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The Comprehensive Guide to Building Powerful EDU Backlinks for 2024

There are plenty of fish are in the sea, but only 7,500 EDU domains on the web.

Averaging a hefty DR of 46 and 71,000 organic traffic, any day you score an EDU link is a good day. 

But what's the deal with the strategy; is it worth doing, does it actually work, will you ever find a girlfriend, and how to do it?

Maybe, Sometimes, No, Let's Discuss.

What are EDU Backlinks?

EDU backlinks are links from educational institutions like universities and colleges. EDU domains are prized in SEO due to their authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines like Google.

 Suppose you get an educational institution linking to you. In that case, you must be doing something right because institutions are discerning, have stringent guidelines, and are hard to reach.

Is EDU Link Building a Worthwhile Strategy to Pursue?

The value of gaining several backlinks from authoritative institutions is apparent. However, most businesses and link builders still avoid it because the high-quality way is complex, and the easy way is spammy.

Just look at a recent example from this InternetMarketingNinjas article.

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Think about this in 2 ways:

  1. It's compelling enough for Google to penalize.
  2. It's risky enough to avoid it.

It all comes down to your risk appetite; scholarships are only one of 4 ways we've found to build scholarship links with success. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of them.

4 Popular Strategies for Building EDU Backlinks

Let's start with scholarship links because that's the most common and easiest way to move into progressively more advanced (and safer) strategies.

Scholarship link-building is a win-win-win. Students get scholarship money. Colleges help get scholarship money; brands get to feel good about it and earn some backlinks. Like Taco Tuesday at the cafeteria, everybody wins in school that day.

Here's an example of a good scholarship.

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Chameleonjohn.com is a free coupon site that makes money by sharing free coupon codes with its audience. The site's annual scholarship campaign began in 2020. The scholarship was worth $1,000 annually and split between two U.S. university students. 

The campaign resulted in over 50 external backlinks from .edu and other high-authority websites related to educational institutions and scholarship information. This campaign increased the page authority of their website to 54.

Scholarship page: https://www.chameleonjohn.com/scholarship

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Suppose you want to employ a similar strategy to earn links. In that case, you must publish a scholarship on your site, write an email template to alert colleges and execute the outreach.

You can use our series of tried and tested steps below as a starting point.

Template for Scholarship to use on Your Website

Scholarship Title: My Great Business Annual Scholarship

Introduction: 

Welcome to the My Great Business Annual Scholarship Program! At My Great Business, we believe in the power of education to transform lives and drive innovation. 

As part of our commitment to supporting the aspirations of future leaders, we are delighted to offer a $1,000 scholarship to two outstanding students pursuing higher education at a U.S. university.

Scholarship Details:

  • Scholarship Amount: $1,000
  • Number of Scholarships Awarded: 2 per year
  • Eligibility: This scholarship is open to current and incoming undergraduate and graduate students at accredited U.S. universities.

Application Deadline: The My Great Business Annual Scholarship application deadline is [Insert Deadline Date].

How to Apply: To apply for the scholarship, please follow these steps:

Essay Submission: Write a 500-800 word essay on the following topic: "The Role of Innovation in Shaping the Future of Business." Your essay should showcase your creativity, critical thinking, and vision for business innovation's future.

Personal Information: Provide your full name, contact information, the name of your university, central, and expected graduation date.

Transcript: Include an unofficial copy of your academic transcript (PDF format).

Letter of Recommendation: Submit one letter of recommendation from a professor or academic advisor who can attest to your academic achievements and potential.

Submission: Email your essay, personal information, transcript, and letter of recommendation to [Insert Email Address]. Use the subject line: "My Great Business Scholarship Application - [Your Full Name]."

Selection Criteria: Scholarship recipients will be selected based on the quality of their essays, academic achievements, and the strength of their letters of recommendation. Our scholarship committee will review all applications and select the most deserving candidates.

Scholarship Award:

  • Each scholarship recipient will be awarded $1,000 for educational expenses, including tuition, books, and other academic needs.
  • Scholarship funds will be sent directly to the recipient's university.

Announcement of Winners: 

The scholarship recipients will be emailed by [Insert Notification Date]. Their names and universities will also be announced on our website.

Selection of Winners: Selection of the scholarship recipients is at the sole discretion of My Great Business, and our decision is final.

Contact Us: If you have any questions about the scholarship or the application process, please get in touch with us at [Insert Contact Email Address].

