When I started to get serious about monetizing the websites and blogs I’ve created over the years the first thing I realized was that it was going to take traffic. And large amounts of it. So that led me to pondering where, exactly, web traffic comes from. The answer, ultimately is two places: links and search engines. This, of course, led to Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. One of the first things I learned there was that links from governmental sites (.gov) and educational institutions (.edu) carried more weight with search engine rankings then those from the more common top level domains (.com, .net and .org).
As I’ve muddled along with my own attempts at search engine optimization I’ve often wondered how, exactly, one goes about getting such links. Despite my efforts I have managed to obtain very few although they have been some of the most effective direct links in driving traffic to my various sites. Have they helped with Search Engine Optimization? Hard to say. None of my pages have exceptionally high Page Rank, but then those that I promote the most actively have also been Google-smacked for other reasons, so there’s no way to tell for sure what their real PageRank is.
I recently learned that both Matt Cutts and John Mu (both Google employees) have come flat out and said that .edu links do not carry any more weight in Google’s algorithm than kinks from any other top level domain. Rather the weight a link carries is directly attributable to the trustworthiness of the page and the site itself. Well, both educational institutions and government websites carry significantly more trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines, so perhaps both sides can be accurate.
Whether or not .edu links in themselves carry more weight, per se, everyone still agrees that they’re desirable. As noted above, I receive more traffic from my .edu links than from any other particular links I have floating around the web. In fact, this blog is still the number one search engine result for the term “Applied Anarchy” and I credit that to the fact that this phrase was used on a link from a .edu domain.
But this still leaves us with the dilemma of how to obtain such links. Well, today I learned of .EduTextLink.com whose sole purpose is to aid in your SEO efforts by providing edu links to your website. Prices start at a mere $399 for their Basic “Get Acquainted” Package, which seems pretty reasonable should you have a website that is well monetized. Earning back that investment shouldn’t be too difficult. Unfortunately it’s out of my budget for the moment, so I can’t yet give them a try. However, if you’re looking to do some serious marketing of your latest web project and you’re looking for .edu links than I’d love to hear back on your results.