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Keyword Academy 2.0 Review – TKA 2.0 Review: Scam or Legit

UPDATED January 2012. The Keyword Academy drives me insane sometimes! If we could just get Mark to dot some “i’s” and “t’s” it would be so much easier! 

Its been a long time since I did my first Keyword Academy review – nearly 3 years  in fact. So is the Keyword Academy still working in 2012?  Yes it is but some of wish Mark would hurry up and update his bloody sale’s page from time-to-time – like once every couple of years OK! 

Google is always changing the game, and in 2011, in response to changes in Google (known as “”Panda-monium” by those of low humour standards) – so-called TKA2.0 was released.  The core lessons were updated, changed from video format (really hard to update) to written form, some tools had to be retired because they just didn’t work with anymore with the changes to Google’s programming feed.

But now the buzz is that The Keyword Academy 2.0 is out and I’ve had emails asking – is this program still good to go – is it worth it could you please update your Keyword Academy review? What’s changed – will it still work for me? Does Keyword Academy work in a post-Panda SEO world and as always – is it a scam or legit ?

Quick Summary of Keyword Academy 2.0  for the Attention Challenged Reader

  • Yes TKA 2.0 still works
  • The Keyword Academy is not a Scam
  • No I don’t know whether you can earn $2000/month in the next year from online marketing (but I know that I do ).
  • You will need to put serious work in to make money – but your work ethic is far more important than spending a whole lot of money up front.
  • Yes I really do use the program to make me money – and not just from the commission I get if you sign up NOW .
  • Yes I will get a commission if you do – but there is no real hurry so keep on reading, hang around, think about it – and remember if you cancel in the first 30 days you will pay nothing.

The Longer Version for the Procrastinators and For the Long-Tail Searches (thanks Google)

Lissie hard at it doing more research for you!

First is TKA2.0 a marketing ploy? Any of you who have been around the Internet Marketing/ Make Money Online world for more than a year or two will have seen how programs are always being updated and changed, usually accompanied by a price hike. The reason is usually pure marketing – make it new – make people buy now – before time runs out, hike the price while you’re at it.

That’s never been TKA’s style – lets face it they are yet to get around to creating some decent images for us poor old affiliates to use!

So why a new TKA now?

Does the change in TKA mean that the old approach of niche sites doesn’t work anymore? Did Panda (Google’s 2011 update in March and April) – ravage niche sites developed using the TKA method? Well my sites have been just fine – some have gone up, some down, but no I didn’t wake up one day and discover they are all gone. 

Its true though that some people on the forums did see some of their sites dropping. From what I’ve seen I’ve seen no real pattern – though newer sites, as always, are more vulnerable to bounces up and down the search results. From my moderately successful point of view – nothing much has changed – Google still counts backlinks, Google still can’t read or appreciate the finer points of English usage – but Google can find a keyword and related terms – just as well as ever.

What is changing is that competition is getting heavier and nastier. Google can’t tell very easily whether a site is purely a made for Adsense (or affiliate) income – but your competitors can – and its very easy for them to report you. That’s when you need to have a legit site – a site with real readers and which offers more to the web than the chance to click an ad.

So What is The New Keyword Academy Method
Basically its not a change of direction – more a change of emphasis. The emphasis is on fewer larger sites – emphasizing more personal experience and insight.

Ahh the cynics amongst you might say, well I did, like SBI or blogging – make a name for yourself, write your passion, the visitors will come and then you parlay that into a career as a speaker, writer, or (my own personal definition of Hell) a public speaker. Build your list, sell to your list retire to a pleasant beach bungalow on a Thai beach (for which you get a heavily discounted rate in return for a glowing review on your site).

Nope the heart of the Keyword Academy method is still keywords. That’s the key difference between The Keyword Academy and the  “the blog it and they will come approach”. Rather TKA combines finding something you are interested in – then finding some related keywords – writing about them and promoting them. This is not about acquiring 100,000 twitter followers or 1779  Facebook likes.

