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Airbnb vs OYO: Steal OYO’s Marketing Strategy to Defeat Your Startup Competitors

OYO and Airbnb are both BEASTS at SEO.  But, on Google Search, OYO beats Airbnb fair and square. OYO and Airbnb both compete to sell hotel lodgings and stays in India. One of their biggest customer source is SEO. But, OYO gets 4 times the traffic of Airbnb in the same region. Let’s learn how they do it!

Let’s start with what is SEO? SEO is like fishing in which you identify the perfect location, the time of the day, the temperature, and the most appropriate bait. Then you cast the net and wait for the fish to come to you!

Airbnb and OYO both excel at this!

Together they attract millions of traffic to their website using their SEO strategy.

But the question is: Is one company better than the other at SEO? Well, yes, OYO attracts 4 times the traffic of Airbnb in India. And, it’s all because of a specific strategy OYO uses that perfectly aligns with our fishing metaphor!

So, let’s dive in to learn all the SEO strategies these 2 companies use to scale their SEO efforts!

Comparing Airbnb and OYO’s SEO Numbers

Before we get into all the little tactics used by OYO (oyorooms.com) and Airbnb (airbnb.co.in), let’s first compare the SEO numbers specifically in India.

Traffic

OYO = 3.3M from India ➝ 73% of total traffic to oyorooms.com
Airbnb = 765K from India ➝ 98% of total traffic to airbnb.co.in
OYO = 4.3X Airbnb Traffic

Domain Rating & Backlinks

OYO = 77 & 295K
Airbnb = 77 & 73.2K
OYO = 4.03X Airbnb Backlinks

Keywords

OYO = 274K
Airbnb = 141K
OYO = 1.94X Airbnb Keywords

Non-Branded Keywords

OYO = 270K – 98% of total keywords
Airbnb = 140K – 99.2% of total keywords

OYO’s traffic is 4 times that of Airbnb. And, they have achieved this with only twice the organic keywords. Here we can infer 3 basic possibilities:

  1. OYO ranks better for high-volume keywords
  2. OYO and Airbnb rank for some of the same keywords but OYO ranks higher, hence it gets more traffic
  3. Both of the above options are true at the same time

But, where is all this traffic coming from? Well, let’s look at their top subfolders to understand this better.

From these images you can see that both Airbnb and OYO are ranking for location based keywords. Apart from this, there are other important sub-categories in which OYO ranks. These other subfolders are explained in the following sections.

But, for the same location-based subfolders, OYO gets more traffic than Airbnb.

City-wise subfolders traffic

  1. Hyderabad
    1. OYO ➝ 59K
    2. Airbnb ➝ 7K
  2. Bangalore
    1. OYO ➝ 45K
    2. Airbnb ➝ 18K
  3. Delhi
    1. OYO ➝ 57K
    2. Airbnb ➝ 17K
  4. Mumbai
    1. OYO ➝ 17K
    2. Airbnb ➝ 7K

So why does OYO do better than Airbnb for the same location-based sites?

OYO and Airbnb have the same basic strategy, but OYO’s strategy goes one step further. There are valuable lessons in both the similarities and differences in their strategies. So let’s check them one by one!

SAME SEO STRATEGY: The similarities

Main commodity of OYO and Airbnb ⇒ stays, hotels, rentals. It makes sense to classify them geographically and then based on specific amenities. Users also perform location-based searches. So, targeting location pages makes sense.

But, just creating subfolders and dumping listings is not enough. You have to implement a proper strategy.

Both OYO and Airbnb implement the same 4-fold strategy here

⇒ Location URLs

⇒ Implementing the same basic template

⇒ Adding breadcrumbs

⇒ Internal linking

A) Popular Location URLs

URL Structure

OYO ➝ oyorooms.com/hotels-in-[location-name]
Example: /hotels-in-bangalore, /hotels-in-delhi, /hotels-in-goa

Airbnb ➝ airbnb.co.in/[location-name]-india/stays
Example: /goa-india/stays, /hyderabad-india/stays, /new-delhi-india/stays

Both these sites don’t follow a hierarchy when it comes to their URL structure.

For example, Koramangala is a location in Bangalore. But, instead of creating a taxonomy structure, that is sub-sub-sub folders like this

➝ /india/karnataka/bangalore/hotels-in-Koramangala

They use the same basic URL structure

➝ /hotels-in-Koramangala-bangalore

Now, in the previous analysis, we learned that having a proper hierarchal URL structure helps search engines index pages more efficiently, in turn improving page rankings.

So, both OYO and Airbnb miss out on this. But they remedy this by adding breadcrumbs.

B) Adding Breadcrumbs

A breadcrumb is a trail that indicates where a particular page is located in a website’s page hierarchy. Each page has breadcrumbs. It allows both users and search engines to navigate up and down the hierarchy to understand the structure of the site.

