Airbnb Search Rankings Matter Most

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Why Do Airbnb Search Rankings Matter?

Airbnb search ranking determines how many people see your listing. This is the most important factor in getting a lot of bookings. It is a simple concept. If people can’t see your listing, they can’t book it! Recently, Airbnb published its own guidelines for improving Airbnb SEO. They regularly update the Airbnb algorithm, so it is important to constantly pay attention to your Airbnb SEO (search engine optimization) and rankings.

We have found that you may maximize earnings by keeping your search placement fairly high, but not necessarily the highest it could be. We’ve noted in our pricing strategy that it may not always be the best tactic to top the search results year round. Before you check out the list below, get an easy breakdown every morning of your search results for the next couple of months using a free trial of Hospitable (formerly known as Smartbnb) Market Reports.

The Airbnb Algorithm in 2023

  1. Pricing- Pricing is the most important factor in search rankings. Set the price too low and you’ll fly to the top of the Airbnb search results, and as a result book very quickly. Price it too high and no one will see your listing because they’ll have to click through dozens of pages of search results. Have a look at our our pricing strategy to help determine your best price point. And remember that a high cleaning fee, huge deposit, or additional guest fees can also lower your search rankings.
  2. Superhost Status- Reaching Superhost is an essential part of maximizing your Airbnb earnings. Once you earn the badge, you’ll find that you have a much easier time getting bookings. Many Airbnb travelers prefer to stay in Superhost listings whenever they can.
  3. Commitment Rate- It is never a good idea to cancel Airbnb bookings. If your commitment rate drops, it can seriously hurt your Airbnb search rankings. If you cannot avoid cancelling a booking, we have tips on how to do so without penalty.
  4. Instant Booking- It is imperative that you enable instant booking if you want to compete in serious vacation rental markets. Airbnb prefers hosts that allow it, and it will impact your search rankings severely if you don’t. Once you become comfortable with your management style and communicating your rules and expectations with guests, you can enable instant booking for better results.
  5. Reviews- Airbnb wants guests to have an amazing experience, so it shows them listings that are the most likely to offer that. If you are having trouble getting to the top of the search rankings, check out your Insights and make sure your overall ratings are very good. If they need work, we have some strategies for getting great reviews.
  6. Availability- Only allow two-week bookings? That might make it hard for guests to find your listing and book. This will vary depending on your market, but often the best choice is to allow a one night minimum on weekdays and 2 nights on weekends. Holidays are a different story, but you can use pricing rules to adjust for specific dates.
  7. Guest Requirements- By requiring ID or a recommendation from other hosts you are narrowing your pool of potential guests by a lot. Airbnb algorithm prefers that you don’t have these requirements. In many markets, most guests who book do not have these things on their profile. You might think you are not protected without these, but in reality, almost all stays go very smoothly. Thousands of reservations occur every day, and hosts will likely not experience problems if they don’t require these.
  8. Listing Completeness- To appease the Airbnb algorithm, you must make sure to fill out every part of the listing, especially a detailed listing description. Airbnb’s “Manage Listing” page can be challenging to complete and can require clicking through a maze of pages to make sure everything is totally filled out. Be sure to include multiple photos of every room in the house and the surrounding property outside. A disappointed guest rarely ever leaves a good review, so it’s imperative to give an accurate portrayal of what the listing is actually like in your photos and descriptions. To improve your Airbnb SEO, give every photo a caption that gives more details. Make sure to offer as many amenities as you can and include keywords that are descriptive of your listing and area that guests may be searching for.

How To Check Your Airbnb Search Rankings

You might be questioning why we needed to write this article. If you’re searching for your own listing while you are logged into Airbnb, you’re being tricked. While logged in to Airbnb your own listing always shows up first in Airbnb search results. Don’t let this make you complacent! Be sure to follow best practices to improve your listing to meet the search preferences of your potential guests and the Airbnb algorithm. You can’t just type up a quick description and hit “Submit” and expect bookings to come flooding in.

How To Easily Check Your Airbnb SEO

To check your placement in the Airbnb search, go to Private Browsing Mode in Firefox or Incognito Mode in Google Chrome. This will trick Airbnb into thinking you are just a potential customer trying to book a property. Then search for your listing with a set of dates you want to test.

We recommend entering the maximum number of guests the listing will allow for so you can see your biggest competition’s pricing and their Airbnb search rankings. However, you can also gain good insight if you put the number of guests that you most commonly host.

Once you run the search, click through the pages of results until you find your listing. Are you on page 10 while the dates you entered are only a week away? You probably need to make some adjustments. Start by following our pricing strategies guide.

If you’re number one in the rankings and the dates are months away, you are probably priced too low. There is an ideal balance when it comes to Airbnb search results, but what is right for your listing will take a lot of trial and error. Keep experimenting by making adjustments, noting the changes you make, and tracking your success in search ranking and number of bookings. Persistence will get you where you want to be- in front of guests and booking more stays.

About the Author Kevin Kelsey

Originally from Connecticut, Kevin moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and worked his way up to becoming an editor on award-winning reality TV shows. Kevin owns 4 short term rentals in Southern California and founded AirHost Academy to help other hosts improve their business.