If you want to rank higher and drive more organic traffic to your website, then you need to get more authoritative and trustworthy backlinks. But getting authoritative and trustworthy backlinks is a mysterious endeavor for most companies.
After all, how can you get a significant number of these high-quality links in a legitimate and effective way?
Scholarship link building is a highly effective strategy for this, and will help your site rank higher and get more traffic.
Scholarship link building is a strategy to earn high-quality links to your website. Executing a well-orchestrated strategy around getting scholarship links can yield a high ROI for your business.
Google views .EDU domains as trustworthy and because of their high domain authority, links from .EDU sites improve your website visibility in Google searches and improve your Trust Flow.
While a scholarship link building campaign can create a competitive advantage since your competitors are likely not going to such lengths and making the investment, unfortunately scholarship link building is not for everyone. Why?
You have to first be aware of the strategy, then execute it properly, then have the patience to wait over the course of several months, and perform heavy outreach for it to be effective. But it will pay dividends in the long term.
If you want your company to rank higher and get more traffic with a white hat link building strategy, you might be a good fit for a scholarship link building campaign.
Let’s break these down a bit and then look at how to get .EDU backlinks:
As mentioned before, backlinks from high DA, authoritative .EDU sites will increase your website’s authority to Google. Even a handful of links from .EDU sites will boost your domain authority, your domain rating, and your Trust Flow.
With general link building, it can be disheartening to spend valuable time and resources to write content for sites and do outreach, only to later find out that the links were removed and you’ve lost their link equity.
With .EDU scholarship link building, by renewing your scholarship every year (a $1000 scholarship to one recipient, for example), you can keep these .EDU links continuously into the future.
We should point out that doing it right is of critical importance. Some schools will remove their pages listing scholarships. Our experience with speaking to financial aid departments shows us that there are bogus scholarships out there which have led them to remove their pages. The fact that schools really scrutinize scholarships is why it’s so important to have a strong scholarship page and campaign that demonstrates that you are offering a legitimate, real scholarship. When schools can see you are genuine, they will be much more likely to post your link on their website.
Because you are running a scholarship campaign for an extended period of time, 90% of your backlinks will stay active for the period the campaign is running. Six months is a great start to see how your business benefits from this sort of investment. When you see the improvement in rankings for your site, you will probably want to renew your scholarship every year. Schools are more than happy to re-add your backlink or update the one they have for your next scholarship. You can earn backlinks from new schools too because they can see you have already awarded a scholarship and are providing a genuine scholarship. It’s important to announce the last year’s winner properly as well.
Your Trust Flow is determined by the trustworthiness of the other websites that are linking back to you. Backlinks from universities (.EDU’s) are the most authoritative and trusted websites on the web because they are “seed sites”. What is a “seed site”? It’s where Google starts it’s algorithm from.
Google knows that a link from whitehouse.gov or harvard.edu has the highest trust. This is where they start their evaluation of trustworthiness when they crawl the web. Since these sites won’t be linking out to spammy or shady websites, Google gives a very high degree of trust to the websites that seed sites like universities link to. And the fewer degrees of separation you are from a seed site, the more Google will trust you. And the more Google trusts you, the higher you rank in search engine results and the more traffic you get.
When you earn backlinks from universities, you are linked to directly from a seed site. Colleges and universities link directly to your website, which tells Google’s algorithm that you are a trusted website.
Your local SEO is going to see improvement. A solid SEO company running your campaign will know how to sell your scholarship to schools that are in the same state as you. Links to these schools in close locations will help you rank higher locally when people are looking for a business like yours in their area. (As a bonus, local governments will also post scholarships that benefit their local community and .gov links are also a hit with Google).
To note: if localized marketing is a priority for your business, Sure Oak offers additional, specialized local SEO services.
You may be running a scholarship as an SEO tactic to boost your organic traffic, but you are also awarding a student a sizable award that will help support their education. You will read incredible essays from students. Helping someone invest in their future is a really humbling experience, and people viewing your site and seeing that you are supporting education will improve your brand’s reputation.
Even if you wanted to buy .EDU links, schools are not “selling” links. They are simply linking out to genuine scholarship opportunities to help their students pay for their education. You are already investing in the scholarship award itself, and that is enough.
If you are investing in something that allows you to “buy .EDU links”, it is the fact that you have to create and offer a scholarship. You have to find schools that would want to link back to it. You have to do outreach, make phone calls, find the right contacts, send emails, and follow up with those emails in order to get those backlinks from universities.
