Creating content. It's the best way to increase organic traffic to your short-term rental domain. But what makes content so important for websites? And how do you know what to write about?
Before Google can direct users to your site, it needs to know you're a credible source of information. The more information you add to the web, the more Google is willing to rank your site before others. But it's not solely about creating content, it's about creating relevant content, meaning users care about what you're writing enough to search for and read it.
So how do you know what's "click-worthy"? This can be a daunting question. You may have some ideas for your properties, but dive deeper into content research to find what topics will really stick with searchers and prospective guests.
Try these tips to empower your content strategy...
Researching popular content ideas in your destination
To get more traffic to your website, you’ll want to have a small library of information available for both users and search engines. Here's why this is important.
- Google ranks higher information-rich pages that have the detail that researching guests need to make decisions.
- Guests looking to book with you may have different goals: relaxing, adventure, etc. Having a depth of content allows you to give the right guest the right piece of information.
- In general, longer content ranks better in search. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.
- Beautiful images are an important part of your overall marketing strategy, but in terms of ranking well in Google, text content is far more important.
However, quality is more important than quantity in almost every case. It’s better to work on one useful article or resource page per week than publishing a bunch of short pieces.
You can find content topic ideas by using Google Autocomplete to find relevant long-tail keywords and write those topics into your website. But you can also dig in a bit deeper to research content on popular websites using Ahrefs, a third party keyword research tool, and recreate their best content on your website.
Researching with Ahrefs
If you haven’t heard of Ahrefs before, know that it’s a paid tool made by and for SEO professionals. You can likely find similar (albeit far less comprehensive) information for free, but using a tool like this can streamline your research process with more accurate results. Ahrefs does offer a low-cost short-term trial that you can use to determine if you want to sign up.
Some of the tools Ahrefs has to help you research and track success in organic search include:
- Alerts: Set up alerts for keywords or phrases and get email summaries of articles mentioning these terms. Useful for tracking the news and updates going on in your destination.
- Site explorer: Research what websites are linking to a given domain. Highly useful for deconstructing how other successful local websites have built links.
- Content explorer: Discover the most popular content for any topic by backlinks, organic traffic and social shares. A fantastic resource to find pages ranking well in your destination that achieve traffic and social shares.
- Keyword explorer: Discover thousands of great keywords to rank for, analyze their ranking difficulty and calculate traffic potential. The best tool for finding true search volume and to research other ranking pages at a glance.
- Rank tracker: Monitor your rankings over time and chart your performance against your competitors. Simple and useful keyword-rank-tracking.
- Site audit: Analyze your website for common technical SEO issues & monitor your SEO health over time.
Each of the tools provides “superpowers” for researching and scaling organic traffic. For example, look at how the Ahrefs Content Explorer tool can be used for our fictional Whitefish, Montana cabin rental.
Start your search with a topic: your destination. You will see the corresponding results in the Ahrefs Content Index. But we're going to filter this down to just the best content.
Next, we can filter only for content that's getting at least 250 visitors from Google per month.
We could also filter and see what types of content get at least 100 shares. these topics may not always overlap; a page could have lots of organic traffic and minimal shares or vice-versa.
Once we apply a filter or two, we can compile a list of relevant topics that would help deliver great traffic to us.
From our example search in Whitefish, we found several pieces:
- A piece on mountain biking in the area by [Bike Magazine](https://www.bikemag.com/routes/routes-big-mountain-awakening/) that could be converted into a guide like “The Best Biking Trails in Whitefish, MT” for example.
- A things-to-do guide about the best attractions in the area from [Odyssey](https://www.theodysseyonline.com/11-best-things-about-whitefish-montana) that could be a useful resource for creating a page on “Things To Do in Whitefish, MT” for example.
- An award that the area recently won for being a top Spring 2018 destination at popular parent blog [Fatherly](https://www.fatherly.com/play/travel/whitefish-montana-best-spring-2018-family-travel-destination/).
And so on…performing a similar content search for any destination will likely yield thousands of results! These results can guide your content calendar for months to come.
You can place content on almost any website, but it might make sense to build it in to your primary page structure or start a separate blog. Website platforms may have both a blogging function (which typically has dates on each post, authors and other “extras”) and a regular “page” option. Depending on the context of the information, you may find the need to use both blog posts and pages to present information to your guests.
MyVR has a built-in, search engine optimized blogging platform that makes writing native to your website and easy to execute on. Learn how to set up your own blog on MyVR here.
It’s important to develop a content development plan that is right for you. Using a content calendar will keep you on track so you can make progress and drive results.
A content calendar is a simple master-planned document you can use to plan the pages/posts you’d like to add to your website each week/month. A content calendar can be very simple: the title of the post, the keyword targeted, some example resources you’ve found and the date to publish the post. Get a free template to make your own here.
After creating a regular cadence of publishing content, it is important that other people see it! Make sure you are distributing your blogs and resources on social media, sharing with friends and past guests, and - perhaps most importantly - focusing on earning links to your content.
Backlinks will boost your content's organic search ranking because, in the eyes of Google, this gesture is the linking site's way of vouching for your site's credibility.
To learn more about creating content and earning backlinks to drive SEO specifically for short-term rental property managers and owners, download the free MyVR SEO eBook by clicking the button below.