Terms and Conditions: Before applying, please review the My Great Business Annual Scholarship Program's Terms and Conditions [Insert Link to Terms and Conditions].

We look forward to receiving your applications and supporting the next generation of business innovators. Best of luck to all applicants!

Modify the template as you see fit and move on to the next step.

Email Template to Send to University Authority About the Scholarship

Draft an email template that you'll share with universities.

First Outreach Email

Subject: Invitation to Promote My Great Business Annual Scholarship

Hi [University Name] Administration,

I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I am writing to inform you about an exciting scholarship opportunity that we are offering at My Great Business. Education is a powerful catalyst for innovation and progress, and we are committed to supporting the academic aspirations of exceptional students.

Our "My Great Business Annual Scholarship" scholarship is designed to assist current and incoming undergraduate and graduate students at accredited U.S. universities pursue their educational goals. We are pleased to offer two scholarships, each valued at $1,000, to deserving students.

We want to extend an invitation to [University Name] to help us spread the word about this scholarship opportunity among your students. Your university plays a pivotal role in shaping our society's future leaders and innovators, and your students would greatly benefit from this opportunity.

Here are some critical details about the scholarship:

  • Scholarship Amount: $1,000
  • Number of Scholarships Awarded: 2 per year
  • Application Deadline: [Insert Deadline Date]
  • Eligibility: This scholarship is open to current and incoming undergraduate and graduate students at accredited U.S. universities.

To apply, students must submit a 500-800 word essay on "The Role of Innovation in Shaping the Future of Business." We seek creative and insightful essays demonstrating a vision for business innovation's future.

We kindly request your assistance in promoting this scholarship opportunity to your students through your university's communication channels, including your website, newsletters, and social media platforms. You can find more information about the scholarship on our website's My Great Business Annual Scholarship Page. (Link to your scholarship page)

If you would like additional information, please get in touch with us at 

[Your Contact Email Address].

By working together, we can provide valuable support to promising students and help them achieve their academic and career aspirations.

Thank you for considering our scholarship program, and we look forward to the possibility of partnering with [University Name] to empower and inspire the next generation of leaders.

Warm regards,

[Your Full Name]

[Your Title] 

My Great Business 

[Your Contact Email Address] 

[Your Contact Phone Number]

Follow-up Email

Subject: Follow-Up: My Great Business Annual Scholarship

Dear [University Name] Administration,

I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to follow up on my previous email regarding the "My Great Business Annual Scholarship." We are excited about collaborating with [University Name] to support talented students' educational journeys.

I understand that you may have a busy schedule, and I wanted to reiterate our interest in working together to make a difference in students' lives. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you require additional information or have any questions.

Your partnership would be greatly appreciated, and we look forward to the possibility of empowering students at [University Name].

Warm regards,

[Your Full Name] 

[Your Title] 

My Great Business 

[Your Contact Email Address] 

[Your Contact Phone Number]

Finding .edu Sites for Scholarship Link Building

To find .EDU sites, there are three ways: the free way, the expensive way, or the intelligent way. Let's start with the free way (and no, not the highway).

Find .edu sites with Google:

Finding .edu sites for scholarship link building using Google is an effective strategy to reach educational institutions and promote your scholarship opportunity. 

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do this:

Use Advanced Search Operators: 

Google allows you to use advanced search operators to refine your search. To find .edu sites related to your scholarship niche, use the following search query:

  • site:.edu [your scholarship niche or keyword]
  • Replace [your scholarship niche or keyword] with a relevant term related to your scholarship. 

For example, if your scholarship is in the field of computer science, your search query could be:

site:.edu computer science scholarships

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Review Search Results: 

Google will return a list of .edu sites containing information about your scholarship niche. Browse through the search results to identify potential universities, colleges, or educational institutions interested in promoting your scholarship.

Visit University Scholarship Pages: 

Click on the search results that appear to be university or college websites. Look for pages related to scholarships, financial aid, or student resources. Unless you provide a degree in theromodynamics in Arizona, avoid sites about "how college students."

Universities often have dedicated scholarship pages where they list external scholarship opportunities.

For example:

Example site with a list of external scholarship

Contact the University's Scholarship Office: 

Once you find a relevant scholarship page on a .edu site, visit that page to gather information about how to contact the scholarship office or administrator. 

Look for contact details such as email addresses or contact forms. Reach out to them with a personalized email introducing your scholarship and explaining how it can benefit their students.

