Transcript continued from the Episode 082 Show notes

Chatting with Andrew Hansen About Rankings Institute 2.0

Mark:         I am very excited to have Andrew back on the line. What’s going on?

Andrew:   Nothing much. It’s nice to be here again. It’s always a pleasure.

Mark:         You’re still in the UK, is that right?

Andrew:   Yes. I’m in London for the time being. I just have my parents visiting from Australia, which was a big deal, and we’ve done a little bit of travel around Europe with them. Now I’m settled in and ready to get some work done and stay here for the rest of the year.

Mark:         I saw some pictures on Facebook, it looks like you’re having a good time there with your folks.

Andrew:   Really nice times.

Mark:         That’s awesome. I have you back on because you’re cranking the Rankings Institute back up. My listeners are very interested in this, we do a lot of affiliate marketing here. I wanted to try and get a handle on all this because a lot of my listeners have gone through Forever Affiliate, some were members in the original version of the Rankings Institute, so I wanted to try to get the big picture from you and see what’s working in traffic today, why you’re doing this, where it all comes from. I want people to really get a good sense of what the deal is.

                   And I want to tell them about the webinar, because from what I can tell about the webinar there is more free information in the webinar that you have planned than in some courses that people pay for, so I want to go through all of that. Does that sound good?

Andrew:   Sure. Let’s do it.

Mark:         Once upon a time, I guess it has been over two years ago now, you released what I thought of at the time as the best affiliate marketing course that has ever been released on the internet, particularly for stuff that is targeted towards organic search. We talked about that on this show and some people had success.

When we looked at the people who didn’t have success, for the people that took action and had challenges; where did you see the biggest challenge?

Andrew:   I’m glad you qualified by saying “the people who took action,” because we know that’s always the biggest challenge. The group of people who take action and don’t achieve success, they actually follow the whole thing through and don’t make it, some people might be surprised that’s a pretty small group of people.

The people who got a certain way through and weren’t at the place where they thought they would be financially or with the amount of traffic that they were getting was usually because of a combination of factors to do with the content that they were creating, the niche that they were in, and how they had carried out their SEO.

I have to think back now, because it really is a small group of people. The people who wanted to go further and couldn’t, their challenges were tied up with those three things. There is a lot of detail within those, so I’m not sure which you wanted to discuss, but I’d be happy to expand on any of those points.

Mark:         My thinking is that we’ve talked about some of these other topics around niche selection and profitability of campaigns. To be honest with you, prior to Rankings Institute 1.0 whenever I had problems with affiliate marketing it was always around traffic.

My impression is that after Forever Affiliate you started really digging in on this traffic thing and created Rankings Institute. My impression was that you thought that was where people could use the most help.

Andrew:   I can certainly say this. A big stumbling block for people is when they get started with a site, they’ve selected a niche and it might even be a great niche, they’ve got the product that they want to promote, their site is up, they have content and everything else, and they even begin their SEO. Then they get a month in and things aren’t moving as quickly as they expect.

Most of the time that’s just due to the nature of SEO, it’s the opposite of instant traffic, it’s the opposite of paid traffic. It’s free, but it takes a little bit of time. Quite a number of people who have taken action drop out at that point where they’ve gotten about 30 days in and the results weren’t quite what they expected and they get this idea that it wasn’t working.

I did choose to delve a little bit more deeply into the traffic side of things, probably mostly to see if there was a way that the process could be accelerated for people, to see if there was a way that they could follow that same process of doing quality SEO, build something that would last with traffic and income, but do it slightly more quickly.

I really believe that now doing things properly there are some ways to do that, there are some ways to have the best of both worlds in terms of traffic that you can get reasonably quickly and traffic that lasts for a long time as well.

Mark:         Those ways, as I understand it, are basically the content of this pretty massive – I don’t know how many videos it is now, but it must be 50 or 60 video – Rankings Institute course that I went through for version 1.0. Is that right? This is pretty much everything you know about organic traffic.

Andrew:   Yes. It’s that which I just mentioned, and it’s more than that. It pretty much is not only everything I know, but it is everything there is to know. I was always good at SEO, I’ve been doing it for a long time, I had so much experience it would be hard for me to be bad at it for how much time I spent messing around with it.

But when I met Alex I learned that there were people who were just in another world when it comes to knowledge, because they have experience not just with their own sites in their own niches, but experience with all kinds of sites, making things rank no matter what is on the site, no matter what market it’s in and what kind of strategy it’s required to follow.

So the Rankings Institute is my knowledge, yes, but Alex’s knowledge mostly, because he really is on another level. I doubt there are many people in the world who have a higher practical knowledge of actionable SEO than Alex. He is the reason this course is so good.

