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Competitor just got .edu-backlink and skyrocketed to #1
I Believe that .edu Helps with Ranking Well in Google

 10:19 am on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

A (rather weak) competitor just got an .edu-backlink and pushed me to #2 and #3 for my most important keyword. He skyrocketed from down the ~10/~15 field to #1. As far as I can tell it is ONLY due to the edu backlink, since nothing has changed on his pages - neither on-page or off-page.

How he got the backlink is the SEO-version of a freak accident:

There is an obscure industry association, which has a print catalogue once a year with a circulation of 300 pieces! In the 2003 issue of this catalogue my competitor had a paid advertising. Chairmanship for this association went from a German university to one of the big US universities, and as an outworldly consequence the associations website moved there as well. They also put all the past issues of the catalogue on the new website, including hyperlinks to all the paid advertisers. There you go! He invested 200 US$ two years ago and now has an edu-backlink! Talk about long term revenue... He might not even KNOW that he's #1 in SERPS, and even if he does, he probably wonders why.

Advertising prices have moved to 500 US$ in the meantime. I'm probably going to buy and ad in the 2005 issue, hoping to have my edu-backlink hopefully still this year, or in 2006 at the latest.

To keep a long story short: edu-backlinks still seem to be the holy grail of link building.



 10:42 am on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Interesting. Do you mean by .edu main page or just sub pages?


 11:01 am on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

In this case it's:



 11:34 am on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google has an Universities directory:


Maybe it gives a bonus...


 11:48 am on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, it's listed in there. What did you want to tell me?


 1:52 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I thought the .edu links were not as important to google as they once were. There was a time when just a couple .edu set you up for great rankings.
I don't think it changed because I have a domain with lots of .edu links that has not moved up in the SERPS at all. So I would look elsewhere for the reason why your competition is moving.


 1:58 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Lots of students have their own pages on .edu intranets. I just found one backlink from there on one of my sites. How would google know what is an "authority" and what is a students own rants about whatever?


 2:32 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just had a hard look at their site again, and I'm very, very sure that nothing has changed on site. The cached copy is from January 3rd and looks exactly like the current page. What makes things even weirder is, that the page is very heavy on the graphics side. It has exactly 37 words on it!

I have no way of seeing in detailed if the backlinks have changed. I only know for SURE that the edu-backlinks weren't there before. And the cached page for the edu-backlink-site is of Feb 15.


 9:29 am on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

In the meantime, I worked on my page in question. I changed the headline, I carefully worked on the content, I tweaked the metatags, I even reworked the <b>-tags. The page - I had to admit - got a whole let better for human visitors due to this.

It got spidered twice since then. But still it is #2, and the content-poor-mostly-images page of my competitor is #1. I am convinced that it is only the edu-backlink!


 10:32 am on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think Google over ranks for .edu links.

A while back we got a back link from some obscure student site at MIT. Not sure if it contributed much to our site, but for a long time that almost empty site would show up in the top 3 in google for some of the same keywords that we use.

Not sure, but it seems to under-rank for links from .gov sites.


 4:43 pm on Feb 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

One niche I watch also has a surprising site at #1 - and it's been there for as long as I remember (I knocked it off for a few months, but it came back).

The page never changes and although on topic is far too specific a page to top a general keyword search term.

What has always interested me is that it too has hardly any content beyond 20-30 very slow loading images! With the keyword it ranks #1 appearing in every alt image tag.

It has no links to it beyond internal ones too.

It was your comment about your competitor being top with image heavy content that caught my attention.


 2:34 pm on Mar 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

It happened to other keywords as well! I just queried their server: the keyword I mentioned at the beginning of the htread - the page was last update in 2003. Now I found a (less important) keyword where they are all of a sudden ahead of me as well - with a page last changed in 2002!



 11:43 pm on Mar 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would take a look at the KW density too. I have learned recently that it doesn't take a lot of content on the home page. IF you have quality internal/external links, it will do wonders.


 11:50 pm on Mar 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

See message #8 - they have a total of 37 words on the page in question, and the keyword in question is only listed ONCE in the title...


 3:44 am on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Best links you can get.


 7:32 pm on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

It seems weird that an .edu link would have that much effect. One of my sites has PR 6 links from Cornell and the University of Nebraska, and they haven't made much of a difference.


 5:06 am on Mar 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

pmkpmk, what is the pagerank of the edu page linking to your compeditor, could just be a good pr boost moreso than an edu effect.

One of our sites competes with sites with mainly .gov and .edu links in and still beat them due to us having greater number of sites linking to us with correct anchor and more powerful pr behind some of those links. We also have more internal links and a bigger site.


 4:57 pm on Mar 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

> I have no way of seeing in detailed if the backlinks have changed. I only know for SURE that the edu-backlinks weren't there before. And the cached page for the edu-backlink-site is of Feb 15.

Yahoo gives a pretty detailed listing of links that Google won't.

But unless you knew in detail what links they had before this jump to #1, you won't have anything to compare too...


 9:51 am on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dominic, it's a PR5 site. Their other backlinks are mostly PR3 pages, so you might actually have a good point there.


 9:59 am on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have over 100 and all are oneway.
To get an .edu bL you must have a unique content that students find interesting for there studies so they will refer to your page even Wiki pedia,thats the only way


 10:10 am on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> To get an .edu bL you must have a unique content that students find interesting for there studies

Absolute nonsense.

Pay a starving grad student to write an article on your website. Even easier if the student keeps his blog on his departmental home page.


 10:39 am on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

We decided to buy one of those ads (see first post) too, and see what's happening. Unfortunately the next issue we can get the ad into will be the July issue :-(

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