The Rankings Institute Review

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the The Rankings Institute series

The Rankings Institute

As a Forever Affiliate student, I was extremely excited when I heard about The Rankings Institute! It’s an 8 week coaching program by Andrew Hansen and Alex Miller, focusing on post-Panda and Penguin SEO techniques to increase rankings, traffic, and conversions.

The Rankings Institute coaching program has limited spots available and is closing on January 31st at midnight ESTclick here to join before the time is up or all spots are filled.

What Kind Of Results Can We Get With The Rankings Institute?

To see the kind of results that can be obtained using the techniques Andrew and Alex teach in this program, I recommend watching this webinar replay. It’s almost 2 hours long though, so here are the highlights and where to find them in the video:

  1. Why there is such a big opportunity for free traffic in Google right now: at 9 mins 59 secs
  2. The site that went 0 to $8,833.99 in 60 days: at 18 mins 45 secs
  3. The technique to use to rank each piece of content for 30-50 targeted keywords: at 20 mins 38 secs.
  4. The site that pulled $3.5k from free traffic out of thin air within 2 weeks: at 32 mins 56 secs.
  5. Why 90% of sites are making at least 1 of 5 crucial errors with their site structure that Google is using to hold back their traffic: at 34 mins 50 secs.
  6. The site that added $100k new revenue in 8 weeks: at 45 mins.
  7. What it would take to add $50k/year to your business with free traffic: at 1 hour 40 secs.

Andrew also recorded a short 4 minute video inside his Google Analytics and affiliate accounts for one of his test sites, so we could see proof of his stats and earnings – you can watch that here. And here is another short video about one of his students that made over $2500 in January 2014 using these techniques.

What Qualifies These Guys To Teach SEO?

SEO is a difficult skill to master, and Google is becoming more and more strict. One wrong move could make your site disappear from the rankings completely, so I’m wary of following just anybody’s advice on this subject. Let’s take a look at what makes these guys qualified to teach us SEO.

Who Is Andrew Hansen?

Andrew Hansen - The Rankings InstituteAndrew is a 27 year old Super Affiliate who began working online 8 years ago. He started out as a poor student, living with his parents while trying to earn an income online. Like most of us, he bought expensive courses, got scammed by “gurus”, and after the first year had lost more money than he had made.

When things finally “clicked” for him, he built his business to 7 figures a year within 5 years. He also coached others to 5 figures a month using only free traffic methods.

Andrew has a great reputation in the internet marketing industry, and is known for producing high quality products. His latest course (before The Rankings Institute) was Forever Affiliate, which I bought and reviewed on this blog. I was so impressed with that course, and learnt so much from it, that I was very eager to find out what more I could learn from him.

Who Is Alex Miller?

Alex Miller - The Rankings InstituteFor the Rankings Institute training program, Andrew is partnering with Alex Miller – an SEO expert and consultant to SEO agencies. That means he teaches professionals what they’re doing wrong – he’s basically the Sherlock Holmes of SEO ;)

Alex has helped his clients generate literally millions of dollars from free search engine traffic in the last 3 years. He has also created and promoted more than 400 of his own websites in some of the most competitive markets in the world – like credit cards, weight loss, etc. – markets where the rest of us wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ranking.

Alex has also fixed hundreds of sites that were penalized by the Panda and Penguin updates, and in this coaching program he will teach us how to do the same – and also what to do so that we don’t get penalized in the first place!

What Is Included In The Rankings Institute?

So what is included in this training program? First of all, there are no upsells, so everyone who joins will get everything listed below.

  • An 8 week coaching program with almost 100 step-by-step training videos.
  • Live weekly coaching calls: We’ll get 2-3 hours each week to show Andrew and Alex our sites, ask them questions, and get instant feedback. They’ll watch our progress and push us through each step so we can’t fail. It’s a small group so privacy is high.
  • Direct access to Andrew and Alex via personal email (instead of just a support desk), where they will reply to us on ANY matter.
  • High powered, fast acting link building package worth over $120 – FREE for each member.
  • Access to Andrew and Alex’s personal outsource staff who can complete any part of the process we don’t want to do.
  • An exclusive forum & Facebook group where we can meet other internet marketers and share ideas, insights, and tips
  • Our own private “Inner Circle“: a small group of 10 people at the same level as us that we can join, so we can network, motivate each other, keep accountable and succeed together.
  • Ongoing support until we’re earning $1000 new dollars per month from search traffic.
  • Lifetime access to the center, member’s club, and community.
  • 30 day money back guarantee

  • Click Here to Join Now

I think the coaching and community are really going to help me a lot – I never spring for coaching when it’s available, and then I tend to run out of steam partway through the courses I do. This time if I want to join I don’t have a choice, and for me it’s a good thing – direct access to Andrew and Alex will get me any help I need before any questions I have turn into obstacles that impede my progress, and the community will keep me motivated and focused on my goals.

