Rank And Rent SEO, Local Lead Generation, & PPCall Guide
Why Local Affiliate Marketing?
There is a ton of money to be made with rank and rent SEO websites and the local lead generation business model!
Think about it this way: if the key phrase “water damage restoration Los Angeles” has a CPC (cost per click) of $100, imagine what those business owners would be willing to pay per qualified lead…
Don’t worry about not being a local SEO expert, this article will go over how to start your own pay per call marketing business by picking the right niche, ranking a site, and selling leads or renting the website to local businesses.
Advantages of Lead Generation Over Client SEO
Your relationship with your clients when doing lead generation is very different from a typical client SEO relationship. Some of the best parts about it is that you have full control over the assets (the website and other online marketing material), and you have more freedom to make the creative decisions!
When I first started out in my freelance digital marketing career, I was mainly focused on serving clients. This was okay at first, but it got tiring fast!
Between getting all of their login credentials, which 9 times out of 10 they did not have, sending estimates, to proving that my stuff is working, and being forced to make less than optimal marketing and SEO decisions because the client preferred it, I was fed up.
So I looked for a better solution, and learned about how to start a local lead generation business. The change in the SEO-client relationship, along with the opportunity to earn a passive income, are the main reasons I generally prefer any form of affiliate style local SEO over the more traditional client work.
Step 1: Picking Profitable Local SEO Lead Generation Niche
The key here is to pick a lead generation niche that is both high ticket and has a fast buying cycle. This can literally make or break your lead generation campaign, so make sure to get this right.
Here Is My Favorite Niche
- Restoration of most kinds, be it water, mold, fire, biohazard etc.
The reason why this niche works is because it is often related to emergency situations. If someone’s house is flooding, for example, you can assume they will probably need work done right away. In addition, it is common that this work is covered by insurance companies and has standardized pricing, so there won’t be as many price shoppers. In most cases this means that many of your leads will turn into closed jobs for the business owner you work with.
How to Find Common Lead Generation Niches
Another way to find common local SEO affiliate marketing industries is by looking in the pay per call section of OfferVault.
Step 2: Choosing A Monetization Strategy
There are many business models you can use to monetize your website, but the most commonly used ones are: rank and rent, closing deals and outsourcing the work, flipping the website, selling leads to affiliate networks, and selling leads directly to business owners.
Here is some information on each of the monetization models:
1. The Rank and Rent Model
Although this pricing model is relatively passive, it ultimately offers no guarantee of leads. As a result, it is somewhat difficult to explain the value of it to a business owner who doesn’t understand SEO. For that reason, and some others, I generally do not recommend the website rental model.
That being said, if you want to do it, here are some tips on that:
- Use a call tracking number from a software like CallRail to forward the leads to a local business and track them.
- Come up with a fair rental price by estimate the number of leads you are generating each month and multiplying that by a fair lead cost (more on this below).
- Use automatic billing with PayPal or a similar software and bill weekly instead of monthly in case the client’s card declines and you are out a months worth of leads.
- Don’t do it using a lightbox rank and rent plugin like SEMeasy or SourceCCS.
2. Closing Deals and Outsourcing the Work
This is a good business model to use when working in niches like audio engineering or web design/graphic design.
Basically, once people reach out to hire you, give them a quote and make them pay upfront for the work via PayPal or the payment method of your choice. Then, once you have sold the contract, you can outsource it to a local freelancer or someone you find on a website like Fiverr. After you have worked with a freelancer for a while, you can have them sell the contracts for you so that your business becomes more passive.
3. Flipping Websites
Websites are generally worth anywhere from 10–40 times their average monthly profits, so flipping is a great way to earn fast cash from your website.
Determining Your Website’s Value
You can determine a fair price for your website, mainly by judging how sustainable it is in terms of ranking and monetization.
Here are some factors that can reduce the value of your website:
- Risky SEO tactics like Fake GMBs and PBN links
- Risky monetization methods like working with a client as opposed to working with an affiliate network.
Keep in mind that local business owners will likely not understand the risks associated with certain SEO tactics, so it is only ethical that you inform them of these risks before selling them your website and offering them a fair valuation.
Ways to Flip Your Website
- Transition to selling the website after working on a different pricing model with a business owner like pay per lead.