What Does TKA Offer in 2012 And Beyond

  1. A clear and precise set of instructions on how to start your online business – instructions on how to choose a topic for your sites, how to setup your sites, how to write, monetize and build traffic. 
  2. Postrunner – I’ve described a detailed case study about how I use Postrunner for real in my business. Postrunner is the easiest way on the planet to get guest posts and backlinks for your sites. In fact Postrunner even makes me some of my income as I (and you if you join) can have sites within the system. 
  3. Forum. The one thing I find that is huge with working on-line  is the loneliness and isolation.  Not one of my real life friends and family understand what I do online to make a living – they just kinda hope its legal!  Having a forum for bouncing ideas around in, is sanity saving! Its so much better than talking to yourself about it – trust me on this one! 
  4. Webinars. Mark does a weekly webinar – I dont’ always make it live – but still, after 2.5 years I make a point of listening to each and everyone (they are recorded). Mark really is an awesome trainer/coach – he should get out and do this in person – but maybe not as he’s in the US and I’m not I probably wouldn’t get to hear him in person! 

Which brings me to my final point – and I think the most important development for the Keyword Academy for 2011 and beyond. Mark Butler has done the hardest thing of all – and realised that he can’t do it all by himself. I don’t know why, but most entrepeneurs I have met are control freaks, they can’t delegate to save themselves, or their businesses. Its a character flaw which basically means their businesses grow to a certain level and no further. Mark has managed to get past this though and has partnered with a couple of new teachers to greatly expand the core lessons and basic support. He’s also opening up the Academy to other members who may have their own unique methods of making money online to add their 2c as well.

And that to me means that the Keyword Academy will continue to prosper in 2011 and beyond. So for those of you who skipped to the bottom of the page looking for the quick solution to making money online – sorry don’t have one.

If you want to learn how to build a genuine business online though – feel free to check out the Keyword Academy through my HONKING BIG AFFILIATE  link – free for the first 30 days and then billed at $33/month – you cancel via Paypal at any time.

50 replies on “Keyword Academy 2.0 Review – TKA 2.0 Review: Scam or Legit”

Lissie You are right!
Sure, In fact I am not their member but I heard a lot of good experiences from other people who use it, So I think it does work and also not a scam!

Thanks for the article Lisa. I’ve started a business managing adwords accounts for other business and since buying Nobel Samurai’s product, I’m using that and Google’s tool. Does this tool give local search results too?

Ha! It has always been about keywords and good, anchored links. Nothing will ever change that. The only changes we’ll ever encounter is how to translate them into articles and websites that draw the traffic without raising alarms for Google.

I don’t make $2000 a month and that’s probably a good thing. Well, wait, yes, I do, but not all from advertising income. I’m trying to get up to $3500 so I can have the option of moving again should I desire to do so. I’m very comfortable where I live now, but that may not always be the case, especially when I become a senior citizen in about a decade.

What’s going to happen when you become a senior citizen RT – you going to retire to the Philippines or something ???

Ha! Very funny. You know full well that I’m already retired in the Philippines. I’m talking about somewhere else, preferably NOT the US.

Hi Lis,
Seems you are working hard, even on holidays / vacations 😉 One reason I left the Keyword Academy was that it became more and more a ‘Backlink Academy’, has that changed? Don’t get me wrong, I still recommend them to anybody that is just starting out in IM, no better place to learn the ropes and to get help with the technical aspects of setting up web sites, but the emphasis of writing (or outsourcing) hundreds of back link articles instead of working on your own site and make it better didn’t sit well with me long term. I am now using Fraser’s Keyword Strategy to find topics to write about. For beginners that one might be information overload, but if you have already a web site with some content, it is a great method to improve it.
Apart of that some tools have been outsourced, how does that add exactly to the overall price tag?, has anything else changed to warrant speaking of a TKA 2.0? Have fun in Thailand and don’t work to hard, SY

hI SY – in a tree hutt in the middle of the jungle and finally have free WIFI – and its the cheapest [place we’ve stayed – go figure~ Yeah there is more emphasis on writing your own site rather than backlinks more the Fraser method – but still the emphasis on keywords – the new ebook is out in beta but I haven’t read it in detail – I’m on vacation you know!

