To get started, I built a site in the home services niche (plumber), in one of America's 20 biggest cities. In a few weeks, I had it ranking on the first page, and in a few months, I had it to the #2 organic position. It has since been #1 for a few weeks at a time, then back to #2, then back to #1, etc. I have not tried to rent it out yet, as I want to make sure I know what I'm doing.
However, organic rankings are now appearing below 3 to 7 huge GP listings which take up most of the monitor, which means it might as well be on page 2. On a good day, I get 1 or 2 clicks, whereas I used to get 10 a day before the massive changes to GP.
I've recently bought a few courses on ranking in GP. However, there are a ton of necessary tasks that aren't really feasible for a URL that isn't owned by a business. Getting several dozen reviews, having an actual physical address that's not a UPS store, etc.
Has Google just killed my plan for renting local biz sites?
Is there a way around this Google focus on GP that still allows for the rent a site model?
I'm feeling very discouraged right now, frankly.
Any feedback, ideas, suggestions, etc., are greatly appreciated!