Mid 4 Figures Per Month from Local SEO & Lead Gen Sites with Matt Stack (Podcast Ep7)
40 votes, 3.70 avg. tacos (73% full)

Welcome to the NoHatDigital Podcast episode 7, where we had NoHatDigital team member Matt Stack on to talk about how he’s making mid 4 figures from lead gen sites and local SEO. Matt reveals his niches, his site structure, SEO tactics and sales process for selling leads to businesses. We get a ton of interest on this topic, so we think you’ll love the episode!

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on iTunes


Resources mentioned in the episode

Matt Stack’s massive calf muscle:

leg big

Geositemapgenerator.com – Geositemap generator now generates the HTML (in Microformats or Schema.org) for your website. Just copy/paste it!

Belisted.org – offers citation packages to help with local SEO.

Analyticcalltracking.com – Call tracking software to help track and record sales calls. Can be setup to email client right after a call has been received.

Twilio.com – Cloud-based communication service provider used for setting up a low-cost phone number for lead gen sites. Integrates with Analytic Call Tracking (above).

5minutesite.com – Tool to generate city and keyword combos.

Freemaptools.com – Find zip codes with a radius.

Usa.com – Find cities nearby major cities sorted by population.



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Mid 4 Figures Per Month from Local SEO & Lead Gen Sites with Matt Stack (Podcast Ep7)
40 votes, 3.70 avg. tacos (73% full)
  1. Excellent presentation Matt!
    Questions re directories:

    When using virtual office addresses, how do you verify, particularly with Yelp and Yellow Pages?

    Do you use your twillio number in the directories?

    My calves are bigger!

    • Thanks Kevin. I usually use belisted.org for citations, I’m pretty sure the yelp listing gets auto-approved when they do it, not sure about yellowpages. I don’t worry too much about some of the citations not being approved. And yes, I do use the twilio number in the directories. One thing you should do before buying any number is google the phone number. I’ve picked up phone numbers before that were used and abused. So don’t learn this the hard way, haha. And regarding the calf comment, my calves are so big that they need to file their own income tax return.

  2. Hi, how do you get your addresses for citation building?

    I do local client based SEO, it’s easy when they have a physical address.

    I’m trying the rank and rent model, I would like to get a real street address to the places listing. I’ve tried a using virtual offices, but that can be expensive.


      • I’m confused about how this works. A virtual office space for citations? How does the company that you’ll rent the page get found on local? Can you explain this a little more and where you would find a virtual office.

        • I’m mostly using the citations for SEO purposes. Search city + virtual office. Use this address ( I won’t tell on you if you use the address without actually buying it) on the citations that you order. I rank an actual website in google to get found for local search terms.

  3. Hey Matt,

    How do you decide which cities to target? If I look at big cities like Phoenix they seem to be saturated with all services. Obviously I would think thats to competitive and to find a smaller city. What is the minimum and the maximum city population you target when deciding to build out a site?


  4. Seriously awesome podcast. Love that you actually gave so many specific details. Thanks for that.

    When you create a site that looks like a company do you file any sort of DBA. The legal implications of business often holds me up. Mostly because I don’t really know the regulations.

    Also do you use any tool when figuring out keyword ranking difficulty. I know tools like Long Tail Pro can help but that only works for nationwide searches, not local searches like you can do in google keyword planner.

    • Thanks Rick!

      I don’t file a DBA. I just put a disclaimer on the site that it’s a lead generation website.

      You could use something like LTP to figure out what cities to target first for a keyword.

  5. I loved this podcast. I just finished the July internship and wished it would have had some local SEO. I have a ton of questions about it. Thanks for sharing all of your info. Btw, I just found an expired domain that used to be a mold remediation company in NY! It’s a DA32. I have plans for it :)

  6. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to this industry. I’m confused about the analytic call tracking and twilio thing. How do they integrate with each other and how does the process work?


    • You get an account for Analytical Call Tracking and a Twilio account. You enter in your Twilio API on your Analytical Call Tracking platform, and you can buy the numbers through there.

    • Nice try Sean, but your flow is weak,
      A fountain of whack ass lyrics, lets plug the leak.
      About your question – I get my addies from a virtual office
      You might be a good friend, but lyrically you’re the softest.

