What are EDU backlinks?

Colleges and universities have the distinct privilege of using the edu Sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD).  A TLD is the last part of a domain name. 

For most domains, this is the .com part of the domain.  To get the edu sTLD you have to be a post-secondary school that is accredited by the United States Department of Education.

Backlinks are links from other websites to your website.  Gaining these backlinks from high authority websites is a large part of off-page search engine optimization.

Google uses the quality and quantity of backlinks from websites linking to your website to determine what your site is about and how it should rank in the search engine results pages.

So why should edu backlinks be on your list of sites to get backlinks from? 

Are they more valuable than other backlinks?

Are EDU backlinks more valuable?

The prevailing theory among search engine optimization experts has been that edu backlinks are more valuable than regular backlinks.

However, this does not directly seem to be the case.

In 2008 Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable stated that he noticed Google’s John Mu wrote in a Google Groups thread that edu links are not any better than other backlinks.

In general, I would like to add that no, backlinks from .EDU domains generally do not get "additional credibility from Google"

So this is contrary to the excepted belief that edu backlinks are more valuable.

Well, the may not be more valuable in the sense that Google does not add any additional credibility to edu backlinks.

But they are still very valuable for several reasons.

First is that edu websites typically will have been around for a long time which increases their authority.

The age of a domain is one of the signals that show Google how authoritative a site is.

Another reason why edu backlinks are valuable is that they bring traffic.

Naturally, colleges and universities will have a lot of faculty and students that will be using their website multiple times a day.

Having your link on their website will bring your site traffic and will help your search engine rankings.

Getting EDU Backlinks

So far we know why we would want to get edu backlinks.

This section will cover how to get edu backlinks.

 Typical search engine optimization techniques do not work so will with edu sites.

These include guest posting, link exchanging, or outreach.

That is not to say do not try these.

There may be some edu sites that have blogs that accept guest posts.

If they do then by all means give it a try.

The following list of things to try to get edu backlinks provides low-hanging fruit that should be easy to accomplish for anyone.

Resource Pages

The first way you should try to get an edu backlink is to find local university or college websites that have resource pages.

Resource pages are pages on the website that students can use as extra resources to understand a subject that they are studying.

These pages are typically lists of websites that may have a description about why the website is on the list.

How to get EDU backlinks with resource pages
University of Texas Online Resources Page

In the example above, you can see that these websites are listed as resources for students at the University of Texas.

If your site can provide value, such as hiring students then find out who the website contact is and send them an email.

A simple email template to follow is shown below.

Dear [name of contact],

I was browsing your list of community resources at [url] and I thought that my page would be an excellent addition.

[explain in a couple of sentences what your company is and how it would be a great resource]

Thank you in advance.


[your information]

Make sure the email is short, personally addressed, and doesn’t sound spammy.

By personally addressed I mean that you send the email to an actual person not ‘to who it may concern’ or ‘webmaster’.

If you can not find out who the actual person is to contact, then it probably would be best to move on to another resources page.

Offer a Scholarship

Another great way of getting an edu backlink is to set up a scholarship.

These are great because they can not only land you a great backlink but also help bright young students.

how to get EDU backlinks by offering a scholarship
Example of a Scholarship List from an edu website

The example above demonstrates private scholarships for the University of Minnesota.

Each listing has a link back to the website offering the scholarship.

Offer Student and Faculty Discounts

Another great way to get an edu backlink is to offer discounts to faculty or students of your local colleges and universities.

Develop a discount program and contact the website administrator to ask if they can include your discount on their page.

How to get EDU backlinks by offering discounts

This can be a quick win for getting backlinks to your site from high authority edu websites.

5 Free EDU Backlink Opportunities

As a bonus, for reading this article, I thought I would include a list of 5 edu websites that have a high Domain Authority.

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