Andrew kindly gave me early access to the first 3 modules of the Rankings Institute so that I could review them for you. However, that’s not going to affect what I write here – if you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you know I don’t keep quiet if I find something I don’t like! ;)

I will also include differences between Forever Affiliate and The Rankings Institute, for those of you who – like me – already bought the previous course and are wondering if the new one is different enough to justify the purchase. Let’s begin!

Module 1 – Killer Keyword Research

Module 1 is the “Keyword/Profitability Audit”. The goal of this module is to identify the most profitable keyphrases in your market that you can feasibly rank for in Google. This module has 12 videos and is over 3.5 hours long.

Conversion Over Traffic

The first way this training differs from Forever Affiliate (FA from now on) is that it assumes you have already chosen a niche and jumps straight into finding related keywords.

The second way it differs is that the minimum amount of traffic necessary for each keyword is much less. This is because Alex focuses much more on conversion than he does on traffic. For example, Alex set up a niche site with a high-ticket item that only gets about 3-5 visitors each day, but it made over $10,000 in a 3 month period thanks to the high conversions (and high price).

Click here to watch the webinar replay and find out more info about this site, and about a few other sites Andrew showed us that were able to achieve crazy increases in sales thanks to these methods.

Hundreds of Keywords Your Competitors Don’t Know About

Alex shows us his method for finding keywords that you won’t normally find in Google Planner (or tools like Market Samurai that get their keywords form there). His method is actually kind of similar to how I do it, but he has one or two extra steps that give him hundreds more keywords than I’ve been getting!

This method can be done with either free or paid tools – for this part you really don’t need the paid software because the free method is just as quick.

Alex says the free method is slower because you need to select all the keywords manually, and if that were true it would indeed take days or weeks (and maybe give you carpal tunnel syndrome in the process) but luckily there’s a “select all keywords” button. Unfortunately it’s kind of camouflaged and only appears after the search, which is probably why Alex didn’t see it. I let him know, so it’s possible the video will be updated before launch.

Hidden Keywords You Wouldn’t Have Thought Of

There is also a video for learning how to get hidden keywords from your competitors. This method uses a paid tool that is a bit expensive if you’re on a small budget, but you can sign up for a free 2 week trial (I posted the link in the member’s forum) – even if you’re working on multiple sites at once I don’t think you’ll need it for more than a day.

In the video Alex used this method to find keywords that I would never have thought of – which could then be used with the previous keyword research methods to get even more related terms from those keywords. Don’t skip this step or you might miss out on some great opportunities!

The Cream of the Crop

Using these techniques, you end up with a ton of keywords, so Alex teaches us how to narrow down our list by finding the best terms, and identifying which ones we have a chance of ranking for.

The assessment of the competition level is similar to the FA method, and can be done with a free tool or with paid software. But even though I usually prefer using free methods as much as possible, the Rankings Institute keyword research method generates hundreds more keywords than the FA method, so in my opinion the paid software is the only way to go this time.

If you choose the free method you have to manually check 10 sites for each of your hundreds of keywords – each site will have multiple factors to evaluate, and then you have to make a final decision for each keyword, taking all those factors for all 10 sites into account. This would take weeks or even months. I definitely don’t have the time or the patience for that, especially not when the paid software will do all that work for me in about 30 minutes!

At first you won’t need to buy the software though – instead you can get a 3-day trial for $7, and that should be more than enough time to do the keyword research for a whole bunch of sites.

Divide and Conquer

Even after you have narrowed down your list to include only the best keywords, there will still be a lot of them. So next Alex teaches us how to group and target them, so that we don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer number of keywords to go after.

In the last video we learn how to write effective, compelling articles that target a whole group of terms, so that each piece of content can rank for 30-50 keywords! The video also includes examples of good and bad articles, which is very helpful.

