In the link building world, it often seems there are few things more treasured, and more elusive, than .edu links.
Link builders chase these rare jewels to the ends of the earth.
More so than your average .com site, which anyone can register, an .edu site signals nothing but trust to the search engines.
I thought looking through some high-authority .edu links might prove educational, both for you and for myself.
Since there are hundreds of thousands of university resource pages, I wanted to find the best of the best– the most trustworthy, and the most impactful.
So I limited myself to showing you five links (otherwise we’d be here all day!).
They had to be links a typical link builder could feasibly build, and they had to come from reputable, well-known universities.
I’ll discuss each link, why it works, and speculate on how it got there.
And hopefully, you’ll be able to apply some of what went into these .edu links to build some of your own.
1. UCLA Accounting Link
Accounting is one of those niches that’s both what we call “boring,” and intensely competitive. Of course, accounting isn’t actually boring, but it’s tough to write dazzling content around the subject, like you might with something like Kung Fu movies or horse racing.
There’s also the competition angle to think of. There aren’t a ton of links to go around in the accounting corner of the web. Sure, there are some– you can always build links on business websites and entrepreneurial websites, as well as finance websites. And those are all well, good, and relevant. But since there are relatively few dedicated accounting sites, the huge wins are few and far between.
Plus, everyone’s vying for them.
That’s why strong .edu links are such a good fit for the accounting world. There’s no shortage of accounting students, after all, so if your accounting-related content is useful enough, you might just score one of these coveted links.
Here’s an example.
The Link: I found this link on a UCLA Anderson School of Management page. This appears to be a page run by a professor, who has compiled helpful links for their students.
If you visit the page, you’ll see that it’s pretty simple: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/programs-and-outreach/accounting-minor-program/useful-links
The resources here are top notch, and anyone hoping to land a link among them would have to produce some very strong content.
On this page, we see:
- Links to the “big four” accounting firms
- Two forms for internal UCLA use
- A live feed of accounting and finance jobs across the country
- A resource that shows accounting salary by state
- The ‘The Ultimate Guide to a Career in Accounting’
The last link, which leads to a page on TopAccounting.org, is the real winner here. Rather than an interactive job tracker, or an exhaustive list of salaries by state, this is just a big piece of written content.
Simply put, it’s something any business or website could create, given the proper time, talent, and budget. It’s something you could realistically produce.
Why They Got the Link: TopAccounting.org got the link because this is an exhaustive piece of content. Visually, it looks very good, but it doesn’t feature an overwhelming amount of design or interactivity.
This really is an ultimate guide. It explains what accounting is, why it’s important, why it’s in demand, what accountants can expect, and and what kinds of skills an accountant needs. More than that, though, it goes above and beyond by featuring links to scholarships, job boards, and certifications.
This is one of those pieces of content that really covers the basics of everything. It doesn’t go super in-depth on any one subject, but it contains enough information to be very useful for someone who’s thinking about a job in accounting.
Takeaways: An ultimate guide doesn’t have to be a 500 page nightmare. This ultimate guide just answers basic questions for prospective students and offers links to other resources. It’s a great piece of content, but it’s something you could create yourself.
Even more impressively, it fits the exact needs of the UCLA resources page that links to it. An accounting professor needs a simple, catch-all resource for their students, and this does a job that a printed syllabus probably just can’t do.
Basic guides that cover a lot of ground are useful for college professors, especially for lower level classes.
2. Cornell Influencer Marketing Link
Next, we come to an influencer marketing link. Influencer marketing, much like every aspect of digital marketing, is extensively covered on the web. Sometimes it’s hard to be seen over the sheer glut of content when it comes to a subject like this.
On the plus side, that means there’s a wealth of information available for anyone seeking it. It also means there’s a lot of quality writing to be perused, and there’s probably something out there for everyone.
But still, it’s quite an achievement to score an .edu link when it comes to a subject that’s been “done to death.”
The Link: This link appears on a Cornell University Center for Technology Licensing resource page that focuses on entrepreneurs: http://www.ctl.cornell.edu/entrepreneurs/news.php
The page is simple enough, again, but this is a very specific resource page. Any content provided here has to relate both to entrepreneurial pursuits and appeal to the Center For Technology Licensing’s student audience, as well.
