Applying local SEO strategies to your website content and setup helps it become more visible to your target audience when they start researching their next vacation (a 2021 study of 13,000 direct bookings found that 62% of vacation rental stays were booked after finding the property on Google).
The process of making sure your website is found easily includes registering for a Google Business Profile, which boosts your website’s visibility, and enables people to leave public reviews (see why that’s important below).
Try the following tips to maximize local SEO for increased visibility and trust in seconds.
Optimize your website with the right keywords
Optimizing your website with the right keywords is one of the most powerful ways to attract new customers and take your share of that 62% of bookings that come via Google.
Keywords can appear all over your website, but tips to boost them include:
Placing your ideal keywords in your business or website name. For example, the top two results for this search term, “sante fe vacation rentals” have Santa Fe and “vacation rentals” in their business name, not only on their website page. Another way to do this would be to put the keyword in your page titles, such as “Stays by Lucy | Santa Fe Vacation Rentals”.
Updating a regular blog. Posting content consistently on your blog, and focusing on a single keyword per page, slowly but surely enables Google to see you as an expert, which can also impact where you appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Identifying the best keywords for your business can be a time-consuming process, but you can quickly start your research by using the Google autocomplete feature (see what comes up when you search), or search for an obvious keyword and see what “related terms” Google suggests. Google even has its own keyword planner, which is a great place to start.
Boost reviews and direct bookings
One 2022 US study found that Google Reviews are still among the most-seen reviews among customers, that customers are still highly engaged with reviews, and that customers don’t trust companies with ratings lower than four stars (and sometimes completely filter out all companies with fewer than four stars).
So responding to any new reviews or comments within a short period of time can help position you as friendly, attentive hosts, and gives you the chance to highlight the best reviews.
This instills yet more trust in potential guests, which brings more clicks and bookings.
Advertise Google reviews on your website
Don’t just rely on ideal guests seeing Google reviews during their early research. Ensure that these markers of success are highly-visible on your own pages too.
Either include screenshots of your best reviews, or insert a widget onto your website that displays your most recent reviews as and when they come in, ensuring that your expertise and success are always front and center.
Encouraging guests to leave Google reviews that highlight your most searched-for or niche-centric features (such as fast WiFi or amazing coffee machine) is an even better way to stand out to your ideal guest.
Build local citations
Building local citations on Google can help you to boost direct bookings even further.
“Local citations” simply means any online mention of your business’s name, address, and phone number.
Increasing your NAP (name, address, phone number) mentions helps to push up your ranking locally, because it helps prove that your business is real, legitimate, and trustworthy.
It also means that when people use a search term plus a location—such as “vacation rentals nashville tennessee”—your business is more likely to appear higher in results.
Your NAP can show up in a variety of places, including your Google Business Profile, Apple Maps, Yelp, Facebook, or on review websites, blog posts, or local directories.
You can either submit your business to be listed yourself (or sites such as local directories or business networks), or use data aggregator services such as Data Axle.
Differentiate your listings