I was a former member of TKA as well, debating going back. Does this mean as a member, you’d now have to pay for keyword research once it is integrated with the Keyword Tool Dominator? When I was a member, it was still the Niche Refinery.

Angie – I’m not sure and with a dodgy internet connection in Koh Samui its hard to tell – but I will investigate and update in a week or so

Any news on that one? TKA is $29/33 per month, add the cost for KTD (or any other keyword research tool) to it and you are looking at paying additional money for something that was once included in the original TKA. Nicherefinery was the original reason I joined, then I got hooked up by getting content via Postrunner, so if I understand you right TKA now

Concentrates on building fewer sites with more content on each, but still promotes aggressive backlink building as the main road to success whilst having reduced their tools to Postrunner (guest posting / free content) and Streamline (site management) only?

I agree, it is the safest place to send people to that just start to learn the basics, but what keeps experienced internet marketers like yourself in there? SY

I’m still trying to sort out my body clock – but I want to read all the new content on TKA and do a cost analysis with using KTD – so will have a proper answer in a day or 2 SY

Hey Sy, longtimenosee! I’m one of the two new TKA instructors, so I can answer a couple of your questions. KTD does add to the cost of site research since Niche Refinery was retired, but KTD is just shockingly cheap. I can run a load of keywords for a whopping .04 cents USD. One (big) problem with NR was that people would run thousands and thousands of keywords (because they could) that they then stuffed in a folder on their hard drive and never did anything with (I’m guilty as charged). Not a good business model for members or for the owner of the NR system which was constantly overloaded with data that people would never use.

The backlink model has changed in TKA 2.0 – the philosophy now is “write the very best content you can so you’ll be worth linking to.” Lissie’s right that Google can’t read, but other site owners can. There’s still a deliberate effort involved in getting backlinks, but it’s more site owner to site owner, rather than a mechanical process. Postrunner is in the process of getting an upgrade that will improve the quality – I haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t want to comment until I have.

With the new emphasis on gaining authority through networking with other site owners and the improvements to Postrunner, I think TKA has a lot to offer experienced marketers.

Love that you are enjoying vacation and the fruits of your labors from the past years. Glad Hubpages wasn’t your sole income and you are finding other ways to make monthly income.

Hi Lis, Wi-fi in the jungle eh? What’ll those clever monkeys think of next? 🙂

I don’t think I can ever be tempted back to TKA. Postrunner was the only reason for me to be there and in the end it just annoyed the hell out of me. But yeah, its probably the best place for noobs to learn the ropes.

I see that you only mentioned Mark is this post. Is Court no longer a part of it? I see he’s still on the sales page and I think he was originally the creator, so it would surprise me if he was no longer involved. Just wondering.

Yeah Court has moved on and its now just owned by Mark – and yes as usual he’s slow sorting out the key marketing pages!

He was getting seriously into being a personal trainer I think – nothing to do with IM

I’ve been reading the comments that follow your TKA 2.0 review and have a question or two. What does outsourcing backlink articles mean? What are backlink articles? It seems that if you’re working on backlink articles you don’t write much articles for your own site? Can you explain briefly what this means?

Ah we love our jargon in internet marketing – a backlink article is just an article that you post on someone else’s site that links back to your own site – for example if I did a post on a friend’s site and at the bottom of the post it said something like “Lis is the blogger and owner of the world-infamous website Passive Income Online” – that would be a backlink to my site (ie this site).

