Charles will be exploring his initial findings for the June core algo update that Google publicly announced for the first time in history.
In this post, I’ll be taking you through two SEO agency courses that have been dominating the market: The Blueprint SEO Training™ and Agency Builder
I’ve spent hours going through both of the courses and will be giving you my first review of 2020.
With an honest breakdown of the instructors, modules, downloads & information available in the two best SEO agency courses on the market…
I release a lot of my own SEO training & courses, and a lot of it is applicable to agencies.
However, I’ve only ever had a handful of clients myself and always had an authority complex which has made “working for other people” harder.
I don’t want to release training & courses in which I am not one hundred percent confident in the entirety of the process. It’s why I worked with Edward Rostron on our Local SEO course, because I don’t do local SEO enough for me to release a premium course on it by myself.
This is why when I went out researching agency courses, and looking for potential agency partners, I found these two courses, and knew I’d probably not be able to match the experience, processes & knowledge that these two bring to the table.
And let’s be real here, there is a LOT of digital marketing agencies out there, and more springing up every day.
However, more competitors is not necessarily a bad thing.
If anything, they encourage you to level up your game and find ways to make your services much better so businesses will choose you over others and charge premium prices at the same time.
If you’re looking to go out, start an agency and everything run smoothly off the SEO information you’ve found on YouTube & blog posts… Good luck with that.
You’ll run into client acquisition problems, reputation management problems, client management problems, system problems, outsourcing problems and many, many more issues that every agency owner knows too well.
That is why, learning to prevent those future mistakes will cost you considerably more than either of these two courses cost in the long run.
However, I’ve been talking about two courses… And most people aren’t looking to learn twice, so let’s jump into my double-sided review, starting with Ryan Stewart’s The Blueprint.
If there’s a course that comes close to building “the SEO blueprint” applicable to all business types, it’s this one.
The Blueprint SEO Training™ deduces the entire SEO practice into processes you can share with your team. They can just replicate the steps delineated in the course for your clients, regardless of their industry.
And because it built a blueprint that encompasses a business type, you can be sure to expect the same excellent results for all your clients!
One of the unique aspects of this course is how it teaches you to operate your entire agency business using only Google Sheets. Most people would want to use different tools for managing different projects, tracking time, invoicing, handling remote workers, and others.
But by using the different Google Sheet templates serving a specific purpose in the course, you can simplify and automate your processes and not worry about which other tool you must use.
Ryan Stewart is one of the two course instructors of The Blueprint SEO Training™. He is known best as the guy behind WEBRIS, an SEO enterprise agency that he helped grow to $1.1M ARR in just more than a year. He sold the company in 2018 but recently got it back to become the company’s SEO specialist.
He also launched, grew, and sold other online businesses as well. As an interim CMO of Ardent Cannabis, Ryan helped grow its ARR from $750,000 to $1.4M in just eight months.
In fact, he runs or at least part of different businesses that you’ll hear more about him in the other course. More on that later.
Aside from owning businesses, he has worked with companies like Nike, Target, Fiat, and more.
Ryan is known in the SEO industry for refining tasks into replicable processes so agency owners can delegate the tasks to their team. This way, owners can focus on looking at the bigger picture and how to grow their sales and improve their revenue by running a tight ship as a digital agency.
The other course instructor is David Krevitt. While he’s not an SEO guy, he has 10+ years of analytics experience he acquired from working with companies like Blackrock (global investment management corporation), Sprinkle Labs, and others.
His penchant for data was displayed in full with Coding is for Losers where he serves as its “Commissioner” (Ryan also works as the company’s “Marketer”). The site helps automate data analytics using BigQuery to help improve productivity of sales and marketing teams.
Since then, David has become the analytics advisor of WEBRIS and earned the reputation of possibly being the best at Google Sheets.
Given his skill set, he helped systematize all the processes by running your agency strictly by using Google Sheets for SOPs. This way, the sheets return actionable information based on the data gathered so you can focus on the next course of action.
The one-two punch of Ryan and David makes this course even more valuable. Aside from the actual information that’s essentially the recipe for SEO agency success, both instructors will set up how to execute each task using the templates they made specifically for the course.
