Rank And Rent SEO: Easy Guide To Local Lead Generation
Why Local Affiliate Marketing?
There is a ton of potential money to be made with rank and rent SEO websites, and the local SEO lead generation business model!
I always tell people to 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 call…
Don’t worry about not being a local SEO expert, this article will go over how to start your own lead generation business by picking the right niche, ranking a site, and selling leads or renting websites to local businesses.
Step 1: Picking Profitable Local SEO Lead Generation Niches
The key here is to pick a niche that is both high ticket and high volume. One example of a good rank and rent niche is mold remediation, because mold damage is a common problem in many properties, and it is generally highly profitable for the business owner. Additionally, I recommend picking an industry where companies are used to the website rental business model or buying leads. You can get a good idea of these local affiliate marketing industries by checking out our tool, or looking in the pay per call section of OfferVault.
Here Are A Few of The Best Rank And Rent SEO Niches That Come To Mind:
- Restoration of any sort, be it water (most popular), mold, fire, radon, crime scene cleanup, etc.
- Foundation repair and waterproofing
- Demolition contractors (pool excavation is a good one)
- Pool contractors
- Almost anything in construction
- Medical professionals (dentists, chiropractors, surgeons)
Get creative! Look for basically anything with a high CPC, then Google “average cost of X” to find what the ticket is. Ideally it will be at least $2,000 for an average job.
Step 2: Local SEO Keyword Research
Picking Geo Modifiers
If you have any experience with local SEO you probably already know this, but If you are just starting out, here is something you should know. A good way to do local SEO niche research is by typing in your keyword + the geo modifier you are looking to target into Google.
For example, “flood damage repair San Diego”. When doing this, I personally like using Keywords Everywhere as a free chrome extension, which allows me to see data on search volume, CPC, and AdWords competition, as I view the search results. You can also use the Google Keyword Planner with a local search filter to find information on keywords in your area. If you would like to learn more about how to do this you can use this guide by Moz.
Important: I cannot stress how important this step is. Try not to pick an area that is super hard to rank for, especially if you are new to SEO. When I first started out, I lived and died by search volume and CPC, but this was a bad idea… Your focus should be keyword difficulty which is referred to as SEO difficulty in our keyword tool.
It is not that it’s impossible to rank for high competition terms, and they may be profitable upon reaching the first page, but I spent a ridiculous amount of time and money ranking these terms when I could have been snagging low competition, high ticket local terms and renting the websites out to local businesses. You don’t have to be the best SEO in the world to make money, you just need to know where to allocate your time and resources.
SEO Competitor Analysis
I like to start by putting some of the top ranked competitors into SEMrush or ahrefs and seeing which keywords they rank for, how much traffic each keyword brings them, and what the difficulty of each keyword is. Then, I proceed to utilize the good ones. After that, you will need to do your own manual checking, and this involves typing your main keyword into Google and seeing what shows up.
The main factors you want to look at when gaging your competition are backlinks, on-page factors, and I also recommend looking at who is in the map pack.
Map pack competition: 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 like that appeared. So even if you manage to get into the top 4 organic results, you might still struggle with CTR (click-through-rate).
You can also use a free tool from SERPs to virtually change your location and get the most accurate view possible. The cool thing about this tool is that it will also show you the AdWords ads that are showing up, so you can get a better idea of all of the general marketing competition for that keyword.
Basic on-page SEO factors to look for when gaging your competition for the website rental business model:
- How many words does your competition have on the page that is ranking?
- Does the content look high quality, or is it just a list of keywords?
- What is that page’s PA (page authority)? You can use MozBar to determine this.
- What is the average domain authority and Majestic Trust Flow of the competing local business websites? (not considering local listings and YouTube)
- Do they have the keywords in the heading tags, content, image alt tags, and title tag?
- How is the usability of the website? Is it fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate? (mostly for CRO (conversion rate optimization))
- Are they interlinking properly?
