In this blog post, we'll cover the 8 critical ranking factors for Rank & Rent SEO that I have tested over the last 7 years.
Rank & Rent has allowed me to build a $52K per month passive income on the internet. I have over 50 sites out there generating leads every day for small businesses.
Ranking in local search differs from ranking a blog. It doesn't require endless content marketing but knowing how to create a brand in the eyes of Google.
What is Rank and Rent?
Rank & Rent is about building & ranking simple small business websites at the top of the local Google search, and renting them out to business owners each month.
Think of these websites as owning real estate in the most busy part of town. Businesses want those locations because that would generate more foot traffic for them.
The higher you're ranked means the more busy part of town you're in. (The more valuable your site will be)
Having a predictable system to rank your Rank & Rent sites is critical.
Below is my tree service rank and rent site that's been paying me $2000 per month since 2015.
Since then I've ranked countless rank & rent properties that make me $1000 to $2000 per month.
The best thing about this business is that once you master the skills, it becomes so scalable. Just rinse & repeat the process.
For more info on the business, I have an article on 5 steps to starting a rank & rent business.
Is SEO for Rank & Rent, Different from Ranking a Blog or Affiliate Site?
SEO for rank and rent different from ranking a blog or affiliate site because on Google, you just have to do enough to beat the sites on page 1.
With Rank and Rent you're competing with small business websites, not huge authority sites that have thousands of pages.
Local sites might have a homepage and 5-10 service pages.
When trying to rank a blog or big affiliate site, its a completely different ball game with a distinct set of rules.
This means a lot of the SEO tips from a blogger like Neil Patel are meant for a blogger.
If it's Rank & Rent, we have far more efficient ways to get the top rankings.
What Google's Algorithm Values
Google is all about serving the best content, because that's what keeps all of us coming back to use their search engine over Yahoo or Bing. Google makes money from the advertisers that pay for the ad placements.
Traditionally, Google determined the most "trusted" website on the internet by measuring the backlinks. (links from other websites)
However, backlinks can be manipulated or spammed. Hence, the quality of the backlinks matters more and more. Also, Google is putting more weight on user signals.
How long people stay on the page versus other pages (dwell time), would be a good example of Google measuring something other than backlinks.
There are other things that Google is considering, such as brands. Before you try to find the best rank and rent course, look at the following 8 critical ranking factors of 2023.
1. Make Sure Your Website is Titled Correctly
It's amazing how many people mess this up
Site title is the main thing people see when they are in Google search
It needs to apply to what the person is searching for, so in Rank & Rent, having your main keyword plus the city as far left as possible is KEY
The above company did a good job of making their site title very obvious, it's a roofing company in Chicago.
The only critique I have is that they use the word "Roofing" twice.
Roofing only needs to be used once. Add other keywords so that the site has a better chance to rank for more keywords.
You can use Google related searches to find other keywords.
"affordable," "residential/commercial roofers", "contractors", etc
Or you can use Google Keyword Planner to get more keyword ideas
Here's what I would've done for the above site title.
Allendorfer Roofing: Chicago Roof Repair & Replacements (Commercial or Residential) Affordable Prices
Keep in mind that most of the site titles towards the end will be cut off in desktop, but remember, on mobile it shows two lines, so it will show there.
2. Be as Authoritative as Possible in Your Content
Moz did an interesting study that showed "time on site" as the ranking factor.
In rank and rent, you will not be writing like a blogger, but taking the extra time to analyze other sites on page 1, by reading the content and noting where each site did well.
This goes a long way.
A lot of times I'll even take the niche and search it in huge cities like Chicago, Dallas or LA because those are very competitive cities. If a site is ranked at the top in those cities, most of the time, they did a great job with the content.
You can then come up with your own version by gleaming from the best aspects of various sites you analyzed.
As a rule of thumb, you want to provide useful content that a buyer of that service might want to know.
Here are some examples:
- Common mistakes people make when buying X
- What to look for when hiring the company for X
- Other services?
- When is the right time ot buy X?
- The process of buying / replacing X?
- How long does it take?
The more helpful your content is, the longer people will stay on your site and read, which increases dwell time, and it lets Google know your site deserves to be at the top of the search results.
3. Create a Digital Footprint
Now that you have your website built properly, let's now tell Google you're a real brand.
Real brands have social media profiles like: Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, Youtube Channel, Twitter, etc
The more of these you have, the better. My tree care site in Lansing, MI has this Facebook page.
This becomes a digital footprint that lets Google know that you're not a spammer, it goes a long way in preventing automatic GMB suspensions.
It also influences your rankings because Google trusts brands.
There's a few more brand signals out there so we created a quick infographic guide for you guys.
There is nothing illegal about doing this. If you're a bit skeptical about this business model, read my article, Is Rank and Rent legal?
4. Build High Quality Citations
Citations are like digital Yellowpages. It has a minor effect on your site's rankings but it has even more effect for your GMB's.
It's so easy to do, you might as well do it.
My tip is, just make sure you get quality ones.
Some places sell hundreds of citations. I think having 40 quality citations will do a lot more than 200 low quality ones.
The main thing I'm looking for is for my citations to index in Google.