- After 6 months to a year of generating consistent income you should be able to sell it on Empire Flippers or Flippa. This works particularly well if your website is monetized with affiliate offers, and you are not using any of the risky SEO tactics mentioned above.
4. Selling Leads Online Through a PPcall Affiliate Marketing Networks
Although you may not make quite as much per lead as you would if you were working directly with a client, affiliate marketing is way more passive and scalable than client monetization because it requires no sales, customer support, marketing, contracts, or billing. You can simply generate the leads and get paid. For this reason, I use this monetization method more than any of the others.
How to find affiliate offers:
- Googling “(your niche) + referral program” or “(your niche) + affiliate program”.
- Looking on OfferVault
- Joining Pay Per Call Facebook Groups
- Googling “(your niche) + leads” to find companies selling leads to local businesses. Some of these companies will also buy leads from their affiliates/publishers, so you can ask them about buying your leads.
5. Selling Leads Directly to Business Owners
Although this pricing model is potentially lucrative, it generally requires sales and other business development practices.
Lead Generation Sales
If you want to learn how to start a local lead generation business, and you are looking to monetize with clients (instead of with affiliate offers), you will need to learn sales. I’m not going to go super in depth here, but here are a few things you can do to get in touch with businesses.
- Make a prospects list yourself or have a VA (virtual assistant) make one for you, and call those companies to sell them leads.
- Make an email list yourself or have a VA make one for you, and blast it with a thoughtful, high converting email. You should include a real lead from a customer’s contact form submission, if you have one.
- Rank a website and/or YouTube video for keywords like: “(your niche) + leads”
- Join Facebook groups based around your lead generation vertical.
How to Price Your Leads When Selling Them to Companies
Put yourself in the the business owner’s shoes for a second. Basically, they need to make sure they are profitable on whatever you charge them per lead.
There is no absolute right or wrong way to go about coming up with a valuation for your leads, but here are a couple ways to get a good estimate.
- Do a little bit of research to find out how much profit business owners in your niche make, on average, on each job. Then, you will need to figure out how many leads it will take, on average, for them to get a sale. This will vary for each business owner, but let’s say that, on average, a water damage company makes about $3,200 in profit for the jobs they book, and have a close rate of about 60%. You can get the price per lead by multiplying 3200 by 0.6, and then you can take that result and multiply it by 0.2 to get your cut of the profit. This comes out to $384 per qualified lead.
- Find the average CPC for your main keywords in your area. You can do this by using the Google keyword planner and refining it for the area you are prospecting. For example: If “Water Damage Repair” has a CPC of $62.55 and “Water Damage Restoration” has a CPC of $77.44 in the Bay Area, the average of the two would be about $70. Now, I can estimate that this is what local businesses (in this industry) in this area are willing to pay for a click, but what about a call? In general, it takes about 5 local search website visits to get a call, so we can calculate that they are paying Google about $70 x 5 clicks, or $350 for a call.
At the end of the day, these methods are a good way to get an estimate of what you should be charging, but it all comes down to your particular agreement with the business owner.
Pay Per Lead Billing
Before you begin with a potential client, be sure to get their credit card information, and let them know that you will be billing them weekly for the leads you send them. It is a good idea to also provide them with a user account for your call tracking software, and email notifications so they can keep track of the leads.
Once you create a number for them, set your call tracking software to not display the caller ID of the callers to your client. Let them know that a lead is billable when:
- The phone rings more than 4 times without an answer (you should send them the customer’s phone number after this)
- Client asks for the customers information
- Client sets an appointment
- Refers another company
- Asks for the customer to call back on a different number
- Customer goes to voicemail (you should send them the customer’s phone number after this)
Big PPL companies are using this billing model, along with an option to dispute calls that your client may feel does not meet the billable criteria. It works well because the client can screen the lead over the phone. For example, if the customer is requesting a service that the client doesn’t provide, the client will not set an appointment or get the customers information. In that case, the lead would not be billable. This will ultimately help your client get a better ROI from your leads, and make it more likely that they will work with you longer.
Step 3: Local SEO Keyword Research
A good way to do local SEO niche and keyword research is by finding a low competition niche + geo modifier combination. The niche you select should be one that you can easily monetize, and the geo area that you select should usually have a population of about 50,000–400,000.