  7. yo yo yo…..

    ….ahhh ive got nothing. Ill leave the rapping to you two rap gods…

    Great podcast, Ive been working on something similar so this has just fueled my fire a little more!

    Ive actually been targeting KW’s that do not have the local places results at the top of the page, there is 3 or more organic results ranking………….any idea whats up with this, and have you done a lead gen site in a similar situation??

    Originally I was thinking that I would rank with links, on-site and content, but now that I know I can throw a virtual office into the mix I can potentially rank for the number one organic result AND for the places listings….cheeky domination of the SERP perhaps…

    • It’s a grab bag with the SERPS for my niche, some have places listings, some don’t. Some have the places listing further down on the first page. I’m not currently doing and places page ranking though.

  8. Hey Matt, I found your web page on reddit, and found the podcast very informative! I am actually also making a tutorial series on my blog to set up and marketing a website without technical skills. I already had phone.com listed as a resource but the virtual office is new. How much do you think is good for a virtual office? And do you stop paying for it after you get the Google local postcard?

    • Thanks dude :) You should be able to find one for around $40-50+ in your area. Just search virtual office + your city. You could stop paying for it after the postcard, but if you ever needed to make a change to this listing, it might trigger another postcard to go out.

  9. Great podcast guys, many thanks.

    Hi Matt – A few questions if you don’t mind.

    When you rent your sites out does the client want to brand it with his logo/name or is he/she happy to just get the calls?
    How many PBN links (assume domains are PR 0-2) does it typically take to rank #1 in a city and/or town for ‘water damage’?
    Do you use a service agreement?


    • I don’t brand the sites with the client’s name or logos. I position it as they get to rent out my site and get all the leads for it. I’ve only ran into 1 person that had an issue with that so far. As far as the links question, it’s going to vary wildly depending on several factors. I use a contract for 1 of my clients. With the others, I don’t use one. I just set them up on paypal autobilling.

  10. Beware of which virtual office provider you choose though, I heard that Google has blacklisted some. One may do a check of the address in Google Maps and see which businesses come up for that particular address.

    • I’m actually not doing google maps/places for my lead gen sites. I just rank a website organically, I’m talking about the address I put on the website itself. BUT, I have heard the same thing before with doing google maps/places.

  11. Hey Matt,

    Awesome stuff!

    Would you be able to share a little more on the emails/promises you’re using to get actual clients to pay for leads? I’ve tried this approach in the past, I got the leads coming in nicely but couldn’t find a buyer (and the leads were solid). Any help in this area would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    • Hey Julien,

      That’s the worst dude, I was in that spot for a while. Here’s the thing, it’s actually possible to close a deal from email alone (I did this on one of my clients- I’ll share it in a later post). BUT, you likely won’t be able to make as much money per month as if you tried closing it on the phone.

      I’ll give you the shy approach. So what I would do in this scenario is use my calling platform to forward a few calls to a prospect. Listen to the calls and make sure I sent over some leads that ended in appointments.

      I would then call a few days later and get the owner on the phone. I would tell him/her that I own a lead generation website and that I sent him/her over the past few days. Give the names and dates so they can verify and ask if he/she was able to close any of those deals. I would then get into a conversation asking how much a lead is worth to them and how often a lead turns into a sales. Just then do the simple math for them (average value of customer X closing % X calls per month) If you could send them $10,000 in business a month, would that be worth them paying $2000 a month for? They already know you aren’t lying that you can send them leads because you already sent some over. Then just ask for the deal from there.

      • Hey Matt, thanks! That makes a lot a sense. That was actually my second question/suggestion. You seem to have nailed the call tracking composent with your app/Twilio. But at this point it’s stil unclear for me. If you do a runner up post explaining in details the setup, costs, etc, I’m sure you’ll end up selling a few app subscription (you’ll probably get me, at least).

        Thanks again,

  12. Matt,

    So are customers ever confused when they call company ABC from your site and end up getting connected to or serviced by company XYZ.

    I love the whole call listening and tracking ideas. I’ll have to be careful though. I live in PA and you can only record someone with permission. Typically companies have an announcement at the beginning of the call that says they are being recorded and you consent by continuing.

