Link Building 101: Why .edu and .gov Links Are Overrated

One of my link building campaign clients asked if the next update would include links from .edu sites. I said OK, I will try. I am not sure if I could get one but I certainly wouldn’t try to get one for the sake of it.

It’s been a common understanding that links from educational institution websites and government websites generally possess greater credibility that .com sites because unlike dotcoms, not everyone can get a .gov and .edu. Such exclusivity of use has often been correlated with such urban myth that .edu and .gov sites are likely to boost rankings and will therefore be more sought after than dime a dozen .com sites.

However, let’s realize that the same way as .com sites, .edu sites can also become profitable avenues to those who aim for.. uhm, profits. I can pay a webmaster who manages my old University to get a link to this client. Or even ask a friend’s brother who maintains a personal page hosted by another university. Or post several links masquerading as inquiries in an online school forum. That’s if I believe links from .edu sites are all the same: they all have great value.

I am not degrading the value of a .edu website’s link credibility. If a university publishes a very credible research paper, and a page of my client’s site happens to be linked there because it is an equally credible source, then that’s where I should be proud of getting a link from a .edu site.

If we are looking for links from .edu or .gov sites then they should be based on merits and authoritative content on our pages, and not just because of the TLD (top level domain).

Photo credit: tengtan