Rank and Rent SEO: What It Is & How to Do It

16 min read
Rank and Rent SEO

Are you looking to diversify your income streams as an SEO agency? Rank and Rent SEO offers the perfect low-cost, high-return business model.

By ranking geo-optimized minimalist sites and renting them out to service businesses, you can start earning 4-figure months in passive profits.

In this complete Rank and Rent SEO guide, you'll learn every step of the process, including:

Whether you’re an agency owner, affiliate marketer, or solo entrepreneur, Rank and Rent SEO serves as the ideal side hustle. The assets print residual income without ongoing work after the initial optimization.

Follow this playbook to turn your SEO skills into hands-off 5-figure months. Let’s dive in!

What is Rank and Rent SEO?

Rank and Rent SEO Guide by MagicSpace SEO Agency

Rank and Rent SEO is a lead generation model where you rank a website for a local keyword and rent it out to a business in that niche.

The model offers the perfect low-cost, high-return business model to diversify revenue streams. Renting out sites you've ranked for localized keywords provides benefits such as:

  • Low Barrier to Entry: Ranking a single one-pager site with minimal content investment is much easier than ranking full-fledged affiliate sites.
  • Quick Monetization: Sites start earning within weeks of launching, unlike waiting months or years with typical SEO clients.
  • Hands-off Revenue: Rent out the site and let the renter manage monetization while you focus on scaling traffic.
  • Scalability: Replicate this SEO model across all geographies and keywords.
  • Risk Mitigation: Multiple income streams instead of 1-2 big SEO clients.
  • Beginner-Friendly Model: A great way to learn SEO as a beginner and build a portfolio of sites.
  • Ownership: You control the website and domain, and the site's value increases over time.

While client SEO retains higher lifetime value, Rank and Rent is an ideal cash flow money machine. The extra passive income can fund your other projects.

It also provides lead flow to convert into long-term SEO contracts. As a bonus, it shows your SEO abilities in action to prospects.

The model only thrives with a good SEO strategy. Let's break down how to start Rank and Rent SEO the right way.

Best Keywords and Locations for Rank and Rent

Dentist Near Me in SEMrush showing a high CPC

Choosing the right keywords and locations is crucial for Rank and Rent success. Here is what to look out for when looking for keywords to rank and rent:

  • Keyword Difficulty: The keyword should be easy enough to rank a minimally optimized page but maintain high commercial intent. Use tools like the Google Keyword Planner to find keywords with low competition but sufficient search volume.
  • Location Size: The ideal city size is around 100k to 500k population. Large metro areas have excessive competition. But very tiny towns don't generate enough search volume.
  • Business Type: Home services like plumbing, HVAC, and roofers work best. People search these in emergencies and contact every lead. Other options are lawyers, contractors, cleaning services.
  • Customer Lifetime Value: Work with businesses that offer recurring services, not one-time purchases.
  • Monetization Potential: Some niches like towing and locksmiths monetize at $50+ per call. Others like home cleaning might only pay $10 per lead. Factor ROI into niche selection.

Let's break down each of these criteria in more detail with actionable insights.

Keyword Difficulty

'emergency dentist near me' and 'walk in dentist near me' in SEMRush showing a low keyword difficulty

To identify low-hanging fruit, here are some factors that indicate a good SEO difficulty score:

Low Keyword Competitiveness: Target keyword difficulty (KD) scores under 30. You can check metrics like search volume, CPC, and competition on tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush.

No Industry Leaders Ranking: If major brands and aggregators like Yelp don't rank for the term, it signals opportunity. They dominate the rankings for ultra-competitive keywords.

Lengthy Local Keywords with 3-4 words are easier SEO targets than shorter, broader queries.

Low Word Count of Ranking Pages: If top results have skimpy content under 1000 words, you can likely out-optimize them without massive content efforts.

Spotty Local Optimization: Many low-competition locations lack sophisticated SEO. If you see inconsistent NAPs (Name + Address + Phone), linking issues, and other local optimization opportunities, capitalize on them.

Target Locations

'Emergency Dentist Denver' in SEMrush showing a high CPC but low keyword difficulty

Shoot for cities with roughly 100k to 500k residents. This "not too big, not too small" approach optimizes for volume and achievable rankings.