Module 2 – Creating Sites That Google Loves

Module 2 has 11 videos and is over 3 hours long – it covers on-site SEO which you can apply to new sites as well as existing sites.

There’s a lot of technical stuff, but Alex shows us how to do everything step-by-step in the videos. He has fixed 200-300+ sites penalized by Panda and helped them rank at the top of the SERPS again, so he really knows his stuff.

Google Panda and Penguin updates

The goal of this module is to optimize your site so that it’s clean, efficient, and free of errors. Having only high quality pages in Google’s index will minimize Panda penalties, which will also increase rankings and boost the power of any links pointing to your sites.

Alex says 99% of our competitors will not be applying these techniques, and that even the biggest agencies are not doing this correctly. And we only need free tools to do it!

As I was going through this module, I used the techniques I was learning on this blog – and discovered I actually have a lot of low quality pages indexed in Google! This was a bit shocking, because all my content is original and I didn’t know I actually had any low quality pages on this site. But a lot of these pages are automatically generated by WordPress, so even if all your posts are original you might still have a low quality score.

I also used these techniques on one of my websites that disappeared from the rankings awhile ago, and found out that Google thinks it’s a scraper site, even though it was all original content! No wonder traffic to that site dropped to almost zero!

Alex shows us 2 ways to fix these problems – one is quick and easy, and the other will take time (or money if you outsource it). But it will save you time and money in the long run, because you won’t be building links to a site that can’t benefit from them because of Panda penalties you didn’t even know you had!

Module 3 – Turning Your Site Into A Conversion Monster

Module 3 has 8 videos that are about 1hour 45mins long in total, and teaches what modifications to make on our sites to increase our conversions, and how to get visitors to buy more from our sites.

In the first video Alex shows us a free tool we can use to identify certain problems on our websites that can indirectly affect our conversions. I would have liked if he had also showed us how to fix those problems, but he says he just gives the list to his developers.

That’s not very helpful for those of us who don’t have developers, but it’s probably safer that way. We can find out how to fix some of these things with a simple Google search, but others sound more complicated and I’d be worried about messing something up if I tried to fix them on my own.

The course does include access to outsource staff, so I’ll probably give the more difficult things to them to fix.

The next technique Alex teaches us is easy and quick, and uses a free plugin. I’m actually already using this plugin on some of my sites, though I installed it for a completely different reason. Good to know that using it also increases my quality score, and could save me a loss of earnings thanks to the automatic warning it will send me if this happens again in the future! From now on I’ll be installing it on all my sites.

The third technique is something I’m already doing on all my sites, but if you’re not you should definitely start immediately. I’m using a different plugin for this, but I think I’ll switch over to the one Alex uses here.

Next is something I’ve known I was supposed to do for a long time, but I’m lazy and don’t do it very often. And it turns out then even when I did do it, I’ve been doing it wrong! There’s also a very good tip in this video that I’ve never come across before.

The last video in this module contains 6 crucial conversion techniques. I’m doing one or two of them already, but I need to start doing the others ASAP. In this video Alex actually revealed 2 of his old sites to show us examples of how to increase conversions.

Note: I have not had a chance to review modules 4-8 – they will only be available to members in a few weeks, and by then it will no longer be possible to join The Rankings Institute. However, I thought you would like to know what’s covered in each modules, so below I’ve added the descriptions below. Click here to watch the webinar replay for more details.

Module 4 – Fast Traffic Techniques

  • How to start generating free targeted visitors in under a week.
  • How to own page 1 of your most profitable keywords by ranking multiple pages.
  • How to do all backlinking and promotion from one convenient location.
  • How to diversify your free traffic so you have visitors coming from many sources at once and don’t just rely on one.
  • The web 2.0 sites most people don’t know about, that can rank in days.

Module 5 – New School, High Powered Link Building

  • Philosophy of dominant link building: How to rank for more keyphrases with less work.
  • How to get traffic with a small number of backlinks.
  • How to do link building and promote many sites totally hands off.
  • Step by step link building plan to make any site rank: Copy these 5 steps.
  • How to build links that Google loves.
  • How to get private high powered backlinks that most people will never have access to.