    But this wouldn’t likely be played to the company you are forwarding calls to. So I probably couldn’t record until they’ve agreed to a contract and know they are being recorded.

    • It happens less than you would think. Some receptionists/businesses are smoother than others about handling that on the fly.

      You can turn off the recording on the messages until you get permission. You can tell if they got a good lead by the length of the call. And yes, you are correct, some states require 2 party notification for recording calls. It’s very easy to put a “whisper” with ACT that says “this call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.”

      Don’t overthink some of this stuff, it will delay you from taking action (like worrying if a customer get’s confused/angry about the company names not matching up) Just get the stuff going and deal with the problems as they come.

  13. Jonathan Decker says:

    Hey Matt, I have a question about site structure specifically for local area pages. How do you set that up?

    Is it, yoursite.com/area-parent-page/actual-area/
    or is it yoursite.com/actual-area/
    How do you link them together? Just one after another?
    Do you make them as a PAGE or a POST (each area page?)
    Last one, Do you make individual area pages for KEYWORD+ZIPCODE and one for KEYWORD+AREA?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks man

    • I’ll give an example. If I was going after house painting in Dallas, I would set it up like this.

      dallaspainter.com/house-painting/ <----I would put Dallas in the page title of this but not for the URL structure of the page dallaspainter.com/house-painting/small-city1/ <---This links back to the top of the silo dallaspainter.com/house-painting/small-city2/ <---This links back to the top of the silo dallaspainter.com/house-painting/small-city3/ <---This links back to the top of the silo I usually use pages. I make individual pages for cities with volume with the keyword but I don't do it for zipcodes.

  14. Hey Matt, roughly how many links from your PBN would you send to a local site you’re trying to rank in a large US city (1 million+ population)?

    I feel like a light touch is best for local SEO, so I’m assuming less than 15 links from 15 PBN domains. Or do we need something like 30+ for a moderate competition local keyword?

    • I struggle with answering questions like these. While the question might sound specific, there could be miles of difference in our interpretations of it. 1 niche in a city of a million might be super low comp while one is as hard as viagra to rank (no pun intended…I’m lying I said that on purpose) You could mean PBN links that are PA 40-50 while I’m thinking you mean PA 15-20. Your best bet is looking at the link profiles of sites that are ranking in a niche you want to go after.

  15. Great cast :) I do have a few questions which I hope you can help with:

    1) When researching keywords for local SEO, I have sometimes noticed all the page 1 results have the TLD .com.au (for Australia). Would you recommend choosing a domain with the same TLD? Or would a .com suffice?

    2) When building your PBN, do you find it necessary to find expired domains dedicated to your niche? Or is it fine to find expired domains of high value and repurpose them?

    3) Have you done any testing that indicates it is more effective to use the keyword in the title then the domain?

    4) Do you register your business website with Google+ Local and verify the business address via the postcard they send?

    • 1) The best way to know is to look in the actual SERPs for the term you’re trying to rank. If it’s ccTLDs that are ranking, I would go for those.

      2) Most of my PBN sites are unrelated. A lot might disagree with me on doing this, but it’s working for me at the moment.

      3) Ideally I like to use the city + a related term of synonym for for the URL.

      4) I don’t do google places/plus/whatever the hell it’s called right now haha. I might consider doing it in the future though.

      • If you are using an unrelated PBN, then you may be interested in this experiment . It aims to test the level of influence relevant and non-relevant PBNs have on the SERPS. Results so far can be viewed at: http://searchhighway.ca/forums/topic/exp-4-pbn-boosting-relevancy-test/

        I have a couple more questions if you dont mind as well :D
        1) Do you build citations for all your local SEO campaigns? I heard that citations only have an influence on Google Places and offer no benefit to organic listings. Is this true?

        2) Do citations have to be built in moderation so it doesn’t skew your link profile (from your PBN) to much?

        3) If a business chooses a trading name that exactly (or closely) matches the keyword, do they run the risk of over-relevancy. Or is their exceptions to the rule? For example, lets say a new business calls themselves “Plumbers New York”. As you would expect, many local directories link to his site using “Plumbers New York” as the anchor text. What are your thoughts in regards to this?