That’s quite a tall order to fill, and this isn’t a resource page I wager too many link builders stumble across very often.
Why They Got the Link: This piece of content, provided by SMEPals, is simply called ‘Influencer Marketing 101.’
As with the accounting guide, it’s fairly entry-level stuff. But it covers a lot of ground, and the writing is entertaining and engaging. But what sets it above other pieces of content in the influencer marketing sphere?
I can’t be sure, but I’m fairly certain SMEPals got the link because their entire website is filled with useful content for prospective entrepreneurs. Clearly, they’re a trusted name and a trusted source of information.
Because the rest of their site breeds trust, they’re more apt to get a link to a relatively simple piece of content.
Takeaways: This post is helpful, to be sure, and it gets the job done– but it’s not overtly spectacular. It just goes to show that having a good content track record, and showing that you regularly produce quality content, goes a long way.
This is the type of content that you can realistically produce. I’d wager that if you have a decent marketing budget, you can turn out a piece of content like this every month. And then it’s just a matter of letting it build up, and then finding a very specific .edu resource page where it fits perfectly.
In over-saturated niches like digital marketing,, sometimes a combination of quality and quantity are important because they breed trust. And, in this case, I think trust was the deciding factor.
3. Temple University Co-Founder Fit Piece
I’ll admit, this link is a bit more obscure and specific than the first two in this post. Sure, it’s another post related to entrepreneurship, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Today’s college students (and dropouts, famously) are the tech startup founders of tomorrow.
But this link goes into much narrower territory than accounting or influencer marketing.
The Link: This link appears on an entrepreneur resource page from Temple University’s Fox School of Business: Entrepreneurship Institute Resources
This page is more animated and robust than either the Cornell Page or the UCLA page. It is geared for future startup founders, though, so a certain amount of flash and modernity make sense.
The page contains a multitude of links to books, videos, and articles of all sorts. It’s a much more exhaustive resource page than we’ve encountered so far. And, as such, there’s more room for link building opportunities here.
Why They Got The Link: The post in question is called ‘A Guide to Co-founder Fit.’ It’s listed under the first big heading on the resource page, along with published books and ‘The Startup Owner’s Manual,’ so whoever built this resource page obviously holds it in high regard.
So, why is it featured so prominently on such a robust resource page?
Because it’s hyper-specific, and because it’s something every startup founder needs to think about.
This post covers almost everything you can think of, from interpersonal relationships, all the way to financials, skill sets, and managing expectations. It’s a long, prose-heavy article, but it gives concrete advice for entrepreneurs who need a co-founder for their startup.
As this post demonstrates it’s not like finding a roommate on Craigslist.
Takeaways: This website, FundersClub.com, got the link because they produced a brilliant piece of content with a very narrow focus.
If you know something that most people in your field don’t, and you can pare it down to an article containing hyper-specific advice, you have a decent chance of building an .edu link. If you’ve never thought about forming a tech startup, then you’ve probably never thought about finding a co-founder and how that relationship needs to work.
Before entering the Fox School of Business and reading this article, there’s a good chance many of these students never thought about the ins and outs of finding a reliable co-founder, either.
If you can produce something helpful that laser focuses on a specific problem or issue that students will face once they graduate, craft a piece of content around that concept.
4. University of Pennsylvania SEO Link
This is an odd one, but it just goes to show you what sort of resource pages are available for intrepid link builders.
This resource page is hosted by The University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, and it seems to be a resource for web designers working on the University’s website, or maybe for websites of their own. I confess that I’m not entirely sure.
It’s odd in another way, though, too.
Instead of being a plain, vanilla resource page, this page is more of a how-to article in itself. An ultimate guide, if you will. It features plenty of links to other resources, but it also contains some pretty solid knowledge for web designers on its own.
The Link: The link is hosted on a page called ‘Best Practices for Website Content Providers,’ which seems to be updated and revised somewhat frequently– which is always a great sign for link builders!
Better yet, there’s an entire SEO section on this page. Though we may not all know about accounting, influencer marketing, or co-founding startups, SEO is something that all good link builders understand.
This page features a whole section on SEO and, since there’s quite a bit to cover on the topic, it hosts several links.