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Find .edu sites with Ahrefs:

This is an expensive option, but sometimes you must spend money to make money.

Ahrefs is a powerful SEO tool that can help you identify .edu sites for scholarship link building. Still, at $99/month, it is costly.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use Ahrefs to find .edu sites:

Enter Your Search Query: 

Log in to your Ahrefs account or sign up if you don't have one already. Ahrefs offers a paid subscription service, so you'll need an active account to access its features.

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Step: 2

Click filter and write "edu" on the website section. After that, click apply.

Step: 3

Click filter and select one page per domain. After that, click apply.

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Step: 4

Select the maximum rows available on your package, then click export. You will get the list of the target .edu sites.

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Review the Results: 

Ahrefs will provide a list of websites matching your search criteria. Look for .edu domains in the search results. These are the educational institutions you can reach out to for scholarship link-building.

Analyze Domain Authority (D.R.): 

Ahrefs assigns a Domain Rating (D.R.) to each website, which represents the website's authority and backlink profile. It would help to focus on .edu sites with higher D.R. values, which have more influence and credibility.

Find .edu Sites the Intelligent Way

Ready for this one? We just swiped a Google sheet of all the EDU domains we could find!

There are over 5000.EDU sites in this Google sheet.

Sometimes simplicity is all that's needed, just like our dance moves.

How to find the contact email

Obtaining email addresses for university officials for a scholarship campaign involves research and outreach. It is a very time-consuming and tiresome task. We are sharing two methods or options here to collect those email addresses.

You can combine both methods by taking a hybrid approach, where you do some of the work yourself and outsource specific tasks to a freelancer on Fiverr. 

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do this:

DIY Lead List and Research

Start by defining your scholarship campaign strategy, including your goals, target universities, eligibility criteria, and outreach plan.

Begin by conducting your initial research and building a list of target universities where you'd like to promote your scholarship. Use the methods we suggested earlier.

  • Visit university websites.
  • Explore relevant departments.
  • Use the "Contact Us" or "Staff Directory" pages.
  • Check for social media profiles.
  • Attend relevant events or conferences.
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Example: List of External Scholarship Website

Compile a list of universities that align with your scholarship's mission and values. This DIY approach allows you to have a personalized understanding of potential partners.

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Outsource Lead Generation

Hire a freelancer on Fiverr with expertise in lead generation for scholarships or outreach to educational institutions. Here is the link.

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Share your list of target universities and provide guidelines on the types of universities you're interested in. Discuss your campaign's goals and requirements in detail.

Fiverr doesn't always have the best reputation. It shouldn't be your only source to build high-quality links as this will likely end poorly; however, using it to help you with parts of the link-building process, such as firing off emails, can save much of the tedious work.

Collaborate on Outreach

Work closely with the hired freelancer to develop an outreach strategy. This may include:

  • Crafting outreach messages: Collaborate on the content and style of outreach emails to ensure they align with your campaign's goals and maintain a professional tone.
  • Reviewing the lead list: Ensure the freelancer's lead list matches your criteria and expectations.
  • Setting up communication channels: Coordinate how you'll communicate during the campaign, including regular updates and reporting.

DIY Follow-Up

While the freelancer manages the initial outreach and takes charge of follow-up communication with universities that express interest.

You respond to inquiries, provide additional information about your scholarship, and establish relationships with university officials.

This hybrid approach allows you to balance personal involvement and outsourcing for efficiency and effectiveness while allowing you more time to enjoy doing whatever you do.

Staff and Student Discounts

You can't bribe staff but you can sweeten the deal for them. Building strong.edu backlinks by providing discounts to faculty and students is a valuable strategy that can benefit your website and the educational institutions you collaborate with; don't send that discount in an envelope stuffed with dollars. Let's dig deeper into this strategy and provide more in-depth articles.

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The Dual Benefits of Discount Offers:

Website owners can gain two significant advantages by offering discounts to college and university staff and students:

1. Creating.edu Backlinks:

Many educational institutions have dedicated pages on their websites that list places where students and staff can get discounts. For link builders, this is where the magic happens. These pages are frequently ripe for backlinks, and you can secure these valuable links by strategically positioning your offer. Everybody loves a bargain coupon, and not just for groceries.

2. Boosting Sales and Visibility:

Aside from the SEO advantages, discounts can increase sales and brand visibility. Discounts can entice students and employees to buy your products or services, creating a win-win situation. You not only gain powerful backlinks, but you may also expand your customer base. 