As a result, you can just plug any client you have and run them using the teachings learned from the course.
The course is divided into different modules:
⦁ Module 1.1 – Campaign Onboarding
⦁ Module 1.2 – Kickoff Data Analysis
⦁ Module 1.3 – Competitive Analysis
⦁ Module 1.4 – Project Management
⦁ Module 1.5 – Analytics Auditing
⦁ Module 2.1 – Website Quality Audit
⦁ Module 2.2 – Technical SEO Audits
⦁ Module 2.3 – Keyword Research for EXISTING Pages
⦁ Module 2.4 – Target Pages
⦁ Module 2.5 – On Page Analysis
⦁ Module 2.6 – Internal Link Optimization
⦁ Module 3.1 – Content Audit
⦁ Module 3.2 – KW Research / Gap Analysis [NEW Pages]
⦁ Module 3.3 – Content Strategy and Campaigns
⦁ Module 4.1 – Link Building Strategy
⦁ Module 4.2 – Link Building: Outsourcing
⦁ Module 4.3 – Link Building: In-House
⦁ Module 5.1 – Monthly SEO Reporting
⦁ Module 5.2 – Local SEO Monthly Reporting
⦁ Module 5.3 – Agency Pulse Reporting
⦁ Module 5.4 – Campaign Wrap Up Report
⦁ Module 6.1 – Agency Sales: Lead Generation
⦁ Module 6.2 – Agency Sales: Convincing Prospects
⦁ Module 6.3 – Agency Sales: Closing Deals
⦁ Module 7.0 – Agency Staffing, Hiring, Pricing and More
⦁ Tool – The Traffic Projection Tool – Bonus Module
As mentioned, you probably have your own processes in place for developing and launching SEO campaigns. However, the strategies shared here reflect the ones Ryan and David have implemented on their own projects to great success.
Each module is presented in video so you can see how the instructors perform the tasks at hand. This way, you won’t lose your way once you start trying them out.
On some modules are templates and SOPs that you can download. Just edit it with your client information and run the steps as shown in the videos.
In the latter modules of the course, it takes time to discuss how you can get more leads for your agencies. The Blueprint SEO Training™ then talks about the best practices on how to hire the right people for the job, price your services the right way, and more.
These go to show the comprehensive and attention to detail the course has. It isn’t satisfied with just sharing with you tried-and-tested processes on how to do SEO the agency way – it also talks about getting the right clients and people to play a part in your agency’s growth.
For $2,999 paid over three months, you get lifetime access to all its modules, tools, templates, and SOPs. You can also join its private Slack community with all the students of the course as well as Ryan and David. There, you can ask questions about the course or help other students looking for answers.
Since you’ll have lifetime access to the course, you will also receive updates and exclusive webinars you can join. Therefore, if in any case there’s been some drastic iterations in Google’s algorithm, you can be sure that Ryan and David will update the course accordingly to reflect the changes.
Given the hefty price, The Blueprint SEO Training™ is an investment that will soon pay off if you follow its advice to a tee. But if you’re still on the fence for other reasons, you can schedule a strategy call with Ryan so you can ask your questions about the course.
To give you a taste of what the course can bring, you can claim your freebies containing different templates for SEO proposals, campaign pricing, new client onboarding, and more. These should show you what to expect from the course, should you decide to purchase it
If you have relative success running an agency, you probably won’t need a course that talks about what you already know about SEO. At this point, you’re much more interested in growing and scaling the performance of your agency as a whole.
It starts with your team. You may need to analyze if you have the right people onboard or if you need to add more to help ease the workload spread across other members. More importantly, how is managing your employees and utilizing your resources affecting your bottom line?
By determining issues internally, you have a clear path towards increasing your sales and growing your profits. However, you can only achieve both if you know how to close more deals immediately and keep them moving forward.
Finally, and something that’s overlooked, is leveraging your entity to shelter it from tax liabilities. This way, you can keep more of your earnings instead of paying them for tax purposes.
If you need help with all these things, then the Agency Builder is for you.
Instead of teaching you the ins and outs of SEO and how you can help clients rank higher, it takes you a step back and look at the bigger picture of scaling and growing an agency.