There is huge debate as to whether you should write more articles on your own site or more articles on other sites which promote your site (to both Google and to readers). I have tended to do a lot of backlink articles – some of my main money sites have less than 10 articles on them. I typically employ someone to write the backlink articles (outsource them) – because a) its cheap and I can afford it and b) I get bored writing the same topics over and over.

TKA2.0 is a bit different there is more emphasis on writing on your own site – and less emphasis on backlink articles. I suspect both approaches work – its what suits your personality and circumstance.

Did that help or make the confusion worse?

This completely helped me!!! Both of us have been trying to figure out what to do: blog more on our own sites, or do the backlink articles thing. Do you mainly write on Ezine?

I gave up on EzineArticles a while back Billy- their editors annoyed me (a lot)! One of the best places to get backlinks are from high ranking blogs in your niche – failing that I still good results with sites like Build My Rank.

Thank you for this. My wife was blogging for about 6 months, and made no income from it. She started out from scratch and thus learned a lot of lessons on SEO and how much hard work it takes to make money online, whether through pro blogging, a site, selling affiliates, etc. We are considering doing Keyword Academy.
How do you feel about Google Sniper?

I haven’t tried Google Sniper – but the name suggests that its the approach that TKA is moving away from – from a future business point of view I’d go for TKA – but I would say that – I get paid an affiliate commission (oh and they work for a lot of people).

Interesting I also quit TKA but still subscribe to your blog Lis. Seems I’m not the only one.

TKA seemed to be a bit slow in development (I remember when Streamline came out, and it was very basic, I think that’s what disappointed me enough to leave realising I needed to commit to TKA in order to use this. That and I didn’t really use their services for a few months so decided to cut my losses and return later if I wanted too.

Nice to know Court has moved on too. When I joined he never seemed to be around, at least that’s cleared up too.

Interesting to see you’re going down books for online stores route. I never considered this before and am watching closely, nice to see you’ve already sold a few. I’ve just started another new site selling t-shirts (taking advantage of keywordluv thanks!) but need to start the whole marketing thing now which I hate, but unfortunately its the make or break part of every startup.

the new tools and old tools which keyword academy offers have been invaluable to me over the years but i was unsure just whether it was still worth doing with google changing to panda but having read that you think it’s still worth it i am going to give it as go for the first month and see how i get on.

I’m not sure whether you knew but KTD is gone as they have lost their google api so I’m not sure what will happen now. Presumably they’ll have to bring back the niche refinery.

I joined long ago, then left and rejoined recently to see what the score was with 2.0. I actually think that without the tools it isn’t worth it. But that’s just me. The main idea now seems to be start a blog and make it good. There are some tips, but nothing you can’t get elsewhere. I think it’s only really suitable for absolute beginners now.

Thanks for the heads up Rachel – I knew I’d forgotten to update this post! No they are not bringing back niche refinery, they’ve changed quite drastically the way that competition research is done now – based on Mark’s experience.

Actually I disagree – mind you it depends on what you call an absolute beginner – I don’t think I’m a beginner, but on the other hand I only make about $2000+ month, maybe others would think that I am? I am forever finding new insights in Mark’s so-called beginner seminars. Also postrunner is becoming more and more a good way to get backlinks, and even if you ONLY use TKA for backlinks – its the cheapest such solution around at $33!

But thanks I do need to update the post

Hm, if they don’t bring back Nicherefinery, how do they do keyword research now??? Like Rachel the tools were what me made to sign up in the first place, but I got more and more the impression that the Keyword Academy became the back link academy and so I switched to Keyword Strategy that some how is more what I was looking for: ‘Find keyword, write article, rinse and repeat.’ If TKA is not providing anymore a tool for keyword research are members supposed to do keyword research as in the bad, old times, manually??? SY

I’m trying to like Keyword Strategy – but I can’t see the important stuff because of all the “noise” it imports without doing a lot of blacklisting. I can see how it may work for some mature sites – but its not rocking my boat for a new startup site. Basically it cant replace my spreadsheet because I can’t easily highlight the kws I’m actually targetting.