Why They Got The Link: The University links to a post called ‘8 Great On-Page SEO Techniques,’ which seems like a fairly basic SEO article. We all see stuff like this all the time in our online travels.
That being said, very few of us ever get .edu links to our SEO list posts.
The post itself is brief in nature, but it covers what it needs to. If you’re someone who just created a website and you’re looking to dial in your on-page SEO, this is a pretty good resource. It’s quick, painless, and easy to understand.
That makes it much more approachable for beginners.
And it does seem to be approachable. Though the post was originally published at least four years ago, it’s still getting comments to this day.
Takeaways: Social proof is a powerful thing. If you can show a webmaster, even an .edu webmaster, that your content really resonates with people, they’re much more likely to link to it. After all, if 200 people in the comments say they found the article useful, it’s a good bet that University students will find it helpful, too.
And then there’s the brevity factor. Sometimes longform content is great, but you have to really think about how many words you want your post to be. Sometimes something quick and dirty resonates with people the most, which is yet another reason this post has an .edu link and is beating out hundreds of similar posts.
5. North Dakota State University Small Business Resources Link
And now for something completely different.
North Dakota State University has a resource page for small businesses, focusing on agriculture, which is bound to be useful for many of its students: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/smallbusiness/other-links-resources-and-tools
As far as university resource pages go, NDSU’s it pretty standard. And, because of that fact, it’s one that many link builders may not approach in the first place.
The page contains:
- Local, state, and federal government business resources
- Links to high-profile publications like Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Inc.
- Links to the SBA and USDA
- Links to resources from Purdue and the University of Maine
So, that’s pretty standard stuff. If you’re a link builder, it’s hard to get your content added to a list that consists of mostly government agencies and resources, with a links to a few reputable publications everyone knows.
But, on this page, a few intrepid content creators have managed to secure a link.
The Link: There are a few links near the bottom of the page, near the section that features Forbes and Inc. One of those links is for a pretty specific site called the ‘American Farm Bureau Rural Community Building blog,’ but that’s not the one we’re looking at.
The link I was impressed with goes to a piece of content called ‘Complete Guide To The Best Small Business Resources,’ which was created by AccuPOS, a company that sells point of sale software.
The content itself is just a well-curated resource page. It’s not an extravagant ‘ultimate guide,’ as the name might imply– instead, it’s a neat collection of links.
Why They Got The Link: So, how did a curated resource page manage to get a link next to Forbes, Inc., and government agencies? It’s especially odd because this “guide” doesn’t even feature a single image!
In my opinion, AccuPOS got the link because they took extra care with this post’s curation.
They link to other curated resources pages, checklists, and guides for complete beginners in the first section. Next, they link to a bunch of in-depth funding guides, and then link to more standard resources.
They knew that a burgeoning small business owner would be very concerned about funding, and this resource page covers almost every aspect. And when you’re done there, they have enough resources available for you to take the next steps.
It’s simple, precise, and contains absolutely no frills.
Takeaways: This is another type of content you can create yourself, and I’d wager it was probably easier to create than anything else on this list.
The tricky part with creating a resource page like this is that you’ll either need to find a university links page that’s a perfect fit, or you’ll have to do a ton of prospecting and outreach until you find someone who accepts your content.
It usually takes a large volume of outreach to score an .edu link anyway, though, so you might try creating something simple like this for your first attempt.
Make no mistake– this is a good piece of content, it’s just that there’s nothing flashy or complicated about it. You or I could realistically do something like this at least three times a year.
I hope these five links helped show you the kinds of content that you can realistically create and build .edu links to.
Nothing on this list is beyond the abilities of a hard working content creator and a skillful link builder.
These pieces of content were awarded links because they’re:
- Tailored to individual .edu resources pages, and fit the needs of students
- From reputable sources
- Hyper-focused on one subject
- Show compelling social proof
- Expertly curated, simple, and without filler
If this got the gears in your head turning even just a bit, I recommend searching through some university resource pages related to your field.
Take a look and see who’s getting what kinds of links, and what you’re up against.
Then, relate some of these ideas toward creating your own linkable asset and start reaching out to those resource pages to ask them for link.
Before you know, you’ll snatch a few EDU’s of your own!