Rank and Rent

If you’ve been around the SEO community for a while, then you’ve probably heard about rank and rent SEO.

Rank and rent is a type of SEO where you build and rank a website for a local contractor. The SEO then rents the ranked website to a local business that wants the leads the domain generates. It is a“rank and bank SEO” strategy used by successful lead generators.

You might even have heard the term ‘digital landlord‘ thrown around.

In this article, we’ll let you know what rank and rent SEO is and how you can become a digital landlord where you rent out online digital real estate assets.

We’ll take an in-depth look at how the rank & rent model works, the local SEO skills you’ll need, and how you can start making money from the process.

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What Is the Rank and Rent SEO Model?

The Rank and Rent SEO model involves creating a website, optimizing it for search engines, and then renting it to businesses, acting as a “digital landlord” and getting paid for the leads the site generates.

The rank and rent SEO model is a simple yet quite ingenious concept. It is a type of SEO where someone builds the ranking of a website for local search terms and then rents that website out to local businesses.

For example, a website that ranks highly for ‘plumbers in London’ could be built and rented out to a plumber in the London area.

This model presents benefits for both the owner of the website and the local businesses who are renting websites.

Rank and Rent Digital Landlords

Since many small companies do not have the time or resources to build a highly optimised site, rank and rent websites will always be in demand.

This makes ranking and renting an attractive proposition for anyone who has a decent amount of SEO knowledge.

Adding a ranking and renting aspect to your business model will result in more profits and secure growth for your company.

One of the best aspects of this technique is that each rank and rent website you own can be consecutively rented out to different people, providing income for a long time into the future.

What Is a Digital Landlord?

An owner of rank and rent sites is sometimes called a ‘digital landlord’. Like a property landlord, a digital landlord rents out something he owns on a fixed term, and both parties can agree at the end of the term if they want to renew the lease.

If a business leasing rank and rent website decides that it wants to cancel their rental a the end of the agreed term, then this is no problem for the digital landlord.

They can simply rent out the same domain to another eager business within the same niche.

Rent Out Digital Real Estate Assets

This makes ranking and renting a very secure model for a website owner. There will always be interest in a site ranking highly on the search engines, and it’s improbable that there’ll be a time when an owner struggles to find a ‘tenant’ for their domain.

Unlike a property landlord, the digital landlord does not have to invest significantly to acquire their website.

A property landlord must cough up hundreds of thousands of pounds for their properties, whereas a website can be built for free.

Can you make money with rank and rent?

Rank and Rent benefits website owners by providing a passive income source. After optimizing and ranking the site, rental fees from businesses offer steady revenue with minimal ongoing effort.

The ranking and renting of a website is a lucrative source of passive income and a great website monetization strategy in 2024.

Is Rank and Rent SEO Suitable for a Beginner?

Although anyone can build a website, getting it to the top of the search engines is an entirely different story. Decent local SEO knowledge is required if you want your site to be a top competitor.

To attract investors to your rank and rent site, you must ensure that it ranks extremely well within that niche.

In competitive niches, this will require some quite sophisticated local SEO strategies that most beginners won’t have come across.

Having said that, choosing your niche tactically will make it much easier to rank your website. Going into a market where there is little competition but still, interest from companies will require less heavy SEO to be competitive.

This is why this strategy can be advantageous for local businesses, as sometimes the competition is slightly lower. For local business owners, this is certainly worth taking into account.

Building a website requires very little investment, especially compared to other SEO practices. This could make ranking and renting a suitable model for SEO intermediates or dedicated beginners.

How Are Rank and Rent Different From Other Models?

Ranking and renting is quite a unique way to make money through SEO. In this section, we’ll compare a rank and rent model to other digital marketing forms, highlighting the similarities and differences.

Many SEO experts will use a combination of the different models to maximise their profits and ensure they always keep up with the latest trends.

People who are successful in the SEO world try to keep their fingers in as many different pies as possible.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing refers to promoting other people’s products and then earning a commission for any sales due to your marketing. This model is prevalent; nearly everyone is doing it at some point in their SEO career.

