You’ve created and published a fabulous listing and now your friends and family want to check it out. How do they find it? And among all the listings out there, how does the Airbnb algorithm decide which ones to show a traveler searching in your area? As we hear questions from hosts, two basic categories of questions emerge: What affects a listing’s ranking, and how can I find my listing online? So we took your most asked questions to the Airbnb Search team and have gathered the answers for you. Let’s dive in.
- On search ranking, and how to improve yours:
What factors affect my listing’s placement in search results?
That’s a great question. We have an algorithm that looks at over 100 signals to decide how to order listings in search results. Most of those signals have to do with things that guests care about, like positive reviews and great photos. If you think guests might care about it, it probably factors into your ranking! The reason is this: you’re most likely going to get a booking request (or be instantly booked) if a traveler finds the type of place they’re looking for right away. We get a lot of information from travelers about what they want in listing recommendations that match their needs most closely.
Not every signal is weighed equally, and you don’t need to have a perfect listing or an unbeatable location for your listing to rank well. But there are some really influential signals that make a difference. Some of those include: how often guests click on your listing in search results, how often guests attempt to contact you from your listing page, how many booking requests you accept, if you use Instant Book, and how competitive your listing price is.
Why are listings with Instant Book prioritised ahead of other listings in the search results?
The main goal of the search algorithm is to facilitate bookings. And if a guest has an excellent experience booking and traveling on Airbnb they’re highly likely to use Airbnb again in the future. This helps travelers and hosts alike. We’ve seen for many years that—all other things being equal—travelers prefer to use Instant Book because they can book quickly, skip the wait time for hosts to respond, and avoid possibly being rejected. Because of the high booking success for hosts and guests, Instant Book gives your listing a boost in searches.
That said, many of you have amazing listings and use a Request to Book approach to hosting. It’s important that you know Instant Book is only one of more than a hundred factors in your listing search ranking. You can absolutely rank really well in searches without being an Instant Book host.
If I’m a Superhost, will my listing get a boost in search results?
Although we don’t give an explicit boost to Superhosts in search, the factors required to become a Superhost do help your listing rank higher. Moreover, we give guests the option to filter their search results to only display Superhosts and occasionally showcase Superhosts on the results page.
How can I improve my listing ranking in search results? Are there any settings I can adopt to help my ranking?
The best way to immediately improve performance in Search is to enable Instant Book. Our research shows that guests prefer the booking experience that Instant Book provides. Even when they don’t filter for Instant Book listings, they often choose them over others because booking a place to stay quickly means they can get on with planning the rest of their trip. Other ways to quickly boost your ranking:
- Make a fabulous first impression. Make sure that your first photo is a bright, attractive, high quality, horizontal image of your listing. The more clicks you get from curious travelers, the higher you’ll rank in search results over time. An enticing and realistic photo is the very best way to show off your space in an instant.
- Price your listing competitively. Travelers are frequently looking for a great value for their trip, and by using tools like Smart Pricing, or setting your own competitive price, you can get the benefit of well informed pricing recommendations.
Is it true that if guests add my listing to their wishlists, my listing will get a little boost in the search results?
Yes! When travelers add your listing to their wishlist, it does indeed help your search ranking! One individual wishlist may not make a visible difference but over several months, if many guests love your listing and choose to wishlist it, it will rank higher. We also use listings that guests wishlist to better personalize their search experience, so they’ll be likely to see your listing again in future searches.
Is it true that editing and tweaking my listing every day will help boost my listing in Search?
Repeatedly changing or tweaking your listing will neither help nor hurt your Search Ranking. If you’re happy with your photos, price, and description, feel free to leave it as is and wait for booking requests to arrive!
Can I pay to advertise my listing so it appears on more search results?
Airbnb does not offer pay-for-placement in Search. This allows us to generate impartial search results for the best matches between hosts and guests. But you can advertise, if you like. We’ve made it easy for you to find, copy, and paste the information needed to embed your listing on social media and your personal blog or website: On your listing page, you’ll see “Share” on the right hand side of the screen. Underneath that, you’ll see the embed icon. It looks like this: </>. If you click that icon, you’ll see the information you need to easily copy and paste your listings code on your personal blog or website.
Why am I on the last page on search? This way no one will ever book my listing.
