:Marketing / Marketing best practices

How to generate organic leads and sell your online course with SEO backlinks

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Although the digital marketing and commerce landscape may have drastically changed recently, the importance of mastering the art of content marketing promotion has not changed. To begin with, let’s focus on the basics. When promoting your course through online content marketing, backlinks are an essential factor in driving traffic. They can improve SEO and bring new eyes to your product.

Backlinking can also help to drastically improve online course sales and increase organic traffic to your site. The easiest way to think of a backlink is as a citation to your website, product, or service page. This citation also serves as an endorsement or a vote of confidence in that page.

Read on for a complete guide on how to generate organic leads and sell your courses with SEO backlinks.

How backlinks benefit SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of attaining higher-quality traffic to visit your website or product through organic search results. Since around 90% of the search market belongs to Google alone, you can focus on it rather than on the other search engines to get good results.

Defining backlinks

Backlinks serve as a stamp of approval in your site. However, they aren’t just for the person reading and clicking on the link. Backlinks are a form of validation for Google itself, too.

When you type a search term into Google, think about the websites or pages that pop up first on the page. They’re either highly reviewed and rated or heavily trafficked. In short, they’ve earned their spots at the top of the list by being reliable and trustworthy places to find a solution to whatever you searched.

Links are typically a dependable way of determining if a third-party site has value. In fact, Larry Page, a co-founder of Google, invented PageRank in the 1990s. His purpose was to use internal links as a metric for external site authority.

Today, page-level link features make up about 20% of the ranking factors that Google uses today. That’s why learning to successfully create a backlink is important now than ever, especially for creators looking for course sales.

Site content matters

It’s worth noting the type of site backlinking to your course or website has a major impact as well. A reputable site backlinking to you will be beneficial for your page’s overall SEO. However, a site unrelated to your own or one with questionable material or authority will negatively impact your SEO if they link out to you.

Fortunately, many of the most popular SEO services, such as LinkResearchTools and Majestic, offer backlink tracking tools that make it easy to assess the strength of your (and your competitors’) backlinks.

Ultimately, backlinks are a valuable tool for improving SEO and generating sales for online course creators. But you must be careful when creating and using them. The last thing you want is for your own site to get written off and have your traffic reduced.

A step-by-step guide to creating a backlink

With that said, there are two primary types of backlinks: internal and external. These will positively impact your SEO and benefit your business if done properly.

Internal backlinks

An internal backlink is when you create a backlink on one of your own pages that links out to another one of your related pages or a product.

As an example, perhaps your online course is all about cooking. Break down some of the recipes within the course and put them into a blog format. Then linking to the course within your blog is a powerful strategy to build a good internal backlink.

Additionally, repurposing old content is a great way to internally backlink. You can utilize effective tactics such as the “pillar and cluster strategy” or add case studies to your site. Both of these will help you refresh the content on your site and give authenticity to your online course.

The pillar and cluster strategy, for reference, means creating a centralized ‘pillar page’ that covers the overall topic. This includes links to ‘clusters’ of content that is related to the pillar.

External backlinks

External backlinks are harder to control, as you are forced to rely on the authority of another site and hope they link in an SEO-friendly manner.

This can benefit your SEO if you reach out to other creators or bloggers and offer to write a guest post to be published on their sites.

Depending on the site, they may use your name on the byline or their own. Regardless, writing a guest post gives you the freedom to integrate a backlink to your product or webpage in an efficient way. (Just confirm the webpage or blog you are writing the post for accepts backlinks, as not all bloggers or content creators will.)

Assuming you have approval, be sure to bury your backlink deep within a paragraph that is highly related to your online course. This will make Google realize the link is highly related to the content and won’t harm your own SEO efforts.

Putting it together

There are numerous ways to grow your online business, but combining both internal and external backlinks will help you reach your course sales goals much faster and can help bring in potential new leads.

Make the best first impression for your customers

You know how to scale organic traffic to your course website. Now make sure that your course home page reflects what you and your business has to offer. Get our free “course homepage checklist” today.

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Optimize your own site

Oftentimes, creators focus so much on generating SEO traffic they forget to ensure their own webpage or blog is ready for all the new on-page traffic arriving.

Backlinking is a tried and true strategy that will help generate more traffic for your site. However, if your site can easily be overloaded with traffic or is too slow, sites like Google will ding your SEO efforts.

The best way around this is to optimize the content on your site and ensure your site’s web host can handle the coming traffic. (Note: If you’re a Teachable creator who uses a subdomain to host your courses, you won’t need to worry about the incoming traffic to your Teachable school or courses. But it’s always a good idea to make sure any primary domain or blog you use is up to speed.)

Be smart with visuals

When selling an online course, visuals are key to conveying your course’s transformation and showcasing its value, as well as delivering any statistics or testimonials you may want to share. However, 54% of a webpage’s weight is due to pictures alone and these are often the very things that slow your site down. Focus on choosing a better file type and resizing your images so your site doesn’t get bogged down unnecessarily. (Again, you won’t have to worry about this with your Teachable courses.)

Design your site and pages in a more appealing way for the eye. Consider recording a video about your product, rather than using many pictures, that can inform a viewer of what you are selling. Of course, when it comes to the layout and design of your course page on Teachable, we make it completely customizable and always simple.

When it comes to digital marketing for your online course or business, you want to get as many eyes on your product as possible to increase the likelihood that a viewer will turn into a customer and a customer turns into a course student.

Although 2020 may have been a difficult time for small businesses and creators—and many learned to pivot to a digital space quickly—there are a number of ways to make money online for beginners. Take advantage of the new opportunities you have and become a digital marketing master by perfecting SEO backlinks to help secure organic leads, land new students, and make new sales.

Author: Nahla Davies, Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.