10 Ideas For Getting .Edu Links

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10 Ideas For Getting .Edu Links

Most SEOs will tell you getting .edu links is a huge boost to any link profile. While this is true, I want to warn you upfront that “getting .edu links” is not as easy as it sounds.

I also want to warn you that you don’t simply get them. You have to earn them. And you earn them, not by making the backlink your main goal, but by making it a side effect of something more noble. Link building is important, but you must do so in a scalable, strategic, and ethical way.

I’ll share my ideas in just a minute, but I first want to make a few observations about .edu links, and how they could benefit your link profile.

Do You Need .Edu Links?

The simple and honest answer is “no”. A great link profile doesn’t have to have .edu links to possess authority and great ranking.

My site, Quicksprout.com, has very few .edu backlinks. Nonetheless, the site has strong trust and authority, as rated by Majestic SEO.

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

That being said, it’s possible for nearly any industry to gain some sort of .edu backlinks. Educational institutions are widely varied, meaning that you can probably find some school that is connected in some way to your vertical.

If you are targeting .edu links in your link building strategy, keep these two important features in mind:

Velocity

If your link profile suddenly gains a bunch of new .edu links, this could set off a spam alert in Google’s algorithm. Too much too soon of a good thing is not a good thing. Go easy.

Anchor Text

One of Google’s primary signals for the validity of a link is its anchor text. In my research, anchor text is the second-most significant component of a link, right after the domain/authority/trust of the originating domain.

If the anchor text is exact-match or keyword dense, then the .edu link may be doing more harm than good. The Penguin algorithm is known to target links with keyword-stuffed anchors.

Here’s How to Get .Edu Links

You can’t merely build backlinks like these. They require enormous effort, time, and involvement in an educational institution. Gaining a backlink from an .edu site is rarely as easy as just snagging a link. Instead, it is a byproduct of a holistic involvement with the college or university.

If you think .edu links are important and valuable for you, then there are several tactical ways to score some. Keep in mind that this isn’t some random grab for a bunch of links. This is a cautious, straightforward, honest, and trustworthy approach to establishing relationships with educational institutions.

Teach at The College or University

If you can speak with clarity and possess expertise in a field, then you can be a guest lecturer at a college class. Many community colleges and trade schools are eager to accept professionals who can talk about their area of expertise for an hour or two.

For example, let’s say a local community college has a freshman course on programming. You are a programmer with professional experience in a web development agency. You can volunteer or submit an application to the community college to share with students about your career.

Obtaining a guest lecturer position is, most importantly, helpful for the students. It also allows you to grow your reputation as a thought leader and speaker. Finally, it may allow you to earn a backlink. If the university lists guest lecturers or updates its blog with information about upcoming guest lectures, then it’s likely they will provide a link to your personal “about” page, social media profile, or business website.

Interview a Professor

Networking with professors has a host of advantages. Professors are usually intelligent people, so you can probably learn a lot. You can also interview them to gain information for an article.

Universities love to promote their professors. Interviews usually get picked up by the university and featured on their website. Often, the professor herself will link to the interview, especially if she maintains a personal website on the .edu domain.

Your website may not have the same cachet as the Los Angeles Times, but you can still get links for your interviews — like this one from UCLA Law.

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

Service The University With Your Local Business

Universities often list the local businesses who provide services to a university. If you have a local brick-and-mortar near a university, this is the perfect opportunity to see what kind of opportunities are available for serving the guests and student body of the university.

Local restaurants, hotels, boutiques, and even shopping establishments are sometimes listed on a college’s website.

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

Provide Resources For University Libraries

The job of university libraries is to provide as much information as possible to students who are seeking it. In addition, libraries usually have developers or web technologists on staff. These individuals are responsible for organizing the digital information and making it available to the public or to students.

If you have quality content that is relevant to a specific field or to students in a course of study, then you can bring it to the attention of the library. If they find the material useful, they may link to it.

A master’s thesis, technical guides, e-books, an instructional PDF, open access textbooks, or some other form of trustworthy and reliable content is all fair game for a great link from a university library.

Here is a page from USC.edu’s library website that provides a list of such resources.

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

Become Active in Your Alumni Organization

Many alumni associations are great, not just for business networking, but also for earning mentions and links on an .edu website. Your alma mater may not provide a publicly-available alumni network with links, but it’s worth checking into.

This page is a from a publicly accessible directory listing of Evergreen.edu’s notable alumni:

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

If you become a really famous alumni, then you may even get featured more prominently.

