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 and rent model works, the local SEO skills you’ll need, and how you can start making money from the process.
- What Is the Rank and Rent SEO Model?
- What Is a Digital Landlord?
- Is Rank and Rent SEO Suitable for a Beginner?
- How Are Rank and Rent Different From Other Models?
- Does Rank and Rent Work?
- Is Rank and Rent Legal?
- Popular Questions
- How to Create a Rank and Rent Website
- Best Rank & Rent Tools to Use
- Considerations to Make Before Using the Rank and Rent Model
- Who Invests in Renting Ranked Websites?
- What Are the Benefits of Rank and Rent?
- Final Thoughts
What Is the Rank and Rent SEO Model?
Rank and Rent is where an SEO builds a website that ranks high in Google and generates inquiries. The client then rents the website and wants to receive the leads exclusively.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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’.
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?
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?
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.
Best rank and rent niches?
Rank and rent website examples
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 Create a Rank and Rent Website
Now, we’ll focus on how you can build your rank and rent website. Carefully following these steps and doing further research will ensure that you create a highly optimised website with an extremely strong ranking within your chosen niche.
Of course, this isn’t a recipe for instant success, and it’s always worth brushing up on your SEO knowledge to create a truly effective website.
Find Your Niche
Choosing a niche is undoubtedly essential to any ranking and renting campaign. There are loads of things to think about when trying to find a niche, and your choices can make or break your website.
Survey the competition
Firstly, you want to choose a niche that the business will be interested in but that isn’t ridiculously competitive.
Attempting to rank your website for a highly competitive niche will be very difficult, and only the most capable SEO experts can do this effectively.
One thing you can do to reduce the competition is to focus on less in-demand locations.
For example, rather than attempting to rank a website for ‘cleaners London’, you could hone in on ‘cleaners Stratford’.
It’s always easier to focus on local businesses rather than trying to create something more widespread.
Before deciding on a niche, looking at the competition already operating in it is essential.
Surveying the competition allows you to determine whether you’ll be able to challenge them and get a sense of the potential of that niche.
Avoid address-specific business types
When you create a rank and rent website, you’ll have to optimise it for a particular address and location.
This address can’t be changed when a new client rents out the website, so it’s always best to look for a niche where the business address isn’t essential.
For example, the home address of a window cleaner isn’t essential to the customer. This is because a window cleaner travels to the customer to conduct their business.
This is an excellent example of a niche that does not address specific.
On the other hand, a business such as a cafe does have a permanent address that customers rely on. This makes the cafe niche not very compliant with ranking and renting.
Although this might seem like a drawback of the rank and rent business model, there are plenty of non-address-specific niches to get into.
Choose something you’re passionate about
Although it is not essential, choosing to work in a niche you are passionate about will make the whole process much easier. It is also likely to result in your rank and rent websites being more effective and attractive to renters.
The truth is that you will spend a lot of time researching your niche and developing your website. Therefore, the process is bound to be faster if you choose something you already know.
Furthermore, local businesses will be much more willing to invest in a website made by someone who is knowledgeable about the field and manages to convey their passion across the website’s content.
These sites can rank for local search results, and with the help of guest posts, link building and content writing, these can become seriously high-quality websites ranking for all sorts of local keywords for local businesses.
Choose a Domain Name
Selecting the domain name is another essential consideration when building ranking and renting websites.
If you aim to rent out this website to different business owners, you have to ensure that the domain name will universally apply to all of them.
It’s no good tailoring the domain name to your first client if you know that you’ll be leasing the website to someone else in the future.
This will render your site useless for rental purposes – who will then pay for a website with another business’ name attached to it.
However, you do need to make sure that the domain name appears like a legitimate business. If we take our ‘cleaners Stratford’ example, a valid domain name could be stratfordcleaningservices.co.uk.
Notice how this domain suggests a specific business but could apply to anyone who is offering cleaning services in the Stratford area.
Choosing an effective domain name is a balancing act. It requires some in-depth thought and is a process that should never be rushed.
When you’re attempting to optimise a website for a specific keyword, it makes sense to do some research into that keyword.
