Edu backlinks are one of the most authoritative backlinks you can get for your website that greatly improve your ranking.
And in this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about it, what they are, why they are so important, and what you should avoid in order to not waste your money or worse get penalized by Google.
And lastly, the best ways how to get edu backlinks for your own website.
So, buckle up, we are starting!
What are EDU Backlinks?
Edu backlinks are backlinks or incoming links from websites that own .edu top-level domains (TLDs). A website with .edu TLD can be only owned by post-secondary institutions such as universities, institutes school centers, colleges, and other official educational institutions which makes these types of backlinks extremely valuable and desirable for SEO purposes.
On top of that only government-approved institutions can get an edu domain which right away makes this more prominent as not everybody can get this TLD unlike general TLDs like .com, .eu, .net, etc.
Why Edu Backlinks are Important?
.edu backlinks are very important because they are coming from websites owned by trusted organizations approved by Government bodies, usually by the minister of education of the country, which already makes it more prominent.
Therefore, getting a backlink from a .edu website means you are getting a “vote of confidence” from the educational institution and their experts acknowledge you as a valuable resource/reference on a particular topic.
On top of that, Google assumes that any content published on an edu website including the links, regardless of the author, is owned by the organization.
This includes moderating and managing the quality of content as well as approving that the content is up to their quality standards.
Therefore, the sole responsibility of the content is up to the actual company owning the website.
As explained within the Google Quality Rater Guidelines:
“Often a business or organization is responsible for the content of a website, not an individual person. even though many individuals contributed to creating and maintaining the content. In these cases, we will view the business or organization as responsible for the content on every single page, as well as the maintenance of the website.”
Therefore, the author authority is not as important as the actual authority of the legal owner of the website and you are not getting links from the author, but from the institutions, as they approved the content as well as the link pointing to the website.
So, even if John O’Brien has published an article on the Educause.edu website, the content is owned by the website owner/company, in this case, it is owned by Educause non-profit organization and they agreed with the written text and with the references included within the text.
Therefore, as I said, Google assumes that the institution referencing you sees you as a valuable source for a particular topic.
Because of this, .edu backlinks are valuable in many ways, and here are the most important:
Highly Authoritative Websites
The first reason why .edu backlinks are so valuable is that these websites are usually highly authoritative, plus as I already said, only government-approved institutions can have this TLD, which means 90% of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) factors have been followed.
For example, if we look at the educause.edu website authority using an SEO tool like SE Ranking, we can see their domain trust is pretty high!
And they obtained backlinks from one of the most authoritative websites on the internet owned by large corporations such as Microsoft as well as having links from .gov websites.
On top of that, the website is owned by a reputable company and displays all the important contact information.
And everything about this website just screams that it is owned by a real and trusted company, and you don’t need to be afraid to fill in your information or even download something from them.
And this plays a big role when Google is assessing websites for ranking, they want to know if they can trust the websites and .edu domains are one of the most trustworthy because not everybody can have them.
Content Produced by Experts
Another reason why .edu backlinks are so valuable is that the actual content on their website is produced, vetted, proofread, and edited by experts within the industry.
Heck, they are teaching future generations.
As said, ultimately organizations are solely responsible for the content created on the website.
However, the creators of the content and their expertise plays a big role in the reputation of the website, especially for those that are searching for references.
When somebody is referencing or linking to a website, often it is because that person is an expert within the industry and speaking some real truth and knowledge.
That’s why the content creators on websites are so important.
Again, if we look at the Quality Guidelines, we can see that Google have an entire section about the understanding of authors on a website and how to evaluate them.
And if you look at .edu domains, you will find that every article/blog post has an author/s.
And every author has their own detailed author bio with a detailed explanation what is their expertise, background, links to social media, and more.
And this applies to most of the .edu domains as they understand how important is to publish expert content and they have processes to ensure every of the content published on their website is high value, without grammatical mistakes, factually correct, and answers users’ questions.
That’s why edu backlinks are so valuable because if they reference you in their content, it means they see it as valuable. Thus, you got expert approval.
And Google is valuing these very much!
Hard to Get
And the very last reason I want to mention why edu backlinks are so valuable and important is that they are hard to get.
Google is great at tracking links across the internet and storing them in their databases. They also are good at recognizing from what websites it’s easy to get links and from what websites it’s hard to get them.
For example, links from forums and social media are basically worthless in terms of the link equity they pass. Because everybody can quickly and relatively easily create links to their website.
Therefore, these types of links have zero value for PageRank.
