How ‘Best Places To Live’ Profits From Their 2.2 Million Monthly Visitors

Formerly known as Sperling’s Best Places, Best Places to Live was founded by author and researcher Bert Sperling in 1985 as a computer program called “Places, USA” with the aim of helping people find the best place to live in the USA, based on their requirements and activities.

Sperling has now produced the website which includes lots of information on the cost of living, crime rates, schools and climate.

The site includes powerful tools that help people to search and compare cities to find the ones that would suit them best.

Bert Sperling now heads up a team of 7 people, passionate about helping their readers find the best places to live.

How Much Traffic Does Best Places To Live Get?

According to Ahrefs, Best Places To Live has grown steadily and now gets more than 2 million visitors every month, 95% of them from the USA.

author and researcher

Most of’s traffic comes from search and all of its search traffic is organic. The site doesn’t use paid search so it’s all from free traffic sources.

Social is a relatively small source of Best Places To Live’s traffic, but it’s interesting to see where their social traffic comes from:

According to SimilarWeb, gets more than 70% of its social media traffic from Reddit, where it is often cited as an authoritative source of information about cities and states.

Which Keywords does Best Places To Live Target?


As you can see from this Ahrefs list of top keywords, Best Places To Live gets much of its traffic from searches for city names.

These are not easy terms to rank for – is able to rank for them because it has built a reputation for expertise and high-quality data over time, so Google knows it will deliver a quality result.

You can also see two very high-difficulty “cost of living” terms sending traffic to the cost of living calculator page.

It’s often worth developing tools and calculators if your niche is suitable, as they attract a lot of links and can deliver significant traffic.

Which Pages Get The Most Traffic?

If we look at the pages getting the most traffic via Ahrefs, we see something interesting:


Several of the high-traffic pages are cost-of-living pages.

This shows the importance of having timely content – everybody’s thinking about the cost of living right now, so there’s great traffic potential which Best Places To Live is able to take advantage of.

Best Places To Live’s expertise has earned them some excellent backlinks.

search traffic

Notice the powerful DR 94 backlinks from authority sites like The New York Times and Forbes that are helping the site rank well on Google.

What Does Best Places To Live Do Well?

Best Places to Live is more than just a website.

The team have made a big effort to deliver their content in many different ways to suit the reader.


  • Website
  • Podcast
  • YouTube Channel
  • Discord Channel
  • App
  • Tools and Calculators
  • Quiz

As well as all the usual social media channels.

This helps to build brand awareness and authority as more people become aware of the quality information and research they provide.

How Does Best Places to Live Make Money?

Monetisation is clearly something that the Best Places To Live team (especially “Chief Revenue Officer” Michael T. Kehoe) have put a lot of effort into.

Here’s how the site is monetised:

  • Display Advertising
  • Premium Subscription
  • Data Downloads
  • App with In-App Purchases
  • Requesting Donations
  • A Board Game
  • Consulting
  • Creating Custom Reports for Major Brands
The New York Times

What Can We Learn from Best Places to Live?

Here are three things online business owners can learn from Best Places To Live:

1. Best Places to Live has built up authority and expert status over many years. This allows them to rank for difficult keywords.

2. They deliver content in many different ways to provide value in whatever way suits their audience best.

3. They’ve put a lot of thought and effort into monetisation – (how many other sites can you think of that have their own board game?). This has allowed them to maximise the revenue from the traffic they’re getting.

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