While link building strategy has continued to change throughout the last few years, links from educational websites have continued to hold strong value. Websites that have an .edu extension as their top level domain are extremely regulated and must be purchased by an educational institution. In order to obtain the .edu domain name, your website must meet the eligibility requirements and provide information to verify authenticity. Due to the verification process, it makes sense that links placed on .edu domains carry more weight than links placed on sites that end in .com or .net.
Education URLs are frequently some of the most authoritative websites on the internet, so it is little surprise that they are some of the most sought after resources to obtain links from for search engine optimization. These domain names are judged so highly by search engines because they offer resources to current students, incoming students, and in many cases offer many valuable research documents. Some of the most respected US universities carry nearly flawless authority. Take a look at the ranks below for some of America's top universities:
So here comes the big question, if you're not a recruitment firm - can you get your company mentioned and obtain a link on education websites?
The most important thing to note is if you can't participate in any of the following tactics listed below naturally then don't try them at all. There should be value to you and your company outside of simply achieving a link. If you can't connect on a relevance factor, it's best to just stay away. As another warning, if you try to outsmart the search engines by acquiring tons of .edu links (like Overstock did back in February 2011) you may end up getting slapped with a Google penalty.
Attend Career Fairs
If your company is continuously hiring entry level candidates, consider attending college career fairs. Set up a booth to meet upcoming professionals and exchange contact information. In most cases, universities will list all participating employers online with a short description of the company. Attending a career fair will help your company capture the correct audience and also earn your company a quality link.
Speak at an Event
Quality link building is about becoming an authority in your industry. Search engines want to ensure that the businesses ranking on the first page are the best result for each keyword. Participating at a college event will help brand your company and speakers as thought leaders on particular industry related topics. These days, becoming a thought leader has become an integral part of link building strategies.
Give Scholarship Money
Offering giveaways and contests is a great way to attract positive press and attention from potential customers. Press frequently blurs the lines between SEO and simple giveaway tactics - attracting such press could help your business gain a lot of natural buzz around the internet. An example of this tactic is Dr. Pepper, that annually runs a very successful scholarship program that engages with both schools and students.
Offer Research News
Content is king. But what makes great content?
Great content should include a significant amount of researched knowledge. If the research is the first of its kind on the internet, it could create generate a great backlink portfolio. If your business is conducting industry research where you could offer statistics on a topic, your company has the opportunity to gain a lot of recognition. Connect with relevant university publications and offer further information on your research or a quote on the topic.
Interview a Professor
College and university professors are the epitome of industry experts. Reach out to a few professors to either get a quote or conduct an interview on their subject matter. Once your article is published, make sure you connect the article with those interested. Use Twitter and other social media tools to engage with the professor's audience. Frequently, professors will list personal interviews or resources on their university biography page.
Do you have questions or other tactics for obtaining .edu links? Let us know by commenting below or by tweeting @BFMweb.