At under 100k population, the searches don't provide enough volume for local businesses to convert well. But metro areas over 500k have excessive competition from national brands.

Medium-sized cities let you operate under the radar. Industry leaders neglect the long tail of local SEO. But even 300 searches a month can convert into $1000s in profit.

You can use tools like SEMrush to filter keywords by city size, volume and niche selection.

Business Type

The ideal renter is small businesses and service companies in profitable niches with ongoing customer retention and repetitive sales. Selecting service companies in the right keywords and niches is key. Some top options include:

  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Lawn Care
  • HVAC Companies
  • Locksmiths
  • Appliance Repair
  • Pest Control
  • House Cleaners
  • Garage Door Companies
  • Tree Services

Home services provide emergency help in their local area, so customers contact every lead. And issues like clogged pipes and AC repairs come back regularly, creating recurring business.

Other renter targets like lawyers, contractors, electricians, and auto shops also work well. Avoid renting to "one and done" businesses like furniture sales or event planning.

Best Rank and Rent Niches

Understanding the average profit per service in different niches is crucial to maximizing ROI in your rank and rent strategy. Here are some examples of the average profit per service in different niches:

Locksmith Services:

  • Lockout Assistance: Typically charges around $110.
  • Automotive Services: Such as transponder key programming average $140, with complex jobs up to $240.
  • High-Tech Lock Installations: Range from $200 to $230, while advanced systems like vertical rod exit devices can cost about $372.
  • Automatic Door Installations: Can peak at $410.

Towing Services:

  • Average Profit: About $28 per service call, with total service costs averaging $70 after overhead.

Home Cleaning Services:

  • Example Rate: $225 for a service, with 60% covering costs, leads to a 40% profit margin, or $90 per job.

HVAC Services:

  • Repairs: Range from $160 to $400.
  • Installations: New units start around $2,500.
  • Maintenance: A steady income, averaging $75 to $200 per visit.

Pest Control Services:

  • Initial Visits: Average $150 to $300.
  • Follow-up Treatments: Generally cost less.
  • Annual Contracts: Provide predictable revenue, ranging from $400 to $1,000.

Electrical Services:

  • Hourly Rates: Electricians charge between $50 to $100.
  • Service Calls: Cost between $150 to $400.
  • Large Projects: Like rewiring or panel upgrades, can significantly increase profits.

By assessing the profitability of services like locksmithing, towing, home cleaning, HVAC, pest control, and electrical work, you can identify the most lucrative niches to target for your Rank and Rent properties.

Validate Rank and Rent Niches

To validate niches, run detailed audits of existing sites ranking for your target keywords.

Create spreadsheets tracking:

  • Onpage optimization - page speed, technical issues, H1/title tags
  • Link profiles - quantity, quality, anchor text, type (directory vs. editorial)
  • Local signals - GMB, schema markup, citations
  • Penalties - manual actions, unnatural links

Look for quick SEO wins like:

  • Fixing technical errors for an easy rankings boost
  • Beating competitors with more authoritative links
  • Claiming unoptimized geo-intent keywords around a metro area
  • Leveraging underutilized semantics like People Also Ask

Regularly run this exercise across different locations and keywords. Soon, you'll have a pipeline of low-hanging SEO fruit.

The fastest way to rank new sites is acquiring an existing aged domain, a backlink strategy that provides immediate authority to outpace competitors.

Watch for expired domain names that used to rank for similar keywords. However, avoid domains with toxic backlinks or previous spam.

Here are strategies to secure high-quality digital real estate and become a digital landlord, with domains costing $50-500 on auction sites:

Filter by Previous Keyword Rankings

Tools like ExpiredDomains.net and GoDaddy Auctions let you find and sort by digital real estate - domains that previously ranked well but have since dropped off.

Often, the domains expire due to forgetful owners. But the site still retains rankings equity you can recapture for rent SEO.

Analyze backlinks pointing to the domain using Ahrefs or SEMRush. Avoid domains with suspicious links from past violations.

Watch for obvious red flags:

  • Excessive web 2.0 spam links
  • Comment spam links
  • Toxic link networks
  • Pay-per-post links

Quality previous links from aged directories and niche edits are ideal. You want "squarely white hat" domains.

Check Website Authority

Use Moz's Domain Analysis and Majestic's Trust Flow data to check the website authority.