However, the more moderated the site is, the more likely the links from it are genuine without any influence of incentives. (You know like, buying link insertion or guest posting)
Therefore, getting links from sites like these means they genuinely think you are providing value within the topic.
And when it comes to .edu websites their moderation is even stricter. They don’t let just anyone publish whatever they want, but they thoroughly check everything including the references.
So, you not only have to get passed by the writer referencing you but probably several other people that will be editing and proofreading the content which makes getting an edu backlink even harder and that much more valuable!
And Google understands that the harder to get a link from a certain website, the more value it should pass as it is.
Because as stated by Google that getting links from reputable news articles is one of the great ways to establish positive reputation information and edu websites are considered reputable.
With that, there are more reasons why .edu backlinks are important such as:
- Driving highly valuable traffic that is interested in your knowledge.
- You get promoted across the future workforce.
- These backlinks are considered niche-relevant backlinks.
- High trust and credibility booster among peers.
- Potentially getting more .edu links. Remember the first one is always the most difficult one.
What to Avoid with Edu Backlinks?
Now, that we have established that edu backlinks are very valuable and they can literally change your ranking from the second to the first page of Google, then I need to share with you common link building mistakes webmasters do when they try to build edu backlinks.
With that here are the three biggest mistakes you can make when building edu backlinks:
Buying Edu Links
The first and biggest mistake that you should definitely avoid when building .edu links is to not buy any .edu backlinks.
Trust it or not, but you actually can buy .edu links and they are surprisingly cheap!
However, these backlinks don’t originate from the actual website, but from students or those that have gained access somehow to subdomains or sub-blogs, or other parts of the edu websites that are not moderated by the institution and not associated together.
Such as this example of Cambridge university’s weird subdomain.
Or this example where Dominion University allows their students to create their own blogs and share their thoughts, knowledge, etc.
These parts of websites are inaccessible by only clicking on internal links, are not indexed and crawled by search engines, and also they do not rank in SERPs.
Therefore, these links are absolutely worthless and can actually be picked up by Google and sent for manual review resulting in a Google penalty.
Therefore, if you see cheap edu backlinks make no mistake, these links won’t be placed on the actual blog/article section of the institution but on weird subdomains.
Edu Blog Commenting
The next big thing you should avoid is to try to build edu backlinks by posting comments on their blog posts for sake of getting backlinks from them.
First of all, comment posting stop working decades ago.
On top of that, you look like a total moron, plus you are hurting your chances of getting actually featured on the .edu website. I mean who would feature a spammer even if he has some value to offer?
Now, most of the .edu websites already abandoned having comment sections such as Harvard as it is a huge hassle to moderate it because of those idiots who still believe comment spamming for backlinks is worthy and not just .edu websites, but most websites in general removed comment section because of these…
Even though I would love to have a comment section on my website, it’s just impossible to manage it…
So, don’t do this!
UGC Edu Links
And the very last thing you should avoid when building .edu backlinks is to don’t post on UGC sections of the .edu website.
As said, some educational institutions allowed users to publish content on some of their subdomains.
Again, these sections are absolutely disassociated from the actual institution, the backlinks from these sections have zero value and Google knows very much that the content is UGC (user-generated content) and that everyone can do that.
Therefore, if you know ways how to find and publish content on these types of sections within the edu websites, don’t waste your time or money.
It doesn’t work anyway!
How do I Get .edu Backlinks?
There are actually many methods how you can get .edu backlinks for your own website.
However, none of the techniques will come easy and you must realize that getting backlinks from domains with edu TLDs is hard.
For example, it took me over two years to land my first .edu backlink.
Because sometimes it’s about luck and sometimes it’s about being persistent.
So, with that, here are some of the best link building strategies and other means of getting yourself .edu backlinks.
Complete HARO Enquiries
The first way to land backlinks from edu websites is by completing HARO inquiries.
HARO or Help a Reporter Out is a way to get in touch with journalists, bloggers, and content creators from small to large organizations such as CNN, Forbes, Microsoft, and even educational institutions to provide your expert input.
You will receive three times daily list of journalist queries from all kinds of different outlets.
And you need to select the ones that are relevant to your industry or expertise and answer journalist questions.
And if you are lucky, they will select your input on their website and often link to your website.
Now, it’s not always that there are .edu websites asking for questions, and when they are, there is a relatively small chance you get selected as this technique is oversaturated.
However, to increase your chances I recommend you check out my HARO link building guide, it will help you with some of the best practices and how to land more backlinks even from large publications such as business.com
BTW: this is how I got my .edu backlink.
Get Listed on Resource Pages
The next way to get .edu backlinks on your website is to get featured on resource pages of edu websites.