Generally speaking, the higher the population, search volume, and CPC is for a niche + geo modifier combination, the more difficult it will be to rank. That is why I usually go for geo areas with the amount of population that I mentioned above.
You can further evaluate how competitive a niche + geo area combo is by looking at the following factors:
- How many GMBs are there that have an address in the city you are targeting, and the proper primary business category for the search term “niche+geo area”? If there are less than 4 or so listings that meet this criteria, it is a good sign that this is a low competition keyword. If no maps listings come up when you search the keywords, this is a great keyword because you can easily get traffic even without a GMB listing.
- The average amount of reviews and star ratings for the companies in Google Maps. If there are 3 companies with 10+ 5 star reviews, then you can bet that they are probably receiving the majority of clicks when people search that keyword. Think about who you would call if you did a search and the results appeared like that. So even if you manage to get into the 3 pack, you might still struggle with CTR (click-through-rate) and getting leads.
- What is the keyword difficulty score in Ahrefs? A score of 0 is ideal, but anything below 4 is usually okay.
- Take a look at your competitors metrics (DR, DA, etc).
- Are there other service area pages ranking on the first page? You can identify these pages because they will often have a page of content targeting various geo areas, and these pages often don’t have very many links or authority. If they are able to rank these pages on the first page of Google, you should be able to rank your website.
Step 4: Finding Domains For Pay Per Lead SEO
I recommend that you either go with a new keyword match domain or find one that is for sale and has some authority already.
New Keyword Match Domains (My Preferred Choice)
From our experience exact match domains (EMDs) are working well still… Ignore what Google said back in 2012 about this not being a major factor anymore. They were just trying to discourage people from building affiliate/lead generation sites, like the one you’re about to make :). Almost all of the large local lead generation companies I have seen are using EMDs for their clients. Not to mention that Bing and Yahoo still use keyword match domains as a major ranking factor. Do not underestimate those search engines, as you can still get some traffic from them.
Buying Active or Auction Domains (Harder to Find)
When buying an active domain, you have the advantage of having some existing authority and relevancy, and being able to rank immediately because you can skip the Google Sandbox. That being said, a relevant, clean, and somewhat authoritative domain is also more difficult to find and they are not really that much more helpful for local keywords. For those reasons I recommend going with a new keyword match domain, but if you want to go this route, here’s how you can identify a good domain:
- Use SEMrush or Ahrefs to identify the keywords that the domain is currently ranked for. Consider it a good sign if the domain is ranked for keywords that are somewhat difficult to rank for, and those keywords are also relevant to your niche.
- Use Moz Open Site Explorer and double check the metrics and spam score. The Moz spam score should be zero or at least low with a justified reason. While you’re at it, take a look at the linking domains and their spam score as well, the lower the better. Then actually click on the links and see how these websites look. Do they look legitimate? What are their metrics? Plug them into SEMrush and see if they have some sort of traffic coming to them. If they do, that is a good sign.
Also, you can understand how much link juice is actually being passed to the auction domain by seeing how many outbound links the page and the general domain has. If they are all directory links, they are not of much value because anybody can build them, and there are so many outbound links that all of the juice gets split between them, not to mention that many directory links are no-follow.
3. Plug the website into SEMrush and Majestic to check out the anchor text profile. If it is somewhat related to your rank and rent niche, that is good. Make sure that there are not too many keyword anchors though. There should mostly be branded and generic anchor text as well as naked URLs.
What does this all mean?
- Branded anchor text: Just your brand. So if I was linking to Moz, the anchor text would just be “Moz”.
- Generic anchor text: “click here”, “check out our website”, or even blank anchor text
- Image links
- Naked URLs: If I was to link to Moz it would be “https://moz.com”.
Google recognizes these types of anchor text as natural because they are generally how people link to web properties, rather than with anchor text like“Water Damage Restoration Las Vegas NV”, which is considered an exact match anchor text, and should only be used about 1–3% of the time.
Keep in mind that in 2018 Google looks at your entire anchor text profile when considering whether or not to slap you with a penalty or to rank your website higher. Link and anchor text diversity is crucial to a successful link building campaign. That is why I recommend purchasing link building packages for links like PDF and video submissions because they create diversity in your link and anchor text profiles.