Mark:         Since we’re getting sidetracked on Alex for a minute, for people that don’t know, Alex runs a really big deal SEO firm, he’s a cofounder of that operation and one of three principals in that. In addition to all his connections in the SEO world, he has all this amazing firsthand data that he actually gets to see.

The thing that amazes me about Alex is he never speculates about what works in SEO, he cites examples, “We tried this on 100 sites and in 75% of the cases we saw this result.” That’s what was shocking to me. Like you said, he operates in a whole different space from most of us, I think.

Andrew:   It’s true. There are a lot of people who do SEO, and I used to be one of them. You can always look at your own results and what’s working for you, but to be able to speak about what’s working across so many sites, across real tests from big samples from so many different campaigns, like you said, it is another level.

Mark:         The big question everybody wants to know, because Rankings Institute as courses go is very high value, but I wouldn’t describe it as incredible inexpensive. People want to know when they invest in these sorts of things, do people get results when they do the things that are described inside the Rankings Institute?

I guess that’s one of the primary things that you cover in this upcoming webinar, right?

Andrew:   Yes, definitely. I’ve been teaching various internet marketing strategies, various niche marketing and affiliate marketing strategies, since 2007 now. There is nothing that I’ve done  in that time – no e-course, software, or coaching program, or anything that I’ve done in that time – that has made as many success stories as Alex and I have seen from the work that we’ve done in the Rankings Institute for the last six months. I can confidently say that.

It’s crazy in a way. It has passed our expectations by a long way. Even if you put out great information, if you tell people everything they need to know to accomplish a certain result, there’s always only a percentage of people who achieve it. After awhile of making these courses you come to expect that and you live with it as part of the game, and you develop in your mind a certain expectation for how many people might be able to implement this, how many success stories you might get, and everything else.

The last six months, the things that have happened – and you’ve seen all of them – they’ve just completely gone past that. It absolutely shocked me in the most literal sense.

There are tons of different ones we can talk about, but there is a really cool one – and you know this guy well from the Facebook group – his name is Blain.

Mark:         I know Blain.

Andrew:   He’s crazy, but he’s such a cool guy and he has really done something special over the last six months. He joined when everyone else joined in the middle of January and got started probably February by the time the coaching program was underway.

Blain is from Missouri, he’s a welder, and every time his voice comes on the webinar he sounds (to me, as someone who lives outside of America) like the most American guy, he sounds like he’s from TV. He’s just a regular dude, he has this deep kind of goofy voice, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying.

He’s also really switched on. He was a welder in his day job, which he still has at this point, and in the last six months he has been working part time on his SEO implementing this strategy. He started an affiliate site in a big niche, but he focuses on a small subsection of a big market, which is my mind is always the best advice, always the best thing to do. You go to where the money is, but you find some untapped area of that market, somewhere where there’s a new angle or a new product, or something that’s not too competitive.

He did that. He’s slowly just working away on his SEO. From February to March he generated 1,000 unique visitors from the search engines. That is pretty much his first month of operation; 1,000 unique visitors. It’s not an enormous amount of traffic, but it does show that he started getting traffic really quickly for an SEO campaign. It’s not overnight traffic, but he’s hardly waiting for months and months to see any results.

So he got 1,000 unique visitors in his first month from February to March. In that time he made his first affiliate sales from this site. So, it’s not bad. Remember, he hasn’t started building his links yet. By the end of March he has only at about week four, maybe week five through the whole process.

He started making affiliate sales and he hasn’t spend that much money, maybe not even any money on promoting his site. He’s already profitable at that point, which is pretty cool to be profitable in month one. It’s hard to do that in any business. February March that was his result.

From March to July he made $14,000 in commissions. That’s not his total revenue and then he has some obscene costs to deduct from that. He spent some money on link building. I have to confirm the amount that he spent, but we’re not talking about a lot. Maybe he spent a few hundred dollars on building links. In that first month that’s an ongoing cost, as people will learn, but he certainly didn’t spend a lot.

He did a lot of work on his content, he did a lot of work on his keyword strategy, and he did a lot of work improving his site. You might remember we went through his site live on some of the webinars and we did a lot of work with him improving his conversions, changing the way things were laid out, and doing the most we could to engage with his readers to get the best response. By July he has made almost $15,000 and he has crossed over the threshold of making $5,000 per month.

On the comments for a recent video that I did he wrote on Facebook – and this is one of the best things that anyone has ever said to me after following this material – “Now I’m making an extra $5,000 a month. Does anybody know what $5,000 a month is worth to a welder?” He said, “It feels so weird being the success story rather than skeptically watching it.”

