I sell SEO services. Clients pay for me to rank their websites better in Google and Bing search results. Within a few months, we’re able to see a positive impact in their rankings and organic traffic. Depending on the starting nature of the website, the goal of the client and how much time I’ve dedicated, the impact can be a 10% boost in traffic or as much as 100%+ boost.
SEO is a fantastic marketing channel for generating more traffic to your vacation rental website. It’ll help you drive more bookings, build a platform for your business and generate more leads.
However, I’ll be honest — it’s not cheap.
Ranking well in the first page of Google means that you’ll have to out-perform the competition in terms of content quality, keyword targeting and inbound links. If you are a newcomer to your market, that means that you’ll often have to ramp up and outperform their websites with much less history on your side. Domain age is actually a ranking factor in Google’s ranking factor algorithm therefore you may be at a disadvantage when starting a newer website.
In short, the odds may be stacked against you. You’re going to be the young scrappy upstart that’s trying to upend websites that may have a five (or ten) year head-start.
To do that, you’ll have to move quickly. Create an amazing website with top-notch content and a high conversion to booking ratio.
I’m here to tell you it isn’t the cheapest way to generate bookings to your vacation rental. I know that sounds odd coming from someone who would be really happy if you were to invest in SEO services. But, it’s true.
If building a short-term solution for bookings is your goal, then go get a listing on HomeAway or VRBO. They’re marketplaces for vacation rentals that themselves drive tens of thousands to visitors to each page on their website every month. You’ll be in front of those guests looking to rent.
But, there’s surely downsides. You can’t control too much of the policies of HomeAway. With the recent purchase by Expedia, you don’t know what polices are coming down the pipe. You’re rolling the dice — perhaps the newly minted Queen of vacation rental web traffic doesn’t have your best interests in mind, but maybe that of their shareholders.
Breaking free of depending on listing sites is a theme of virtually every single VR manager I talk to, no matter the size. If you don’t want to be sharecropping forever, you must adopt a model that allows for you to generate traffic on your own. It doesn’t have to be SEO, but it must support you and lessen your need to succumb to the whims of any large entity.
But, if cheap is your goal (and there are lots of cases where I feel that makes a lot of sense), then go with a listing site. Get some traction, build your guest list, make them happy and start building something. Start with a website. Rank for your brand name. Then, if you ever want help, email me.