they need extra care if they’re going to gain any traffic and visibility from the search results.
We’re not going to go into any super technical tactics or recommendations because we want to keep it simple and as actionable as possible.
Most of these recommendations can be implemented today through the property management system section of your website, while others may require in-depth code changes by your web developers or your reservation software company.
Keep in mind, there isn’t a single thing on this list that is considered a “silver bullet” to ranking better. SEO is about paying attention to and addressing all of the small details. Together, they all work in combination to raise your overall visibility.
Alright, here's the infographic:
Each page should try to target no more than 1-2 keywords. You want them to be unique to the page and you want them to be relevant to the property or vacation rental.
Use Engaging Keywords in Your Title Tags
Recommended Length: <70 characters
The title tag on each page is the most important SEO factor that you can control. Try to keep your keywords towards the front of the title as this sends a signal of importance to the search engines. You have up to 70 characters here; use them wisely. Keep your titles sounding natural and not stuffed with nonsensical keywords.
Pro-Tip: Use modifiers to make your titles more unique and engaging. Descriptive words like “beautiful”, “luxury”, “beachfront”, “oceanside”, “newly remodeled”, “instant book”, etc can make your property stand out from your competitors.
Write Enticing Meta Descriptions (Not a ranking factor)
Recommended Length: <150 characters
Meta descriptions don’t improve rankings. However, they still have a place in the optimization of your property pages. Ensure they are expertly crafted, contain your target keyword, and are enticing enough to have visitors click on them from the search results.
Use SEO-Friendly URLs
Try to keep your URLs short and include relevant keywords in the URL. This improves shareability of the pages and improves the click-through rate from the search results. Try to minimize the amount of non-descriptive parameters included in URLs like ?pageID=43256.
Pro-Tip: Keep all words in your URLs lowercase and use dashes as opposed to underscores. According to Google, dashes are treated more favorably than their underscore counterpart.
Breadcrumbs provide a great way to help visitors know exactly where they are on your site. It’s like a mini sitemap. It also provides additional signals to search engines about the structure of your site and your property pages.
These also can show up in the search results instead of the actual URL leading to an increased CTR.
Wrap Headings in <H1> Tags
The H1 tag is your headline tag. This is the first thing a visitor sees when they land on your page. It should be the most important thing on the page, like the property name or type. You have about 1-2 seconds to capture their attention and keep them on the page before they return to the search results so keep this fairly short and to-the-point.
Example H1 Heading Tag: Luxury 2-Bedroom Villa
Other Headings (H2-H6)
While not nearly as important as the primary headings, these can still give signals of importance. It’s recommended that these headings are also in a hierarchical layout to indicate the importance of the content within them.
Use High-Quality Multimedia & Photos
This should come as no surprise but your potential customers want to see what the property looks like before they book. User engagement with your pages is a major factor for page rankings and conversion rates.
Be sure to use high-quality images of the property, interior and exterior photos, the view from the patio, the kitchen, the living space, etc. Make them engaging to increase their time on site and the likelihood they’ll book with you.
Make sure image file names contain your keyword and that your keyword is also included in your alt text. Captions can also be used to provide additional context to an image.
Let's say you have a beachfront condo with a beautiful beach view from the porch. You could name this image like the example below:
Example Optimized Image Name:
Incorporate Keywords in Alt Tags
Don’t create long winded alt tag descriptions. This doesn’t help your visibility. Only use enough info to describe the contents of the image to someone who can’t see the image.
Include Relevant Keywords in Copy
This may seem super obvious and we’re sure you’ve heard this before but sometimes clients forget about their target keywords. Don’t overuse or abuse any one keyword or phrase. It just won’t sound natural. Google and other search engines are smart enough to know this isn’t natural and it will hurt your visibility.
Pro-Tip: Use semantically related words and synonyms of your main keyword throughout your content. Instead of including “beachfront condo” over and over, describe the experience of being there. This will force you to naturally include semantic keywords like “ocean air”, “white sand beaches”, “sunsets” etc.
Write High-Quality Copy
This is one of the most important things about a high converting page. Is the copy on the page fresh (up-to-date), unique, helpful, high-quality? Does it guide your visitor through the journey from research to booking? Copy can no longer be created just for search engines. It needs to be created for your target audience and it needs to be reader-friendly.
Pro-Tip: Read your content out loud. If it sounds strange out loud then you should consider re-writing it to be more user friendly.
Use Internal Links
Do you have a vacation rental that's similar to the property you’re optimizing? Add internal links to other pages to improve the crawlability of your site for the search engines. This is also a good practice for providing a good user experience.
Write Detailed, Long-form Copy
Recommended Length: at least 500 words (guideline)
There’s a lot of opinions on this factor but many case studies have shown that longer content performs better than shorter content. That doesn’t mean you should just write long copy for no particular reason or try to hit some arbitrary word count. We sometimes recommend 500 words but that’s only a guideline. Your copy should still be catering to your target audience and should focus on the benefits (not just the features) of the vacation/property to the traveler.
Pro-Tip: Include an easy to read table of amenities for the property. If there’s anything that’s very unique to your property or the amenities of that property, include that information as well.
Include Localized Copy
Depending on the setup and location of your community, you may be able to add local phrases, names of things nearby, things to do, etc to add additional geo targeted content to the property page. This will improve the local visibility for this particular property as well as your main site.
This page has some pretty good property pages that have local descriptions and nearby landmarks to visit. See some of their examples below:
Add Reviews (Not a ranking factor)
Including reviews on your property pages will improve the trust that travelers have when deciding who to book with. Reviews will also provide some additional unique content on the page that can help differentiate very similar properties from one another.
Include Reviews Schema (Not a ranking factor)
Since your property pages have reviews (you ARE using reviews, right?) you can use Schema.org markup to make your pages stand out more in the search results.
Other Structured Data Types
These types of schema markup can also be used to enhance a search engine's understanding of your page content.
All Website Types: Local Schema, Website Schema, Breadcrumb Schema (for social profiles use SameAs Schema)
Blogs: Article Schema, Question Schema, ItemList Schema
Other types of schema can be found at Schema.org
This is more of a site wide recommendation but it’s still extremely important. Be sure the mobile version of your property pages are user friendly and allow visitors to seamlessly complete the booking process. This also includes proper sizing of font, spacing between buttons and other elements, responsive layout and a fast load time.
Pro-Tip: If you offer live chat, the chat popup can sometimes be so large that it dominates the page on mobile. Be sure this added feature isn’t actually hurting your mobile reservations.
Optimize Page Speed
Since you’re including a lot of images and multimedia on the page, speed is a major concern. You don’t want potential visitors bouncing off the page because it doesn’t load fast enough.
Pro-Tip: Optimize images by using image compressors, absolute image sizes (not relative sizes) or use a CDN to improve speed.
Have Fantastic User Experience & Design
This is likely difficult to change on an existing site but at the very least consider the page design of each property page. When entering content into your content management system or website, be sure to add ample spacing between elements on the page. Increase the font size and space between paragraphs, the padding around images, and the font color of headings. Since user experience is a big focus for Google, this can also make a difference in how much traffic your site receives.
We hope these tips have been helpful to all the busy business owners out there. Feel free to contact us if you have additional questions about these steps to optimizing your on-page SEO for property pages.