Mark:         Exactly. I remember that comment very well.

Andrew:   I love the story because it’s not like if I say to you, “I started up a new affiliate site and I was making $5,000 a month within six months.” You would say, “Fair enough, you’ve been doing this for eight years. If you can’t get a good result, if you’re not a professional at it yet, then what have you been doing wrong?”

This is just a normal guy like anyone who is listening to this presentation. He worked really hard and he followed the thing right through to the end, he had a great niche and a great product to promote, and now his life is literally different.

People listening to this podcast hear these stories all the time and it’s always hard to separate what’s true from what’s just another sales letter. What’s crazy about this is that his result isn’t typical. He’s not like the one guy who did the best out of anyone in this course, he’s just one of the guys.

I know you know this, you know how many people posted their testimonials of the money they were making or the traffic that they were getting in our little Facebook group. He’s just one more guy. So many people ended up with stories like his that it came to be ridiculous in the end, I almost didn’t believe it.

That was a really long winded way of saying that there have been some success stories and they’ve been pretty remarkable.

Mark:         I want to break that down a little bit. It is remarkable. I think you said this is the most successful thing you’ve ever done. And you don’t mean successful making you money, which is what internet marketers usually mean, you mean successful making other people money. It’s just really off the hook.

Andrew:   That’s exactly it, yes.

Mark:         It’s fun for me to be there and see all this, because I’ve been very involved with these guys and you get to know them. As you say, Blain in some ways is not anything special, no different from anyone listening to this. But in other ways he is as special as you can get, because, as you said, he did stuff. He took action, he made it happen. He didn’t have to worry about what to do or whether or not what he was doing was correct, because he had the course he didn’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing. But he had to get home every day from his welding job and do the stuff, do the work. Now it’s a $5,000 a month website.

It’s just crazy.

Andrew:   It is. And he did. He had to not just do it, but he had to keep doing it. He was there every day, he has watched every video, he was on every webinar, he was submitting his site when there was a chance to get it reviewed. He just took full advantage of what was on offer. Those are always the people who end up making success stories.

The material is there for everyone, but not everyone engages with it in the same way, not everyone has the same level of commitment or motivation or whatever else. It’s nice to see the people who do, the people who are completely committed, that’s the kind of thing they can achieve.

Mark:         Today is September 2nd and you have a big webinar coming up and this episode is going to go live today, later this afternoon, and people are going to hear it. Why should they pause their audio player right now and go register for the webinar? Who cares about another internet marketing webinar?

To be honest with you, people that listen to my podcast that’s all they get in their inbox is this webinar and that webinar. Why should anybody care about this RI webinar?

Andrew:   I’ll answer by talking about Blain, since I introduced you to him now. One of the things that we’re going to be going over on this webinar, this thing is case studies pretty much. What I did was to grab three people who went through the Rankings Institute in the last six months and really achieved something special, and Blain is one of them. I wanted to go through their campaigns, their websites, and their success story in a case study format.

With Blain there were some specific things that he did with his keyword research right from the beginning. There was a specific understanding that clicked for him that he talked to me about in an email that really changed the way he did things with regards to his keywords and his content. When he started doing those, his traffic really started to change and his income really started to grow.

What I got him to do – and he is incredibly generous for having done this for me – he sent me the screenshot from his Google Webmaster Tools account for the top 50 keywords that he has that bring traffic and he also sent through the keywords that he initially researched. I’m not going to give away his keywords, obviously, because that’s ridiculous, so we hide the keywords for privacy. But what I am going to do is show people the distinction that he made when it came to his keyword research.

You’ll see when you look at these two pieces of data that the traditional approach of looking for a keyword that has search volume that you think you can rank for and then committing your efforts to try to build the links and do the SEO to rank for that keyword is not something that works very well anymore, and it’s not something that you have to do anymore.

You’ll see from this data from Blain that he has been able to create his content in a particular way where he ranks for many keywords for the same piece of content and how he was able to uncover keywords that were getting tons of traffic that now bring him enormous amounts of sales that no keyword tool was able to uncover for him. On this presentation, I’ll talk about how he found them and then you’ll see what these keywords were like that didn’t come up in his keyword research, that he wasn’t able to find in that way, but that ended up resulting in an enormous amount of profit for him.

The theory and what you’re going to learn in that webinar is that everybody has keywords like that in their niche and there is a way to find them. There’s a way to find these completely under the radar pockets of traffic and buyers that if you create content properly and do keyword research you can identify them, and if you do you can get traffic and start making sales very quickly and easily. That’s just one of the parts of this webinar.