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

Participate in a Seminar

Many colleges provide seminars where students can gain additional information about specific area such as current events, career guidance, or niche topics in their area of study.

Universities bring in outside speakers to address the students. If you want to participate in one of these events, call up your local college and see what opportunities exist. Visiting speakers may be mentioned on the website, along with a link to their business.

Here’s what such a page looks like on the website of IIT Architecture Chicago.

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

Create a Scholarship

If you provide a scholarship, then you will almost certainly get a link from an .edu domain. Nearly all universities have a list of scholarships that students can apply for, along with links to more information about the scholarship provider. Usually, these are considered “outside/sponsored scholarships.”

Here is the list of outside scholarships for Harvard Law School.

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

Creating a scholarship is not a simple or easy task. Make sure that you allocate the personnel and resources to develop a legitimate and desirable scholarship.

Post on an .Edu Career Portal

Universities are full of students who are about to enter the workforce, and are seeking for their future career. Universities serve this need by providing resources for their students to find jobs.

When a university has a job fair, it is a perfect opportunity to work with the university for recruiting needs. If you’re in the market for an intern or employee, use this opportunity to work with the university to secure a recruiting display table and/or a mention on the website.

Some universities have lists of job websites, such as this one from Roosevelt University. Their career page has a list of hundreds of websites where students can apply for jobs.

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

Conclusion

Let me reiterate the most important thing about getting .edu links. The link is only a side benefit of something bigger and more meaningful. Make it your goal to truly contribute to the university, not just score a link.

Whatever you do, steer clear of websites with offers like this:

Ten Ideas for Getting .Edu Links | Search Engine Journal

What is your experience with .edu links? How did you earn them?

Editor Note: Neil was the opening speaker for our SEJ Summit in Santa Monica this year. Want to learn more from speakers like him at our Summits throughout the year: in NYC, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Miami, and London? Sign up for a FREE ticket, covered by our partner, Searchmetrics.

 

Featured Image: archideaphoto via Shutterstock

Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at Quick Sprout.
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  • http://www.gempundit.com/ Vikas Singh Gusain

    Hi Neil,

    Great post and I completely agree of these points. I think .Gov sites have a more focused approach than .Edu sites as all the content and facts and links are all curated by the government and are highly strict and accurate while disseminating information.

    Thanks

  • http://blog.reflectivedynamics.com/ Randy Ray

    Here’s another way to get .edu links. Go through your competitors’ backlinks. Look at the kind of content they wrote that got linked to. Go create something similar but light-years better. Then contact the owner of the linking page on the .edu site and pitch your page to them.

    I know that’s kind of old-school, but it takes a little bit less effort than becoming an instructor at the university, which is probably beyond what many SEOs are willing and/or able to do.

    I know some people who hate researching competitors’ backlinks, but I never fail to find ideas for new content that I can really knock it out of the park with.

    • http://www.moxiedot.com Kelsey Jones

      Good insight and tip, Randy! I’m sure there’s some nuggets in competitor results that at the very least, will get the juices flowin’.

    • Harun

      hello Randy

      would you please suggest me a best way to find competitor’s backlink ?

  • http://www.arilandworth.com Ari Landworth

    This is awesome! I’ve really been trying to increase the position of my photography site and I think this will really help. I was fairly active with my local community college, and I know a few professors. Maybe I can get a link out of them!

  • http://www.PlanetISRO.com Madhav

    Really helpful article, thanks for it. I will work on it soon, to get some traffic on my blog.

  • http://www.spyengage.com/ Kerrie

    Hey Neil,

    I am into cell phone monitoring niche. Can you suggest me how i can get .edu backlinks for a website like i have into that niche.

  • http://alltechtricksguru.blogspot.in/ rahul choudhary

    Greetings Neil,

    Extraordinary post and I totally concur of these focuses. I think .Gov destinations have a more centered methodology than .Edu locales as all the substance and actualities and connections are all curated by the legislature and are exceptionally strict and precise while dispersing data.

    Much obliged

  • http://cookiethrower.com/ Danny Pardoe

    It is a good explanation and for sure EDU links have there weight. I do a lot of local SEO and never actually go this far in to acquiring such links but that being said this article is very for those that would like to try get themselves a nice EDU link for there profile. Thank you.

