Hot Links!

grilled_sausagesEveryone loves themselves some good, juicy edu links. You know why? Because they’re delicious.
A few weeks ago I ventured into some unknown territory with some link building with scholarship offers, first inspired by Brendon Turner’s article on Search Engine News. If you don’t have a subscription, don’t worry. It’s super easy stuff. The steps to success are essentially:

  1. Start a Scholarship
  2. Give People Money
  3. Get Links
  4. Profit

Easy huh? Now it’s your turn!

Start a Scholarship
No but really, all we really did was create a quick scholarship page on our law firm’s website. Write how much you’re going to give, write the due date, write the rules and requirements, etc etc. See a pretty vanilla example here. If you’ll notice, the Dolman Law group’s 1.1k scholarship is immediately more enticing than those goons who thought 1k was enough… That hundred bucks can really make a difference. I’m only being like 80% sarcastic. (sorry guys. hey I gave you a link! be happy.)

Give People Money
Next, compile yourself a list of schools with outside scholarship pages. Google “outside OR External scholarship inurl:edu”. You may also want to include a “-inurl:pdf” in your search, since some schools list their outside scholarships on PDFs and those are usually more difficult to edit than normal pages, so your conversion rate with links may decrease.
You may want to add some other keywords in there to do with your specific educational disciplines but just remember the more the better.

Get Links
Most Universities will have an email that looks like finaid@****.edu – Just find that email on the financial aid section of their website and request that they add your link to their outside scholarships page. Many of them will do it without hesitation, and as an added bonus, the schools that are more prominent and famous are even more likely to have their ish together in the financial aid department, leading to almost immediate returns for popular schools.

You may have to follow up on a few schools before they’ll add your link, but for the most part your job will be fairly easy.

But Wait… There’s More!

She likes me for my body.

Try your Alma Mater first.

University websites can be hard to navigate when you’re looking for link opportunities, but remember that they care about anything that will make them look good and that will get them more exposure. Figure out what you can offer the university and pursue that as a method for getting links. Note – this will usually only work exclusively with a university you or your business have some connection to (eg. Your Alma Mater or a local college).

Different universities have different policies on linking out or even mentioning outside businesses, but if you poke around you may be able to find something that will get you in. If you have news or a story worth telling, most universities have an email address for their Media & Communications departments – usually PR@***.edu. Many schools have student experience pages or notable alumni pages where you can be featured, and Google will often pull carousel results for queries like this. You can even browse student blogs and build connections that may lead to links or guest posts (shut up Google, you can’t tell me what to do).

If you need a help figuring out the best way to get a link from a university website, I’d recommend running a screaming frog crawl and checking the external tab to see where the website is linking out to the most, and what pages those links are coming from. If you see a bunch of links that don’t go to government pages that are all acronyms (FAFSA, OSHA, PETA, DUMB, STUPD), check the linking page and see if you have a shot at working your way in there.

Any way you do it, getting yourself featured on a major university website won’t be easy. If you devote the time, however, it can be pretty rewarding. And if you finally get those hot links, please invite me over for dinner.

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