One of the best things about affiliate marketing is that it is effortless to get into. There are loads of companies out there keen to offer affiliate programs to digital marketers, and the amount of SEO knowledge required to be successful is relatively low.

Client SEO

The following SEO model we’re going to investigate is client SEO.

Client SEO is a process where a business owner hires an SEO team to improve the ranking of their website on various search engines. Client SEO has been a popular model for many SEO companies for a long time.

Client SEO can be advantageous, and the best marketers can demand high service prices.

However, a high level of SEO knowledge is required if you want to offer an excellent service to potential clients, ensuring the proper keyword research and preparation are carried out.

You must know every SEO strategy inside out and can’t afford to make many mistakes on a client’s website.

Additionally, client SEO can be a very time-consuming process. Firstly, when selling SEO services, you must deal with the website you inherited from the client.

Unfortunately, this website could be wholly unoptimised and needs a full overhaul even to have a chance of competing on the search engines.

There are many processes to complete and think about, from keyword research to local SEO for the local business owner.

Ideally, you’ll need a team of at least a few people to make this model viable. Clients always have very high expectations when paying for an SEO service and are hard to please.

A great thing about ranking and renting is that your website’s ranking will constantly improve every time you rent it out. It gets to the stage where your websites will start to take care of themselves.

Lead Generation

The final model we will compare ranking and renting to is lead generation. Although not an explicit ‘SEO practice’, lead generation is an important aspect of any successful digital marketing campaign.

Lead generation focuses on increasing the number of potential clients to your business.

Rank and Rent Lead Generation

As with client SEO, lead generation can take up quite a lot of time and resources. One of the most important parts of lead generation is understanding user intent – what the user is looking for when searching within your niche before selling leads.

Understanding user intent allows digital marketers to tailor the content they produce to fit in with what a user wants to find. Creating effective content can attract users to a business – known as ‘generating leads’.

Many lead generators in local areas use a GMB (aka GBP Google Business Profile) that allows businesses to claim and manage their online presence on Google, including their location on Google Maps and their appearance in search results.

Rank and Rents ARE Lead Generation

Ranking and renting a website is in itself a form of lead generation. In a nutshell, lead generation is ranking highly for a keyword and then selling links from that page to the user.

Similarly, ranking and renting is where you rank a whole website highly and then sell that to a business.

The difference between ranking and renting and other lead generation forms is that leads are generated naturally in creating a high-ranking website. There is little further work besides building an attractive and optimised website.

When a client decides to rent out your own website, all the backlinks and leads you have generated over time are directed to them.

This is a massive benefit for the client and should be one of the big things you push during a sales pitch.

Does Rank and Rent Work?

rent a house

Well, we wouldn’t be talking about rank and rent if it didn’t work, wouldn’t we?

In all seriousness, the rank and rent strategy works and is an excellent way to make money using your SEO knowledge.

HOWEVER, you must temper expectations when working on this business model.

Unlike client SEO, where you work directly with businesses in growing their organic traffic, rank and rent SEO encourages you to build and develop a niche website using different tactics.

Only when you start ranking the site for money keywords, thus attracting potential lessees or tenants, will you then profit from it.

You must also sustain your site’s keyword rankings over time to attract tenants in your chosen niche.

That means you constantly work on the website’s SEO and lead generation process to make it more appealing to your prospects.

You’ll find the exact tactics and strategies to implement on your site later in this article.

But the goal here is to inform you that a rent and rent website requires your time, expertise, and patience before it takes off.

Once it does, you can provide local businesses with an opportunity to rent your website and generate leads from it.

Depending on the terms you agreed upon with the tenant, you can enjoy sustainable passive income from the site!

Is Rank and Rent Legal?

justice scales

A rank and rent website is a legal business that shouldn’t put you in any trouble whatsoever.

But to fully understand the legality and validity of this business model, you must look at it from two sides: search engines and tenants.

Google doesn’t have anything specifically against rank and rent in their local search guidelines. So, that means you’re in the clear regarding rank and rent, right?

