How to Write SEO-Friendly Content for Vacation Rentals


Vacation rental managers are constantly bombarded with ill-informed tips and sales pitches from so-called digital marketing gurus.

Digital marketing strategies for vacation rental companies can target many different metrics, but all of these strategies begin and end with one thing: high-quality, SEO-friendly vacation rental content.

To rank well in Google search results, to get visitors (and potential customers) to your website and to get people to contact you or even make an online booking, you need SEO-friendly vacation rental content.

But how do you create effective content for your vacation rental website? Ultimately, quality is the key. As an expert in vacation rental management, you know the industry. Which is great, but it isn’t enough.

If you are going to take the time to create the content, you need customers to read it.

That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.

In this guide, we examine how to create SEO-friendly vacation rental content that will bring traffic and business to your website.

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Research Vacation Rental SEO Keywords

Vacation rental SEO starts with keywords. The concept behind SEO keywords is relatively simple, but the process of finding keywords for your vacation rental content is going to require some research.

Pick a Keyword You Would Like to Rank For

Ask yourself: In a perfect world, when would you like your vacation rental company to show up at the top of the Google search results?

If you could choose, which phrase would someone type in to the search bar to see your company come up first?

This is likely your target keyword.

If you are struggling to decide what keyword you would like to target, that’s OK. There are a few other ways to identify target keywords.

Check Your Competitors’ Websites

Check out what your competitors are writing on their sites.

Go to their websites and read the titles of their landing pages and blog posts.

What are they targeting?

If these keywords seem like a good fit for the content you want to write, you can use them too.

Use an SEO Tool

Instead of or in addition to competitor research, you can use an SEO tool to find property manager keywords.

  1. Sign up to get access to an SEO tool like SEMrush, Moz, SpyFu or Ahrefs
  2. Enter your competitors’ website addresses into the tool
  3. Get a list of keywords they already rank for
  4. Check for vacation rental keywords that are relevant to your business.
  5. Pay attention to the estimated search volume of the keywords you are considering.

Search volume is the number of times a keyword is searched in a month.

A very high search volume means you have a lot of opportunity to drive organic traffic to your website, but it also means you will face high competition from competitors and huge online travel agencies.

Low- to middle-range search volume numbers can sometimes be the sweet spot for vacation rental companies.

Competition is likely to be less intense, but you can still get enough traffic to generate business.

Use Longtail Keywords to Outrank Online Travel Agencies

Try this: Google “vacation rentals” and check out the first page of results.

Expedia, Airbnb, Priceline, VRBO and similar online travel agencies (OTAs) dominate the first search engine results page (SERP).

There’s a reason for that.

Massive OTAs have huge SEO budgets and widespread name recognition. Unless you are working with a similarly large budget, your smaller vacation rental company is going to have trouble outranking OTAs for a term like “vacation rentals,” which is searched roughly 64,000 times per month.

If the keyword you choose is too competitive and OTAs are already dominating the SERPs for it, don’t give up hope. You just have to change your approach to vacation rental keywords.

More specifically, you need to check for longtail keyword opportunities.

A longtail keyword is longer than a target keyword and is more commonly a phrase or question.

While these keywords often have less search volume than vacation rental target keywords, they can present enormous opportunities for your content.

Why? Because you can use them to answer customers’ specific queries about vacation rentals — and you probably won’t have to compete with the billion-dollar OTAs.

To start, think of questions or longer phrases your prospective customers might search.

Here are a few examples:

  • How much is it to rent a beach house in Miami?
  • Miami vacation rentals with private pool
  • Party house for rent Miami

While the number of searches these longtail keywords get is much lower than the number for “vacation rentals,” you can write content that targets these keywords and easily rank well for these phrases.

That means all the people who do search these terms will see your website at the top of the SERP — not your competitors or OTAs.

What Do the Search Results for Your Keywords Look Like?

Once you have settled on the keyword you would like to target, Google it.

Take a close look at the SERP.

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What do you see?

Every SERP has different elements.

To make your content highly visible in the SERP for your chosen keyword, you need to note the SERP features and create content that targets them.

Here are some of the most common organic SERP features for vacation rental keyword searches:

  • Featured snippets. This is a small amount of text that shows up at the top of the SERP. It directly answers the query the searcher entered into Google.
  • Rich snippets. These bits of information appear directly below certain search results. You may notice competitors who have reviews stars or other information that enhances the visual appeal of their Google search listing. This is a rich snippet.
  • Knowledge graphs. This is a side panel that presents information about an entity identified in the searcher’s query. Search “Los Angeles,” and you will see a knowledge graph.
  • People Also Ask. This is a list of questions related to the query. As a bonus, this is a great place to grab longtail keyword ideas for vacation rental companies.

