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    Why are .edu links important?


    I have been talking to a few SEO's who have been very proudly proclaiming their success at getting a link from a .edu website. At the same time, I have talked to other SEO's who believe that there is little difference between a .edu link and a highly relevant (not necessarily highly trusted) .com link.

    My question is this - are .edu links significantly more important than .com links? If two sites were exactly equal, but one site had 100 highly relevant backlinks from .com sites and the other had 100 highly relevant backlinks from .edu sites, which one do you think would rank higher?
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    Whoever said that does not know what he/she is talking about. A .edu or .gov site is considered an authority site. They are not in the habit of exchanging links, will usually ONLY link to sites that they consider very important to the subject matter in which they are most interested.

    We have an authority site primarily because .edu sites are linking into our pages. This places us #1 in all the search engines for our keywords. There are many sites below us with masses of .com, .net, and .org backlinks but they cannot compete with our much smaller number of .edu and .gov backlinks.
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    Thanks for your response - I tend to agree with you. This is why I was surprised on this other forum that I read someone saying that .edu links don't have any significant advantage over .com links.
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    Although.....

    There are different types of edu links. Links from education establishments are good to have but often times just because they say edu at the end doesn't mean they automatically carry lots of weight. For example, sometimes students are given webspace to use while in college. I've know some of these places to link to all kinds of 'college' type things, if you know what I mean. Its always a good idea to check out what lies at the other end of the trade, if it is a trade.
    Last edited by crxvfr; Dec 27th, 2005 at 01:03 PM.
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    What about school newspapers - those often have edu extensions...

    My guess is that they could be quite valuable.
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    That sounds like one of the good ones to have, but you should always have a look see.
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    Originally Posted by crxvfr
    Although.....

    There are different types of edu links. Links from education establishments are good to have but often times just because they say edu at the end doesn't mean they automatically carry lots of weight.
    True, .edu links generally are very good because alot of people link to them as resources thereby increasing their authority.
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    I couldn't tell. Are links from student web spaces good? This would be an opportunity for some college kids to make some cash.
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    I don't think student web spaces would be as good as a page put up by the institution itself.

    I think some of the rational behind giving extra weight to .edu domains is that the content on a site is determined by faculty and staff. So, if you have a professor who links over to a website from the department site, there is a significant amount of trust being given to that professor.

    Students don't have that same type of trust.
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    So on that note, do schools report to google what pages are student pages? or does google take note?
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    I would assume that Google takes note. It shouldn't be too difficult to determine which pages are students and which ones are a part of the institution...
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    Actually, both seemingly contrary opinions you heard are true.

    The extention, .edu or .gov mean nothing on their own in regards to SEO value. All other things being equal, a .edu link is worth no more than a .com link. HOWEVER, all other things are never equal. .edu and .gov link TEND to be more valuable because:
    1. They tend to have a lot of inbound links giving them good PR
    2. They tend NOT to link out to a lot of garbage site, making the outbound links more valuable than a link on a site with 100 other outbounds on the page
    3. (probbably most important these days) They tend to be trusted. Links from trusted sites give your site more trust. More trust means better rankings.

    So, in general, .edu links are more beneficial, but not because they are .edu link. There are .coms that have all of these same factors, and they are just as valuable - and just as hard to get links from - BBC.com doesn't tend to provide a lot or perm links

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    • SEO_AM agrees : The exception usually proves the rule, i.e., a small percentage of .com's are as good as an average .edu.

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    Sure, that is all good and true, but you touched on the point that I think sets edu sites (and .gov sites) apart from just any .com site. The main thing is the trust factor.

    I think it is fairly widely accepted that pagerank, although still a factor in rankings, is not nearly as big of a factor as it once was. There is much more weight placed on 'trust' rather than simply a pagerank.

    The fact is, most edu links are easy to trust. Whether its the effect of how most edu websites behave that make them trustworthy or the idea that Google just implicitly trusts edu websites, the result seems to be the same.
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    Its not the fact its an .edu TLD. its the fact that they get tons of inbound links from credible source, They constantly have new content, often a student newspaper, and they have been around for quite a few years.

    Comments on this post

    • Cygnus agrees
    • brandall agrees : Exactly! Someone is paying attention.
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    Originally Posted by mdaoust
    Sure, that is all good and true, but you touched on the point that I think sets edu sites (and .gov sites) apart from just any .com site. The main thing is the trust factor.
    I think you missed the point. Yes, it is trust (and the high PR and generally fewer outbound links) that make .edu and .gov links worthwhile, but it does NOT set them apart.

    .EDUs are not trusted BECAUSE they are .EDUs. They tend to be trusted because they are TRUSTWORTHY.

    .COMs can carry just as much trust, and many do. They just don't tend to be the site most webmasters get links from. If you are running a financial services firm, a links from americanexpress.com, schwab.com or wsj.com is just as valuable as a link from any .gov or .edu of the same PR, with same outbound links etc. They carry the same level of trust and authority.

    Until about 3 years ago, everyone was after PR. Then everyone was after PR from related sites. Now it seems that what is important is a combination of PR, relatedness and trust. The more a site linking to you is trusted by Google, the more trust that links bestows on you. Get lots of trusted links and watch your SERPs soar.
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