In this course, you will learn how to tap into your manpower and the right to unlock the potentials of your agency and take it to new heights.
Similar to The Blueprint SEO Training™, there are two people at the helm of this course.
Nick Eubanks is an entrepreneur who has a fondness for building new and exciting businesses. He started his first business in atomni, a digital marketing agency in 2008. It was responsible for creating web pages and sites using its custom-built CMS.
In 2014, he founded another agency called From the Future (originally named I’m From the Future). This time, it focused on delivering advanced digital strategies to help companies boost revenue and traffic.
Fun fact: FTF was the company that bought WEBRIS from Ryan Stewart. And as mentioned, Ryan got WEBRIS back and is also part of the company. Nick and Ryan are working together as part of the FTF umbrella.
Another business Nick has cofounded and is running is Traffic Think Tank. It’s a premium SEO community that produces video training, monthly webinars, and a private Slack community.
Now, Nick launched the Agency Builder course to help agency owners how to grow their business with the allotted resources you have.
In partnership with Nick is Selena Vidya, founder of digital strategy company Orthris in 2014. Unlike most agency owners, she leverages data to develop sustainable strategies not only for business but also for clients. Her methods and ideas make her the perfect foil to Nick’s approach to agency growth.
There are three components included in the Agency Builder: training, templates, and tools.
First, there are 50+ modules with different videos and text files covering a variety of topics related to growing and scaling one’s agency. Below are the exact topics the course will tackle:
⦁ The Entrepreneurial Mindset
⦁ Your Mental Landscape
⦁ Setting Up Your Business for Success
⦁ Building Your Brand
⦁ Finding Your Ideal Customer
⦁ Setting Up Project Management for Scale
⦁ Designing Your Growth Engine
⦁ Developing a Sales Process
⦁ Managing Your Client Relationships
⦁ How To Hire, Delegate, and Scale The Right Team
⦁ Scaling Your Client Business
⦁ Building Your Referral Engine
All modules are focused towards helping its students develop the capacity – mental and ability-wise – to manage the rigors of growing their respective agencies. This also includes building the discipline necessary to push oneself to maximize growth.
None of the modules above talk specifically about digital marketing tactics. Again, this course is all about the business side of running an agency. Ideally, you should have a working SEO process in place before taking up the Agency Builder.
Next, to help you get the job done faster and more efficiently, the course encourages you to download and use its templates for SOPs and contracts. Similar to the previous course, these allow you to focus on what needs to be done for your clients and agency by filling in the blanks in the templates.
Finally, Agency Builder offers two tools you can use for your agency. The first is the Reddit Scraper.
Reddit is a goldmine for customer and competitor insights. With over millions of active users daily, expect to find everything you’re looking for about your business and industry from the platform.
However, it would take hours to manually sift through search results and find the information you’re looking for. In this case, the Reddit Scraper makes things simpler by scraping the top posts and comments on subreddits where your audience or competitors may be. The tool enters the scraped data in Google Sheets. Rinse and repeat the process until you’ve gathered all the data you need for each of your target subreddits.
The tool is free for download only if you sign up to its mailing list.
On the other hand, Resource Manager is a spreadsheet that breaks down how much the ROI of your employees and resources are. It also allows you to project the potential revenue you can get from current and prospective customers.
This is a super valuable tool for agency owners because it gives them a concrete and data-driven method to analyze the value of the moving parts of their business.
And by having this information, they can make informed decisions on which employees are generating the most revenue for their businesses as well as clients and leads to prioritize.
The Resource Manager sheet can be sold separately at $297 but is included in the course bundle.
There are two options you can pay for this tool. The first is $1,997 paid once while the second is five payments of $500 ($2,500).
While the second option costs more, it gives you time to apply the teachings from the course to boost your agency and get more clients. By then, you should have more than enough to pay off the remaining amount.
Once purchased, you get lifetime access of all the modules in course complete with future updates. It also contains templates for SOPs and contracts so you have one less thing to worry about when growing your agency.
To see what the course can do for your agency, you can check out the preview of some of its modules. This should give you a taste on what to expect from the course and help you make an informed decision on whether to buy the course.
From the eye test, both are courses from highly acclaimed business owners and entrepreneurs who have seen their fair share of agency success.