        • I definitely think having a niche relevant PBN makes it more effective, it’s just not as cost effective for me at the moment. It would be hard to find a a high metric domain in my niche.

          1) Yeah, I do it for all of them, its just super easy. They are definitely going to provide an SEO benefit, they are relevant links. You can also send PBN links to them to rank them.

          2) I usually order a package of 50 and call it a day. I don’t worry too much about the link velocity with that. Part of the reason I order them is to skew my link profile, it gives me some platform diversity.

          3) Absolutely, it’s so easy to over optimize. Especially if its an exact match domain.

          • Interesting… I would’ve thought that citations could easily cause anchor text over-optimisation since they are so easy to build. For example, lets say a business gets listed in 50 directories and each directory links back to his site using his business name as the anchor text. He then builds 10 links from his PBN and points them to his business site. Effectively, his citation to link ratio is now at 5:1. Furthermore, his link profile would be skewed heavily towards his own business name since his business name was used consistently as the anchor text. Is this something to be concerned of? Is there a magic ratio when building links to citations?

            I have also seen businesses consistently rank highly in Google purely cause their business name matches (or partially matches) the keyword phrase. I have found this to be very common in local SEO. Obviously over-optimisation of a domain is bad practice. However, can the actual business name itself be over optimised?

          • I think partial match type business names are fine, but if you use an exact match keyword for the business name…you are begging for an over-optimization penalty.

          • Hi Matt,

            When outsourcing the citations, do you use a piece of software to ensure that they have been submitted to the directories and match correctly with the NAP on your website?

  16. Awesome podcast guys!

    Matt: I’m wondering. If I wanted to do lead gen in multiple cities around the country for one specific niche, would it not be more sensible to do it via one big site, rather than an individual site for each city?

    Would love to know your thoughts!

  17. Awesome podcast. Listened to it a 2nd time yesterday, and I am ready to start my first local lead gen site.

    Matt, I know you are busy, but if you could give me a very brief timeline of your process it would be awesome.

    Something like:
    Month 1 – build site, order citations
    Month 2 – add PBN links where necessary
    Month 3 – Rent to local company

    And I know this is the worst question to ask, but how long does it normally take you to rank for a easy local term? I assume it is much shorter than ranking an affiliate site.

    Your answers will give me a great idea of what to expect going forward.

    Love your work, keep it up!

    • Thanks, I’m glad you liked it :)

      That order is pretty close to what I do, although it might take a little more time. It depends on the niche and city you’re targeting.

  18. Great Podcast Matt. I know that this podcast was before the recent PBN Google penalty. I was wondering if this hurt your local sites and what your plans may be for future link building ?

    • Thanks Derek! My sites weren’t affected at all. I have a decent sized network that wasn’t affected. I’ll still continue to do SEO for local lead gen. That being said, I would like to try out PPC as another traffic source at one point.

  19. That’s great Matt. I myself have lucked out and not felt the PBN penalty, I think the more carefully you set it up the better chance you have of avoiding the penalties.

    Sorry to bug you but one other question for you if you got a minute. When you make your pages, for instance in the sample above Fort Worth Painting, etc., what size do you make them and are they just targeting the one keyword Fort Worth Painting or a bunch like Fort Worth painters, Forth Worth painting companies, etc.

    Thanks again Matt,

    Derek Smith

    • Hey, no worries. Ask me all the questions you want :)

      For something like what you’re talking about, I usually try to target the main keyword. Those examples are all kind of synonyms.

  20. Hey Matt,

    Awesome podcast! I’m looking forward to future posts on local SEO. This might be a dumb question, but I was wondering what you “list” the business name as when being submitted to authority sites, like Yelp, etc. I understand how you’re using the address and phone number, but curious about the actual “business name” you’re submitting?

    Appreciate your time! Thank you!

  21. Hey Matt,

    Listened to this podcast a few times and think I finally have a hold on local SEO. I’m a personal trainer and want to test my SEO skills by ranking my own lead site for my area and help me get more clients.


    I’m stuck on the KW Research. What do you look for in local keywords when it comes to minimum search volume ect…

    p.s. Hoping I can get into the next Internship to really get the knowledge rolling and putting everything together in my head. I think I over complicate SEO sometimes lol.