Basic off-page SEO factors to look for when gaging your competition:
- Check how many links they have coming into their website using SEMRush, Moz Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, and/or Majestic.
- Actually click on these links and see if they are coming from authoritative websites. If the links are all from directory websites, that’s good for you because those generally don’t hold much power, and can be matched or surpassed quite easily.
- Take a look at their anchor text profile and determine whether there is an exact match anchor text for the keywords you are trying to rank for. If there is, and the other factors seem kind of weak, you might be able to conclude that this is one of the major reasons for that website’s rankings, and match it with your links. If the links are all branded or there are very few of them, you can assume that that domain generally has a lot of trust with Google, and that is harder to recreate in a relatively short time span. On the flip side, no keyword anchor text could also mean that you can exploit the opportunity and take the top spot, while also using a diverse link profile of course.
- Do they have social media? If so, take a look and see how regularly they post, how many likes or followers they have, and most importantly, how much engagement they get for each post. You are basically doing a social signals audit here.
- Check their citations and NAP consistency with Moz Local.
Wow… That seems like an awful lot of work… If only there was an automated tool for finding low competition keywords.
Yes there is! We built a keyword research tool specifically for local SEO affiliate marketing, and it can be found here. It will provide you with terms with high search volume that are still relatively easy to rank. The best part is that it is completely free!
Just type your main keyword into the search bar and it will recommend you the best geo modifiers to rank that keyword in. I use it all the time for my own SEO, and even if I had no affiliation with it, I would highly recommend it for finding the best areas for your rank and rent SEO niche.
Step 3: Finding Expired Domains
A key step to starting a successful local lead generation business is finding a domain that already has some authority due to its age and link profile. If you’d like to learn how to find these manually, you can follow this guide. If you are lazy like me or would like to save yourself some time, I would recommend hiring someone to find the domains for you.
You can find my personal resource for finding niche specific expired domains, here. Make sure to let them know that you are using this service for your money site and not to create a PBN with. This information will ensure that they find you a more brand-able domain to eventually rent to local businesses.
Even though they are really good at finding expired domains, you should still know how to double check their work.
What should you look for?
1. 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 expired 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.
2. 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 with LSI variations or non-keyword alt tags (Google will consider the alt tag as the anchor text)
- Naked URLs: If I was to link to Moz it would be “https://moz.com”.
Google recognizes these 4 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 2017 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 weaker 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. If it is, that’s a good sign, but if it isn’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the domain was de-indexed due to a penalty. It might just have been out of commission for awhile, so Google felt it was not necessary to keep the site in its index.
- Check archive.org (Wayback Machine) or Screenshots.com to make sure the website has a clean history, particularly its most recent history. This has happened to me a couple times, so I look out for it now. 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:
Step 4: Creating a Website on Your Domain
You will need to set up hosting for this domain and create some web pages. To generate your web pages, I recommend installing a CMS (content management system) of your choice (I recommend WordPress).
With the assumption that you are using Wordpress, the first thing you need to do is pick your theme. I have found that there are some solid free options out there, but if you really want to streamline your website creation process and make your site look professional, check out Divi.
Important: You should decide how you are going to monetize the website before moving forward. There are two main ways to do this when setting up a local affiliate marketing website.
1. One commonly used model is pay per call. You will set the website up to look like a legitimate business in your lead generation niche, and sell leads to companies.
How do you do this?
You will need to use a call tracking service like CallRail. You can configure it to record every phone call and agree on a price that you will charge the business owner you are sending the calls to. I also recommend you configure CallRail to play a message when the business owner receives a call from your forwarding number. This will add one more layer of assurance in their mind.
How To Start A Local Lead Generation Business
One way you can go about this is by using a pay per call affiliate service off of OfferVault. This will give you a set amount per call, but keep in mind that they may not have every local lead generation niche. Another downside is that you probably will get less per lead than if you were to rent your websites to local businesses, or sell leads.
What Are The Benefits Of Selling Leads Online through A Pay-Per-Call Affiliate Network?