Here is an example of a citation (https://www.showmelocal.com/profile.aspx?bid=18711406) for my Grand Rapids Tree Service rank & rent.
I check if it's indexed by searching the URL after I removed the "https://www."
If that citation shows up in the search, then it indexed and congrats, you got yourself a quality citation.
Common Question: What's the difference between a citation & a backlink?
Citations and backlinks are different because a citation link is considered no-follow, which is a link that doesn't pass any Google bots (link juice) so it doesn't count for rankings.
So why do citations at all?
- Citations still have what's called NAP (name, address, phone number). This helps your GMB rankings.
- Citations give your website more credibility because even if the link is no-follow, Google can still see that directories like a regular company cite the site (so it gives you some ranking factors)
- Citations also increase the health of your backlink profile because you don't want to have just one kind of backlink to your site like blog comments, you want variety, and having citations even if its no-follow, gives you variety. (boom! I bet you've never thought of that!)
Pro tip: Some citations are do-follow links and they are the best of the best citations out there. In our rank & rent program, we've got a running list going.
5. Build Relevant Backlinks
Great content & backlinks, a cornerstone to ranking.
With rank & rent SEO, you want to go after backlinks that are as relevant as possible.
Can you get a blog comment link from a blog about landscaping instead of video games, if you're trying to rank a lawn mowing site?
Yes blog comments work, just don't overdo it.
One of the best way is to do what I like to call the "copy-cat method"
You can use tools like Ahrefs to analyze where your competition is getting backlinks
Try to get backlinks from those same places.
You can even pull up sites from other cities and find even more backlink opportunities.
Sometimes it's a simple backlink from a directory type of site. You just have to create a profile, maybe pay a fee and get a backlink created.
Other times, it's a link that's inside a blog article in which case you have to contact the site owner.
For the above backlink, it shows us the anchor text is "Matthews Roofing".
We simply go to the page and do a Ctrl+F for that anchor text.
As you can see, this is real backlink inside an article (which Google values even more than directory links or blog comments)
Now your job is to find as many of these opportunities as you can and begin contacting the site owner.
Some people offer infographics like this tree service one I made for my rank & rent: grandrapidstree.com
You allow them to use your infographic on their article for a backlink.
You can also just a straight up offer to pay them some $$$ as well.
Or do both.
The point is, getting backlinks is a contact sport, requires being able to email outreach, build relationships & doing it consistently.
In our rank & rent program, we have another way to get backlinks. We call it link circles.
Because we have 7000 students, if you're trying to rank a plumbing site, you can post in our private FB group and gather 5 more students that also have plumbing sites in other cities and form a backlink between each other's sites.
Team work makes the dream work. This is a high-quality backlink because it's known as a highly relevant backlink, a link for your plumbing site coming from another plumbing site. These types of links hold more weight.
6. Updating Content
Google loves great content, but they also love content that's being updated.
In local, most companies don't update content for years, so when you're updating your homepage every couple months, you stand out.
Sometimes if my site is stuck on page 2, I'll go back to the homepage and add some content to it, change out pictures, revise / improve existing content.
I'll also add a few more service pages, or even an authoritative blog type of content about the niche. This shows Google I'm more of an authority than my competition.
HubSpot saw a 106% increase in organic traffic of old pages by updating the content.
Do you have to keep updating the content forever? Not really, I have plenty of rank & rent sites I haven't touched in years. Because my competition isn't updating content either.
However, if you're struggling to land on page 1, or you're stuck on page 2, going back and updating content can put you over the hump.
7. Site Design & Fast Loading Site
Make sure your website loads fast and is mobile-friendly.
Also your site should look good in mobile & desktop with a clear call to action.
No Google "can't see" how pretty or ugly your site is, but Google can see how long people stick around on your site (dwell time)
Put yourself in customer's shoes, if you are checking out local companies, you're automatically comparing & contrasting each site against other sites on page 1.
If a site looks significantly worse than others, you're most likely gonna click off the site instantly judging by the first impression of how the site looks, you won't even read the content.
This is why in our program we use pre-built site templates & web builder called Snapps, which also has blazing fast loading speeds.
One of the common mistakes I see people make is using wordpress for a rank & rent site, it's just so much harder & time consuming to create a beautifully designed small business site even when using popular wordpress themes like Divi.
Plus wordpress sites come with other issues such as getting hacked & slow loading speeds because of using shared hosting companies.
8. Avoid Obvious Stock Photos
Pro tip: Images
Using a bunch of stock photos can make the site look bad. Try to find more authentic images that you can use. If you already have a client, ask them to take photos for you of their work / their crew. Or sometimes if you just dig a little further online, you'll find better photos.
The first photo looks a lot more of a standard stock photo, I try to avoid photos like those.
Pixabay is a place where you can find royalty free images.
Hope you learned a thing or two about the 8 critical ranking factors of Rank & Rent sites.
When done correctly, these sites can stay ranking & making money for you for years to come.
Rank & Rent is much different from ranking a blog because you're going up against Joe the plumber instead of experienced bloggers that's been blogging for years with thousands of pages.
We have a coaching program you can check out where we take students step-by-step through how to start the Rank & Rent business from scratch with tons of support, we also go much more in-depth about different strategies & tools/software to make it more streamlined.