  • http://www.bloggingshout.com Fakharuddin

    Hello Neil,

    Great post as usual with some great and unique Idea. But most of the techniques to get backlinks from .Edu site you mention here are so tough for almost all newbie bloggers and SEO’s. Anyway, I’ll try your ideas to get some .Edu backlinks for my blog.

  • https://twitter.com/Inbound_Mike Mike Glover

    As an Internet Marketing Manager for a University, I can tell you Neil has done his homework on this one!

    And I would also like to reiterate this statement:

    “The link is only a side benefit of something bigger and more meaningful. Make it your goal to truly contribute to the university, not just score a link.”

    EDU sites are one (of many) where you do actually have to EARN the link, at least from us you do ūüôā

    Nice job Neil!

  • http://www.marketinggiant.org MG

    Great post Neil. I work specifically with surgeons and we have had good luck building .edu links with case studies about cosmetic and plastic surgery. Once we put together some content we always promote are case studies through social paid ads on twitter and Facebook. This allows us to build visibility and links at the same time.

  • http://www.therightsignals.com Fawad

    I think if i am not working on an educational niche i would not need any .edu link for my sports or other niche websites. But I will surly do follow the .edu links if i would work on an educational niche.

  • Anthony

    Neal, great article! My in-house SEO team was able to get links from 300+ .EDU domains in less than a year. Fortunately we had a niche (apartment finding services) that was of value to colleges, as many students need off-campus housing. Most schools had housing pages that already linked to some of our competitors, so we pitched our service to the them and highlighted a few unique value propositions we offered to renters. We did a lot of research to find the appropriate contact person at the school and emailed them directly.

    Also, most major colleges and universities have multiple departments (majors, grad schools, etc) with their own websites and multiple people who manage them. So, one of our strategies was to contact all possible departments within each university, provided they had housing-related pages. This worked well, and we often got multiple links from some universities.

  • http://organicpowerfoods.com Angel

    An interview with a professor is a good idea! Will definitely try it.
    Cheers,
    Angel

  • http://www.detutor.com/2015/02/mouse-cursor-customize-schemes-for-windows-8.html Grace Joseph

    have to agree with you, it’s hard getting. edu links. Been trying or a while now to get them pointing to my site and haven’t seen any. these are all difficult measures in getting. edu backlinks to a site, i’ll rather use directories and social bookmarking with quality PR. Anyway, thanks for sharjng.

  • http://www.rankhigher.in Raunak

    Great Post Neil! Thanks. I have a question though. What if I have graduated from a UK based university where the usual domain name is .ac.uk? Will a backlink from there have the same desired effect as that of a .edu domain?

  • http://www.andykuiper.com Andy Kuiper

    Great tips, and if all else fails… on can always —> Post on an .Edu Career Portal ūüôā thanks Neil ūüôā

  • http://Globerunner.com Bre Ve

    I have found that .edu’s usually have a good student/teacher discount program. So if you are trying to get links for a small business client, talk to your client about student discounts and then send all that information to the admin in charge of the student discount program at the college or university. I have attained many .edu links for my clients this way. Same thing for .gov links as well.

    _BreVe

  • http://nationkart.com/online-store/ Prateek Srivastava

    Wonderful post. I do agree with you. .Edu sites are very powerful to boost up the rank of any site and I think its good for sharing any companies features with the professionals.

  • http://robinsh.me Robinsh

    I also have a blog/site for the students who are preparing for their dream jobs in Government of India and that’s why I’m thinking that getting few .edu link would be a good idea to standout from the competition and help my audience more often from the search engine’s way.

    Thanks Neil, I always follows you suggestions and that’s why I know that this time too there is a lot more than my expectations – and right now I’m thinking how to help various universities of my state.

  • http://www.nextleveltricks.com/ Harsh Sharma

    Hi Neil,

    Is .edu link the only high-quality link that there is? I’m asking because I’ve seen a couple of .edu links with bad reputation.

  • http://www.presitely.com Vladimir

    Creating a scholarship campaign is a rather easy way to get tons of .edu backlinks.
    For the last few months, we managed to build about 40 .edu links as part of a scholarship campaign for a client. We had about 5-10 new .edu links per month. I consider it a successful campaign as we were not too aggressive and the links were of high quality, not to mention the huge increase in referral traffic that came to the website.
    One thing that you should keep in mind here is that you need to renew your scholarship campaign constantly, otherwise your links will be removed once your campaign is over. Educational sites update their scholarship pages constantly and they will include links to scholarships that are relevant for the current or upcoming semester. Happy link building!