That reason in itself should give credence to its high-ticket price. The course instructors go all out in their respective courses and hold nothing back in terms of information bombs.
And as you’ll see later, they provide more than just lip service as each module is jam-packed with actionable items that you can replicate on your agency.
However, below are more precise characteristics that both courses share with each other:
Both courses discuss the ability to expedite your agency’s growth by generating and retaining more clients than before. As a result, you can perpetually boost your recurring revenue while also acquiring new leads in the process.
It’s natural for agencies to hit the glass ceiling over time on their path towards growth. Either they’ve maxed the full potential of their agency to the best of their abilities or they don’t have the knowledge or skill to take their agency to the next level.
The Blueprint SEO Training™ and Agency Builder are designed to break through the invisible wall to help move your business forward and never look back.
The thing about growing your agency is there’s no limit to how big you can grow it. It’s just a matter of putting the right processes in place, getting the right people to do the work for you, and coming up with unique ways to expand your business.
Agency owners such as yourself can achieve all these things with the help of either course. Whether it’s improving your system of managing and working for clients or you need to maximize the money you get from your agency, the courses have all the answers to these concerns and then some.
Templates can be the key to increased growth. Agency owners can just edit them to suit their needs, which they could then use to automate and expedite certain business processes.
More importantly, templates can produce stellar results similar to a process done manually. The difference is agency owners will just plug the templates and set everything to autopilot.
That means less time spent on doing menial tasks and more time dedicated to crucial tasks.
However, don’t think for a second that templates are silver bullets that will solve all business problems. Because they are only as good as how they are used. For example, even the best email templates can yield awful results if the person sending them doesn’t know how to use them properly.
However, you won’t have this issue with Agency Builder and The Blueprint SEO Training™.
The courses will teach you the exact process and the rationale behind it so you know why you must perform the process.
And to help you execute the tasks without fail, you can download its templates that helped course instructors generate amazing results for their agency.
Therefore, the course will ensure that you will have the skill and knowledge once you use the downloadable templates as part of your agency.
Most agencies use different project management tools to get their team on the same pages. But while they make staying on top of each project easier than without them, these tools are unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.
You can use 10+ PM tools to run your business and not break the $100,000 ARR despite your best efforts. Conversely, there are agencies that never rely on project management software but are able to keep everybody in their teams in the loop.
The Blueprint SEO Training™ and Agency Builder shares the belief of keeping things simple by not resorting to tools and software to keep their team in check. Instead, both courses offer you a way to streamline your workflows and processes and make them simple enough that you won’t need a PM tool at all.
Using templates of document and spreadsheet files available in both courses, you can manage an agency with 30+ members without losing sleep – no project management tools necessary!
Based on the above, both courses share the same goals for its members. If you aspire to make bank with your digital agency regardless of the industry you’re catering to, you honestly can’t go wrong with either.
However, that’s where their similarities end. Because The Blueprint SEO Training™ and Agency Builder are two different animals altogether.
Their contrast will determine which between the two you should choose. And to help you make that decision, below are the factors that distinguish one from the other.
The Blueprint SEO Training™ is focused on getting actual things done.
It jumps straight into the different tactics under digital marketing and shares the exact process on how the coaches do them.
You can then download the templates and SOP and replicate the entire process they showed on their modules.
Agency Builder, on the other hand, takes time into developing the mindset that an agency owner needs to succeed.
Most of the challenges agencies face are not the actual tasks at hand – it’s about having the right frame of mind in approaching these challenges on top of having different people working under you.
The fact that it dedicates two sections of the course talking about having the right mindset (“The Entrepreneur Mindset” and “Your Mental Landscape”) is testament to the statement.
These modules contain exercises on how to get your mind in the right headspace as a person running an agency and juggling multiple tasks.
Some information and advice may appear basic (developing a routine, practicing mindfulness, etc.), but these are activities most people take for granted.
In other words, the course emphasizes these practices as an integral part of the mindset agency owners must have.
There are even templates to help you set regular habits beneficial to your mental health and hold yourself accountable even more. Examples of templates you can download include:
⦁ Routine/Habit Tracker Worksheet
⦁ Personal Performance Review System
⦁ Less and More Tracking Worksheet
The goal of both courses is to help your agency close more leads and generate more sales out of them. However, the focus of each is vastly different.
