Over the past few years I’ve made most of my money through the Amazon Affiliate program but after recent changes I started looking into different techniques of making money online.
Of course I’m branching out into different affiliate programs but another technique that really stood out to me was the Rank and Rent method that I first stumbled across when I was reading Glen Allsops new blog a while ago.
Just this week I created a few different domains targeting local businesses in some small cities that I actually have visited and know a little bit about and after setting up the sites I’m just going to let them simmer for a few months before I check back to see how they’re doing.
I know that it’s a numbers game so I’m going to continue to create a few sites every month just to see how things turn out and also possibly branch out into local SEO for my hometown.
So this post is going to be about the Rank and Rent method, just a little bit of insight into what it is and how it works, as well as a quick look at the case study that I’m working on to see whether or not I can turn this method into some money.
To be honest, I don’t actually have any experience with local SEO but I wanted to give this method a try because I have a feeling that it has the potential to work and it will definitely teach me about local SEO if I’m lucky enough to get any clients.
Hopefully I can also apply the skills to variety of different small businesses in the area that are looking to increase their online presence as well as get more leads and traffic for their business.
The Rank and Rent Method
Let’s take a look at the basics of Rank and Rent and the more specific details of my case study.
What is Rank and Rent?
In case you haven’t heard of it, the Rank and Rent method is when you build a website and you strive to rank it in local search results so that you can rent out the traffic, website, or leads to a local business.
Over the years this method has become more and more popular but I still don’t think that there are a lot of people giving it as much effort as they should so it’s still a fairly unsaturated niche in my opinion.
I also think that people are targeting very busy and populated cities where there is a lot more competition and basically leaving out the smaller towns and cities.
One of the benefits of creating websites that you’re going to rank and rent locally is that you own it and you’re able to set the terms without having to give everything away once you create the website.
You also don’t have to deal with unhappy clients because the website should already be ranked and you should already be able to provide people with the leads or traffic that you promised.
The low competition in smaller cities and towns makes this method quite lucrative and once you get the hang of how it works you can start to scale up and create more and more websites for more income.
Basically, all you have to do is rank a website locally and rented out for money to start getting paid – that’s all there is to it.
Picking a City
When you’re first getting started with this method I don’t recommend going with a huge cities such as New York, London, Toronto, or Sydney.
The competition is going to be much less and you’re setting yourself up for more success if you go with a smaller city that has around 100,000 to 500,000 people.
I also recommend picking a location specific domain depending on the city that you chose so if you’re doing summer in Canada you’re going to want to go with a .ca and if you’re doing somewhere in the UK you’re going to want to go with a co.UK.
The reason why you want to go with smaller cities is because there is a lot less competition and you’re not going to be competing with other more skilled online marketers that likely have a much bigger budget.
How to Choose a Niche
Choosing a niche for your Rank and Rent website is actually a lot easier than finding profitable niches for Amazon or AdSense and it isn’t even really that much research required except to check out the competition of the keywords that you choose.
For keyword research I recommend using KWFinder although you could go with some of the free keyword tools if you’re on a really tight budget.
The first thing you want to do is decide on a specific city and you can either choose one in your home country that you already know about or just Google a list of the different cities wherever you want to target.
Like I mentioned, you don’t want to go with anywhere that’s too heavily populated and you’re much better off going with smaller cities with less than 500,000 population.
After deciding on the city you want to come up with a specific industry that you plan on targeting and this industry should also be one that costs customers a lot of money for them to purchase a service through.
For example, you’re not going to make very much money giving leads to a local dog walker or a carpet cleaner because those services don’t cost very much to begin with and the owners of those companies aren’t going to be interested in spending thousands of dollars on leads.
Some different niches and industries that you can go after include:
- Divorce lawyers
- Family lawyers
- Interior decorators
- Driveway contractors
- Solar installers
- Wedding photographers
- Custom home builders
These examples should help to give you a better idea of the industries and specific local markets that you should be targeting.
You can still go with industries that aren’t as expensive for customers but keep in mind that you won’t be getting paid as much once you’re able to rent the website out and it’s the same amount of work in the end so you’re better off going with a more expensive industry.