Module 6 – Ongoing Hands Off Link Building

  • How to analyze and proceed link building based only on where profit is coming from.
  • Step by step strategy for putting ongoing link building on auto-pilot.
  • How to build 3 kinds of “super links” your competitors won’t even bother with.
  • How to use data to uncover “hidden” keywords that are bringing you traffic, to scale up and keep profiting.
  • How to easily link to multiple websites and grow multiple profit streams at once – without all the hassle.

Module 7 – How To Scale Search & Keep Growing

  • How to expand traffic in your most profitable keyword segments.
  • How to take over keyword areas that your competitors currently own.
  • How to boost sales without even getting new visitors.
  • Underground techniques for knowing exactly which keywords are bringing you sales, and ramping up your traffic for them.
  • How to keep finding and capitalizing on new keyword segments before your competitors do.

Module 8 – Ninja Module

  • We can’t even talk about what happens in Module 8…

Lol, I literally laughed out loud at the last one! Can’t wait to find out what’s in there!


So, how much does The Rankings Institute cost? The price is a one-time payment of $997, or 4 monthly payments of $297. If that is a bit out of your budget, there is also the option of 13 monthly payments of $97 – but note that the longer your payment plan, the more you pay in the end. I chose the one-time payment since it’s over $260 cheaper than the monthly option.

It’s more than I’ve ever paid for a course before, and at first I wasn’t sure if I would join. But I took the leap and invested in it because SEO and backlinking are skills I really need to improve, and I trust Andrew to release top quality training. But the coaching with 2 experts, ongoing support, lifetime access, and 30 day guarantee certainly didn’t hurt either ;)

If you also think this training program is just what you need, then go ahead and join below – I look forward to seeing you on the inside!

If not, then I recommend you watch the webinar replay anyway for the free tips. Andrew shared a ton of great info, and even gave away a few techniques from the course.

Click Here to Claim Your Last-Minute Spot in The Rankings Institute

Series NavigationThe Rankings Institute Bonus >>

Join My Newsletter

Enter your email address below to get
free tips and exclusive downloads!


  1. Priscilla,

    Another great post! Sounds like Andrew has produced another winner. Have already signed up for the webinar on the 21st.
    Any Ideas on the price point yet for the package?
    Hopefully it will be in line with his past products.
    See you at the webinar.


    • Hi Alan,

      The coaching and other stuff isn’t a separate upsell this time, so it’s going to cost $997 for everything included. There will also be payment plans for people who want to pay in smaller installments, which is probably what I will do.

      It’s more than I’ve ever invested in a course before, and at first (before I knew about the payment plans) I wasn’t sure if I would buy it. But I think I really need the coaching and community aspect of it to keep focused and motivated, and from what I’ve seen so far of the training I think it’s going to be worth it :)

      Edit: I’ve updated the review with the prices. In the end I chose the one-time payment since it was so much cheaper.

  2. Hai, Does he teach you how to build a site and find a product for bigners or should i buy the FA cours of doesn’t it work affective in 2014


    • Hi Jona,

      No, The Rankings Institute is focused mainly on SEO and traffic generation, though it also has a great module on keyword research.

      But Forever Affiliate has exactly what you are looking for and still applies now. Only one of the backlinking techniques had to be slightly modified from the original method, and Andrew emailed us all to let us know when it happened.

      Hope this helps :)

  3. Hai, i am a beginner in affiliate markt en building sites do you take i can make money stil with it ? could you send the mail?


    • Hi Jona,

      I’m not sure if you saw my reply to your previous comment or not, but if you need to learn how to build a site and find a product then I think Forever Affiliate is a better choice for you because it covers those 2 areas in detail. The Rankings Institute doesn’t cover that – in my view it’s more of a sequel to Forever Affiliate, with advanced SEO and traffic techniques.

      Of course if you learn how to make a website elsewhere (even YouTube) then you can use the method taught in the keyword module of The Rankings Institute to see if products will be profitable and easy to rank for or not, and then the rest of the techniques in The Rankings Institute to improve your SEO, traffic, and conversions. And if you get stuck there is always the forum or you could ask Alex or Andrew directly, since access to them for coaching is included in the course.