Higher DA, DR, and TF scores generally equal quicker rankings velocity. But always manually review link profiles first.

Build a Basic One-Page Rank and Rent Site

With an aged domain in hand, now it's time to launch your starter Rank and Rent site. The goal is to create a conversion-focused single page:

No need for fancy templates or expansive content. Optimize the site for lead captures over engagement.

Use SEO Keywords in the Content

For the page's body content, research competitor pages and use SEO tools like StoryChief and Jasper to assist with content creation optimized around your target keyword quickly.

Focus on driving organic traffic rather than crafting novel content. Pack sections with your main keywords like "Services Offered in [City]" and "Why Hire a Professional [Service] Company" with semantic keywords.

Over-optimize to beat the thin content ranking. But avoid overt keyword stuffing that raises spam suspicions.

Create a Call-to-Action

The most valuable real estate is above the fold, where users first look. Place your CTA form front and center with high-quality content above the fold to immediately capture clicks.

For home service rentals, use a contact form allowing visitors to request quotes or schedule service.

Lawyer site rentals work well with a case review form. Or add a generic "Contact Us" form if the business offer varies.

Make sure the form is mobile-friendly for optimal conversions. Services like Tally integrate directly with CRMs and have many valuable integrations.

Add Location Schema Markup

Since Rank and Rent targets local SEO, proper schema markup with your specific keywords is essential. Follow Google's guidelines for LocalBusiness schema data.

At minimum, include marked-up data for:

  • Business name
  • Full address
  • Phone number
  • Price range
  • Images

This helps Google understand the page's geography-specific relevance. As a bonus, the rich snippets can boost CTR.

Site builders like WordPress have plugins to auto-generate local schema markup. But adding it manually also works.

Set Up Conversion Tracking Pixels

Install Facebook Pixel, Google Tag Manager, or LinkedIn Insights Tag to attribute conversions on your Rank and Rent sites. This allows accurate tracking of ROI from various monetization channels.

When renting the site, provide conversion attribution instructions to partners. They can tag form submits and calls with UTM codes or URL query parameters.

Now you've got a barebones yet high-converting Rank and Rent site ready to drive leads. Time to rank it!

Creating and launching the site is easy. The real SEO sweat comes from scaling link acquisition to grab those coveted page 1 ranking.

Shoot for a tiered approach combining:

Tier 1: Manual outreach for featured guest posts on authority sites

  • High domain authority targets: 50+
  • Natural link integration
  • Topically relevant
  • Geographic diversity

Tier 2: Manual outreach to the directory and niche sites

  • DA 20-50
  • Location-specific
  • Optimized local business schema
  • Citation links

Tier 3: Automated low-authority links

  • Web 2.0s
  • Blog comments
  • Forum profiles

Let's break down strategies for each tier:

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Tier 1 Guest Posts

Landing featured guest posts on authority sites related to your niche provides a ranking rocket boost. But manual outreach is required to earn these placements.

Start by researching and compiling a target list. Identify sites that:

  • Rank for your keywords or relevant terms
  • Feature guest contributors
  • Publish posts with 50+ domain authority

Outreach templates should highlight your expertise and how you can create a custom article tailored to your audience.

But don't explicitly request a link. Offer to mention their brand to provide value.

When they accept, craft posts closely aligned with the site's niche and past content. Then subtly link brand mentions to your site.

Aim for one Tier 1 link per month as a starting goal. You can use a tool like backl.io

Local Directories and Niche Sites

Local directories like Chamber of Commerce sites and regional business journals are strong bets for Tier 2 links.

Also, search for niche sites tangentially related to the service you offer. For example, real estate blogs for your lawyer site rentals.

Focus link outreach on geo-specific directories first. Then, broaden to loosely relevant blogs and resource pages where you can provide value.

When placing these links, request they use proper LocalBusiness schema markup. Also, make sure they pass authority and avoid nofollow tags.

Shoot for ~5 new Tier 2 links weekly in different locations.

Web 2.0s, blog comments, social bookmarks, and profiles add ranking metrics. But avoid overusing these “automated” links.

They often raise spam suspicions if overdone. Plus, Google discounts most as low-quality signals.