You should also take a look at how many results there are for any of the specific industries or keywords that you’re looking to target because if there isn’t enough local competition then you simply won’t be able to rent out your website.
How to Analyze the Competition
Analyzing the competition for a Rank and Rent website is similar to how you would do it if you had an affiliate website or blog.
For those of you using KWFinder or any other keyword tool that displays the competition, you’re obviously going to want to go with the lowest competition keywords that you can find.
Alternatively, if you want to do it manually, you want to start by Google searching your keyword and checking out the first page of results.
If all you find in the results are poorly optimized websites from local businesses or directories such as Yelp and other national directories then you’re off to a good start and it’s very likely that this is a niche that you should create a website in.
On the other hand, if you come across heavy hitter companies with great websites and diverse backlink profiles then you’re going to want to move on and look for an easier keyword.
Usually some of the more expensive services, such as lawyers and dentists, are already going to have high competition so you’re better off going after Industries that likely aren’t as computer or website savvy.
Creating Your Website and Adding Content
For creating the websites I’ve been using Namecheap for both of the hosting and domains and this is the easiest and most affordable way to get started.
The domains only cost $9 each and the hosting is also something like $9 for a whole year for up to three sites at a time so for less than $40 you can have three sites up and running along with a year-long hosting plan.
For the theme, I’m just going with the default WordPress themes for now and depending on whether or not any of the websites actually rank I might upgrade to something that looks a little bit better in the future just to make it easier to rent it out.
One of the most important factors when it comes to ranking your website using the Rank and Rent is that your on-page SEO is perfect or at least the way better than the other websites in the top results.
If you’re not able to properly optimize your on-page then you’re unlikely going to be able to rank in the top 10 results on Google regardless of how many links that you’re sending to your site.
There are plenty of guides online when it comes to on-page SEO so you’re going to take some time to read through them and make sure that you’re doing everything properly from the beginning.
The main goal here is to get onto the first page, and hopefully into the top three to five results, because otherwise no one is going to take you seriously and you’ll never be able to rent out your website.
As for content, I recommend adding a few thousand words to the first page as well as filling out the website with a contact page, about page, FAQ, and even if you blog posts if you’re good at writing.
If you have a little bit of money to spend you could outsource all of the content and even the website creation so that it’s a completely hands-off process until you’re ready to rent out the site.
You’re going to want to name your website something that includes the keyword that you’re targeting as well as the location.
I’m not actually too sure on whether or not it’s a good idea to go with an exact match domain because I only have a few Rank and Rent websites and none of them are being rented out yet but it sounds like a good idea so it’s what I would recommend trying out.
For example, if you’re targeting family lawyers in San Diego then the name of your site would be something like “familylawyerssandiego” or “sandiegofamilylawyers”.
It’s really easy coming up with the names and you don’t have to spend too much time trying to think of something unique or interesting – the goal here is to get the website up, filled with content, and letting it simmer until it starts to rank.
That’s basically all there is to it when it comes to the Rank and Rent method.
From what I gather, once you get everything set up you just want to let the websites simmer for a while so that they can rank naturally before you see whether or not the website is going to be something that’s worth it for you to go after.
You don’t want to spend all this time and effort trying to rank website that simply isn’t going to work for you so it’s a good idea just to wait a bit and see how everything falls into place before taking more action.
Rank and Rent Case Study
Like I said in the introduction, I am doing a little bit of a case study with my own sites just to see if it works and to hopefully show you guys how to get everything going on your own.
So far I’ve only purchased 6 domains, with just 3 of them currently live.
Of the 3 domains, only 2 of them have been indexed and so far none of them are showing up in any of the results for the keywords I’m searching for although they’re not even a week old so I’m not worried about it yet.
All of the sites so far have at least 2000 words of content along with a few different pages so that the site looks legitimate and something that I would actually be proud to ask local businesses if they would be interested in renting.
I plan to update this case study in a few weeks and I’ll let you guys know how everything is going then.