You should know by now that Google thrives in vagueness. The esoteric nature of its algorithm allows the search engine to penalise websites and business listings without explaining itself.

As with any online asset that depends on search engines for profit, there’s always a risk involved.

This is especially true for assets that don’t add value to their intended audience, which leads to them tanking on search results.

In this case, as long as your rank and rent website serves its target audience well and observes the best SEO practices, there’s nothing to worry about.

Popular Questions

Best rank and rent niches?

From our research, here are the best rank-and-rent niches:

Is rank and rent worth it?

A rank and rent website can earn you a lot of money if the domain generates traffic.

Renting out your ranked website is an amazing investment because you get paid a set price you agree with your tenant who rents your site.

Digital marketers who rank high in the search engines make much more money than SEO agencies charging for a service.

Most SEO agencies move towards the rank-and-rent model when they fully understand how to drive more traffic online.

How to Start a Rank and Rent Business?

Starting a rank and rent business involves creating and optimizing websites to rank high in search engine results for specific keywords and then renting those websites to businesses that want to benefit from the organic traffic. Here are the steps to start a rank and rent business:

  1. Research and Choose a Niche: Identify a niche or industry you want to target for your rank and rent business. Consider factors like competition, demand, and profitability when selecting your niche.
  2. Keyword Research: Perform thorough keyword research to identify high-value, low-competition keywords within your chosen niche. These will be the keywords you’ll target for your websites.
  3. Domain Registration: Purchase domain names related to your niche and target keywords. Try to find keyword-rich domain names if possible, as this can help with SEO.
  4. Website Development: Create websites or landing pages for each domain. You can use website builders like WordPress, Wix, or custom development if you have the skills. Optimize the websites for SEO, ensuring they are mobile-responsive, fast-loading, and user-friendly. Publish high-quality, relevant content related to the niche on each website.
  5. SEO Optimization: Implement on-page and off-page SEO strategies to improve the websites’ rankings on search engines. This includes optimizing meta tags, building backlinks, and improving website speed.
  6. Local SEO: If you’re targeting local businesses, optimize the websites for local SEO by including location-specific keywords and ensuring your NAP (name, address, and phone number) information is consistent. Google My Business (GMB) optimization is a crucial aspect of Rank and Rent strategy if you are looking to generate leads via Google Maps.
  7. Rank the Websites: Focus on ranking your websites on the first page of search engine results for your target keywords. This may take time and ongoing SEO efforts.
  8. Create a Rental Model: Decide on your pricing model. You can charge businesses a monthly fee for renting your website, or you can negotiate a revenue-sharing agreement based on the leads or sales generated through the website.
  9. Marketing and Outreach: Reach out to businesses in your chosen niche and offer your websites for rent. You can also promote your rank and rent services through online marketing, social media, or networking events.
  10. Legal and Contractual Agreements: Consult with a legal professional to draft rental agreements and contracts that clearly outline the terms and responsibilities of both parties. Ensure you have proper licenses and comply with local business regulations.
  11. Maintenance and Reporting: Continuously monitor and maintain the websites to ensure they maintain their high rankings. Provide regular performance reports to your clients to demonstrate the value of renting your websites.
  12. Scaling: As your rank and rent business grows, consider expanding to more websites and niches to increase your revenue.
  13. Customer Support: Offer excellent customer support to your clients to build long-term relationships and secure recurring revenue.

Remember that building a rank and rent business can take time, and success depends on your SEO skills, marketing efforts, and the quality of the websites you create. Be patient and persistent, as it may take several months to see significant results and attract clients.

Best Rank & Rent Tools to Use

Aside from your SEO know-how, you’ll need the help of tools to get your rank and rent website up and running in no time.

They help create content and generate leads much easier and faster instead of doing them all manually.

Below are the must-use rank and rent tools available:


When it comes to SEO tools, it’s hard to beat what Ahrefs has to offer.

If you’re still unsure about what kind of rank and rent site you want to launch, Ahrefs’ Keyword Research tool will be your best friend.