Ryan and David’s course is all about fine-tuning your SEO processes using its foolproof methods.
In fact, even if you have basic SEO and digital marketing knowledge, the course pretty much holds your hand and walks you through the entire procedure. After finishing the course, you have the knowledge to take full control of your agency.
As mentioned above, the course runs the whole gamut of SEO tactics and breaks each one of them down into its finer details.
For example, the On Page Analysis module runs through everything you must know about optimizing your pages in general.
That means you should not only write the meta titles and descriptions with the target keyword in mind. You will also need to revamp the elements of a page such as subheadings, keyword usages, media, and others.
Aside from the over-the-shoulder video, Ryan shows you a case study on how they implemented their process and a review on an existing client using the same exact workflow. By viewing both, you get ideas on how to approach client sites based on how they are structured.
The case studies and client reviews usually wrap up the modules to help end on a high note and give users inspiration on how to approach things.
Not all clients will have the same issues and problems, especially if they’re in different industries. However, the SOPs featured in this course are applicable to your client sites regardless of their niche.
They are designed to work for all businesses – all you must do now at this point is to put everything in the course to action for your clients so you can grow your agency.
The best thing about The Blueprint SEO Training™ is you can delegate the task to your team using the step-by-step procedures and templates found in each module.
This makes things much simpler for everyone – instead of replicating the tasks from scratch, all your team needs to do is edit the templates containing information about the client’s website. It takes away the guesswork from doing things so you can put all your attention into unearthing actionable insights for your clients.
More importantly, you can allocate your time doing the most pressing tasks gathering than grinding your way with SEO tasks that your employees should be doing.
With Nick and Selena’s course, it’s the other way around.
There is almost zero discussion about SEO and digital marketing. Instead, the attention is put on making the most out of your agency business. That means setting the platform and tightening the nuts of bolts of your agency to operate at maximum performance.
After aligning your mindset with your agency goals, the course moves on to talking about priming up your business to success.
The module talks about the type of business you should pursue (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation).
More importantly, it dives deep into financial strategies to help you get more money from the revenue your agency is making. The information here is curated from Nick’s personal experiences and advice from his colleagues, coaches, and wealth managers.
This module goes to show the complexities involved in getting an agency off the ground. It’s not just about knowing the strategies to deliver the best results for clients. It’s also about running a legit shop that knows how to make its finances work.
The employees whom you’ll be working with and the resources you’ll utilize to help you get things done with your agency are critical to how successful your agency will be.
In this case, it’s about hiring the right people to work with you and finding the best tools to use. You can then scale the performance of each to ensure their efforts are making a positive impact in your organization.
Both courses are aware of the value that these factors bring to the table. However, the approach of one is distinct from the other.
The last two modules of The Blueprint SEO Training™ discuss topics related to agency sales, staffing, hiring, and others.
Similar to the Agency Builder, this course has a section about forecasting utilization rate and resource allocation to determine profitability and margin levels. There’s a template you can download and use based on how David explained in the video.
Now, there may not be as many modules and much time dedicated to discussing agency growth and scalability. But what’s presented here is more than sufficient to help put the SEO processes into action.
With Agency Builder, there are two relevant modules discussing how to manage and scale employees and resources.
The Setting Up Project Management for Scale module
The Agency Sales module of The Blueprint SEO Training™ discusses the different ways people can generate leads for their agencies.
It delves deeper into these core methods:
⦁ Content creation
⦁ FB ads (strategy and execution)
⦁ Cold outreach
There are also bonus materials under this module such as the Sales Line method which came from a course developed by “The Wolf of Wall Street” Jordan Belfort. Ryan considers it the best sales course he signed up for, and he’s sharing the best information there as part of the Blueprint.
Agency Builder shares a few similarities with the one above. For instance, the Developing a Sales Process module brings in a systematic approach to generating sales from clients. It is done in four steps:
⦁ Use process-driven reports that highlight the weaknesses of the client’s business.
⦁ Show proof that your process works to instill confidence in your services.
