Rank Theory #4

The continuing adventures of Cobbling Four Websites Together Man!

Hello again!

And hello to all the new subscribers 👋 nice to have you here!

New subscribers (or anyone that didn’t last week): if you run an SEO/marketing agency, holler at me. I’m working on a very cool thing for agencies and want to get some feedback. :)

I might tell this email list about it next week if I get my shit together by then (so… no?).


This week’s newsletter is brought to you by:

The portable air conditioner I bought a day ago at Home Depot.

I think northern Vermont doesn’t get a lot of really hot days, but we got two 90-degree-days in a row this week (today is day #2).

Much like how Florida isn’t really equipped to deal with a quarter inch of snow, where we live—just tucked up near the US/Canadian border is not equipped to deal with 90 degree weather with 80% humidity.

So I haven’t gotten much done this week, and was on track to not get much done today, but I went out and bought a suh-weet portable AC for my office and now I am MODERATELY PRODUCTIVE, WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT, as per usual. :)

You Are What Your Eat

Do you love SEO newsletters (he asked, meta-ly, knowing you are currently reading one)?

Do you love getting actual helpful SEO tips instead of the sometimes-weekly ranting of a cynical, jaded internet marketer too stupid to recognize burn-out before it sweeps through like a gender-reveal-party-caused Cali wildfire?

Do you love skimming through actually good SEO articles and not just another “How to Sell Your Boss on SEO” post from an agency?

Well then I have some good news for you.

My friend Nick LeRoy writes a weekly newsletter called SEO For Lunch and it’s chock-full of FOOD/SEO METAPHOR.

Here’s a screenshot from a previous issue so you can see what kind of good stuff it contains:

Sign up here if you want to check it out. (It’s free, big spender). I highly recommend it.

The Most Important Thing I Look For When Acquiring a Domain/Site for SEO Purposes:

Niche-relevant backlinks.

That’s it for this week’s newsletter, have a great weekend!

Okay, expanding on that A LITTLE.

Yes, I want the domain to be indexed (the more, the better), to be low SPAM, to have a sexy backlink profile.

But I’ll take a DR 17 with bag full of niche-relevant links to a DR 50 with whatever-the-fuck general links or the same 119 guest posting honeypot sites.

Sometimes at auction you’ll see a sub-20 DR site going for as much as an impressive 2x or 3x DR site like

It’s the niche-relevantness of those backlinks.

The other thing that is $$$ when looking to acquire a domain or site for strictly SEO purposes (besides all the obvious ones like “it ranks for a bunch of shit” is:

Do a site:search (in Google, search site:domain.com) and look at the pages that are indexed. Are they all about your niche?


But the biggest factor I look for is niche-relevant backlinks.

Now you know.


This Thread About Building a Site on an Expired Domain and then Selling it for Six-Figures is 🔥

This especially resonated with me (on the subject of is using an expired domain ‘grey hat’):

I feel that… though I am explicitly not weighing in on the is-it-or-is-it-not-a-certain-colored-hat discussion. I have better things to do than color-code my SEO wardrobe.

Here’s What I’m Up to With a Site I Bought

No, I’m not sharing the site or the niche…

I bought a high DR site in the medical space that a reader of this newsletter sold me (sweet sweet deal flow. Hit me up if you’re selling a sexy domain with juice at a reasonable price). I modernized the site a bit (it was a live site with a few pages that I think were built in the 1970s) and added a bit of new content.

I’m making a media play tangential to the medical space, so this was a nice head start. Here’s my plan to rehab the site and bring it to the new brand I’m building.

✅ Acquire a killer domain to use as the final brand
✅ Acquire a monster domain with great authority and relevancy (if possible)
✅ Modernize it (if applicable)
✅ Add new content that bridges the new and old topic/niche
✅ Add more and more content about the topic

At this point (where I am now), I check to see how the site is doing with the changes.

What I’m mainly looking for: did the new content I’m adding start ranking for anything? Even if it’s on page six or nine.

If I see that, I can really lean in to the next steps (if I don’t, I’ll add more content, do more aggressive internal linking, do some link building, etc).

⬜️ Add a BUNCH of content on the new topic
⬜️ Really go all out on the new topic, forget about the old
⬜️ Maybe start pruning old content by 301’ing it to /blog or other new content
⬜️ Acquire a second site I’ve built to this monster site for added niche relevancy.

Yes! It’s all about that topical relevance I’m super cereal.

In this case, I’ve acquired a very very small, very low DR site with some incredibly narrow content that relates to this new niche I’m going after, and handful of extremely niche-relevant backlinks DO YOU SEE WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS?

So, soon after I will

⬜️ 301 this second site to the main one
⬜️ Once the rankings really start to bloom…


⬜️ 301 the big DR site that I’ve changed over to my new topic to my amazing domain name I’ve picked up

That’s how we do it.

Now you’ve got:

  • An amazing brand

  • With a shitload of authority

  • And a bunch of niche relevant links

You can rank for any damn thing you want.

So that’s a look at one project I’m working on at the moment, and how I’m using expired domains + domains with juice + a really good brand/domain (you don’t want to do all this work and stick it on a piece of shit .net something something) to build a brand.

If You Work At Google and You’re Trying to Reverse Engineer My Sites From What I Write About Here

Let me help you out.

All of my sites use All In One SEO Pack, on Wordpress.

All of them!

…or do they?

(I do)

(…or do I?)

I hope that helps!


That’s it for this edition of the blah blah blah newsletter salutation like and subscribe don't forget to comment.

But for real, if you could do one thing to help me out:

Send this to someone you know that likes SEO and stuff—even if it’s your sworn enemy, and tell them to subscribe. They’ll still hate your guts, but they’ll respect the hell out of you.

Thank you!

C U next week.