What does this do?
It does two major things. One, it make your site look way more natural than if you were to just build 15 PBN links, all with keyword anchor text. The second thing it does, is it allows you to use keyword anchors for a couple of the more powerful links.
Note: Keep in mind that you can be more aggressive with your link building, anchor text, and rank a little faster with parasite SEO.
- Check to see if the domain is indexed by putting “site:example.com” in the Google search bar. This is a must for me when choosing an auction domain.
- Check archive.org (Wayback Machine) to make sure the website has a clean history, particularly its most recent history. If at any point it looks like the domain was home to a PBN site (private blog network), avoid it at all costs. It may have a pure spam penalty!
What does a PBN look like? The low quality ones are poorly maintained and tend to have tons of random articles on the homepage that link out to other sites, kind of like this:
Once you have chosen a domain, you can register it inexpensively by using Namecheap.
Step 5: Creating a Local Lead Generation Website on Your Domain
You will need to set up hosting for this domain and create some web pages. I also recommend using Namecheap for the hosting, as they do a great job for the price. To manage your website, I recommend installing WordPress.
Pick a Theme
With the assumption that you are using Wordpress, the first thing you need to do is pick your theme. I like to use simple free themes like GeneratePress on my websites, because they are lightweight which makes them SEO-friendly. That being said, if you want to easily make your site look professional, check out Divi.
Step 6: Acquire Your Content and Build Out Your Rank and Rent Websites (On-Page SEO)
Ahh, website content… I have gone back and forth on the best way to do this for my lo cal affiliate marketing websites, and come to a couple conclusions:
1. You Really Only Need a 1 Page Website to Rank Local Keywords
While it is probably a good idea to make a larger website, I have plenty of one or two page websites that rank great locally for their main keywords.
2. Google Is Not Currently Filtering Duplicate Content for Local SEO Keywords
This allows you to make local landing pages without using completely unique content. That being said, Google seems to be filtering them out for websites that are not authoritative/new. For this reason I would recommend holding off on building duplicate city pages until you start to build some authority.
By the way, I used the word “filtering” instead of “punishing” because a duplicate content penalty is very hard to acquire. Google understands that some content is published on many different platforms and pages.
Here is Matt Cutts explaining how Googles deals with duplicate content:
Basically, they generally bundle up duplicate content into one search result for keywords outside of local SEO.
You can also build location pages with unique content, but this may take a lot of unnecessary work for little to no extra benefit, so I generally don’t recommend it.
What makes up authoritative content?
To rank and be successful with the local SEO lead generation business model, you have to somehow prove to Google that each page’s content is both authoritative and is locally relevant.
Below, you will see how I normally like to structure my content pieces, which you can essentially copy, replacing the relevant info with your local lead generation niche, and send it to freelance writers.
I like to find search queries that have search volume on a national and incorporate those into my page. I also like to include many geo modifers on the homepage of my website so it increases the chances of the page showing up for multiple different areas. Your headings should be something like this for a mold remediation website and there should be a paragraph or so of text under each heading.
- Types of mold
- How to find mold in your house
- How to remove mold
- Cost of removing mold in X geo area
- What mold remediation equipment do we use?
- Cities we service
- Conclusion with CTA
What else to do:
1. Write around 1,200 words (easily achievable using the format I provided above).
2. Geotag pictures. I like to use the usage rights filter in Google’s Advanced Image Search and pick stock images for each geo modifier that I am ranking in. For example, if I am making a page and trying to rank it for the city of Atlanta, I would search “Atlanta Georgia”.
I would then pick a good looking image that correlates with the geo modifier I am building the page for, and geotag that image using Geoimgr. This is a great way to build local relevance and to get unique images on each local landing page.
3. At least one link out to a relevant and authoritative content piece (do not always use Wikipedia). Remember, this should be used to portray topical relevance to Google, so link out to something that is either relevant to the local area and/or the rank and rent niche you are targeting.
4. A YouTube video (if it is yours and is geotagged locally, then it can be a good little local relevancy boost also).
5. Placing your geo modifiers and your keyword in the title tag, heading tags, image alt tags, URL, and content (including in the first 100 words). Don’t over-optimize, but make sure your keywords and geo modifiers are in your content at least a few times. You can use SurferSEO to give you a data-driven estimate of how many times you should include the keywords.