NR is a victim of the same API change, so no it won’t be back. Basically from the data Mark has he’s seeing no pattern that suggests that competition analysis is worth doing – assuming you are doing long-tail kws of course. So yes some people are upset about losing the shiny toys – because they don’t have a distraction from actually writing …

Actually I found it more useful for new sites, older sites tend to have a lot of posts that are not optimized for a keyword (at least in my case ;-)) and that creates the ‘noise’ you are speaking about. You can highlight keywords easily by tagging them and then filter by tag btw As for shiny new toys and being distracting by them, lol, I might be the worst offender in that one 😉 But I can go into the tool, sort my keywords and be inspired by what to write next about also. Now I really have to get this Keyword Strategy Review finished that I started writing – amongst the zillions of other things on my to-do list … SY

Hi Lissie, its been a lot since last time I dropped by. I am no longer a member of the academy at least for now. I have been really busy in college but still doing the make money online thing somehow. Im writing for Infobarrel at the moment when I have a chance. I have a site that is to date still doing fine after Panda.In fact it is doing even better and I haven’t built links to it in like a year or more.

Heard that Court is no longer working in the academy or something like that. I changed my “online name”. It was Archie Pennies at some point but then I just use this one or my real name. Anyways glad to know you are still around. Wonder how Griz, Fraser and the others are doing. Haven’t heard of them in a year or so.

Hi Archie – indeed long time no hear. Yeah Mark bought Court out. Fraser is in fine form over at KeywordStrategy

I don’t use my Archie online name as much now but yep its me. 🙂 If Mark bought Court’s share of the company he made a great deal. The academy is a fairly strong community. Haven’t heard about Fraser’s project before. I will take a look to see what he is up to. I have been trying to increase my online income this past few months after almost a year out of the MMO stuff. Funny thing is that while I was no longer adding content to my site the income actually went up and this motivated me a lot to continue. Another thing that I have been doing is investing to create more passive income. I know investing can be risky but the more I diversify the better as online income has its risks too. What is really nice about having a small online business and stocks is that they are all intangible assets that don’t take up space and they make money even if I don’t do nothing.

Glad to know that you are selling your own book. That has to be fun regardless of the income received. From what I have heard the snowball effect can also happen with books. If people read it and leave possitive reviews your book climbs in popularity. So don’t get discouraged if you are not making a lot out of it at the moment. Keep your motivation high and keep writing. A succesful book can easily push all your other work up as your name starts to spread aroud.

Hey Liz!…we read about TKA in another forum. They poster didn’t mention much about it other than the name & they’re using it. We Google’d it and briefly read the landing page before putting it in our “Investigate” bookmark folder.

Well a couple weeks later and only pennies richer in the online gig…you’ve said enough to get us off the fence!

We think with 30 days to test drive, we should be able to see immediately business practices we’re currently not implementing. Maybe it’ll turn a light on we can at the very least, see in the distance. Anyway we’ll give it a go & report back.

Many Blessing!

Todd & Johana

Hey cool – nice to see a travel blogger – I think its a good fit for travel bloggers!

I am still confused about how they do keyword research now, might have to re-join just to satisfy my curiosity? But seriously, if they don’t provide a tool, or at least recommend one that is not too expensive, the name theKEYWORDacademy is a bit in vain, or not? Perhaps somebody here, Lis or Lorecee can enlighten me further? SY

They’re recommending you go back to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, which is still the best way for any beginning to get started with keyword research. Instead of relying on an algorithm to decide what’s the best keyword to work on, teach people how to improve their keyword judgement.

Hi Liss, Thanks a lot for your detailed reviews of TKA but I wonder if is it worth to join for a PPC marketer? Do they have good, in-house keyword research tool? What I really need is a strong keyword digging tool, I already have some but personally, they just aren’t powerful enough.

