Many travelers start their search for a vacation rental on the Internet using search engines like Google or Yahoo! You can help your property listings show up higher in the search results by doing a little bit of search engine optimization (SEO) for your listing.
Once you've optimized the text in your listing for the search engines, it's time for step two: link building. While vacation rental websites like HomeAway, VRBO, and VacationRentals.com have entire search engine optimization teams dedicated to getting links, you can further help your specific property page show up higher in the search engines and expose more people to your listing by increasing the number of inbound links pointing to it.
Easy Ways to Get Links to Your Listing
Join Your Chamber of Commerce. Many chambers in vacation rental destinations have special sections of their websites dedicated to vacation accommodations. By joining your chamber of commerce, you may be able to get a listing on the accommodations page with a link to your personal website or vacation rental listing.
Write an Article. Tap into your knowledge of your vacation rental area and write an article with tips for travelers. On online content databases like EzineArticles.com, you can submit your articles and create a biography with a link to your listing. If others like your content, it could be picked up and distributed throughout the web (all including your bio with links to your listing).
Start a Blog. Another way to get links to your listing is to start a blog (an online journal of sorts) using a free online site like Blogger.com or WordPress.com. In your blog, you could write about your vacation home, area attractions, or upcoming events. Be sure to link to your vacation rental listings in each post for maximum effectiveness.
Create an Online Photo Gallery. Building an online photo gallery using a free websites like Flickr or PhotoBucket will not only give you a place to display an unlimited number of photos of your rustic Big Sky cabin rental or your luxury Las Vegas penthouse condo rental, but will also provide another place to link to your listings.
Add a Link from Your Personal Website. Your website for your vacation home is the easiest place to add a link to your listings, since you likely have control of the content and formatting. For the most effective use of the link, use highly searched keywords like “vacation rental” in your anchor text.
Bookmark Your Listings. Online bookmarking sites like Delicious, BlinkList, and StumbleUpon allow users to “bookmark” or save web pages that they like or want to go back to and share them with others. By creating an account with these sites and bookmarking your listings, you will not only be adding a link (or links) to your listing, but also could reach an audience that may not have otherwise found your villa or cottage.
Add a Link to Your Profile on Social Networking Sites. If you already have an account on LinkedIn, Eons, Facebook, MySpace, or any of the hundreds of other social networking sites out there, be sure to include a link to your listings in your profile. Who knows? Your online friends and contacts might want to rent your home, too.
Answer a Question. Scout how-to sites and forums like Yahoo! Answers and LinkedIn Answers for travelers seeking accommodations in your area. If your home matches their needs, reply to their question with more information about your holiday rental home and why you think it'd work for them. Be sure to include a link to your listing and suggest that they take a look.
Participate on Community. Many users of Community have a link to thier properties in thier signature when they post in a discussion, others share links with other users to get feedback on thier listings.
Whenever possible, try to get links to your listing or personal website without having to link back to the linking site. When a site links to you and you link back, it's called a reciprocal link. While these links can drive traffic to your listing, they don't help you show up higher in the search engines and can even hurt your ranking if they're not a respectable site.
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