6. Use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) variations of your keyword a few times (where natural) in the title tag, heading tags, image alt tags, and/or content.
7. Interlinking (if you have more than one page of course)
Fundamentally, Google follows links and that’s one of the main ways it determines what pages on your PPL marketing website are important to crawl, index, and rank. You should think about it like backlinking to yourself, except there is a very high threshold for an important ranking factor: keyword anchor text. That being said, be careful that you don’t go way overboard with keyword anchor text, even doing it with internal links could be seen as an over-optimization (unlikely, but possible).
8. Supporting content using a blog section.
Blog posts can be anything from “Top 10 Thai restaurants in Atlanta Georgia” to even something about how to get more water damage restoration leads for your business. Try to rank these for keywords, share them on social media, and most importantly, to write high quality content so you will have a shot at getting linked to and/or getting social signals. Then, interlink the posts with relevant anchor text to the pages on the site you are looking to rank.
10. Schema markup. Schema markup is essentially structuring your website’s data in such a way that Google is able to understand what it is about. You can read more about it at schema.org.
11. Link out to a few of your important citations and social profiles.
Step 7: Get a GMB and Bing Places Listing (Risky and Optional)
Getting a verified Google Maps listing is one of the best ways to generate local leads and increase your website’s organic rankings. Unfortunately, it is also completely against Google’s guidelines for lead generation websites to verify them.
That being said, Google doesn’t currently seem to hurt the organic rankings of websites that are attached to GMBs that get suspended. Therefore, it is still a reasonable move to take the risk of getting a GMB listing as long as you focus on keywords where you can generate a fair amount of leads using only organic listings. This way even if your GMB gets suspended, you have a backup plan.
You can verify a listing by having Google send a verification postcard to any residential address that you have access to, like your home address or a friend/family member’s address. You can also post an ad on Craigslist offing to pay someone to use their address, this tutorial will go into more details on how to do that.
When creating your listing, make sure that you are using a call tracking number from a software like CallRail, the name same business name that you use on your citations, fill out the listing at least 80%, and that you pick the proper GMB categories.
Step 8: Link Building (Off-Page SEO) For Local Affiliate Marketing and Pay Per Call SEO
Before I begin on this section, I just want to point something out… Contrary to what other SEO’s may say, it is 100% possible to rank without doing any major link building. If you choose to go the route of no link building, all you will need to add is a link foundation (discussed below). If your keyword research and on page were good, your website should rank after 6 months to a year.
If you choose to go the route of link building, here is what I recommend:
A Link Foundation
This includes things like citations and social profiles. As I mentioned before, these should be almost exclusively branded anchor text, generic anchor text, naked URLs, and maybe even some image links for more diversity. To do this I recommend using done for you services like this one.
Note: If you are using an exact match domain/brand name be sure not to use branded anchors on your diversity links, as they are the same as the keyword anchor text in this case.
These are not 100% required, but they can help get your site out of the Google Sandbox a little faster. You can get social signals by running a Facebook ad with a small budget to one of your blog posts.
Once you have built a steady foundation of links it is time to get some strong guest posting links to move your rankings. As long as your anchor text profile is unoptimized, it is a good idea to use keyword related anchor text for these links (if possible). Just try not to use the exact same anchor text multiple times and be careful not to overdo it with keyword related anchor text. You can do manual outreach, or use a service like this one to do it for you.
Step 8: Just Wait
If it has only been a couple months since your site got indexed, it is generally too soon for it to be ranking. In my experience, it typically takes about 4 months to a year for a new domain to rank well.
Did You Get All of That?
I know local affiliate marketing can seem difficult at first, but I tried to break it down into small steps so that you would be able to get everything you’d need to start a pay per call local lead generation business. Whether you are looking to do it though a pay per lead affiliate network, or find you own clients/partners, I recommend giving this a try.
If you have any questions, simply ask them in the Keywords Heaven Facebook group and someone could help you out.
Alternatively, if you want a completely done for you rank and rent SEO website to save you time and potentially money, check out our service. And/or if you would like to see a website ranked and monetized over the shoulder, you can check out the course I did with Chase Reiner.