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airbnb ranking

Top Airbnb Ranking Factors

On an intuitive level, every Airbnb host understands that there is a direct correlation between their number of bookings and the position of their listing in the search tool of the platform. The higher your listing is, the more people notice it and book your property. But how to increase your position on that list? Well, today, we will dive deep into the topic explain all the key factors that affect it and share some useful tips on how to improve your ranking.

How to promote your Airbnb listing effectively read here.

The Most Important Ranking Factors on Airbnb

Airbnb is designed to be an intuitive platform that favors usability. Unfortunately, it also implies not having advanced tools and detailed explanations on how comprehensive systems like ranking work. Some of the factors might be easy to guess, while the others are not obvious at all. In this section, we will have a brief overview of each factor that may positively or negatively affect your position on the search list.

Location, Booking Availability and Property Size

Let us start with the obvious factors and take a look at how the Airbnb search tool actually works. When a guest decides to plan their vacation with Airbnb, the first things they have to select are the location, the dates of staying and the number of travelers.

At this very point, hundreds or even thousands of listings are filtered out, so it directly affects your rankings. Then, the user gets to use an interactive map, where they can choose a more specific location. As most users will intend to visit popular places, the location of your property will play a role here as well.

Price, Property Type, Number of Rooms & Beds

In case the user decides to look for a more specific property, they can use the built-in filter tool, which will also filter out many listings and may change their ranking as well. The first of the filters is the price, and the user can set a range they are comfortable with, deleting all the others from the search results.

Then, they can select the type of property they prefer and the number of rooms and beds they would like to have. Even though you likely cannot do anything to change the number of rooms in your short-term vacation rental, it is still a factor that affects ranking. Thus, many investors perform research on the most popular options before they purchase the property.

Amenities and Booking Features

Amenities are the next point on the list of filter tools the user can access. There, they can tick all the amenities they prefer, deleting all the other listings from their page. There are also three booking features that the guest may select the same way: instant booking, self-check-in and free cancellation.

SuperHost, Airbnb Plus and Airbnb Luxe

This is the last important filter the user can apply to the search results, but it has an effect even if they won’t use the tool. SuperHost, Airbnb Plus and Airbnb Luxe listings are usually prioritized in regular search results as well and they also get corresponding marks on the listing previews, promoting them even better.

CTR and Conversion

Now we have reviewed all the parameters that the user can configure, so hidden algorithms start to kick in, in order to sort the listings on the search results page. This category of metrics is one of the key factors that determine how high will your property get on that list. Like a regular search engine, the tool of Airbnb uses several metrics that have crucial importance.

The first of these metrics is the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of your listing. It represents the percentage of users who have clicked on your property after seeing it. The more people choose to look at your listing, the higher it will be placed, which seems logical from the business perspective.

Another set of metrics that play a role here relates to different conversions. For example, the booking conversion represents the percentage of times the person has opened your listing’s page and actually booked it. Correspondingly, wishlist and inquiry conversion rates work the same way for the cases when the user adds your listing to their wishlist or contacts you to ask a question. The last metric here is the acceptance rate, which represents the share of accepted inquiries from the total inquiries you receive.

Response Rate and Response Time

Responding to your guests quickly is also important to improve your position on the search results page. The response time metric is quite intuitive, as it tracks the average time you need to respond to a guest. The response rate, however, represents the percentage of your responses that were made within 24 hours.

Guest Satisfaction and Number of Reviews

These two metrics are designed to provide the users with a reliable experience. Essentially, they just track the number and the quality of the reviews for your property. As you might have guessed, listings with larger numbers of reviews and larger shares of positive reviews are placed higher on the search results page.

Quality of Photos

This is another parameter that is analyzed automatically by Airbnb’s search system. It checks the quality of the photos you have uploaded for your listing and favors properties with better pictures. The algorithm is not public and there are no specific criteria on resolutions and other parameters of photos, which makes it rather hard to optimize.

Keywords

On the platform itself, the keywords won’t have a huge impact on your rankings, as the platform does not currently have a keyword search tool: the users are only allowed to use filters. However, naming your listing properly may bring you some additional traffic from Google and other search engines, in case someone decides to specifically search for an Airbnb there.

