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Setting up a dedicated website for a better Airbnb SEO - a good thing?

Hey fellow hosts! I wonder what are your thoughts on setting up a dedicated simple website for better SEO of my airbnb place on Google. The idea is to to purchase a domain (something like myniceapartment.com), then install a ready-made wordpress template (there are a couple of really good ones out there), and then populate it with the best pictures from my airbnb profile, add texts and - most importantly - relevant keywords for my city. For better SEO I was thinking to add some blog posts about the city and it’s most popular landmarks with my personal tips (google likes this). Estimated costs: around $100 per year for purchasing the domain, hosting…

Does it make sense to you?

Has anyone of you guys already done this?

Thanks for your thoughts.

We’ve thought about this, too, and opted against. A bit of background. We became friendly with a couple who had acquired a great URL and set up a simple site promoting the above-garage, studio apartment they were renting. They shared with us that they were almost completely booked and that almost all of the bookings came through Google. Because Airbnb charges a transaction fee that can be as high as 12% for guests and ~3% for hosts, booking directly can save everyone money or shift additional revenue to the host. We started investigating doing something similar when someone in their neighborhood complained to authorities about their short-term rentals and, to avoid further conflict, they stopped renting entirely. It’s unclear how the neighbor found out and/or why s/he complained but it probably didn’t help that they were so easy to find in Google. If we were renting a place in which the legal situation was clear or in which we were sufficiently far away from neighbors that there was little risk of complaints, I think we’d set up a non-Airbnb site through a service like Stinngo. At this time, though, we don’t want to draw any undue attention to ourselves and so have opted not to put a promotional site up that is visible on the open web.

Yes, but as discussed here, one loses the protections that Airbnb provides, for what that is worth…

There are hosts in my area who have their own website to promote their rentals but with a link that redirects to Airbnb for booking.

Agreed, there are definitely trade-offs of completing transactions on vs off-airbnb. I assumed that if someone is considering a page on the open web, they’re aware of those trade-offs. To be more explicit about the costs and benefits, I find Airbnb’s primary value is in generating the lead. Most of the time, paying them 15% for the lead, a simplified transaction and some other services seems pretty reasonable. For larger transactions (say someone is booking for multiple weeks), their fee can feel extortionate.

Yes, Airbnb does handle payment (3% for a credit card is fairly standard), acts as a third-party enforcer of some basic contractual stuff, offers some insurance (say, if you’re robbed), and allows for the accrual of reputation within their network. On the other hand, their insurance won’t cover a bunch of important issues (e.g., if someone falls down your stairs), it’s not that hard to complete a short contract and guests tend to be grateful to save hundreds of dollars in fees. We have supplemental insurance from Peers.org and have had good experience booking bigger transactions off-Airbnb. The only hassle, in my experience, is that coordinating payments (particularly internationally) can sometimes be cumbersome. As more and more people have paypal/square cash/ebank/etc. accounts and get comfortable with these forms of payment, I think the hassle of completing the transactions will go down, too.

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You can have on your website a direct payment for guests that will do with credit card (check stripe) or bank transfer or other ways

@Barthelemy, exactly! @owasow, my idea was to set up a website without any more information as anyone can find on my Airbnb profile. Therefore, no exact address… nothing than can let anyone pinpoint where the apartment is beyond what’s available on my Airbnb profile. There would be just one big button “Check availability” or “Book now” with a redirect to my Airbnb profile. So, it’s NOT about omitting the usage of Airbnb (I think Airbnb platform is great and don’t mind the fees) but more like an additional tool for getting more leads (and hopefully guests) to the existing Airbnb profile from the outside world (like when people start googling “2bd apartment San Diego”) I was hoping to hear from someone who has done that and if that improved their Airbnb stats in any way…

in short:) My idea is not about avoiding Airbnb, but getting more eye balls on my Airbnb profile with the help of a dedicated website (stuffed with the most relevant keywords).


@Barthelemy, do you know has this helped them in any way? :slight_smile:

Hi @owasow,

That’s a pretty good summary of the situation. I’ve thought about going solo, but I don’t feel that I have the experience yet. I’ll reconsider it a bit down the road. I’ve also thought of having a web site that will redirect people to my Airbnb listing. This is clearly worse than having a web site which *doesn’t * redirect to Airbnb, but would be better than nothing.

And yes, for longer stays, their cut feels extortionate. A flat fee would make more sense, really. Maybe with a minor uptick for longer stays. But a flat percentage is definitely excessive, imo.

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This is exactly what we do. The listing gets more attention on Airbnb of course, but I write about specials and promote them on social media and I can attribute several booking to that.

For example, I promoted an article about us being dog-friendly and immediately received two bookings from dog-owners :slight_smile:

Based on the experience of our friend, mentioned above, I have little doubt that a good SEO strategy could lead to more bookings. And, if the regulatory environment around Airbnb weren’t so unstable, we’d definitely create targeted landing pages for people who liked hiking, biking, canoeing, farm-to-table dining, etc. as ways to attract the potential customer who starts with a Google query like “bike trips near San Francisco.” We won’t do it, though, because even if the bookings were routed to a fairly anonymous Airbnb listing, the additional visibility in Google cuts both ways (customers and, just possibly, neighbors or city officials). As such, for us, it’s just not worth the risk. On the other hand, if we were in a location where the legal status was unambiguous or the additional visibility had no potential downside, we’d definitely do it.

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They aren’t going to get your exact address or apartment number but just want to make you aware of how close they can get if they zoom in on the map

I find that I can figure out exactly where local listings are by using the listing copy, the photographs and the map. Sometimes reviews give the game away too.

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Unfortunately no, there are many Airbnbs in my area (I would say at least one listing per building) but I don’t know other hosts in person.

I am working on the very same project for my own rental at the moment, I will keep everyone posted :).

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