Just type in your desired niche, and the tool will spit out thousands of ideas for you to choose from.

ahrefs keyword research

You can filter the results only to show the lowest-hanging fruit keywords. This enables you to determine which keywords to target for your site to generate organic traffic faster.

ahrefs low kd

On the other hand, its Content Explorer feature comes in handy when brainstorming topic ideas and researching for your top competitors.

Enter your target keyword on the search bar to show the best-performing content based on organic traffic, keywords, and social shares.

Then, use the pages you find here to create much better content about the topic.

ahrefs content explorer

Once your rank and rent website is off the ground, build backlinks using Ahrefs’ Link Intersect.

Find backlinks your top competitors have that you don’t, and then figure out a way you can acquire backlinks on these domains.

Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO is arguably the best SEO content tool in the market, thanks to its Content Editor feature.

Enter the keyword you researched on Ahrefs to create a document where to write your content. You can even group similar keywords to optimise your content for all those terms.

The best thing about this tool is it shows you the terms and phrases you need to include in your content.

surfer seo content editor for "islandwide commercial roofing"islandwide commercial roofing"

Doing so makes your content more relevant to the keywords you’re targeting in your document, resulting in higher rankings.

Another great feature of Surfer SEO is Grow Flow.

surfer grow flow

By entering your domain URL here, you can receive weekly suggestions on improving your site’s SEO via internal links, keyword insertions in your posts, and more.


Once you have tenants coming and going from your site, you must find a way to manage the leads you collect for them efficiently.

How you gather and deliver the leads to tenants determines whether you can retain them as longer tenants before their lease is up.

With Leadsnap, you can use its CRM feature to manage the leads coming in. You can profile each one by editing their information to help tenants determine the hot leads from the cold ones.

leadsnap automation

Its automation feature allows you to funnel down leads from the calls and emails you receive into your CRM system.

This makes lead generation and nurturing much easier for your rank and rent site and allows you to charge more to tenants for the quality and value you deliver.

Considerations to Make Before Using the Rank and Rent Model

Before attempting to build a website for rental, there are a few things that you should consider.

First, ranking and rent sites aren’t for everyone, and for many people, it won’t be the best SEO practice for them to get into.

Having said that, ranking and renting can be gratifying if done correctly. It has one of the best profit margins out of any SEO practice, and the ongoing website maintenance is fairly light on resources.

Here are the considerations we think should be made before using this model:

Do You Have the Required SEO Knowledge?

Building a website that ranks well on Google is no easy task. It requires in-depth knowledge of local SEO, on-page SEO, keyword optimisation, search intent, and website development.

A rank and rent website must be well-built to attract potential tenants and develop leads.

When you look at some of the best ranks and rent sites out there, you can see that someone with expertise in the field has created them.

Those who offer this to clients will have service pages on their website with all their SEO services in one place, and going down this route can help generate leads and increase website traffic if done correctly.

Will You Be Able to Attract Businesses?

Since the primary goal of a rank and rent business campaign is to attract businesses, you should carefully consider whether what you have planned for your digital marketing strategy will work.

There is no point jumping headfirst into a highly competitive niche that will be almost impossible to rank for.

To ensure the success of your site, you’ve got to do your research.

This means finding a niche with high search volume and low competition, discovering the best keywords to rank for, and generally confirming that your site will have a chance of ranking on Google.

Check out our ‘How to create a rank and rent webpage’ section for more information about the steps you should take before building a website.

Are Rank and Rent the Best Strategy for Me?

At the start of this section, we mentioned how rank and rent aren’t for everyone. Maximising the potential of rank and rent requires SEO skill and knowledge and that you are operating within a niche that suits this model.

Other strategies such as affiliate marketing and client SEO will be much more effective for many niches. However, if you find a niche that suits rank and renting, you do have an opportunity to strike gold.

Who Invests in Renting Ranked Websites?

So, who is your target audience when you’ve got a site you want to lease? Luckily, there is always a demand for any website that ranks within a niche.

It doesn’t matter if you have a dentist or window cleaner site – if it ranks well, it will sell.