New Listings

As you could have noticed by now, the system tends to favor short-term rentals that are already successful. Thus, a listing that has a lot of positive reviews and great conversion rates gets even more exposure, making it harder for new hosts to get started. This is an issue many platforms outside the rental industry have been facing, and Airbnb has introduced a solution.

In case you have searched for a property on Airbnb, you have certainly noticed some rentals with New Listing badges pop up. These listings don’t usually have too many reviews or are completely new. Airbnb puts them high on the search to get some initial data about the guests’ behavior in relation to your listing. 

In case the first users react positively by clicking on your listing, adding it to their wishlists and booking it, it will get higher on the search page when it stops being new. This is why it is important to optimize your listing before publishing.

How to Improve Your Airbnb SEO?

Airbnb seo

Now that we have reviewed all the main factors that affect your Airbnb ranking position, it is time to share the ways to improve it. Some of these factors can be easily improved by putting some effort in, some of them can be passively improved by making your overall service better, while the others are tied up with your property and its various characteristics.

Work With Your Listing

As we have mentioned in the previous section, the first group of users who will see your new listing will set the direction of your future positioning on the platform, which is why it is important to prepare your listing properly. While you cannot do anything about the number of rooms and the location of your short-term rental, you can make your listing better.

At this stage, the initial CTR you will get is crucial. Thus, you should upload attractive photographs of high quality for your fresh listing. Moreover, you already know that AI also analyzes the quality of your pictures automatically. Some hosts even hire professional photographers to have a smooth start on the platform.

From the previous section, you also know that the name and the description of your listing do not require any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for it to get a better ranking. Thus, you have to design them in a way that would interest the visitors on Airbnb, as they are your primary focus. In other words, you need to do everything possible to increase your conversion rates during the period your listing is considered new by the platform.

Making a proper description actually requires knowing your target audience. In case you have a villa on a beach, you might describe the swimming experience available right near it. In case your target audience is active tourists, you may mention nearby attractions and activities they might enjoy.

Make Your Listing Fair

While working with the previous point, it is extremely important not to embellish reality. Creating a super-attractive listing with exaggerated benefits and understated drawbacks might indeed improve your CTR and conversion rates at first, as every guest would like to get the best property possible.

However, this will very quickly play against you. The high expectations of your first guests will not be fulfilled, resulting in negative reviews for your listing. As soon as the first visitors leave, you will find it hard to find new guests, as your property will end up at the bottom of the search list.

This relates both to the photographs of your property and its description. Of course, there is nothing wrong with highlighting the benefits the guest will get, but it has to be reasonable and as close to reality as possible, in order not to have a negative effect on the crucial metrics other than the CTR and conversions.

Respond Quickly

As response time and response rate are as well impacting your ranking, there is no reason not to respond quickly. It is especially important at first when the platform does not have too much data about your listing. For example, if a host who has already responded to 100 people within 24 hours fails to do so with a single guest, their response rate will only fall to 99%, which is still a great result. A new listing with five total inquiries failing to respond within 24 hours will face a dramatic fall down to 80%.

Follow the SuperHosts

Even though not all property owners on Airbnb actually get the SuperHost status, following them is still good practice. The mechanisms of the search tool are hidden, while the requirements for the SuperHost status are available publicly and clearly indicate what the platform favors the most. What is even better, Airbnb has dedicated blogs, where SuperHosts share the details about their experience, allowing you to learn from them.

Listen to the Feedback

It is normal for a new host on the platform not to know everything right away. The business is so comprehensive and requires the host to perform so many tasks that there is no surprise that aspiring entrepreneurs regularly miss out on something. That is why it is crucially important to listen to the feedback of your first guests. In case they did not enjoy something about their experience, make sure to note it and fix it for the next guests. If there was something specific your guests liked the most, consider focusing on it for your following visitors.

Set the Bar and Be Ready to Maintain It

There is another way the first guests can affect your results on Airbnb. Many hosts try to show their best while completing their first bookings, but there is an obvious side effect to it. If the first visitors are fascinated by your efforts and mention the specifics in their reviews, your following guests will expect the same. Fulfilling these expectations will be necessary to keep your reviews positive, and therefore, your rankings high.

Thus, you should be ready to maintain the same level of quality you have provided your first guests with for your following visitors. This may relate to cleaning your short-term rental, guiding guests about local sights, communicating with them, or performing almost any other task that affects their experience.