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TylerDee, TX: Are .gov and .edu back links still considered more "link juice" than the common back link?
Matt Cutts: This is a common misconception--you don't get any PageRank boost from having an .edu link or .gov link automatically. Hah John, I beat you to it! If you get an .edu link and no one is linking to that .edu page, you're not going to get any PageRank at all because that .edu page doesn't have any PageRank.
JohnMu: We generally treat all links the same - be it from .gov or .edu or .info sites.
Afaik, that's pretty much the consensus we have reached here on WebmasterWorld for several years and what I have been discussing at PubCon sessions for the last few years.
There are many quality hoops to jump through with Google, I don't want to diminish that. This is my opinion, but it seems Yahoo is slashing at spam with a machete and Google strikes a finer balance by evaluating the usefulness of the results rather than focusing on pure metrics. Just my personal opinion. That's a very very general appraisal and there are examples where spam gets through in both engines.
No question there are difficulties depending on a niche, but that's where you assess your resources against your strategy and adjust it accordingly. Just like any other endeavour. Not everyone has the resources to run a horse in the Kentucky Derby. Why should the Internet be any different?
in short, .gov and .edu links are trusted due to the parameters by which they are administered.