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How to best acquire .edu links?

 12:53 pm on Sep 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good afternoon guys,

I'm trying to get some inbound links from .edu sources. What's the best way to go about this?

My main competitor has a couple of .edu links, they're clearly clued up about SEO. I believe the .edu links are what's keeping them on the top spot right now.

I know inbound links aren't everything, but I have all other angles covered really.

Any advice is much appreciated.




 3:06 pm on Sep 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's pretty simple: Write content that academics and university librarians will find linkworthy.


 3:28 pm on Sep 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

...or is of benefit to students...



 3:36 pm on Sep 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

To add to that: link to primary sources. That is very much appreciated in the academic world.


 11:52 pm on Sep 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

If it was that easy, everyone would have a ton of links. I found a .edu site and got my first edu link a while back, but that was luck - pure luck is all.

Education sites always had and still have a reputation of not handing out links to everybody, and the reason is Control. The answer of creating content isn't enough, the solution goes way beyond adding content, and is one of 'exception' - having such a site is too difficult and lengthy to comment about, but it's true.

Yes, I may have one educational link to my site - but chances are it's my lot for a very long time. It's a demotivating way of seeing things, but sadly a fact for now that edu sites don't want their resources cluttered with muck, and they can't be forced, bargained with or anything. You know, you aren't dealing with a 'normal site' here - these edu sites are first class resources with massive budgets, their own methods of generating profit and therefore aren't desperate for links. So can afford to call the shots.

I know of several real, pure quality resources, and they only have maybe 2 or 3 .edu linkbacks to their name, and one resource is a PR 7, it has 10'000 links to it etc etc, yet only has a few edu links from all that hard work creating content. It's very tough to get edu links.

[edited by: Maxnpaddy at 12:03 am (utc) on Sep. 6, 2007]


 12:23 am on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

As been mentioned here previously, you need content above and beyond what everyone else has. Research info, data, and studies are one way. And it takes a fair bit of work to create something like that - not just another mickey mouse study.

Easier/spammier methods:

You can look for sponsorship opportunities. Student clubs, academic projects.

School newspapers sometimes have ways to get into print as well. Get published, then reprinted online which includes a link.

Even rougher methods:
Look for forums/blog footprints on .edu's and spam away :). Bleh, I don't do that stuff, but I've seen abandoned forums almost as active as webmasterworld.com :) as everyone with a pharmacy or casino to sell posts full page ads and links.


 12:29 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

I hope this isn't too off topic, but is there any evidence (in as far as there is such a thing) that .edu links count for more than any other link? If not, why spend time trying to get .edu links.


 12:57 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Content is the key and it wont be like most sites. Things like literature reviews, meta-analyses and so on. Collating data can work too if the data is widely scattered or hard to access. To build trust on your site for an edu link you should always quote and link to the source or primary literature and you should have your qualifications listed on the about page.
another way is to go to academic conferences and talk to people and let them know about your resource in your conversation. Just talking to them will often give you clues to what they are looking for. Just ask them whats missing or what resource would be valuable to them.


 1:34 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Relevancy is the key. Up until recently, I used to be editor of a specialist magazine. It's associated website has links from every major university that you could think of - worldwide.

The magazine and site specialises in graduate recruitment, careers abroad, and post-graduate study abroad. Stating the blatantly obvious - it's relevant!

All the links are to be found in the online resources of university careers departments. At the inception of the site in '97 or '98, we actively canvassed for links from uni's - it worked.

Trying to get academic links just to boost your ranking is futlie. Offering a genuine service is the only way to go.



 2:14 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Trying to get academic links just to boost your ranking is futlie. Offering a genuine service is the only way to go.


I manage a .edu (Accredited US College) and control all OBLs. Its odd because I can't recall the last time I saw a request come in for a link. No automated requests either. I guess they can tell from our site that we're not going to get involved with the link craze.

The .edu TLD is gaining more trust as time goes on. Educause is the sole Registrar and they are slowly but surely cleaning up the mess that was created years ago when .edu's were up for grabs. That is no longer the case. If you are not an Accredited U.S. Institution, you're not getting a .edu and existing .edus cannot be transferred.

And, for those who manage a .edu and get involved with the link craze, you may putting your institution at risk from a variety of standpoints with Brand being the most important.

So, unless you have something that is of extreme value to our visitors, don't even bother asking. ;)

P.S. It is possible that we "may" have a job board. Do you have a position open that might interest one of our students?

It is possible that we have a spot open for a team sponsor(s).

It is possible that we are looking for donations to make improvements within the school. Our large donations get special attention.

It is possible that we are in need of some "free website advice". In exchange, we may allow you some exposure on the site.

There are all sorts of possibilities. :)

[edited by: pageoneresults at 2:40 pm (utc) on Sep. 6, 2007]


 2:37 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Most of the websites that have been heavily linked to by edu.s that i have been involved with do exactly what you said .. offer unique, relevant content or service. Many of the ideas exist offline and are translated to online content e.g. the careers/jobs idea.

