Rank and rent is a chance to make money online. The key is to create a digital asset that has value. An online entity you own. And the goal is to generate a stream of leads you sell for a steady cash flow. But how do rank and rent websites work? And how much do they cost to build?
In this article, we take a closer look at the benefits of the business model. We also share five real-life examples. And outline how you can make money with rank and rent websites. Learn how to find clients. And why starting a local lead generation firm is still the best way to generate a passive income in 2023.
What Is A Rank & Rent Website?
A rank and rent website is an overpowered way of monetizing search engine optimization. The concept is simple. Build a website and get it to the top of the SERPs. But spots are limited. So you need to know how to leverage Google. However, once you get to the top, you own prime real estate. Then you can rent your website to another business for a fee and make some serious cash.
How Does Rank & Rent Work?
Rank and rent offers some of the best scaling and monetization on the internet. It's a lot like physical real estate. (But without the substantial investment costs). You own the digital property. Then you rent it to a tenant. But you need to be able to rank your digital asset. So you need to find a good opportunity. And that includes things like:
You can use free tools like Ubersuggest, Google search console, or Keywords Everywhere to research search volume and the best keywords. Plus, third-party software like SEMRush or ahrefs to assess the competition.
With rank and rent, the focus is local rather than national. So it's easier to get to the top. Plus, if you use the leads in advance strategy we teach in our lead generation coaching program. And focus on providing value. Then, it's an easy sell for local business owners. Plus, you own the asset, so you're not spending time ranking someone else's site.
Unlike a local SEO agency client. Who can quit or refuse to pay (Backlinko suggests 44% of small business owners fire their SEO agency). With the rent method, if your tenant decides to leave, you can sell your leads to the competition. And continue to generate cash flow. But once you're at the top, you own valuable digital property. So you'll have business owners desperate to do business with you.
What Are The Benefits Of Rank & Rent?
How Much Does It Cost To Rank & Rent A Website?
Each rank and rent website costs about $500. And while you're ranking your website, you'll need to cover the costs of things like:
- Domain: $10-$15/year through platforms like Namecheap or GoDaddy.
- Hosting: $3-$12/month on sites like Siteground and Hostinger
- Call Tracking Number: $25/month with services like CallRail.
But once your site generates calls, you need to find a business owner. (This is your tenant). Then just like in physical real estate. (Where you purchase a home and rent it to a tenant for more than your mortgage). You act as a landlord. (But a digital landlord).
And the business owner pays for your leads and covers all your expenses. (Plus a profit). So even if you're tight on funds, you can start a lead generation business. Plus, you don't need a $50K down payment. (Like you do with traditional real estate).
Five Examples Of Rank & Rent Websites
Below are five real-life examples of rank and rent websites. Each one is profitable and has created a steady cash flow. Every site has allowed these lead generators to build an online empire. And secure a passive income. Check them out:
I was among the first students to join Dan's local lead gen program in 2014. I was working full-time at an auto parts store. And was living paycheck to paycheck. In the last 7 years, I have built and ranked over 80 sites and have 55 paying business owners.
I started with a commission-style payment arrangement of 10% on closed deals. But I moved to a flat monthly fee within my first year. Below is an example of a rank and rent asset I built following Dan's lead gen training. This site took about 15 hours to create and rank. And costs were around $500 total in 6 months.
But this digital property has been making me $2000/month for 7 years. That's a total of $168,000 (which works out to $11,200/hour) with a 95% profit margin. What I like about the rank and rent model is that you have complete control because you own the property. So build as many sites as you can with your budget. And pick cities with 80,000-250,000 to rank faster with minimal capital.
Dan Klein launched his local lead generation program in 2014. But many people don't know that he spent almost 18 months testing, failing, and retesting to create his proven concept. The pool site below is one of the first websites he built.
Dan was able to get this site to the top of the SERPs and generate a steady influx of high-quality leads. Plus, he did it without relying on paid ads. This site doesn't even have a Google My Business listing. Fast forward to 2023, and this digital asset still brings in mailbox money every month.
3. An Example Of An International Rank & Rent Site
Below is an example of a rank & rent site created by one of our students in Europe. He joined in 2020 and now has over 60 digital assets.
The beauty of the rank and rent model is that it's profitable and flexible. So not only can you earn recurring income. But you can do it from anywhere you have an internet connection. (Our LG program has over 7000 students from Australia and South Africa to Europe and Asia).
Jarrett started his rank and rent business right before COVID-19 in January 2020. He went from a self-employed commercial construction worker and associate pastor in his local church to a $100,000+/year earner.
Jarrett pitched 100 people in his first year. Plus, he built 50 websites and paid off his tuition. And he continues to expand his digital real estate empire.
Chad joined our group in 2018 without prior local SEO or internet experience. And he's a testament to the business model being the best way to make a passive income online.
The site below is his first lead gen property. It's a simple site that he says is 'pretty generic.' But it brings in a steady stream of leads for his paying client. And this site has been bringing him $500/month for the last 2.5 years. Chad continues to build assets that pay him every month. And he says he "can create online assets out of thin air."
