How to get more rank-building .edu and .gov links.
 by Casey Markee

How to get more rank-building .edu and .gov links.

  • I've read a lot about the importance of getting backlinks from .edu and .gov sites. Are these types of domains more important in the eyes of the search engines?

    If so, how do I go about getting these types of links for my site? Also, is it the same with country specific .edu and .gov sites? For example would a link from a site belonging to the government of Sri Lanka help a US-based company?

Answer: These are great questions on a topic that seems confusing for the many site owners. There is considerable speculation that .edu and .gov domains are given preference in the search rankings and that backlinks from such domains are highly valuable in the eyes of the search engines.

Our experience is that .edu and .gov links are indeed quite valuable. However, there is disagreement about why these links are so effective. Google has stated on multiple occasions that the domain extension doesn't matter. But then we also know that Google's Matt Cutts has mentioned in interviews that Google tends to favor and trust .edu and .gov domains a bit more than other types of domains.

It appears that Google is happy with the murkiness of this issue and loathe to reveal much about this ingredient in their secret sauce. Regardless, we can say for certain that .gov and .edu domains tend to have very powerful backlinks of their own, as such domains are often authoritative resources. And having those powerful backlinks means that .edu and .gov domains tend to routinely pass along a lot of trust and authority to the sites they link to.

So the argument over whether Google hard-codes a preference for .edu and .gov domains into their algorithm is purely academic—you can have a weak .edu link just like you can have a weak .com link. What really matters is the quality of the links pointing to the .edu or .gov domain—and especially the quality of the links pointing to the actual page your link is on.

To answer your question about international .edu and .gov links, those are quite effective too, provided they have quality backlinks of their own. However, they often use different domain extensions. For example, the .edu domain in the UK is formatted as

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