How do I get my vacation rental website to rank on Google? I get asked this question a lot so let me help break it down for you.

This is a visual map of the Internet. See that huge dot in the middle? That’s Google. And, this one is Wikipedia. And, this one is Craigslist. They have hundreds of thousands of links pointing to them from all over the web so it’s easy for the search engine crawlers to find them.

map of internet

Now, see that little tiny dot waayyyy out there? I know it’s kind of hard to see, but that’s your new vacation rental website. You don’t have any links yet and so it’s hard for the crawlers to find you.

your vacation rental website

You can fix that. But, it’s kind of like an election. You can only vote for yourself once. You need lots of other people to vote for you to win.

Nonetheless, it’s important to make your one vote count so here’s a few ways to generate links to your website. Granted, they won’t count as much as when others vote for you with their links, but they’ll help you get started (and might even bring you some new inquiries!).

  1. Submit your sitemap to Google and Yahoo/Bing using their webmaster tools – tell them your new website exists.
  2. While you’re at it, get listed on free local directories like Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing, Yelp and Mapquest. Make sure to utilize the tags or categories, like location or property-specific features to help you get found.
  3. Add a link to your paid listings on HomeAway, VRBO, FlipKey and every other vacation rental listing you have for your property. Unfortunately, not all sites will allow you to show a real link (that’s clickable), but you should post it nonetheless so it’s easier for travelers to find your website.
  4. Place a link on your social media profiles like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube.

Now, the hard part is getting others to link to you. This process takes time, so don’t expect overnight success. Every new link to your website is like another vote of confidence to the search engines that your website is worthy of showing up in the results.

Here’s one way to earn new links for your website.

Submit an article as a guest blogger on a local travel blog. If your property is in Lake Tahoe, search for a great ski blog where you can share best winter activities for kids. Or, if you’re in Maui, your favorite restaurants for a romantic dinner out. Usually, the author will let you include a link to your website in the by-line.