Think of Tier 3 links as a seasoning that complements but doesn't overpower your overall strategy. Don't rely on them solely.

Find Buyers for Your Rank and Rent Sites

Once you secure the first rank on page 1, it's time to rent your site to potential customers. This part requires sales hustle.

Here are strategies and best practices to find the best way to monetize your Rank and Rent properties:

Pitch Companies Already Bidding on Keywords

Your best bet to close deals is by contacting companies already bidding on keywords through Google/Bing Ads or those trying to rank organically.

  1. Search your target keywords.
  2. Note companies spending on ads and aggressively optimizing their sites.
  3. Pitch them on leads from your geo-optimized site

They won't care it's a rented placeholder. Most high-demand niches will gladly pay for quality traffic and leads.

Offer Free Trials

Many local business owners in niche markets won't understand Rank and Rent's value prop. Offer a free 7-14 day trial sending exclusive leads to them.

Once they see conversions first-hand, the next step is charging a monthly licensing fee for ongoing access to leads in their service area.

Call Tracking and Attribution

Install call trackers like CallRail, or PhoneWagon to attribute conversions from phone calls on your Rank and Rent sites.

This builds credibility by showing true ROI on traffic and forms you deliver. Businesses pay more when you quantify performance.

Outrank Competitors and Pitch Their Rivals

Research what specific companies rank for your terms. Then explicitly reach out to their competitors.

Competing website owners will eagerly rent your site if you secure high rankings and outrank a dominant regional plumber. Beating entrenched brands convinces new renters.

All About Partnerships

Explore forums, associations, events, and networks frequented by your niche targets. Build connections and share case studies before pitching them.

Join relevant Facebook Groups and communities to connect with your target audience before promoting rentals. For example, join a regional HVAC Facebook Group to communicate with AC companies

Business Brokers

Instead of endlessly cold calling, work through business brokers already plugged into niches to maximize your passive income and rental fee.

For example, BizBuySell and Quiet Light Brokerage, connect you with buyers happy to pay for a valuable asset like a site with proven traffic and leads.

Working with business brokers is a great way to connect with buyers who are happy to pay for ranked sites with proven traffic and leads.

Monetize Traffic

Beyond renting out sites, here are a few options to monetize Rank and Rent traffic yourself:

Rent out ad space: Services like Ezoic let you rent site ad space through their marketplace and share revenue.

Flip for a profit: Once rankings are stable, list your site for sale on EmpireFlippers, Acquire.com or FEInternational. You get a lump sum payout.

Resell leads to networks: Instead of renting the full site, send form leads to networks like LeadDyno that pay per lead. Much less management.

Upsell services: Make site an effective top-of-funnel play to convince visitors to use your other services. For example, pitch consulting calls or access to SEO tools. Site traffic provides social proof.

Retarget visitors: Install pixels to build audiences, then promote other sites/offers through platforms like Facebook and Google.

Test different options when launching a new website based on effort required versus profit generated.

Track Everything

As with any business, analytics and financial tracking are musts to optimize profits. Make sure you:

  • Track keyword rankings across sites in a centralized dashboard using rank trackers.
  • Monitor organic traffic growth from search engines via Google Analytics.
  • Use call and form tracking to record conversions by source.
  • Build a rent revenue calculator to monitor profits and benchmarks.
  • Document processes in a master playbook for easy training andRepeating success.

Crunch numbers, analyze KPIs, and constantly work to increase efficiency. The overarching goal? Maximize your effective hourly rate.

Start Your Rank and Rent SEO Business

That wraps up our comprehensive guide to Rank and Rent SEO!

You have a complete game plan to find profitable keywords, launch high-converting sites, rank them swiftly, rent your properties for passive profits, and scale success.

The model does require hustle to find buyers and sustain momentum. But in time, your portfolio can blossom into five and even six-figure months!

Or utilize Rank and Rent as a side income generator while you continue client SEO work and other projects—added profits without excessive time burdens.

The opportunity is ripe - an excellent place to stake your claim and pitch potential clients. Just avoid getting too cocky before smashing goals left and right! Good luck!

Ilias is a SEO entrepreneur and marketing agency owner at MagicSpace SEO, helping small businesses grow with SEO. With a decade of experience as a CTO and marketer, he offers SEO consulting and SEO services to clients worldwide.

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