We will examine some specific content optimization strategies that will target these SERP features later in this guide.

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Outline Your Content

There’s more to content than blog posts. Below, we discuss all the types of content VRMs need to consider.

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Write, Revise and Edit

After you’ve made your outline, you’re ready to write. Don’t stress too much about this stage. You are going to have plenty of time to go back and make changes. Just write freely about the topic and incorporate facts and numbers from any research you have done.

That’s the easy part. The next part is a bit harder.

You have to get feedback from someone you trust. This can be a fellow vacation rental manager, a friend or a family member. But you have to get honest feedback. Then, you have to incorporate that feedback. This is the revision stage.

After you have made revisions based on the feedback you received, read through it again. Look for spelling and grammar errors, confusing sentences and irrelevant information. Fix it.

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How to Structure Your Vacation Rental Content

You might feel like you’re done, but you’re not quite there. There are a few more steps to creating SEO-friendly content for your vacation rental website.

Add Headings

You might have already picked out headings when you created your outline, but now it’s time to make sure Google will recognize them as headings.

If you use WordPress or a similar content management system for your website, you should see an option to select heading levels.

In vacation and short-term rental SEO (and all SEO), these are referred to as heading tags (or H-tags).

Google reads H-tags as some of the most important elements in your content.

  1. Your H1 tag is the most important — it must contain your chosen keyword. This is the title of your page, so only use one H1.
  2. H2s are the most common section headings. Here, it’s important to use variations of your selected vacation rental keywords and any secondary keywords you have decided to target.

The list of H-tags continues on from H3 to H6, with each level having less importance to Google. Only rarely will you have reason to use any H-tag beyond an H3.

Choose Images

Google likes to see images in content. Visual elements like these are a signal that your content is offering value to readers. As a result, Google may prefer to rank your content over content that has no visual elements.

Pictures of your vacation rental are a great place to start. But there are other options.

If you are writing about different things to do in your area, for instance, you could create a chart that compares the prices of similar services.

Optimize for People Also Ask and Featured Snippets

Remember the SERP features we discussed earlier? This is when you need to optimize your content so that you can take advantage of them.

One of the most important places in the SERP to show up is in the People Also Ask (PAA) section.

Optimizing your vacation rental content for the PAA section is simple: You have to answer the questions that show up there.

A great way to do this is to add an FAQ section to your content. Make the questions into H-tags and answer them. And be brief — one SEMrush case study found that the longest PAA answer to show up in Google was 132 words.

For featured snippets, the strategy is similar. Answer specific questions. Start questions with words like “why” and “can” when possible; a similar case study found that these types of questions generated featured snippets more than 70% of the time.

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On-Page SEO Checklist for Vacation Rental Companies

Once you have completed all of the above steps, your SEO-friendly vacation rental content is nearly done. To maximize the SEO benefit of your new content, implement the following on-page SEO strategies for short-term rental companies:

  • Check your keyword density. Keyword density refers to the number of times you included your keyword in your content compared to the total number of words in the content. Going too high can look spammy to Google, but going too low can mean you don’t rank for the keyword. A good guideline is two or three times per 500 words, but it’s important to compare that to the density in other content that is already ranking at the top spot for your keyword.
  • Choose an SEO-friendly URL. The URL of your newly published content should contain your target keyword.
  • Set your meta title and description. Your meta title and description appear in the search results when someone searches the keyword your content targets. Your meta title should include your exact chosen keyword, a separator character like a hyphen and your company’s name. Your description should also include your keyword and give a one- or two-sentence overview of the content.
  • Make your content readable. Look back through your content for long paragraphs. Break them up into short paragraphs. This makes your content easier to read. And readability is an important SEO signal.
  • Optimize your images. For every image you add, include alt text and an image title. Try to incorporate your keywords into these elements whenever possible.
  • Add schema markup. Schema markup is code you add to your content that tells Google more about the page. The hope is to generate a rich snippet, such as review stars, business hours and similar on-page elements.
  • Insert internal links. Pick a handful of the most important pages and posts on your website. In your new content, insert links to these pages with appropriate anchor text. This helps Google crawl your site and understand the relationships between your pages.
  • Link to your sources. You also need to add links to other sites. These are called external links. Link to sources you used (but not competitors!). The more authoritative these sources are, the better. Google interprets the link between your site and an authoritative source as a relationship, which builds authority for you.
  • Link to your new content. Finally, after you have published your new, SEO-friendly vacation rental content, go back into older pages and posts — preferably those that get a lot of traffic already — and insert a link to your new content. This will help Google to index and rank your new content faster.

This guide to writing SEO-friendly content for vacation rental manager websites should provide you with the guidance to create great travel content for your business.