How Do You Start A Rank & Rent Business?
The goal of rank and rent is to capitalize on an opportunity. You want to build an online entity that will drive organic traffic. So you need to get your web property to the top of the SERPs. And that's where you'll find the money. Rank and rent sites are about results.
Much like the local lead gen business model, the barometer of success is calculated by the number of calls or contact forms you can generate for small business owners. There are five steps of the business model. And they include the following:
You're looking for a phone-driven business (here's a list of lead generation niches that are some of the top money-makers). Aim for a population between 75,000 to 250,000. So there's a demand for the service without too much competition.
Pro Tip: Niche research is key to profitability. So look for businesses that don't have a website listed in the map section or a lot of reviews.
Use sites like Wikipedia for size and demographics. And third-party tools like ahrefs to check the number of backlinks, citations, etc. Plus, you don't want a ton of paid ads. And you're looking for organic websites that don't have a GBP in the top three of the map pack. (If you need a more detailed analysis of niche selection, you can check out my rank and rent guide).
Once you've decided on your niche and target market, it's time to build your website. Choose a domain name and your hosting platform. When building your site, your call to action (clickable phone number and/or email) needs to be above the fold.
And you should aim for 1000-1500 words on the homepage and 500-1000 for every service page. But remember, Google like high-quality website content. So utilize sites like AnswerThePublic and Google Trends to assess top search queries. Or get ideas for your content.
Pro Tip: Include the same topics found on competitor's sites. Then write more and better content and include lists, FAQs, etc.
And take advantage of a free Google Business Profile (this is your chance to get in the map pack). Verify your listing and fill out every section.
Then add pictures; you can geotag with software like GeoImgr or Geotag Online. And post regular updates and rank your GBP in conjunction with your website to generate even more online traffic.
Pro Tip: Get reviews and publish a Google website.
If you want to get to the top of Google search engines, your rank and rent site needs to have authority. And that includes things like:
On-page optimization using keywords and targeted search queries. You can use tools like Mangools Keyword Checker.
Backlinks-votes that tell Google your site is important. And you can use software like Majestic and SEMRush.
Citations-business listing includes your NAP (name, address, phone number). Leverage tools like Brightlocal and Whitespark.
Pro Tip: You don’t need to be an SEO expert but never buy cheap links from sites like Fiverr; ensure your NAP is consistent.
You own the sites, the leads, and the tracking number. So you can redirect calls and contact forms to your phone and email while your site is ranking. And because you can easily track the volume of leads, you'll know when it's time to start looking for a local business owner.
Pro Tip: Your site doesn't need to be at the top of Google to strike a deal.
By using the leads in advance method we teach our lead gen students. You lead with value. But you're also offering a no-brainer opportunity to a business owner. Because you have a proven concept, they have nothing to lose. And this makes it super easy to sell your rank and rent leads for the best possible price.
The best part of the business model is that you can scale super fast because the focus is on local SEO. And you can build and rank multiple sites simultaneously. (It only takes renting one to start generating a profit).
Pro Tip: Do your due diligence (especially your keyword research). And you can start a digital real estate business and rank your online property at the top search result in as little as six weeks to six months.
How Long Does Rank & Rent Take?
You can rank your site in as little as six weeks. But sometimes, it takes longer. (Depending on a ranking factor like the level of competition, population, etc.). So it's essential to set realistic expectations.
The good news is that your site doesn't need to be number one to generate organic traffic. You can monitor the number of leads with your call tracking software or Google Analytics. Plus, you can advertise on Google and get calls quicker if you have a budget. But the goal is to drive organic traffic because it's more consistent and sustainable long term.
Of course, you need to find a business owner as soon as leads come in. But be transparent if the calls are still sporadic. Or you don't yet have a high call volume. (You don't want any contentious beginning to the relationship). The idea is to build a lucrative long-term arrangement for both parties. So start with the free leads in advance. Then move to a payment plan that suits both parties. You can choose things like:
- Pay Per Lead
- Flat Fee
- Commission On Closed Deals
You can also take the micro-niche route. Here the rank and rent niche focus is on a sub-service. For example: rather than building and ranking a general plumbing site. Instead, create an online asset that targets repairs on the p-trap. Then, include all the relevant information a person would search for and get your site to the top of the SERPs for that keyword phrase.
How Do You Find Rank & Rent Clients?
Your potential customer base is any local business or industry that relies on a steady stream of leads. You can find your clients on Google (look for businesses on page two). Or companies that don't sit high in Google Maps.
You don't need to focus on popular cities to make money with the business model. Instead, build your web properties in locations that aren't as competitive. Then find a company that's scalable and prepared to handle more business. You can find clients by cold calling or sending leads in advance. Or by looking for ads on platforms like LinkedIn or Craigslist.
But you don't need to stand out with rank and rent to get a client because you have something of value. Instead, you're coming to the table with traffic and leads. (This is how to monetize your leads). So you need to keep your pitch simple and to the point. (It's not like pitching clients for SEO where you need tangible evidence to prove your worth your salt).