⦁ Send the proposal taken all things into consideration
⦁ Design a pipeline with the intention of keeping it full and with stages handed off to different members in your team.
The module contains an agency pitch deck and sales pipeline tracker templates that you can use for your agency. It is the same one that Nick uses for his business.
In particular, he used the same pitch deck for the company called FieldBloom. The fact he shares his information means that the deck worked and landed them the client.
On the other hand, Managing Your Client Relationships discusses the process of working with your client by onboarding them into your business and proactively finding ways to make their lives easier. More importantly, there’s a section on how to deal with upset clients or those whom you don’t see eye to eye with.
It shows you how to communicate with them the right way by walking the tightrope of friendliness and professionalism that are necessary in closing deals and gaining the respect of your clients and partners.
But what makes the Agency Builder unique in this case is the Referral Engine module. It tackles how you can keep generating fresh leads and clients by building effective relationships.
The module talks about the following topics:
⦁ Broadening the horizon of your network
⦁ Building your B2B Partner Program
⦁ Growing agency by acquiring assets and equities without putting out money
⦁ Building strategic partnerships internally
This helps sustain your business without having to put too much effort in reaching out to cold prospects. By following the approach explained in the videos, you can develop a process that will produce you leads to convert not only into clients but also business partners.
Slack communities work just like Facebook Groups, where members can discuss things related to their topic of choice. In this case, aside from asking questions about the course, they can talk about SEO in general and growing their agencies.
What makes Slack different compared to other online groups is its powerful features. As an exclusive online communication tool, you can chat with other members in the group in private.
Plus, it doesn’t have the distracting elements you will see from your Facebook feed (damn you, memes!).
As an added value, Slack allows you to network with like-minded people and discuss the possibility of your agencies working together on different clients.
Since The Blueprint SEO Training™ gives you access to its exclusive Slack community, you not only have direct access to Ryan and David regarding the course. You can also reach out to other members and forge business relationships with them to help grow your agency.
Unfortunately Agency Builder doesn’t have a Slack community you can join.
Keep in mind, however, that having a Slack community is an “added value.” That means, while it’s nice to have this feature, it is by no means a necessary one.
In fact, you can join different SEO groups to connect with other members, which could yield the same results if you do it on Slack.
Blueprint gives you the complete walkthrough on how to set up a service-based agency that helps grow businesses using different digital marketing strategies. Using the things you’ll learn in this course, you can replicate its SOPs to train your staff, refine your processes, and sell them to interested parties.
The Blueprint SEO Training™ is, from top to bottom, the most comprehensive and exhaustive course out there for agencies. Not only does the course detail the exact procedures on how to execute digital strategies, but it also shares ways on how to attract, close, and retain more clients.
Also, the wealth of videos, texts, and templates you can unearth from this course should help provide you with more than enough information to ensure the growth of your agency.
The steep pricing is more than justified in this case, since the entire course will help you pay for it once you start applying its practices to your agency and clients.
Unlike The Blueprint SEO Training™, Agency Builder focuses on the operational side of starting, scaling and profiting from a professional services business. Therefore, you won’t see information about SEO and digital marketing here, as the assumption is you already know how to do that on your agency.
That’s actually agoodo thing because it makes the course service-agnostic and boasts client success stories from dev shops, e-commerce companies, affiliates, and digital marketing agencies (including SEO).
One thing about the course is how more text-based it is compared to Ryan and David’s. There are some videos here and there, but it’s safe to expect more texts and images from the modules.
Nonetheless, there’s no denying the value Ryan and Selena delivers in all the modules. Each unit in the module will give you an “a-ha” moment and open your mind to new possibilities on how to approach your businessthatt you never thought before.
For that reason, you should highly consider getting this course considering that you can also pay for it in five installments.
I hope you enjoyed this very comprehensive review of the two best SEO agency courses available right now!
I won’t be releasing any more posts on this site for a while, so you’re better off following me on Twitter for all the latest.
Charles will be exploring his initial findings for the June core algo update that Google publicly announced for the first time in history.
Looking to stack your stocking full of SEO goodies? Well XmaSEO is here with over $110,000 in amazing prizes for 3 lucky SEOs to take home!