All you need to know about ranking, search results and visibility
To help you brush up on your ranking knowledge, we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions about visibility, search results and our ranking algorithm.
What is ranking?
When we talk about ranking, we’re referring to the order in which we display available accommodation in guests’ search results.
We sort these results based on what’s most relevant to guests’ particular preferences, taking into account their past search behaviour, specific market dynamics and properties’ overall performance on our website.
This makes it easier to match guests’ needs with the right kind of accommodation, and helps you attract guests who want to book your kind of property.
How has Booking.com’s approach to ranking changed over time?
Our approach to ranking has never been static. Over the years it has evolved alongside the changing needs and expectations of the people who look for accommodation on Booking.com – your guests.
To understand what’s important to guests when they search for accommodation, we’ve continuously sought their feedback, studied their past search patterns and measured our property partners’ performance.
As a result, our ranking system has become more sophisticated and dynamic – and increasingly personalised for guests. So rather than presenting the same ranking of properties for all types of guests, we tailor guests’ search results to make them relevant to their preferences.
This in turn increases your chances of attracting guests who genuinely want to book your kind of accommodation. However, we can only display a limited number of properties, so ranking is always relative. If one property moves up, another must go down.
What factors affect my visibility in the ranking?
Where your property shows in search results depends on your own performance, your competitors’ performance and the changing demand in your market. Guest behaviour is also a big factor, because depending on which filters or sort options they use, your property can appear higher or lower in the ranking for any given search.
To increase your occupancy and improve your conversion, you need to be competitive in your market and attractive to potential guests. However, every guest and every market are unique, so the preferences and dynamics of each change over time.
Therefore, we suggest that you regularly check your price quality score, the flexibility of your policies, guest reviews, promotions, property page score and inventory to make sure you’re providing guests with the right offering at the right time.
To protect intellectual copyrights, the exact details of how our ranking works are confidential. However, when we make changes they’re never on a whim – there’s always extensive user testing and a well-defined evaluation process behind them.
Ultimately, our aim is to keep up with dynamic market trends, cater to guests’ unique preferences and make it easier for them to find your property.
Which factors weigh most heavily on ranking, and how can I influence my visibility in the ranking?
Every guest is unique, and their needs change over time. That’s why our ranking algorithm automatically adjusts search results based on guests’ preferences, past patterns of website traffic and other factors that help us make the ranking relevant for each guest.
We also use machine learning to continually evaluate what matters most to guests, which in turn helps your property connect with the right kind of guest.
While there is no single determining factor, conversion – turning lookers into bookers – is important, and improving your conversion rate starts with being seen by more potential guests. You can first learn about the basics of visibility and then discover which tools can boost your visibility.
Is there a tool that can help me understand my visibility performance on Booking.com?
Found in your extranet, the ‘Ranking on Site’ dashboard tracks your property’s performance at each stage of the guest search journey. The tool updates regularly to show you the following results:
- Your search results views: the number of times guests saw your property in search results.
- Your property views: the number of times guests viewed your property page.
- Your bookings: the number of times guests booked your property.
- Your popularity: the number of times your property shows in search results compared to the total number of properties in your city.
Does the number of bookings I receive affect my ranking?
The number of bookings you receive is vital to your ranking because conversion – the number of guest searches you turn into solid bookings – is the main indicator of how well your property performs on our website. Our ranking algorithm is therefore optimised for conversion.
Conversion also helps us to predict the likelihood of your property being booked. If a guest who searched using particular preferences books your property, it indicates that you'll also appeal to similarly profiled guests in the future – thus affecting your ranking.
You can calculate your conversion by dividing the total number of property page views for a specific period by the total number of stayed bookings for the same period.
Is my ranking affected if I’m booked out on other channels and my Booking.com calendar is blocked out?
To show up in our search results, your property needs to be available for the dates a guest is searching for. If you don’t offer availability on those dates, you won’t show up for guests because they won’t be able to make a booking.
The number of bookings you receive impacts your overall performance, which in turn affects your ranking. To make sure your property shows up in search results, we suggest you keep your Booking.com calendar accurate and up to date.
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