mcskoufis - 10:50 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)
Very interesting strategies here... Well done Wheel!
Is interesting to find out what your site's traffic performance does from the search engine perspective and how quickly it starts building up.
Your strategy is based on first getting the content and then focus on getting links to it, whereas I usually focus on getting the "basic backbone" content architecture and page structure. I mean that I get a basic "prototype" out live first..
Then I start by getting some directory links and some searches of the type "suggest site" +"niche market" on google to find out pages to get easy links from and usually find some pretty good niche link pages on authority sites (2 out of 50)...
Then after I get a bunch of such links, I move on to the next stage where I get my site out of the "prototype mode", so that it is suitable for passing ODP quality guidelines.
This helps me identify strengths and weaknesses for my content and get an idea of what keywords show up in my Analytics account.
I then write content according to the topic that I conclude to be of good interest from search engines' perspective.
After these processes I move into targeting the sections that I think will be bringing much in terms of conversions and start building a link "baiting" strategy (this is my understanding of what you are trying to do). For example my "mortgages for doctors" speciality content might be offering higher conversion rates than my "mortgage comparison" page, even if the traffic and interest is significantly lower for the doctors page.
I have to say that the .edu research is a very important step in the right direction. Search engines have strong interest in the academic profile of its key employees in Search, so traditionaly .edu links tend to be more authoritative than any other link (as long as it is not a tutor's badly maintained links page with loads of 404s).
Now as for some more link building, your calculator is a nice idea and generally try to think about offering it as a widget for other webmasters to feature on their site, and do spend some time promoting this widget, as in the long term it can be a very powerful link bait (since as you say is unique).
My point is that something like that maybe better in terms of getting increased conversions sooner than your current strategy can offer, so I am trying to make you think about the wisest choice here.
The professor sites I am sure won't mean much in terms of referring traffic. I think you should be focusing more on context sensitive links on sites that can actually bring in good quality traffic, apart from just getting a link from an .edu perspective.
Of course you should be seeking .edu links but for my 2 cents, I'd employ different linking strategies in parallel, so the link profile is boosted by a diversity of sources.