You are assured payouts from the large affiliate company, and you don’t have to have your sales hat on as much as when you sell leads to companies.
The second way to do this is to make an agreement with a business owner. As I mentioned before, this will give you a chance at getting a higher payout per lead.
How To Sell Leads To Companies
Put yourself in the their 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. Charging about 8-10% of the average profit made on a job in that industry is a good rule of thumb. Just keep in mind that they need to be somewhat qualified calls, demanding a water damage company pay you $250 per call for an automated sales call is going to make them not want to pay you or do business with you again. You will need to decide on what defines a qualified call with the business owner. If they insist on putting really strict guidelines for what a qualified call is, then you should charge them more per call, and vise versa.
- Find the average CPC for your main keywords. For example: If “Water Damage Repair” has a CPC of $62.55 and “Water Damage Restoration” has a CPC of $77.44, the average of the two would be about $70. Now I can estimate that this is what local businesses are willing to pay for a click in this industry, but what about a call? In general it takes about 4–5 local search website visits to get a call, so we can calculate that they are paying Google about $70 X 4 clicks, or $280 for a call. Now, because we want to undercut Google by a little bit to offer a good deal for the business owner, let’s say about $250 per 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-Call Partner Relationships
It is important to establish a good relationship with your “partners” (as they are often referred to in the pay per lead industry), but keep in mind that the relationship is a little bit different than that of a typical local SEO client.
It is different because 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 SEO career I was mainly focused on serving clients. This was okay, but between getting all of their login credentials, which 9 times out of 10 they did not have, to 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 prefer any form of affiliate style local SEO over the more traditional client work.
2. The second way to monetize your website is to have the local business owner rent out your page.
How do you do this?
You can use a lightbox rank and rent plugin like SEMeasy or SourceCCS to place the business’s website on top of yours. Keep in mind that this should not affect your SEO rankings as Google will still see the original content underneath the lightbox. This method could be considered a little bit easier because you do not have to worry about CRO (conversion-rate-optimization) at all. Essentially, what will happen is that your client’s website will show up on top of your website when people visit a particular page, meaning that your website will not show up to searchers at all once it is rented out to a local business.
Step 5: 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 local affiliate marketing websites, and come to a few conclusions. At the time that I am writing this article, July 2017, Google is not filtering duplicate content for local search terms. 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, for non-local search terms they generally bundle up duplicate content into one search result, but when it comes to the local search results, Google tends to not even filter duplicate content.
This has created a tremendous opportunity to create location specific pages based around a geo modifier (city, state, zip code, etc) in mass.
Now I should mention that there is a Google penalty around doing this, the duplicate pages may be considered doorway pages, but usually you will only get your site penalized or your pages not indexed if you do this in super mass. We are talking about 1k+ pages in one second with spun content using a mass page creating software. I personally have not experienced this penalty, but I don’t normally create more than 100 or so location pages and I build them out over time. I pick the best ones based off of my keyword research using Keyword Heaven’s local keyword tool.
Overall, my content strategy for selling leads to local companies is to get at least 3 or so unique and authoritative pages written on the topic, and then duplicate those. Now, based on what I mentioned earlier, this might be a tiny bit overkill as it is possible to rank a bunch of duplicate pages, but I like to have at least a few variations.
What makes up authoritative content?
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 3 separate freelance researchers/copywriters of your choice.
As long as you don’t link each writer to the same content, they are bound to come up with 3 unique articles. After the content is generated, I take those 3 unique articles and duplicate them many times using one of the plugins I mentioned above, with changes to the geo modifiers.
Content Structure: Your headings should be something like this and there should be a paragraph or so of text under each heading.
- What is Water Damage Restoration?
- What Are the Benefits of Water Damage Repair?
- Who Needs Our Emergency Flood Repair Services?
- What Equipment Do We Use?
- What Permits Are Required by X Area Before We Can Get Started? Note: May not apply to every niche.