One of the good things about educational organizations is that they are happy to provide relevant and helpful resources to their students. So, they create a lot of resource pages.
So, to find relevant resource pages you can use the following Google operators:
site:.edu niche keyword inurl:resources
e.g. site:.edu marketing inurl:resources
This will help you narrow down the search and it will be easier to find an actual resource page, like these:
Here you can see one of the examples of a resource page from the edu website.
Now the issue with this is that you have to be a good and known expert in your industry. They definitely won’t just take any blogger or smaller company.
But if you are a locally known brand then you are having a chance of getting featured by local universities or other educational institutions.
Another way to get backlinks from educational institutions is by offering a scholarship.
This strategy was once extremely popular with SEO experts by the low investment and high ROI, however, because this strategy has been literally abused by SEOs and Google started ignoring or even giving a manual penalty for scholarship link building.
Needless to say, if your organization has been giving scholarships, then you should still promote your program across relevant educational organizations.
For example, if we look at the Coca-Cola scholarship page backlink profile, we can see, they have brought literally thousands of educational organizations linking to them.
However, this strategy can be very tedious and time-consuming with a very low success rate as educational institutions are already aware of this SEO scam and they are mostly moving towards scholarship databases such as BigFuture.
With that being said, I am not a big fan of this strategy because you need to actually provide scholarships which 99.9% don’t…
Provide Discounts to Students & Staff
The next on our list of link building strategies to get edu backlinks is to provide discounts to students/employees of universities, colleges, or other eligible educational organizations.
Whether you are a local barbershop, restaurant, theme park, eCommerce store, or any organization that can provide a discount for students and staff, this strategy can be extremely effective.
The strategy is simple, you just need to find your local universities and educational businesses, such as local universities in Michigan
And then using Google site operator: (site:emich.edu discounts) to locate discount pages on their website:
And then do an outreach process to those educational organizations that you are offering discounts for students & staff as well.
Of course, this doesn’t have to be only local. If you are providing services or products across the entire country or even globally then you can simply search for any edu website and offer them your discount.
Do Guest Posting on .edu Sites
The next link building strategy that you can apply is to do guest posting for edu sites.
However, you definitely don’t want to do the traditional guest posting way where you search for “write for us” on edu sites.
As you can see, this is just a plain WordPress site that is hosted on a DePaul university website. Most likely created by a student that is trying to earn some money.
Instead of this, you will want to find educational organizations that allow outside authors to contribute to their websites by going through the authors on the website.
To do this you want to find the blog section on educational websites by using this Google operator:
And now you want to go through the blog posts to find any outside contributors such as this example on HBSO.
Once you have found edu websites that accept outside contributors, then you want to reach out to them that you would like to contribute as well.
Usually, those that allow contributors also have guidelines so make sure you check them first.
I also recommend googling the name of the contributor to easily find more edu websites. Because usually these authors publish content on more than just one side and they stick to the same type of business.
And as you can see, Tim is actively posting on other edu sites as well.
Now, as you probably realized they do not allow just like anyone to publish articles on their website. What they are usually looking for are actual experts.
So, unless you are the expert within the industry or somebody on your team you will have a hard time actually getting through.
On top of that, in most cases, edu websites do not allow backlinks to your website unless there is a very good reason such as referencing statistics or research but don’t expect you can just link to your website.
I also recommend you check out my guide on guest posting to learn all the bits and bolts that come with it and also my tiered link building guide to maximize it.
Do Competitor Backlink Analysis
Another great way to find edu backlink opportunities is by doing competitor backlink analysis and going through your competitors’ websites and checking where and how they got their own edu backlinks.
For example, Tim is from the Pepperland marketing agency and I already saw him posting on edu sites. Therefore, I can assume that he might have edu backlinks to his site.
So, let’s find out
So, to do that I will analyze the website using a Backlink Checker tool such as from SE Ranking.
This will give me a high-level overview of a backlink profile for the analyzed website such as the referring domains, backlinks, website authority, and more. So, I go to the “Referring Domains” report.
And here I just need to use a filter to find .edu domains. This gives me a list of domains with the .edu TLD linking to them.
And now I only need to analyze how they go them, and I can reverse engineer this for my own website.
And this can be done for all your competitors. You can use SE Ranking Competitor Research tool and go to the “Competitors” report and analyze all of your close competitors’ backlink profiles to find more edu backlink opportunities.
Run Events for Students
Another great way to get edu backlinks and help future generations is to run events for students and staff.
Educational organizations especially universities are excellent for running events because they have already a large audience that is always open to attending study-related events, plus professors many times encourage students to attend events that are organized by experts.