Any business will benefit from a ranked website, but that doesn’t mean everyone is willing to invest for the privilege.

There are a few types of businesses that tend to be more interested in ranked websites that you should focus your attention on:

New Businesses

New businesses always seek to get their names out as quickly as possible. This means they will be interested in investing in a ranked website that can get their brand to the top of a Google search.

Many new businesses just don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to developing a ranked website, so they are always on the lookout for a site they can use without having to do all the work.

This is precisely why your ranked site will catch their eye and hopefully result in a sale.

Businesses That Rely on Leads

There are also lots of businesses that rely on leads as their main source of traffic and income. If you can offer a business like this a website packed with great leads, they will be delighted to pay a lot of money to use the site for themselves.

Businesses That Are Experimenting

Many established businesses decide to experiment with their marketing techniques. This could be because they are unhappy with their sales and want to spread their brand, or they just want to see what business model works best for them.

These businesses will often test out a ranked site for a month or two at first and then invest further if they see results. If you can impress them with your site, they will likely stick around and continue to reap the benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Rank and Rent?

We hope we’ve clarified just how effective a rank and rent campaign can be in this article. We believe it is one of the best practices if you want the opportunity to make some big bucks without significant risk.

Here’s a summary of a few of the benefits of building your own ranked websites:

Low Investment

Unlike some other SEO practices, ranking and rental do not require a high initial investment of funds. Building a website can take some time, but there are no essential tools to purchase, and everything can be completed in your own time.

Perhaps the best part about rank and rental websites is that they require very little maintenance once they are live.

Whenever your website is being rented out to a company, it is becoming more established, and its ranking is likely improving.

Set Your Rates

Another great benefit you receive from ranked websites is the ability to set your rates when you rank websites and sell leads.

This allows you to value your work however you want to, and you never feel like you’re giving it away for less than it’s worth.

This differs from strategies such as affiliate marketing, where all the money you earn is dictated by the rates set by the product manufacturer.

Reusable Nature

The reusable nature of a ranked website can provide income to your SEO business for a long time into the future. If a company decides to end its lease with you, you can simply rent the site to someone else!

Since the site is improving over time, in most cases, you will be able to increase your monthly rates every time you pick up a new client.

Final Thoughts

The rank and rent model is an SEO strategy that is my preferred set-up where you build a website to rank in search engines and rent this site out.

If done well, this can be an excellent online marketing strategy for those who truly understand SEO and a very profitable business model.

Local lead generation SEO consultants use this strategy and call themselves digital landlords.

How do you think the rank and rent model compares to affiliate marketing, client SEO or lead generation?

Have you ever considered investing in digital real estate assets in July 2022 to grow your rental portfolio?

I would love to hear your thoughts by emailing james@fatrank.com if you are an SEO looking for new revenue streams.

Alternatively, we can discuss if you are a business looking to rent out websites that drive enquiries and get a return on investment.

Rank and Rent Images

Here are some great images of the rank and rent model for 2024.

As many affiliate marketers are struggling with the HCU updates, many are looking to start in rank and rents for 2024.

If you have an idea or looking to JV on a project, we are always looking for new opportunities, so get in touch to see whether we might be interested as an angel investor.

Who is James Dooley rank and rent?

James Dooley achieved success with the “rank and rent” model, where he creates, and ranks websites on search engines, and rents them to businesses seeking online visibility.

The rank and rent SEO model, likened to digital real estate, allows businesses to benefit from an established web presence without building and ranking a site themselves​.

James Dooley has a substantial portfolio with over 800 clients across more than 650 diverse industries.

His approach involves rigorous testing and research in SEO, debunking common myths, and employing effective strategies. He emphasizes the importance of understanding different algorithms for different industries and tailoring SEO strategies accordingly. Dooley’s success is not just limited to ranking and renting websites; he also invests (as an angel investor) in many of the businesses he provides leads.

What Is Rank And Rent?

Rank and Rent is an SEO strategy where you optimize a website to rank high in search engines, then lease or sell the site’s traffic and leads to businesses looking for online visibility. It monetizes search engine rankings.