Examples:

OYO: oyorooms.com/hotels-in-koramangala-bangalore
Breadcrumbs
⇒ India ➝ Bangalore Hotels ➝ Koramangala Hotels

Airbnb: airbnb.co.in/koramangala-bengaluru-india/stays
Breadcrumbs
⇒ Airbnb ➝ India ➝ Karnataka ➝ Bangalore Division ➝ Bengaluru ➝ Koramangala

C) Implementing the same basic template

Now, an important part of implementing SEO is content optimization. Since they have 1000s of pages, optimizing them individually can be a pain. So, they create templated pages that auto-populate target keywords in the page. 

 

D) Internal Linking

Finally, all pages are internally linked. This makes sure high-authority pages pass on their SEO juice to low-authority pages.

Example: “Bangalore stays” page links to all the nearby locations, other city pages, locations with bangalore and more!

Different SEO Strategy: The Key Differences

Now, Airbnb’s SEO strategy mostly ends there. But, OYO goes a step further to target more highly lucrative keywords.

Things OYO does but Airbnb doesn’t 

  1. Long tail keyword strategy ⇒ Location-based subfolders ⇒ /hotels-in-[location-name]
    1. Pages ⇒ 23K
    2. Volume ⇒ 1.4M
  2. Near me keywords strategy ⇒ Near-me subfolder and pages ⇒ /hotels-near-me and more!
    1. Pages ⇒ 7.7K
    2. Volume ⇒ 674K
  3. Travel guide and blog keywords ⇒ Travel guide subfolder ⇒ /travel-guide and /blog
    1. Pages ⇒ 1.8K
    2. Volume ⇒ 221K

Let’s explore this strategy individually.

1. Long Tail Keyword Strategy

Features:

  • Specific
  • Long
  • High degree of intent
  • Low volume
  • High conversion rate

A reason why OYO’s location pages do better than Airbnb’s is the fact that OYO not only creates broad pages but they also target long-tail keywords.

  1. OYO’s hotel listing pages have many filters in different categories. When one filter is applied, the page gets updated to include that filter and the URL reflects the same.
  2. Filter Examples
    1. Family OYOs
    2. OYOs welcomes couples
    3. Budget OYOs
    4. OYO rooms
    5. OYO homes
  3. When you select the filter “family OYOs”, the URL gets updated to ➝ /hotels-in-bangalore/family-oyos/
  4. When users search for very specific queries the exact page appears.
  5. Example – cheap hotels in mumbai ⇒ Volume 1.5K ⇒ /budget-hotels-in-Mumbai

Apart from this, OYO also increases the specificity of their location to target another set of high-conversion keywords.

URLs targeting long-tail keywords:

  • /budget-hotels-in-bangalore
  • /rooms-for-rent-in-bangalore
  • /townhouse-hotels-in-bangalore
  • /hotels-in-hsr-layout-bangalore
  • /budget-hotels-in-silk-board-bus-stop-bangalore
  • and more!

2. “Near” Keyword Strategy

Another set of long-tail keywords OYO targets is the “near” keywords. Now, you and I have at some point searched for “near me” or “near-something” keywords on Google. “atms near me”, “near me petrol pump” OR “hotels near bus stop”.

OYO recognized that users usually tend to search “near-me” and “near-something” types of keywords very often. So, they created a bunch of long-tail keywords targeting them specifically. The result? These types of pages bring 674K users every month to OYO’s website.

3. Travel Guide

The last strategy targets keywords that are associated to guides. So, pages targeting these keywords have to be long-length blogs. 

For example:

  • Thanjavur temples ➝ 41K
  • Andharban trek ➝ 60K
  • Beach in Chennai ➝ 12K
  • Shopping places in Delhi ➝ 1.8K

Casting a Wider Net: What do we learn?

The only significant difference between their strategies is the extent of diverse keywords each target. While Airbnb sticks to the more obvious set, OYO tries to capitalize on all keyword groups relevant to its website.

Now, the truth is that SEO is keyword dependent.If 10k users search for a keyword group, your traffic potential for that group will only be a fraction of 10K. So, even if you beat all the websites there is only so much traffic you can gain from a certain keyword. Your traffic increases over time as your page climbs in rankings and then it plateaus.

So, there is a saturation limit. Here, the best strategy is to cast a wider net and target many different types of keywords. This worked out for OYO and will no doubt work for you!

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About me

Inaam is Serialpreneur, a Digital Marketer by passion and renowned SEO specialist having 15+ Years of Experience. He has offered his services to Top business brands across the globe. He has a wealth of knowledge in a multitude of domains.

He is wearing multiple hats some of which include, Chairman TechMentions, Co-Founder EPTeck, Master Trainer at NFTP, PITB, CEO and Founder EpicWoo, and many more.

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