EDU links represent the holy grail of links. The EDU refers to the .edu domain extension allowed to educational institution websites in the U.S.. Universities and colleges in other countries, such as Canada, may simply use a .ca but the impact is the same. Google treats these websites as the ultimate trusted resource of online information. They have a high PageRank (PR) and thus a link from one of these trustworthy websites passes on a ton of link juice to any site they link to. If you manage to have an edu link to you, your backlink profile starts looking a whole lot better and your website’s ability to improve in search rank increases. However, getting an educational institution to link to your website has long been thought of as impossible, especially for a local business. So what chance do you have? Slim, unless you follow the steps detailed below.
5 Ways to Get an Educational Institution to Link to Your Website
1. Nip Ivy League Delusions in the Bud and Go Local
I actually had a client ask about getting a link somewhere within the annals of Harvard.edu. I don’t think even Mark Zuckerburg can pull that one off (ok, maybe). You’re not going to get a link to your local business on any Ivy League website and the like. However you absolutely have a shot an educational institution located near you. You have an even better shot if you or someone on your staff is alumni from a target school. Big cities offer many educational institution opportunities that range from universities, colleges, tech schools, trade schools, and more. Small cities and towns also offer ease of entry as your local business has a better shot at being noticed. Once you’ve identified your target be sure to dig up the right contact person from the institution’s website so you’re not sending inquiries to info@ which will get lost in cyberspace. If you happen to operate your business in Boston in the 02138 zip code, well, good luck.
2. Create an Offer Exclusive to their Students & Faculty
Pretty much every school website has a student/faculty resource section that showcases offers exclusive to them. These offers come from businesses ranging from restaurants to fitness centers and moving companies to rental property professionals. When a business “makes the list” they tend to be linked to (to the page on your website allowing redemption) from the resource page. Create an offer that stands out from anything that you currently offer on your website as the school will check to see if you are presenting them with something of true value to their students/faculty. 10-20% discounts won’t fly. Think GroupOn level deals folks.
3. Create a Scholarship
Take your service to the students to a whole other level by creating a scholarship funded by your business. Those businesses providing students with this opportunity will receive a link back to their website so that students can learn more. Offer a scholarship to students within the field of study closest to your industry. A restauranteur may offer a scholarship for those entering a culinary program. A real estate firm may offer one for students entering a like discipline. Backlinks aside, you foster the talents of budding minds and you may very well end up with a valuable employee after they graduate – a very cool side effect.
4. Sponsor an Event or Program
Schools and their respective student unions and athletic departments put on a multitude of events throughout the year. They need to fund these events on a limited budget. To do so they seek sponsorship from the business community. Those providing sponsorship receive promotional benefits from the schools’ marketing resources – student newspapers and the school website, where your link can reside.
5. Become a Resource for their Online Student Newspaper
Touching on the student newspapers mentioned above, the online version provides for yet another gateway into an educational institution’s outbound link profile. Most schools have an online student periodical (also high in PR) where the student editor, writers, and photographers are scrambling for content each and every week. They seek content about their locale. Your local business is relevant to their locale in some way or another. Facts, opinions, and quotes delivered from an information resource in the surrounding community (you and your business) on a topic that impacts said community are of value to the student newspaper. Contact the editor of the online periodical associated with the target schools and let them know that you are available as a resource should their writers need information and/or a quote from an authority about a given topic, where applicable.
Now you’re ready to graduate to the next level of smart link building for your website and join an exclusive fraternity that so few online businesses have been able to gain acceptance to. Don’t let yourself be intimidated when “going for it”. If you need a little help in the process secure the services of a trusted internet marketing company.