Backlink professionals have been pushing the idea of building .edu backlinks for a long time. There are several reasons why this is the case, and as Google's search algorithms have evolved, these backlinks have only become more valuable. But does your law firm really need .edu backlinks, and if so, how can it get the backlinks it needs? Can you simply buy .edu backlinks, or is there a better way? All these questions and more will be answered by the end of this guide.
What Are .Edu Backlinks?
Backlinks are just the links that go to your website from the websites of other people. When these backlinks come from a .edu website, they're called .edu backlinks. Unlike most other top level domain names, there are very few websites—less than 8,000 in total—that use .edu. This is because you can't just use a .edu domain name for any website. Instead, websites that want to use .edu must meet stringent requirements.
Since 2001, the .edu top level domain has only been able to be used by accredited institutions of postsecondary education located in or affiliated with the United States. There are, however, still hundreds of websites from before 2001 that used the .edu domain and have been grandfathered in. These websites include those for museums like San Francisco's Exploratorium and high schools like the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.
Much like other backlinks, these are weighted by Google according to the authority level of the website that the backlink comes from. However, there are some key differences, and it's these differences that make people want to buy .edu backlinks.
Why Would I Want .Edu Backlinks?
There are several different reasons that you might want to intentionally cultivate .edu backlinks, or that you might even think it would be a good idea to buy .edu backlinks directly. First of all, these backlinks, more than those from any other domain (with the possible exception of the .gov domain, which is exclusively used by government agencies), are quite difficult to get and tend to carry a great deal of cachet. Your competition is not very likely to be using .edu backlinks, at least not many, so it can give you a great competitive edge.
Additionally, Google considers .edu websites to universally be more authoritative than a website with a similar PageRank but a different domain name. This means that if you can get free .edu backlinks or buy .edu backlinks for your website, you can actually increase your search ranking results dramatically, even with a relatively small number of added and indexed links.
Can I Just Buy .Edu Backlinks?
The short answer to this question is “yes,” but the long answer is “Yes, but why would you want to?” In general, anywhere you buy .edu backlinks from is going to be getting the links themselves for free. The only thing they're doing is spotting opportunities for posting on .edu domains, which is something that you can do for yourself.
Moreover, if you try to buy .edu backlinks, the service you use is unlikely to post quality content. Most of the places that you can post .edu backlinks are moderated, which means that when bad quality content is posted, it will be deleted quickly. Because it can take Google several days, weeks, or even months to index your new backlinks, just because you buy .edu backlinks from a service doesn't mean they won't be moderated out of existence before they ever get indexed.
Google is also employing increasingly advanced detection algorithms to help spot anyone who is clearly purchasing backlinks. If you buy .edu backlinks and the service you hire leaves too clear a trail of breadcrumbs, Google might penalize your website or even de-list it completely. As a lawyer, that's a fate you absolutely cannot afford to meet. Use extreme caution if you decide to buy .edu backlinks, and the better idea is to develop your own .edu backlinks using organic marketing techniques.
How Many .Edu Backlinks Should I Have?
The number of .edu backlinks that you get isn't as important as the quality of each of the links. If you're able to post very high quality and high relevance backlinks, especially if they're in keeping with the context of the rest of the .edu website, you may be able to do quite well. Keep in mind that your amount of link juice is much higher for the same PageRank .edu website than it would be with a similarly ranked .org or .com website.
You should make sure that you don't try to build your .edu backlinks too quickly. If you do, Google will take this as a sign that you may have tried to buy .edu backlinks and you will be penalized. Especially when you're just beginning your link building efforts, try to confine yourself to creating just one or two of these backlinks every day. As long as you're consistent, you'll still be able to build up a large number of links in a few months.
Finding the Best Sources for .Edu Backlinks
Lawyers have a huge advantage over other types of business professionals when it comes to building .edu links, because lawyers—unlike almost any other type of business pro—can get great backlinks from the websites of law schools. Check with law schools near you to see if you might be able to give a talk in the evening sometime. Often, these talks will be publicized on a page on the law school's website—a page which may link to your law firm's site or your biography on that site.
Another way to get these backlinks without having to buy .edu backlinks is to make relevant posts on forums that are hosted on .edu websites. This will probably work better if you're talking about legal issues that are relevant to students at the postsecondary level of the forum posters. Criminal defense attorneys, for example, may have good luck using .edu backlinks by talking about what to do if you're pulled over by a cop for underage drinking and driving.