- How Does the Water Damage Repair Processes Work and How Long Does It Usually Take?
- What Is the Average Cost of Water Damage Restoration in X Geo Area? Note: This one may deter some lowballing callers, but that’s probably a good thing.
I understand that it can be a little expensive to have 3 unique articles written. The alternative solution, that has worked just fine for me, is to hand spin 3 different copies.
What Defines Effective Local Affiliate marketing 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 an authoritative piece on the topic and is locally relevant.
What are some ways you do this?
1. Write around 1k words (easily achievable using the format I provided above).
2. Geotagged 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 the geo modifiers + your keyword in the title tag, heading tags, image alt tags, and/or content (including in the first 100 words). Don’t over-optimize, but make sure your keyword and geo modifiers, or some variation of it, is in your content at least a few times.
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. You can use the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress to check your keyword density.
7. Interlinking! We will break down silo structures for a rank and rent websites soon, but first let’s explain why you should be interlinking.
What Are The Benefits Of Interlinking Your Lead Generation Niche Website?
Fundamentally, Google follows links and that’s one of the main ways it determines what pages on your site 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: exact match keyword anchor text.
What is a good way to do this?
On local websites, most of the backlinks are usually coming into the homepage and therefore the homepage usually has the highest page authority. The main concept you need to understand is that you need to somehow link out from your homepage to your location pages to pass link juice and relevance via anchor text. Make your homepage a unique content piece similar to your location pages, but make your title “Water Damage Restoration Contractor Directory” or something general and link out to your location pages when you mention a keyword in your content.
A good way to interlink your website would be to use a silo structure. If you want to learn about silos, read this article by Source Wave.
You could make your anchor texts be city + keyword, but be careful with that because too much of that, even on-page could be seen as an over-optimization (unlikely, but possible). I understand that this can seem confusing if you are a beginner, but keep in mind that you don’t need to get this 100% perfect to rank. The absolute basics of what you need to know about interlinking is linking out from your homepage to your location pages in an organized fashion.
8. Supporting content using a blog section. This is the ultimate in topical relevance, and necessary when learning how to start a local lead generation business. Remember what I said about creating local relevance and niche relevance for each page? This is one great way to do it!
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 your important citations and social profiles. Make sure to put your social profile links in Yoast or some other schema markup plugin to make sure that Google understands that those profiles are connected to your brand.
Step 6: Link Building (Off-Page SEO) For Local SEO Affiliate Marketing
If your on-page sucks, I would definitely recommend focusing on that before moving on to link building. It can save you money and some of the inevitable risks that come with purchasing links (even if you’re doing it in a skilled way).
Alright, so let’s assume your on-page SEO is on point, now it’s time to build links.
Before we get started, I would like to mention that off-page SEO is a good amount of manual work. If you would like it done for you, I recommend using the following multiple tier link building service.
Here’s how it works
I recommend setting up a tiered link building strategy. Please refer to that article if you’re not familiar with the concept.
I start with the safer stuff because it is the safest for tier 1 of your links and it will allow you to build up enough trust with Google to point some more powerful links at your site down the line with keyword anchors.
What does that entail? Link diversity!
This includes audio submissions, video submissions, PDF submissions, citations etc. 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. You can do these by hand, order individual gigs for each of the link types, or order this gig that will do a large part of your tier 1 linking for you.
You should also add some social signals, these includes Likes, Shares, and Retweets, etc. You can do these by promoting your content on your social media pages or purchasing social signal gigs like this one.
If your website is focused on a specific geographic area, and not nationwide, I would recommend building local listings (Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook, etc.) to add a little bit more geo relevance to your website and some link diversity.
If you need a local listings package, these guys do a solid job for a fair price. Don’t worry about not having a specific address in the town you are trying to rank in, they have worked with many people building rank and rent SEO websites and will pick an address for you.