There are two other people with case studies similarly where I’m going to dive into what they did and what I think was a critical part of their success. There’s another lady, a big crazy one who I think is our most successful student. She actually doesn’t post in the Facebook group very often because she works on a number of her sites now and I think she might still have a day job as well.

In the month of May alone she made $14,300 in affiliate commissions. I have about 20 screenshots from all her affiliate accounts sitting in my inbox that add up every single dollar. I’m going to talk about that on the webinar as well, because she did some pretty unique stuff with her content and her sites as well.

This and a number of other things are going to be what we’ll show on that webinar. The goal of it for me is to have everyone leave with a better idea of what’s really working in the search engines in 2014 and some strategies that they can take away and start implementing immediately to see some of that improvement for themselves.

Mark:         $14,000. Now, we’re not talking about new Taiwan dollars or Philippine pesos or anything like that, we’re talking about $14,000 U.S. dollars.

Andrew:   Yes. And we’re talking about profit as well. She said to me that in the month of May that she sent all the stats through from, I thought she was making a joke but she ended up being serious that she spent something like $24 on hosting for a month or something like that. She literally had done nothing else for her site.

She’s not even building links to most of these sites anymore. She doesn’t even have an ongoing budget in that way. It’s just absolutely crazy. There are some concrete things that she did that I believe have been responsible for that and I’m going to try to isolate them in that webinar.

Mark:         That is absolutely awesome. Is it still possible – let’s say that somebody is sitting there trying to figure out whether or not they should go build an affiliate site, or maybe they have a site built out and it’s a pretty decent site, but they have traffic problems. I’ve been hearing all this stuff lately about how it’s too late to start an internet business, it’s too late to get into affiliate marketing, there are new sandboxing rules, blah blah blah, Penguin 7.0 and all this crap.

Is it too late to start? Should we just all shut off our iPhones and podcast players and just go home and just forget about it? What do you tell the new guy out there who is thinking about this kind of work?

Andrew:   Here’s an interesting way to look at it. If you’re talking about affiliate marketing, specifically with SEO now, if you want to start a business and you want to build a big enterprise and you want to grow to $100,000 a month or something like that, I don’t think you should start by doing affiliate marketing. It’s not that kind of business.

For those people that want to do something that doesn’t take much time and doesn’t take much effort that they could start part time with a very low commitment, very low risk, very low investment, and build up to $1,000 or $5,000, maybe $10,000 a month, there is really no reason why it’s anymore difficult now than it ever has been. In fact, like we’re going to talk about on the webinar, because of some very slow, very gradual changes that have happened in the search engines in the last 12 months, I think it’s actually little bit easier now than it has been.

There was a period when Panda and Penguin first came out and they were the most aggressive and the least refined when that was probably the hardest period, potentially. Not that it was terribly difficult, but it was probably most difficult then. Because of some adjustments that have been made now, because of some of the ways that Google has started to finally bring their algorithm into line with the public pronouncements, like make the search engines work more like how they say they want it to work, I think it’s a little bit easier now. It has gotten slightly easier in the last 12 months, I’d say.

So I don’t believe there is any barrier to anyone starting now. There’s no reason to think it’s harder, certainly. There are good examples of people having started only this year, like Blain for example, who have still achieved incredible results and have now built a base on which they could grow very large businesses.

Mark:         Okay, I have taken 30 minutes of your day, which is by now completely consumed in getting the second version of this Rankings Institute course ready to launch. I appreciate your time.

Again, the webinar is on September 9th and I’ll give everybody a link to that in just a second.

Thanks for your time today, I really appreciate it. I hope you have an absolutely fantastic day.

Andrew:   It’s always a pleasure, Mark. Thanks for having me.

Wrapping Things Up….

So that’s the story. Real life examples of people who are really making money online. That’s something I always want to tackle on this show. Andrew is a guy I know, like, and trust. Yes, he has a product for sale right now and if you go see the webinar at the end of the webinar he is going to offer that product for sale. But I want you to go watch the webinar, if it’s not too late when you hear this, because it will inspire you. These examples are kind of amazing and I want you to go see those at http://lnim.co/riwebinar.

Next week we’ll have a little sound bite on from Alex Miller, who is the SEO guru inside of Rankings Institute. He’ll give us a free tip about SEO. He won’t be trying to sell anything. In fact, it’s a prerecorded little tip that he sent in. He couldn’t come on the show because he is the middle of the RI launch, but he was nice enough to send me a tip for our listeners that you can implement in your sites today. We’ll see that next week and we’ll have some listener feedback.

Until next week, see you soon and take care.

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