They don’t teach PPC per se so I you won’t get any tips in that area. You may well find the KW research tool (Niche Refinearary) useful – its hard for me to know without being you LOL I suggest you join and check it out – you have a free month to do so

Hi Lis,
I signed up for the Keyword Academy back in 2010 but let my membership lapse. Everything I read during my membership was quite new to me. It was the first time I set up a website. Do I understand correctly that we have to put better content on our sites to avoid them being reported? Does this mean we should be building sites more on our own interests than key words themselves? Thanks for reading. And do you recommend returning to Keyword Academy?

Hi Peter, yes I think its fair to say there is more emphasis on building fewer, larger sites, which are better quality and which either reflect your knowledge or your interests. I think this is a great time to rejoin TKA because they are about to update postrunner – the guest blogging network. IF you are an existing member you will get a much better deal than those who join after the postrunner launch.

First of all, I don’t have a website that is up and running, yet I have paid so much for the websites to be set up. I hope, you will be helping me with something much more realistic and legitimate when it comes to setting up a website.

Secondly, I have followed with interest you analysis of the KEYWORD ACADEMY, and your recommending it for me to try. I got to link up with your site because I was googling on Empower Network, and I happened to get your analysis of the Empower Network, and started to blame myself for having lost some more money joining that Network.

So, I now want to try something different, something that will pay me back my money. I am tired of being scammed left and right, in the process losing a lot of my hard earned cash. Your analysis and arguments sound interesting and a bit convincing to me, but I still ask myself how are you different from the others that have scammed me. I have spent a lot of money on some big promises, on such IM promoters as Millionaire Society, DotcomSecrets, Website Automatic Wizard, Purely Hosting, now Empower Network and many more that I have tried.

You say Keyword Academy is no scam nor any of these illegal Pyramid schemes. Can I trust you on that? Can I be sure that finally you are coming with a solution to my nightmares of being scammed in the Internet? Can you help me understand exactly what will be expected of me if I join the Keyword Academy program through you? What will be expected of me on a day to day basis? What other costs will I incur apart from the $33/month? I need to know all these before I join, because I have been lured into spending a lot more money on the above mentioned programs once I’m inside? Can you be willing to advise me on how much exactly I should be geared to part with before I start making any money with your Keyword Academy Program?

Sorry for the long write up, but I have an interest yet I am now scared to quickly jump on some of these promises.

All perfectly reasonable questions Winston. Addition costs associated with TKA include buying at least one domain name (usually about $9/year for a dot com) plus web hosting – under $10/month for all your websites. That’s the minimum you may end up spending more, but that’s the minimum that you HAVE to buy. And the offer with TKA is legit – sign up for the first month – pay nothing and check it out in detail, see if its for you, cancel within the 30 days (cancel the paypal subscription) = and you’ll pay nothing.

The reality is that it takes an awful lot of work to make money online – that’s what the scammers won’t tell you. You are building a business and just like in real life some businesses succeed and some fail. Fortunately its a lot cheaper building a website than taking out a lease on a real shop, but otherwise it takes a lot of work to make it online.

You need to be prepared to put a lot of work in up front, and not start making a decent income for a year, minimum.

Thank you for asking the questions. Hope this helps


Would you be interested in buying my website? @ Honestly i don’t have the heart to pour anymore into this site, i have not monetized it yet, i’ve had it up for more than one year so far, I would only ask for what i paid in time to create this. If your interested please contact me at and we can discuss further.

P.S. Thanks Lis for your great posts, i’ve been following you ever since i joined TKA.

Hi guys

Only read this review now, however was considering signing up with TKA before. After reading this review I now want to sign up as I have some time to make the most of my first months trial membership. However I clicked over to TKA and membership and signup for new members seems to be closed? Is registration for new members currently closed?? or am I missing sumthing?

Also I see this review was updated about 8 months ago, is TKA still a good idea/place to start for beginners to IM?


interesting timeline Jim – your highpoint of income from websites is the same as mine Jan 11

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