So, what you have to do is to find educational institutions that are offering events for their students and staff and pitch your own event.
For example, Kean university is organizing events on regular basis for their students from reading clubs, Broadway technical workshops, association meetings, and musicals to sports events, and many more.
And Kean university offers a wide range of undergraduate & graduate programs.
So, what you have to do, is to check if they provide academic programs related to your industry, in my example, it would be “marketing”.
And if they do, then you just need to come up with interesting event ideas for students.
For example, I could organize an event related to SEO, Content Marketing, and Email Marketing and how they work together to generate leads, sales, or affiliate sales.
I recommend checking out past events for inspiration.
Remember in most cases they do not provide a link to your website unless there is a good reason, so I recommend you prepare that reason such as downloading additional information, visiting your resources to learn more, etc.
Interview Important Faculty Employees or Be Interviewed
The next way to earn edu backlinks is by interviewing prominent employees of the educational organization and then publishing that interview on your website.
And usually, the educational organization will promote the interview on its own website, typically within the News section. If not, you can always ask them to promote it.
Of course, this can be the other way around and you can ask to be interviewed by the educational institution as well if they do conduct interviews with industry experts.
If they do, they usually publish it on their website with references and a link to your website.
For example, MIT does conduct a lot of interviews with industry experts.
And within their interviews, they also provide related links to inside and outside sources.
So, you either can interview or be interviewed. Both work fine!
Create Resource Page for Best Universities
The next way to earn edu backlinks is to create a resource page on your own website where you promote the best universities.
For example, US News has published resource pages/blog posts on “best global universities for computer science”.
And they got at least 10 high-quality edu backlinks just from this one post!
And of course, many universities would share it when they have been recommended as one of the best schools.
And you can do the same for your industry as well. And there are so many variants that you can play with such as:
- Best universities for +industry in +country. E.g. best universities for economics in France
- Best +industry programs/degrees in +country. E.g. best psychology programs/degrees in Poland.
- Best schools for +industry. E.g. Best schools for digital marketing.
- Best undergraduate programs for +industry. E.g. best undergraduate programs for electrical engineering.
- Best graduate programs for +industry. E.g. Best graduate programs for business analytics
- Best certification for +industry. E.g. Best certification for data science
So, you can create many different resource pages on your website and let the inbound technique do the work for you.
However, I recommend you select easy-to-rank keywords, otherwise, you won’t rank and of course not get any backlinks like that.
Also, you should choose the less known educational organizations as those are more likely to announce you have selected them because they don’t get many of those recommendations, unlike the very famous ones.
Offer Entry Level/Internship Jobs for Universities
And the very last link building strategy to build edu backlinks is to offer entry-level or internship jobs for university students.
It’s in high interest for universities to ensure their students get employed, otherwise, if their students are having low employment rate and struggle with getting jobs, then what do you think it says about the school itself?
Therefore, if you are offering entry-level jobs for university graduates, then you can ask universities to promote your job offers on their sites.
However, in most cases, universities opt-in for work employment websites or job listings and you might need to build relationships first before actually getting universities to promote your job offers.
I recommend starting with your own university first if you can. Or by actually hiring students from the university first and once you have a clear track record, then the university is more likely to promote your job offerings for the student.
Examples of edu Backlinks
With that being said, getting edu backlinks is hard and it does take time. Especially if you are starting with your website or business.
However, it’s possible to earn relevant and dofollow high-quality backlinks from edu websites, and seeing some examples can help you with your imagination on how to get those.
Therefore, here are some of the edu backlinks examples:
- edu: They link from their blog article to my homepage when they cited my opinion.
- edu: They link from their news section (Kean in news) to this article from Pepperland because they have been mentioned there.
- edu: They link from their blog post to this Backlinko research on CTR to prove their claims.
- edu: They link from their blog article to this Optinmonster blog post of vetted social media statistics to prove their claims.
- edu: They link from their news article to a Polygon news report that was talking about an event why Blizzard suspended a Hearthstone player.
- uw.edu: They link from their resource page about IoT to an IoT article from ITProToday as a reference.
As you could see from these edu backlinks examples and as well as throughout my post on how to get edu backlinks, there are many different ways to get them.
It all comes down to figuring out good reasons why they would link to you in the first place. However, in most cases, it’s always about having high-quality content related to the faculty that can be used by students for their studies.
Therefore, if you want to generate edu backlinks you need to produce thought leadership content within your industry.
I hope you have enjoyed my article, please let me know on my YouTube channel your thoughts, CAU!
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