How to Execute this Strategy:

Implementing this strategy is relatively simple if you have a physical product or service that would appeal to students and faculty. Here's a step-by-step procedure:

1. Identify Suitable Educational Institutions:

Begin by identifying colleges and universities relevant to your industry or niche. Also, check for competitors that are offering discounts for students and staff. These organizations are more likely to be interested in collaborating with you.

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2. Locate Discount Pages:



To find discount pages on the websites of these educational organizations, use Google's advanced search operators. Consider the following search terms:

  • site:.edu "student discounts"
  • site:.edu "staff discounts"
  • site:.edu "discounts"
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3. Analyze the Offers:

Once you've found these pages, analyze the current offers. Recognize the different types of discounts that are popular or frequently featured and how you can do it better.

4. Create an Attractive Offer:

Create a compelling discount offer that aligns with the interests and needs of the institution's students and staff. Ensure your bid is competitive, genuinely valuable, and morally safe (inviting students or faculty to a Spring Break Rager isn't appropriate).

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5. Outreach and Collaboration:

Contact the person in charge of the discount page on the educational institution's website. Introduce yourself, your brand, and your offer via email. Be specific about the benefits of your discount and how it will increase the value of their page.

6. Maintain Relationships:

Maintaining a positive relationship with the educational institution is essential once you have secured their collaboration. Ensure that your offer is still valid and of value to students and staff.

By providing valuable discounts to the academic community, you gain desired .edu backlinks and establish a positive presence within the academic world.

This win-win strategy can drive SEO benefits and business growth; it is a valuable addition to your link-building arsenal.

Faculty Interviews

Faculty interviews are an excellent method for building powerful .edu backlinks. Let's dive deeper into the untapped potential of faculty interviews to secure powerful .edu backlinks.

Why Faculty Interviews Matter:

Faculty members at universities and colleges are often experts with extensive knowledge and research insights. Interviewing them adds rich, valuable content to your website and creates opportunities for authoritative.edu backlinks.

How to Execute Faculty Interviews for .edu Backlinks:

Here's a step-by-step guide to maximizing the effectiveness of faculty interviews:

1. Identify Target Educational Institutions:

Begin by identifying colleges and universities relevant to your industry or niche. Ideal targets are institutions with faculty members who can provide valuable insights.

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2. Research Faculty Expertise:

Once you've identified potential institutions, look through their faculty directories and research faculty members' expertise and research areas. Look for professors with expertise relevant to your topic or industry who will be cool chatting with you.

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3. Craft a Compelling Interview Proposal:

Reach out to the identified faculty members with a well-crafted interview proposal. Focus on the importance of their insights and how they can benefit your audience. Highlight the possibility of them contributing to your website and showcasing their expertise.

Template:

Subject: Invitation to Share Your Expertise and Insights: An Interview Opportunity

Dear [Professor's Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to extend a heartfelt invitation for a unique opportunity to showcase your expertise and insights on a platform that values knowledge and promotes meaningful discussions.

At [Your Website/Platform Name], we are dedicated to delivering high-quality content that informs, inspires, and educates our audience. Your wealth of knowledge in [Professor's Field/Area of Expertise] can significantly benefit our readers, who are always eager to learn from distinguished experts like yourself.

Why Your Insights Matter:

Your expertise in [Specific Area of Expertise] is renowned and respected in the academic and professional community. Your research and insights have contributed significantly to [Highlight Relevant Achievements or Contributions]. Sharing your perspectives can provide invaluable insights and inspire our audience, including [Describe Your Audience, e.g., students, professionals, enthusiasts].

How You Can Contribute:

We would be honored to conduct an interview with you, focusing on the following aspects:

  • Your academic journey and achievements.
  • Critical insights from your research or field of expertise.
  • Advice for aspiring [Profession or Field] professionals and students.
  • Current trends and developments in [Specific Area of Expertise].
  • [Any Additional Topics or Questions Relevant to the Interview].

The Benefits of Collaboration:

By participating in this interview, you can:

  • Showcase your expertise to a global audience.
  • Inspire and educate future professionals and students.
  • Foster meaningful discussions and insights in your field.
  • Please contribute to our mission of promoting knowledge sharing.