Some existed on the internet prior to the web being invented. One such resource that became a website later was molecular lab protocols. Sometimes i miss listserv!

Other websites I have been involved with included things like antibody or protein databases, biotechnology topics, translational medicine, genomics and all very heavily linked to by academics.


 3:07 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Think in terms of link bait (eg: trolls). There are generally about 8-9 types of trolls you can leave out for anyone to sniff at. While others above have talked about info, news, or resource baited content, I would like you to consider two others: the ego troll and contradictory/controversial troll.

Some of the easier bait targets ever are those with huge egos. They can't pass up tasty ego bait. One thing is true about academia - egos run rampant on the university faculty. Much of the political posturing and movement on university staffs is directly attributable to stadium sized egos of professors.

I have seen a couple of well orchestrated linking campaigns that used eqo trolling through Digg. They resulted in a few dozen fresh edu links to essentially a blog.

The controversial troll is another good one. It can be used in conjunction with ego trolling quite effectively. Think about what would prick the ego of academia? Examples:

"College Professors to be Replaced by Core Pentium's by 2010".
"College Professors found to be overpaid by 75% in 2007".
"University Professors Aging Early due to Over Work"
"Work Load Increases on Faculties as SAT Score Fall"
"Colleges to Cut Professors out of Curriculum Building Process"
"95% of all Students Subject to RIAA Supeneas"
"All College Students Internet Surfing Under Surveillance"

Sprinkle with your favorite inflammatory adjectives and you can see the possibilities.

Rethink bait=troll. Remember the old "don't feed the trolls" tagline from the 80's? SSDY (Same Stuff Different Year).


 8:05 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Depends very much on your content. My site is about the outdoors in a New England, and I have several links from student home pages of institutions in the region. Given the quality of many New England educational institutions it is not surprising that some of these pages carry a hefty PR.

Not sure how useful this is for the original poster. I certainly did nothing specific to attract such links, they came naturally from the site's content.


 1:39 am on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Provide something in a format which will be of great use to a .edu webpage author.

A PageOfText(tm) on Widgets is unlikely to be of much use to a Widget Lecturer who knows the subject much better than you do and could better your text blindfolded having just returned from an evening in the pub. The only reason you'd get a link for your PageOfText(tm) is if the lecturer is hard pressed to find any good recommendations to pad out a list of suggested reading sources.

Given that your target lecturer could write a PageOfText(tm) easily, provide something he can't create easily. Expert in his field he might be, but can he draw well? If you include top quality exploded parts diagrams for Widgets you can guarantee that the widget lecturer who wants to explain the parts of a Widget will be in touch about reproducing the image (for which you request only a link). Push the concept further and provide data which would take a long time to collate; e.g. a comparison table of Widget specifications under all the major national and international standards. If you've got the skills and the budget, get some video on there - either filmed or animation.

Equip them all with a nice link 'Copyright permission requests' just below, going to a nice page explaining how you are delighted to allow any legitimate educational establishment reproduce the content provided that they link back to the original source.


 12:05 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

matt cutts says .edu links dont pass any more weight than normal links... i think its more a case of establishing what sites edu or not have a high 'trustrank'


[edited by: jatar_k at 12:53 pm (utc) on Sep. 20, 2007]
[edit reason] no sigs thanks [/edit]


 12:52 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

.edu tip dropped on my the first night of my first pubcon in Orlando years ago by a friendly fellow.....sponsor a pizza party or similiar for student organizations.


 3:02 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've received 9 one way .edu's so far and it's been very effective in helping my SEO work and traffic.

[edited by: engine at 3:29 pm (utc) on Sep. 20, 2007]
[edit reason] No urls, thanks. See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]


 3:28 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I say we leave that last link and "nofollow" it. That is a prime example of what the link industry has come to.

<added> I was fortunate enough to visit the link before it was snipped. That site is the bane of every .edu Webmaster who is following the guidelines for maintaining their .edu properties.


 3:48 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thought the question in this thread was:

I'm trying to get some inbound links from .edu sources. What's the best way to go about this?

Just trying to help......better than scamming the universities with false job postings


 3:55 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just trying to help......better than scamming the universities with false job postings.

Actually what I saw at the link you provided was a bit more severe than posting jobs on .edu websites. Ever wonder why that site is "grey barred"? The SEs don't want to see that crap in the SERPs. And neither do EDUCAUSE.


 4:08 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not sure what all that means.

I do know I now have quality one way links from several Universities and have added value to their websites, the honest way.


 11:44 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Vince's post reminded me that a company i work for produced a small brochure which contains some nice graphics. The most requests are for those graphics from professors. If you are handy at graphic art, professors lap up good graphics that they can use in teaching. Provide them in powerpoint and pdf and make them free to use only asking that they reference the source by a link.


 4:06 am on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Page and Brett, you have both hit the nail on the head.

Im not in charge of any EDU accounts, and this information is very useful to me. More than anything, the information makes alot of sense.

Brett - very nice bait statements, I can see the professors going nuts over those!

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