Google My Business/Google Maps Listing and Bing Places
Verifying a Google Maps listing will boost your organic rankings, and allow you to rank your website in the map pack. In order to get a listing verified you will need to have an address in which Google can mail a postcard with a verification code. If you know someone in the geo location that you are targeting, they can receive the postcard for you, and you can assure them that the address can be hidden online via the GMB dashboard. Another option is to have us verify your GMB listing for you.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, and a month or so has gone by, we are ready to start building some more authoritative links.
Web 2.0’s and Google Stacks
What are Web 2.0’s? Basically they are blogs that are hosted on authority websites like Google Sites, Tumblr, Weebly, WordPress, etc. These blogs have a very high domain authority and they are usually good for passing some link juice. What you can do to pass even more juice is to hire someone that will find you expired web 2.0’s with high page authority. My recommendation is to use this service.
Essentially, this is an easier and cheaper way to create a PBN (private blog network) without having to worry about paying expensive hosting fees. Also, Web 2.0’s are generally hosted on highly trusted domains so Google is less likely to penalize them if you power them up with some links.
You can create the blog posts with 300 words or more of spun or handwritten content and links back to your website, or have some high quality ones made for you.
Note: It is better in my opinion to own the Web 2.0 sites rather than simply buying Web 2.0 posts from sellers. This way you are more in control over them.
Google Stacks are Google owned Web 2.0 properties that are interlinked and often embed into a Google site, therefore boosting the authority of each individual property. The Google site is then linked to your money site for an added boost.
You can build them manually, or purchase this gig to have it done for you. This is a great gig because the Google Stacks are already boosted with other Web 2.0 backlinks and a GSA blast, which I will explain for you in a second.
Now that you have a safe and secure tier 1, you can get a lot more bold on tier 2 without the risk of getting penalized. You can boost your Web 2.0’s, white hat links, and citations to give you an opportunity to rank multiple properties on page 1 and boost your money site.
What do you boost them with?
More web 2.0’s, PBN’s, social signals, and even GSA/SER blasts.
GSA and SER blasts are software created links that are generated in mass and are generally considered black hat. I would highly recommend keeping these away from your money site, but you can point them at your tier 1 or your citations relatively safely, especially if you have a buffer layer in between.
Here is a guy that I use for GSA blasts. You can send them straight at your tier 1 or have a buffer layer of more web 2.0’s made by him using these gigs:
As for PBN’s, here are some of the highest rated PBN gigs online today:
- I generally do not like to put PBN links on tier one, but if you can budget for it, I would recommend pointing Hatred’s links directly at your website. Many SEO’s have attested to their quality and ability to move rankings.
- I recommend pointing these at tier 2. They are a little cheaper and good for boosting your tier 1 links.
Step 7: How To Rent Your Websites To Local Businesses Or Sell Leads To Companies
Okay, now let’s say you did all of the things I recommended, or at least the important stuff, and now you’re ranking on the first page of Google for a few solid keywords. Congratulations! But now you’re like, “where is all of the money?!” Unfortunately, money does not just fall out of the sky once you hit the first page. You will actually need to get a real local business to work with.
How do you rent your website out to local businesses?
If you want to learn how to start a local lead generation business, and be successful with it, sales is very important. 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. If you have one, you should include a real lead from a customer’s contact form submission.
- Join Facebook groups based around your lead generation niche where. There are a few big ones for water damage restoration contractors for example. Introduce yourself, including what you do, and your offer. In my experience I have gotten a lot of new work this way. Even if you don’t find someone to rent the page you ranked in a particular area, you may find someone to serve as a client or provide local SEO lead generation services for.
- If you would rather not go with the website rental business model, you can go on a website like OfferVault and find a relevant local affiliate marketing network and offer.
Did You Get All of That?
I know it is a lot to take in all at once, but I broke it down into small steps so that you would be able to get everything you’d need to start a local lead generation business. As you can imagine, all of this takes a lot of time and energy, but keep in mind that this all takes place over the span of a few months.
Alternatively, if you want a completely done for you rank and rent SEO website to save you time and potentially money, check out the following services: