It's important to set up a solid foundation for SEO before you can expect to see lots of organic traffic coming to your vacation rental website.


We recently discussed why SEO matters to vacation rental property managers and how it can be an effective tool to increase your direct bookings. SEO is a complex, ever-changing subject, and it can be overwhelming figuring out where to begin.

The first step to your SEO strategy should be optimizing your on-page SEO. Here, you will learn how to find relevant keywords that searchers are using to find vacation rental properties similar to the ones you manage.

If you want a full debrief on SEO specifically for short-term rental property managers, download the MyVR SEO eBook by clicking the button below.



Let's start with one of the three most important parts of on-page SEO...

Keyword targeting. Although “keyword stuffing” is not needed in today’s version of SEO, we do have to target our pages with the keywords we want to use to rank in search.

While we will cover all other elements of on-page SEO later on, let’s first start by diving into keyword targeting...

Researching long-tail keywords for your vacation rental property

There’s no better place to start your SEO journey than with keywords: after all, that’s how Google works! Your guests use keywords to translate what they want to find/plan/do (a vacation or stay in one of your properties) into a few words. They trust that Google will return good results and they can find your properties and book them.

It’s important to know what keywords your customers are using so that you can make sure to use the same words on your website. We’re sure that you’re most eager to know what keywords potential guests are searching for that fit your vacation rentals.

The good news is that in most cases, finding the most searched keywords isn’t too hard. For example, let’s say we have a vacation cabin in Whitefish, Montana. Our cabin is ideal for those who want to go and check out Glacier National Park.

We can start by searching in Google for 'whitefish cabin' and looking at the autocomplete results: e.g. 'whitefish cabin rentals,' 'whitefish cabins.'


Google is actually telling us what search terms may be used the most based upon the order presented.

However, in the screenshot, you can also see data from a 100% free tool that we’re using to pull in numbers for estimated search volume.

Keywords Everywhere is a free browser extension that uses the Google Ads API to pull in keyword search data. It’s not always completely accurate, but its results are directionally correct. In this case, it tells us that 'whitefish cabins' is searched for 90 times each month.

Finding long-tail keywords are where we can really make progress. What are long-tail keywords? Hubspot explains:

“A long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that contains at least three words. Long-tail keywords are used to target niche demographics rather than mass audiences.

In other words, they’re more specific and often less competitive than generic keyword terms...they allow you to rank highly in search results for popular topics relatively quickly while still gaining ground on head terms. Plus, they tend to attract highly qualified traffic that’s more likely to convert to leads and customers.”

Here are a few examples of how long-tail keywords differ from broad keywords:

Broad KeywordsLong-Tail Keywords
vacation rentaltahoe donner ski home rental
vacation rental homesagate bay vacation home
lake tahoe vacation rentalski home rental north lake tahoe
tahoe vacation homeskings beach summer vacation home

Finding those terms that are searched for most is often just a case of trial and error and research. Did we identify all the relevant searches? Perhaps, just using 'Whitefish' is not specific enough. When we add in 'mt' or 'montana' we find even more searches.

There are hundreds of searches adding up here and we can actually capture and rank for many of these very closely related terms. So far, we’ve identified:

  • whitefish montana cabin rentals
  • whitefish mt cabin rentals
  • whitefish montana cabins for rent
  • whitefish mt cabins for rent

With some more digging, we can likely find a lot more that relate to cabin searches in Whitefish, Montana. Summed up, there’s likely over 1,000 people per month searching for cabins just where we have one. The ideal opportunity!


After these basics are set up, the next steps are formatting these keywords with on-page SEO best practices and setting up tools to track you progress.

Do you want to learn more? Download the MyVR SEO eBook to get started!