Our Commitment:

We are committed to ensuring that your insights are presented in a polished, respectful, and engaging manner. The interview will be conducted at your convenience, and we will accommodate your preferences regarding the format (written, audio, or video). You will be able to review and approve the final content before publication.

Join Us in Promoting Knowledge:

Your participation in this interview will benefit our audience and contribute to the broader dissemination of knowledge and expertise. Your insights can positively impact individuals striving for excellence in [Your Professor's Field/Area of Expertise].

Should you accept this invitation, please let us know your preferred date and time for the interview and your preferred interview format. We are flexible and will work closely with you to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Thank you for considering this opportunity to share your wisdom and insights with our audience. We look forward to collaborating with you and promoting the pursuit of knowledge.

Warm regards,

[Your Full Name] [Your Title] [Your Website/Platform Name] [Your Contact Information]

4. Conduct the Interview:

Once the faculty member has agreed, conduct a thorough interview in either written or audiovisual format. Investigate their field of expertise, pose provocative questions, and encourage them to share their research findings and insights.

5. Create High-Quality Content:

Convert the interview into interesting, high-quality content. This could be a blog post, an article, a podcast, or a video. Make sure the content is informative, well-structured, and SEO-friendly.

6. Seek Permission for Backlink Inclusion:

Please request permission to include a backlink to their institution's website in the interview content during your communication with the faculty member. Declare your intention to thank them for their expertise and the institution's assistance.

7. Outreach to Educational Institutions:

Reach out to the educational institutions where the interviewed faculty member is affiliated once the interview content has been published on your website. Share the interview link and explain how it highlights the expertise of their faculty member. Please consider including a link to the interview on their relevant pages or profiles.

8. Maintain Positive Relationships:

It is critical to maintain positive relationships with educational institutions and faculty members. Maintain the content's accuracy and timeliness and respond to inquiries or requests.

Alum Features

Featuring alums can be an effective way to build strong backlinks. Alums can help secure powerful.edu backlinks while making a stronger sense of community and engagement with the university community. Let's investigate this strategy further and guide you through it.

Why Alumni Features Matter:

Alums are an essential and frequently underutilized resource for educational institutions. Their successes, stories, and contributions can be used to create engaging and educational content. Institutions not only enrich their websites by featuring alums, but they also open the door to obtaining authoritative.edu backlinks.

How to Execute Alumni Features for .edu Backlinks:

Here's a step-by-step guide to harnessing the power of alums features:

1. Identify Alumni Achievements:

Begin by researching and identifying notable achievements, success stories, and one-of-a-kind experiences among your institution's alums. Look for people whose stories relate to the content or industry of your website.

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2. Craft Engaging Alumni Profiles:

Make well-written alum profiles or features highlighting their journey, achievements, and insights. Include personal anecdotes, professional accomplishments, and contributions to their field or community.

3. Optimize for SEO:

Ensure that the alum features are search engine optimized by including relevant keywords, meta descriptions, and high-quality images. This will aid in the organic traffic to the content.

4. Outreach to Alumni:

Contact the featured alums and inform them about the profile or feature. Request their permission to include a backlink to their institutional profile or a relevant page on the educational institution's website. You can easily find alum contacts on Linkedin. 

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5. Showcase the Alumni Network:

Consider including these profiles in a dedicated section of the institution's website or an alum association page. This highlights the alum community's diversity and accomplishments and enables them to participate in gossip that everybody enjoys.

6. Promote the Features:

Distribute the alums's highlights through the institution's official social media channels, newsletters, and alumni events. Encourage alums to share their information with their networks.

7. Outreach to Educational Institutions:

Once the alum profiles are live on your website, contact the educational institution's webmaster or communications team. Share the shapes and the value they bring to showcasing the institution's successful graduates. 

Please ask them to consider linking to the profiles from relevant pages or profiles on their .edu website.

Concluding Thoughts

In conclusion, edu links are the buried treasure of links, worth seeking out and precious but found.

But like anything precious, their value lies in their rarity and inaccessibility.

But the right strategy is the treasure map to dig them up.

More so than in any link-finding quest, you need to be respectful, polite, and present will.

It's like returning to school in many ways, but you will teach the lesson this time.

Ajay Paghdal
Outreach Labs Founder
🕒 14 mins read
Last updated on
Oct 05, 2023

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Article by
Ajay Paghdal
Outreach Labs Founder
Ajay enjoys tinkering with new link building strategies, building teams and processes around it and in general, has enjoyed being a part of the industry for the past decade.

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