It’s important to know that some searches, for example city-level with no dates, are not highly representative of how a traveler looking to book uses the website. Some of those searches can capture many tens of thousands of listings. Travelers that book tend to use specific dates, zoom in on the map, or look for certain amenities using filters. So there will be far fewer listings in the search results than with a general search with no preferences or filters.
If I have to decline a booking because a guest doesn’t meet my House Rules, does this impact my search ranking?
Because being rejected for a booking is one of the worst experiences for our guests, we do factor this into Search Ranking. However, we understand that sometimes you legitimately need to decline a traveler, and we take that into account. We’re most interested in how you compare to other hosts, rather than just counting your rejections.
A single rejection will not significantly hurt your ranking, but over time, rejecting more guests than other hosts in your market will lower your ranking. We find that a large majority of our hosts are able to accept most booking requests, and our best Request-to-Book hosts accept almost all of them. You can help travelers know if they should try to book your space by writing clear, detailed House Rules and keeping your calendar up to date. Make sure your settings and amenities lists also set accurate expectations.
2. On finding your listing online
I just created my listing and it appears as published on my profile, but when I search for it I can’t find it. If other people search for it, they can’t find it either. Why is that?
There is usually a delay of around 6 hours between the time you publish a listing and when it shows up in search results. This gives you time to make final changes to your listing settings before receiving your first booking request. It also gives Airbnb time to ensure every new listing is suitable for the marketplace. If you don’t see your listing within 24 hours, you can contact customer support to find out why.
I haven’t received a new booking in awhile, so I searched for my listing and asked a friend to search for it too. Neither of us could find it, and it’s not showing up even when I add specific details and filters. What can I do?
If your listing is in a popular market with numerous listings, it may be necessary to apply several filters to show your listing. Don’t worry, this is how travelers search and they’ll be able to find your listing too! We recommend using dates on your search, and checking that they match your calendar availability and minimum nights settings.
A common reason Instant Book hosts (or their friends) may not see their listing is that they’ve chosen to require a guest have positive reviews in order to book their space. If you’ve chosen this requirement, it means your listing will show up as a Request to Book, not an Instant Book, listing for logged out users or new guests if the Instant Book filter is applied. This is because a logged out or new traveler will not be eligible to instantly book your place.
I can’t find my listing. Does it make a difference if I’m logged in or logged out?
Most listings on Airbnb should show up in searches regardless of whether you’re logged in or not, although the ranking may appear different. This is because Airbnb search is personalized, and when a traveler logs in we have more information to better match them with listings. One exception to this is for hosts who allow Instant Book but have chosen to require that guests have positive reviews. In this case, if the Instant Book filter is applied, your listing would not show up to travelers who are logged out. This is because we can’t tell if a logged out visitor to the site has reviews.
I can see the listing appearing on the map in the Airbnb app, but when I go to view the same listing (with the same filters) in the desktop version, it isn’t appearing. Why is this?
Airbnb Search is personalized to help travelers find the best listings for their trip. Part of that involves looking at the device and location they’re searching from. This means that you may experience a different ranking of listings on different devices.
I have Instant Book activated, but my listing doesn’t come up in the results. Isn’t Instant Book supposed to boost my listing on search results?
Instant Book does give you a boost, but it sounds like there may be another reason you’re not seeing your listing in the results. Make sure that your search criteria match the settings and requirements you’ve established. Anything from minimum nights requirement to date range, number of guests or not having reviews can hinder you from seeing your listing in a search. And of course, if you require guests have previous ratings, then it may be that you haven’t traveled on Airbnb yourself or that you’re not logged in as a guest.
I can’t find my listing when I search for its title. Why doesn’t Airbnb have keyword search? Will it be implemented in the future?
Keyword search, and especially free-text search, is extremely technically challenging, but an exciting product to build! Rest assured that we have an excellent team that is always investigating how to improve the search experience, and we hope that changes like these will make it into the product in coming years.
The most important thing is this: you’re a unique host who offers a one-of-a-kind experience, because you’re you and your space isn’t like any other. We hope these tips and answers help you understand the sometimes complicated nature of matching unique travelers with hosts. Focus on what you do best, play up your strengths, and don’t worry about showing up first in search.