    • I actually was a personal trainer and huge meathead myself before getting into SEO. For the keyword volume, I usually like to see 100-200 lpm minimum on the best keyword. Unfortunately, you might not get a ton of search volume for personal training in your city. It’s very easy to over complicate SEO, I’ve been guilty of that in the past. My best advice is just to take action, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

  22. Hey Matt,

    What do you do with phone calls you are receiving before your site has ranked number 1 and before you have contacted a client…. Do you just start sending it to them immediately? Let it go to voicemail until you reach number 1? Or do you invest in PPC and start sending traffic to your site immediately… assuming you chose a niche with low cpc and high job cost.

    • Ideally you want to forward any leads to potential clients and not just go to voicemail. You can always send some leads and then let them know later that they came from you.

  23. Matt, thanks a lot for sharing all your knowledge!

    I am getting into a local niche right now. My progress so far:

    – I have already found a partner who will buy my leads (this got me into Local SEO in the first place)
    – I have set up a website with solid content, solid OnPage SEO, a nice design and Schema.org markup
    – I have submitted the site to around 30 business directories successfully with consistent NAP
    – I have set up social media profiles for my site and bought me some followers

    What I am not really sure about is the linkbuilding part. Competitors (also in major cities) mostly have really spammy looking link profiles and I think I can do better than that and should do better than that. I am not really sure, though, how to best invest my money. I don’t own a PBN (yet). My budget is around 1200 $ per month. Do you have any advice for me?

  24. Hi Matt

    Great information, thanks for being real. Could you recommend a good local WP theme? Also do you send bookmarks or Web 2.0 links to your money site or do-follow citations?

  25. Matt and Greg,

    Awesome post and podcast guys. This is definitely the most all-encompassing guide for solid local SEO site rental I have found from searching. I have a number of local sites producing solid monthly earnings, and found myself jotting down notes while on the leg-press at the gym (trying to compete in the calf department…).

    From what I’ve found, there are a few Fiverr gigs that also deliver solid local citation builds (30 for $5), which may allow for faster scaling / building.

    Question for Matt – do you usually focus on a specific city, or go state-wide and target the long tail smaller-cities and just go for volume? I’m currently testing out both, so we’ll see which comes on top for me.

    Again, awesome post guys, and look forward to hearing about more local SEO stuff!


    • Wow, thanks for the kind words Taylor :)

      For the sites, I’ll have the major city as the focus, but I’ll create pages targeting the small cities because they are some low hanging fruit.

  26. This podcast was really good… Is there a blog link somewhere to read more from Matt stack? If not you guys should have him back on, really liked this one!

    Question for Matt… I’m in Orlando and it looks like you have sites in my city. As of today, looking like your authority site got slapped (I’m not in the mold niche, but had the same happen), and I’m curious why you didn’t use the same PBN posts to rank the prominent citations in addition to the emd since they can take a beating usually?


    • Thanks Matt!

      There’s a ton of people doing lead gen, must have been someone else’s. Mine are still holding strong.

      Other people do well using PBN posts on citations. It’s just something that I haven’t gotten around to yet. I’m currently trying to build some lead gen sites up in Australia.

  27. Lee raybould says:

    Thanks Matt and the team. I only found this website yesterday when trying to fill a few gaps in the local lead gen model and you’ve definitely done that!

    the question I do have still though is about the virtual address, I only intend to use it for citations as I don’t want get the site penalized by Google by trying to list it in the local map listings.

    Virtual address companies seem to be few and far between here in the UK, some require business documentation to be able to set up an address and others charge £49 per month. That seems kind of high to me what do you think?

    The route of not paying for the address is a possibility but all the company has to do is search Google and they would find our lead gen sites attached to there business address, isn’t that asking for trouble?

    I’d really appreciate any feedback on this if you have the time as it’s the missing piece of the puzzle for me on a business model that I’ve been wanting to break into for a long, long time.

    Thanks in advance!


  28. Hi Matt,

    I set up a Twilio number and noticed something odd. When I forward the twilio number to my mobile it only worked when calling from a mobile. Ie my home landline did not work when calling the twilio number.

    Not sure if you were aware of this. If you are aware of this issue would love to hear how you got around it.



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