TAMPA, FLORIDA– The quest for the best search engine optimization demands a constant quest for the best tools to improve organic SEO.
Everyone is in search of the Holy Grail and while it’s obvious there isn’t one singular trick that helps SEO firms launch their clients to the top of search rankings, there certainly are some measures that are better than others.
There is continued discussion about the value of building links from .edu and .gov sites.
First, let’s explain these, in the event you’ve been living under a rock. Links ending in .edu usually belong to educational institutions or scientific research centers, while .gov URLs are reserved for government entities.
There are experts such as Tom Schmitz of Schmitz Marketing in Seattle who believe that while these links are highly prized, search engines give no special consideration to .edu and .gov sites.
“They can pass high authority because they enjoy large numbers of off-site links, often of good quality,” he wrote in an August article on Search Engine Land.
Other experts believe Google does gives special consideration to these sites.
“It is rumored that Google gives more weight to links you get from sites like Wikipedia, Dmoz, and .edu and .gov sites,” wrote Jack Humphrey at the Friday Traffic Report. “I say rumor because this has not been claimed very publicly by Google, but our tests confirm it on our own sites.”
Chrissanne Long of Marketing System Blueprints, a Florida Internet marketing firm, agrees.
“Google algorithms are programmed to look for credible backlinks to your site, and those from .edu and .gov sites are deemed highly credible,” she says.
Why? The answer is pretty obvious. Generally speaking, they’re more dependable than others because information posted to these sites typically goes through a review process prior to publication, according to Suite 101. This causes their content to be viewed as more reliable. These sites also tend to have content written by experts, or content that cites sources. Most of these sites have a higher Google Page Rank as a result.
Credibility and reliability matter to Google because Google’s sole purpose is to provide Internet users with the most timely, accurate information based on their searches.
“Backlinks from a quality .edu or .gov site are coveted,” Long says. “The fact that Google has christened them as reliable is the only reason these types of links are important. If at some point someone exposes a way to create link farms from .edu sites, then obviously the value of them will be removed.”
Getting.edu & .gov Backlinks
So now that we’ve explained why .edu and .gov sites are valuable, let’s talk a bit about how to get these links.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on this topic and I’m here to tell you this information is slim, and what is available wasn’t easy to come by. Why? Because the lucky few who have discovered these inroads are keeping this information close to the cuff. Like Long says, if unscrupulous SEO punks find an easy way to apply a black hat technique to this link-building method, they’ll quickly ruin it for everyone.
But a couple of SEO pros were willing to give up the goods on some ideas. Tonya Lockamy at Florida-based Firefly Tech Solutions, a digital marketing company, suggests that Internet marketing/SEO companies tell clients to reach out to their alma maters to see if they operate online alumni directories. If those directories are attached to a .edu site and you have the ability to update your entry to include your company’s URL, you’ve just found a way to build a .edu backlink.
Another option could be a college newspaper or alumni magazine website with a .edu URL. Sometimes these publications are interested in interviewing graduates. If you can get them to write an article about you and link to your company’s URL, there’s another backlink.
Many .edu sites host forums and if you can get approved to have an account with them, you may have hit a backlink gold mine, Long says.
“It must be legitimate and you must follow their specifications, but if it’s the right kind of forum and your profile includes a backlink, any time you comment, you get a link,” she says.
As far as forums on .gov sites go, opportunities for backlinks from them exist, “but there’s a higher caliber of account you must have to get approved in those kinds of forums,” she says.
Schmitz says if you can get a bonafide link from a .edu or .gov, by earning it, do it.
“Keep an eye out for opportunities on these sites, but do not force your way in with hacking or trickery,” he warns.
Are you an SEO pro willing to give up the goods on some other methods of generating quality backlinks from .edu and .gov sites? Spread the wealth in our comments section.