So, how do we get .EDU scholarship backlinks? The quick and easy answer: you hire an experienced SEO company like Sure Oak to manage and execute a scholarship link building campaign that has proven success with many other past campaigns. (We are pioneers in the field. Our scholarship link building service is the most advanced and effective .EDU backlink service offered by any SEO company today.)
What makes a good campaign? What will a strong SEO company’s process be to get .EDU backlinks?
Our process is to first get familiar with your website and business, where your SEO currently stands, and see if you’re a good fit for a scholarship campaign.
Next, we want to have an introductory call to better understand your goals, needs, and what you want to do with the scholarship.
We want to consult with you to make sure that we can create a compelling and desirable scholarship for your company so that it can earn backlinks from universities. This is more of an art than a science. If your company sells drain cleaner, then The Annual Drain Cleaner Scholarship probably won’t appeal to many schools. Fortunately, we know how to create a compelling scholarship for even the least exciting businesses.
We will want to review our findings and suggestions with you and create a draft of your new scholarship page. You will not be expected to manage any of this. We already know exactly what schools are looking for on your scholarship page and also, what elements on your scholarship page will discourage schools from linking back to you. When you receive your scholarship page draft for review, it should be written professionally. It should have personality, excellent grammar, and demonstrate your company’s interest in supporting education. It should align with your company’s core vision, mission, and values.
Once you’ve approved the scholarship page and it’s live on your website, an outreach specialist will be given the brief of managing the outreach for your scholarship. An experienced SEO company will have well-trained outreach specialists who have experience with running scholarships and personalizing emails and phone calls to each school. They will know what approaches particular schools appreciate and how to craft a custom email for the campaign. Inexperienced SEO companies may hire cheap outreach specialists who may not have experience in scholarship outreach or are not good writers or communicators. Blasting out emails through programs that send hundreds of emails at once to the wrong people at the school won’t get you good results; a more hands-on outreach approach will achieve the greatest results for your link building campaign.
Your outreach specialist will now begin the scholarship campaign. They will be outreaching to a specific list of schools that have been vetted and chosen for the best possible results. Some SEO companies will outreach to thousands of schools, but you’ll be paying for wasted outreach to schools that have no intention of posting any outside scholarships. Finding the right contact at the financial aid department will make the likelihood of getting backlinks significantly higher.
If you work with the right outreach partner, you are going to see backlinks start showing up relatively quickly (quickly being within a couple of months). The SEO company will present you with weekly updates which list the schools linking to you, as well as other relevant stats for your campaign so far. The company should be organized, provide you with updates, and present opportunities to have meetings about your scholarship over the course of the campaign.
So, how many backlinks are we talking? A strong SEO company like ours can get you a lot of backlinks. On average, we get about 10 backlinks (each a different referring domain) every month. And this is what you really need to be working with to get the results you want.
What happens when your campaign comes to an end after six months? What if you have 400 applications from students and schools start dropping links like hot potatoes?
An experienced SEO company will review the applications from students and will give you the opportunity to review the top three candidates. Once a winner has been selected and the award paid, the company will update your existing scholarship page to include the winner and their fantastic entry and then start work on maintaining your .EDU links. They will contact all the schools that have linked to you already and ask them to update their link for the next awarding year. They will also take the opportunity to perform outreach to contact schools that didn’t respond before that will take an interest because they can see you have awarded a scholarship. You now have a scholarship winner and a lot of backlinks ready to last for the foreseeable future, and you have the opportunity to keep capitalizing on your scholarship as the longer you run it, the more schools will link to you!
If what you have just read has provided you with motivation to start a scholarship for your SEO strategy, then you need to find an SEO company that can perform your scholarship campaign to the standards listed above.
Finding companies that are experts in this field is tough. There might be several SEO companies offering to deliver a scholarship .EDU linking campaign, but you want to be certain that who you’re working with has the experience, the knowledge, the staff, and the sincerity to do it properly.
You’ll want to find a company that can prove their work by showing you genuine case studies and reputable companies they have worked with using this approach. The company will have a dynamic list of schools and contacts and will have adapted to the ever-changing nature of school policy and SEO. You will want to know with confidence how many backlinks you can expect per month.
At Sure Oak, we are experts in scholarship link building.
We have created an effective scholarship outreach process through our experience and past mistakes. We can provide you and your company with everything this article has outlined and can set up a call to discuss your business goals. Let us help you succeed in SEO by running a lucrative scholarship .EDU link building campaign.