      Edit: In the webinar someone asked Andrew if beginners can join, and he said yes – that beginners are actually one of the three categories of people he wants to try these techniques. So I’ve added a WordPress guide to my bonuses to help any beginners who want to join :)

  4. Hey Priscilla

    I bought the forever affiliate coaching program and had 3 sites all making sales. I tried to get them to rank higher but because I did some bad seo they all tanked which made me give up for a while. I think this is what I need to start over again and learn seo the proper way and hopefully get my sites to rank without being slapped by google.

    • Yeah, this might be just what you need. I was so excited when I heard Alex had fixed so many sites that were penalized! I had thought that once they were slapped there was no way to recover them – glad I was wrong about that :)

  5. Do you know if there will be a webinar replay?

  6. Hai, i think i am gonna buy FA because i am a starter and if i made enough money i wil upgrade to the new cours, i hope i can still make money with FA?


    • Yes, you can still make money with Forever Affiliate. I think it’s the right choice for you – FA is an affiliate marketing training program, while TRI is an SEO coaching program. However, you won’t be able to upgrade later to The Rankings Institute, because it closes to new members on 31 January 2014.

  7. Great review! I was a member of FA and had built my first successful site that was bringing in close to $1,000 a month. After years of struggle and inconsistent sales to say I was excited is an understatement. Well of course that all changed on Oct 4th. I don’t know if it was Penguin or Panda (whichever one deals with backlinks most likely), but it was gone. What’s worse is the site that is now #1 is a comeplete sham. It’s pure spun barely readable garbage whereas mine was unique and high quality. I know I need this course, but I am close as hell to being 100% debt free and that is my priority.

    I do have a quick question though. I must have missed his email, but you said he let FA members know that one of the SEO methods was no longer to be used? Which method was he referring to? While I love FA I do wish he would update more of the members area and not rely solely on email as sometimes I miss them.

    Currently my back linking has been quality articles on Web 2.0 sites with blog comments (from as relevant sits as I can find) a YouTube video backlink, high PR Press Release and some articles and social bookmarking.

    Do you think anything of what I am doing is hurting me as of today? I appreciate the help. I wish I could get this course, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to put on hold me getting out of debt. I just know, from being IM long enough, this won’t be his last course lol. He makes way too much money to stop helping others and I truly mean help. He is one of a very few legitimate gurus you can find.


    • Hi James,

      The email I was referring to was the one he sent on 13 August 2013. It’s not that we can’t use one of the methods anymore, it’s just that we need to slightly change the way we use it. You’ll see when you read the email ;)

      From the date your site dropped from the rankings, it sounds like the update that affected your site might have been Google Hummingbird. The Hummingbird update is actually one of the main reasons that Andrew and Alex have been able to rank each article on their sites for 30-50 keywords.

      Unfortunately I’m not an SEO expert so I can’t be sure if any backlinking you’re doing is affecting your sites negatively. It all sounds ok to me, but I guess it depends on the number of backlinks, the frequency, the anchor text, the sites you’re getting them from, etc. So many factors to consider! I think that’s why when I follow courses, I usually run out of steam when I get to the backlinking part. Hopefully by the time I finish this course I’ll be a pro at it :)

  8. Hi Priscilla,

    I am interested in the option of 13 monthly payments of $97 … is there a link to it?

  9. I bought this on the 29th of January and have not received anything. When does it start?

  10. I have both Forever Affiliate and Rankings Institute. Forever Affiliate is good if you are a newbie, but I do not recommend Rankings Institute. If you are not willing to spend at least $300 – $400 a month on seo service, then RI is not for you.

    The first few modules are almost the same exact stuffs that you get on the webinar. The rest of the modules are just basic linking. In order to truly maximize RI strategy, you need to use a special service that charges over $200 – $400 a month! That is a lot of money. If you are not a big company, then you should stick with Forever Afiiliate.

    • Hi Jen,

      Thanks for commenting. I agree that it isn’t for everyone – I myself am very hesitant to spend that kind of money on a website.

      However, it’s also true that if you don’t invest in your business, it’s growth will be limited. One of the first success stories one of the Rankings Institute students posted in the Facebook group was of a site that went from earning $100 per day to about $300 per day – if you look at it from that perspective, paying $300-$400 on SEO per month seems reasonable if it will enable you to earn an extra $6000 per month.

      That story is what made me decide to go for it anyway, but I admit I’m still procrastinating. Some of it is because I’m very busy getting ready to move to another country, but part of it is because I’m just really nervous about spending that kind of money! ;)

Speak Your Mind