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Linking to .edu and .gov Sites
We’ve covered local, paid, and legal directories as part of the basics of link building. Today we’re moving on to the importance of linking to .edu and .gov sites, and some quick tips on how to get those links.
Link building strategies are based on getting people with a lot of clout to vouch for your website in the online world. Search engines tend to treat links from respectable sites with a lot more weight than links from your average .com, .biz, or even .org extension. The most respectable pages on the Internet, according to Google, Yahoo, and most other search engines, are educational and government sites. This is because not just anyone is allowed to put up a .edu or a .gov site.
However, it is precisely because these websites have a lot of clout that it is difficult to gain access to their coveted link pages. First and foremost, you must link to the .gov or .edu site in your own website. This can be accomplished through citations in articles, by linking to charitable organizations, by listing any universities you’ve attended, or within an “About Us” profile page. Once you’ve linked, there are a number of techniques that the successful online entrepreneur may employ in order to receive backlinks from educational or governmental websites.
1) Post on university forums. Many universities include a message board where students can connect with one another regarding local businesses, their studies, or anything else. By posting a link to your business on these boards, search engines will read that the university lends its credence to your business, and will bump you up the search engine rankings accordingly. Of course, you have to be careful to structure your post as a helpful, informative piece of information rather than an obvious solicitation for business, as most university forums are policed and have a strict no solicitation policy.
2) Alumni pages are a great way to backlink to .edu sites. Many college websites contain an alumni social networking site that includes the college’s overarching .edu extension. By setting up a profile with a link to your online business, you not only advertise to other alumni from your college, you also alert search engines that you are affiliated with an educational site.
3) If your website has a non-profit arm or you engage in charitable activities, you may be able to get your website listed on a .gov directory of non-profits and charitable organizations. However, .gov websites are traditionally the most difficult to engage in link building, and though the payoff is big, it may not be possible for many small corporate or sales websites.
In Day 26 of the SEO in 30 Days series we’ll conclude our discussion of the basics of link building by covering the link building opportunities on social networking sites.