Last week the AirBnB CEO said they turned off paid marketing in 2020 and didn’t notice a difference in traffic.
A Lesson In The Value of Organic Search
AirBnB is an SEO powerhouse. But, it didn’t happen overnight…
It happened over many nights (and years).
SEMRush estimates that they generate around 14 million organic website visits every single month.
The majority of those 14 million are actually branded searches (searches that contain some variation of “airbnb”).
Here’s a screenshot of their non-branded traffic estimates from January 2021 (traffic coming from keywords that don’t contain “airbnb”).
About 1.9 million visits of their roughly 14 million monthly visits come from non-branded searches today.
But, it wasn’t always like this. I did a little digging…
The chart above compares branded and non-branded search traffic between January 2017 and January 2021.
Over the last 4 years, AirBnB’s non-branded search traffic has only grown by about 0.8 million per month, while their branded traffic has grown by 9 million.
How did this happen!?
People began replacing their (non-branded) travel-related searches with direct (branded) searches for airbnb to get to their website.
You probably do something like this regularly: Instead of using Google to find a product you need, you just go directly to Amazon and use their search engine.
Over the last 10 years, while people were using search engines to research places to stay all over the world they got used to seeing AirBnB at the top of the search engine results page for their (non-branded) search queries.
Travelers then start to change their behavior and instead started skipping a step, going directly to the source that they become so familiar with and trusted (AirBnB).
Luckily for AirBnB, a lift in branded searches also lifts their authority and trust signals for non-branded keywords, which has made it easier for AirBnB to continue non-branded dominance.
That’s what happens when you invest in SEO.
AirBnB has an incredibly strong brand BECAUSE they built their business on a foundation of strong SEO.
Eventually, non-branded keyword dominance leads to skipping past the competition in search engines to go right for your brand.
This is the dream for any organization. And it’s possible for your business, too (not just billion dollar companies).
Invest Like AirBnB (and Dave Ramsey)
AirBnB invested in SEO (among other things), which has a compound effect, for many years.
A lot like an investment in your retirement, starting early and staying consistent, can beat investing even more, later.
Look at this comparison Between Jack & Blake from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University:
Jack only had to invest $21,600 over 9 years, starting at age 21, in order to get a return of $2,547,150 at age 67.
Blake, on the other hand, waited until he was 30, invested $91,200 over the next 38 years, and only got $1,483,033 at age 67.
SEO is kind of a story of Jacks and Blakes.
So, who do you want to be?
P.S. This stuff is hard, but we’re making it simple(er) with our initial engagements – no B.S. SEO marketing plans built on evidence and education.