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Top Ranking in Google Local Can Be Rented – Exposes Lax Google Ranking Criteria

Image of a man selling illicit goods, with the words Google search for sale

A post on Diggity Marketing’s blog describes a tactic that appears to expose lax ranking standards on Google Local searches. The tactic is to rank a website for local search terms then rent the website to a local business. The local business can rent positions in Google and collect business leads.

This is What Rank and Rent Is

What Matt Diggity describes is creating a website that ranks for a search phrase, typically but not limited to a local search phrase. A typical search keyword can be Name of City + Service.

Rank and Rent works like this:
A search marketer promotes a website so that it ranks for multiple keyword phrases related to commerce. The search marketer contacts businesses who may be interested in renting the site in order to acquire business leads. The business rents the website then profits from all the business leads the website generates.

This is how Matt Diggity describes it:

“Rank & Rent is a digital marketing strategy where you build a site, nurture it until it becomes visible on search engines, and then rent it out. Local SEO Search engine veterans are flocking to this strategy because it’s simple, scalable and best of all—lucrative.”

Rank and Rent is Lead Generation

Rank and Rent is a variation on the lead generation business model.

Lead generation is the practice of ranking a web page for a search phrase then selling leads from that page. Companies like Yelp and HomeAdvisor are examples of lead generation businesses.

Yelp and HomeAdvisor rank web pages for local search related keywords.

Their business model depends on ranking for search phrases then selling leads from the Google Local Search traffic (sometimes via paid advertising).

Rank and Rent is a variation on lead generation. Rank and Rent rents the entire website and all the keywords that it ranks for to a single business.

This is good for the business because the business can benefit from the Rank and Rent website as well as from rankings from its own website.

Local Search Keyword Ranking

Yelp and HomeAdvisor use their own sites to rank for search queries to sell ads and leads. New Food Economy published an expose revealing that GrubHub purchases domain names that match business names in order to sell leads from those unofficial websites.

As you can see in the screenshot below, Google is ranking GrubHub for the name of the Mosher’s Deli restaurant and then the website also owned by GrubHub is ranking beneath it.

New Food Economy reported that ranking the name of a business is a way to attract users to the GrubHub owned site and when they click the button to place an order, GrubHub earns a referral fee.

screenshot of google's search results


The actual Moshers Deli website ranks in position seven. But that’s besides the point. The point is that even a big brand like GrubHub ranks domains other than it’s own domain to rank in Google in order to generate leads.

Although GrubHub is not practicing rank and rent, it is ranking websites other than it’s own site in order to generate leads.

What Matt Diggity describes is a variation of this tactic of ranking a website for the purpose of generating leads. The difference in the rank and rent business model is that the search marketer doesn’t sell leads, it rents the website itself, it does not sell leads.

Local Search Ranking Easily Exploited?

Early in 2019 a site created almost entirely with Lorem Ipsum Latin language content ranked number one in Google Local search. Almost all the content was written in an extinct language and it still managed to rank at the top of Google local search. Read: SEO Contest Exposes Weakness in Google’s Algorithm

That Latin language site ranked for months. Google didn’t remove the Latin language site until I published an article about it.

The fact that a site written almost entirely in Latin can rank in Google local search exposes a weakness in Google’s local search algorithms.

Rank and Rent is Not New

Rank and Rent is not new. I know that domainers have been renting their domains for at least fifteen years that I know of. The practice of ranking and renting domains for lucrative keywords has been around longer than that, as I know many people who rented or sold domains that ranked.

Read Rank and Rent on Diggity Marketing 

Read New Food Economy article on GrubHub Domain Ranking

Category News Local Search
SEJ STAFF Roger Montti Owner - at

I have 25 years hands-on experience in SEO and have kept on  top of the evolution of search every step ...

Top Ranking in Google Local Can Be Rented – Exposes Lax Google Ranking Criteria

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