Pro Tip: If you don't want to contact business owners directly, you can sell your leads to an intermediary or lead broker.
How Do You Make Money On Rank & Rent?
You have a few choices when it comes to selling your leads. And, of course, the ultimate goal is to get the best possible price for your rank and rent site. Popular pricing options include things like:
You need to research your niche and determine the value of your leads. Then factor in how many leads you generate each month and calculate a flat fee agreeable to both parties.
~Pay Per Lead:
You own the tracking number and website. So you can monitor the quality of the leads. Then you can devise a pay-per-lead based on the duration of the call, the quality, etc. But if you want to make a steady cash flow with your rental site, your goal should be to move over to a flat fee as soon as possible.
You get a percentage of the profit on completed jobs. But you need to trust your business owner. And make sure that you are paid your fair share.
You can start your own company and hire a team to run the operation for those online properties you can't sell.
~Sell The Website:
Once your online property is at the top of the SERPs, it's a valuable asset. And business owners are often happy to pay for that value. Sites typically sell for 12-24X the monthly revenue they generate. So if you can find a buyer, you stand to make a good chunk of change.
~Pre-Sold Rank & Rent Websites:
You can sell your site before you build it if you can get a business owner to agree to a start-up fee (a one-time payment). They don't give you additional money until the leads start coming in. But this way, the business owner has skin in the game. Then, of course, you fund a lot of the upfront expenses.
But they cover the costs for the majority of the build. Of course, you need some savvy sales skills for this suggestion. (Like the ones we teach in our lead generation program). But if you are an expert negotiator. Then this is one of the best ways to make money with the business model.
Is Rank & Rent Worth It?
Rank and rent is worth it if you want to create internet real estate and harness a passive income. If you can learn the skills you need to rank a new website. You own a huge opportunity. Plus, once your processes are in place, you can rinse and repeat. And you own the site, so you have full control over every aspect of your business.
Think of it like this: You're creating digital billboards for services actively searched by people daily. And there are 41,683 zip codes in the USA. Each one represents a local market. So you just need to identify profitable niches and generate free traffic. Plus, because you own the sites, no one can take them from you.
And local is less competitive than the global market, so your sites rank faster. In addition, small business owners don't understand the success clues of the internet. So you can outrank local businesses with relative ease. Then you find a hungry business owner and sell your leads to make recurring income.
You hold the golden handcuffs, and your clients know how much money your virtual property makes them, so they're happy to pay you monthly. And even year after year. The internet continues to grow. So focus on keyword research and finding new opportunities to make money with the rank and rent business model.
Is Rank & Rent Legit?
Rank and rent is legit. And it's legal. Think of sites like HomeAdvisor and Angie's List. They're examples of national lead generation platforms. Plus, they've been in business since the '80s. However, rank and rent is done at a much smaller scale. (It focuses on the local market).
And you're not selling your leads to multiple business owners or engaging in a bidding war. Instead, you sell your leads to one business owner for the agreed price. But there are a few things you can do to make sure your digital assets are in compliance, including:
Tips To Keep Your Online Assets In Compliance:
Rank and rent is like real estate; you buy and rent. But it's on the internet. Like being a landlord, your business owner is your tenant and pays you a monthly fee to leverage your online property. (Like a renter pays the landlord monthly to live in their rental unit). All legit and all legal. But you can check out my rank and rent legal article if you want more information.
Why Lead Generation Is Our Number One Recommendation
Lead generation is all about driving organic traffic. But this steady flow of free high-quality leads is more predictable than paid advertising. Plus, it's more cost-effective and sustainable long term. And you own the online property.
So when you understand how to generate local leads. And can rank websites that reach the top of Google's search engines. The result is valuable online real estate. And these digital billboards belong to you. Like this rank and rent website below (another one of my lead gen assets). It took me about 15 hours to build, but it's been making me $750/month for almost 7 years.
They're front and center for people actively searching for the service you offer. So you don't need to interrupt them on Facebook or other social media platforms. Or make outlandish claims on YouTube to promote your offer. And you don't need to worry about algorithms or the rising costs of ad spend.
You just need to learn how to manipulate SEO tactics. And use the right strategies. Like the ones we teach in our lead gen program—five simple steps to building a digital empire. And once you get your digital property to the top of the SERPs. You'll get to the money.
We've shown you five examples of rank and rent websites. They're real assets on the internet. And they generate passive income for people who took the time to learn the skills—individuals who know how to leverage Google. The focus of the business model is on a local scale, so it's less competitive. But you need skills if you want to be successful. And this skill set acts to minimize market saturation.
Learn and implement the formula. And understand the SEO strategy behind the concept. And you can scale quickly to create recurring income. But you can expedite the process if you connect with a local lead gen coaching program. And learn from others' mistakes with access to a complete guide to success. The internet continues to grow and evolve. So there will always be new and unique opportunities to make money online. But if you have the skills, you hold the key to passive income.