This is to ensure that your website is as relevant as possible. Making a suitable website is the only way to attract potential renters and rank effectively on search engines.
There are a variety of tools available to assist with keyword research. This research is essentially the process of understanding the language used by people searching within your niche.
This is the only way to discover what people are searching for.
This research is essential to determine which keywords your competitors are ranking for. This will give you a great idea of which keywords to prioritise if you want to build a high-ranking website.
Researching keywords should always be completed before you attempt to build a website.
This is because you need to understand how difficult your optimisation will be and whether it is even worth trying – some keywords are very hard to rank for and give much traffic in return.
Build Your Website
Once you’ve picked your niche and domain name and researched your keywords, it’s time to start building a great website.
The first thing to focus on is creating some basic homepage content to set out what your website specialises in clearly.
If you’re brand new to website building, we recommend using website builders like WordPress, which provides an easy-to-use interface and great templates.
Using templates, you can duplicate the same website layout across various niches, saving time.
To provide some authority to users of the website, it’s also important to add some ‘about us’ pages. This builds trust with the user and makes them much more likely to engage with the website.
After you’ve set up the basics of the page, the next step is to write some engaging content that focuses on the low-competition, high-search volume keywords you researched earlier.
Writing great content can be one of the more difficult parts of creating a rank and rent site.
It can also be very time-consuming, and many web owners will turn to a content writing service if they don’t have the time to write the content themselves.
When creating content for a rank and rent site, you should always focus on producing informational content. This is the best way to rank on search engines and will likely attract the most users to your site.
This content shouldn’t show a commercial side and should instead leave that work to the links you include in the content. The local business renting the site can direct these links to their own business.
It’s important to understand that local lead generation has to have local relevance whilst still considering essential factors such as keyword difficulty, other websites in that specific niche, domain names and more.
If you’re writing the content yourself, you should do some research to find out what makes great content. Here are some quick things to remember when making effective content:
- Short paragraphs
- Create content briefs using the Marketmuse tool
- Avoid walls of text
- Skillfully incorporate links in the anchor text
- UseSurfer SEO to optimise your content
- Use simple language
- Expand your articles using content expansion techniques
Renting Out Your Website
So, you’ve made it this far. You have a great website that ranks for various keywords and is ready to look for your first tenant. But, you have a few different options when it comes to making money from your site.
We’ll go through each of these options below and explain their unique advantages:
Rent the whole site out to a local business
The first thing you could do is rent out the whole website to a local business.
Providing that you’ve chosen a domain name that is universally suitable for many businesses, there should be plenty of people interested in paying for your ranked site.
Even if your site only has a couple of promising leads, there will still be a local business that could benefit significantly from those leads.
Once you find a business owner willing to rent your site, you can touch it up with some of their brandings and leave it in their hands.
It will still be your responsibility as the site owner to maintain the rankings of the site pages, but since this is on a local SEO level, this shouldn’t be too difficult to do.
Sell the website
If you just want the site off your hands, then selling it off could be a solution. However, some investors will pay top dollar for a well-ranking website, and many would prefer owning a page outright rather than paying per month.
However, finding a buyer for a new rank and rent site can be very hard. Buyers are usually only interested if a site has lots of good leads; this isn’t possible for a site that has just been set up.
If you are interested in selling your rank and lease site in the future, we’d recommend renting it out first. This will let the site mature and start to build established leads.
Plus, it would be a shame to sell off your hard work without cashing in on it as much as possible.
Pay per lead
The final option is to allow different businesses to pay per lead for links on your web pages. This is an excellent idea if your site has a lot of traffic and you can attract multiple ‘tenants’ simultaneously.
But, of course, you also need plenty of leads on your site to rent out.
It’s up to you to decide whether you think you can succeed more in making business owners pay per lead or renting the whole site with a per-month rental agreement.
Each method has advantages, and one may be better for specific situations.
An affiliate website is an excellent example of this technique, as you can sell leads to a company that needs users whilst still owning the website and producing your content.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Our aim to explain and educate from a basic level to an advanced on SEO and Social Media Marketing.