When analyzing links to a site, many speculate that Google really likes what are referred to as “Edu” sites and Edu links. A Edu domain is one commonly found in university websites throughout the U.S.

Why does Google like universities so much?

With the insanely fast growth rate of the internet, Google needs to rely on sites to help it determine the most relevant results for any particular set of keywords. In past articles, I have touched on the various factors in which the search engine uses to determine the worth of a link back to any website or blog regardless of topic or industry.

Here’s a recap and a very broad overview of 4 factors Google uses to judge how important any particular link it –

1. Google Page Rank

2. Alexa Rating

3. Relevancy of the site linking to your webpage

4. Authority of the site linking to your webpage

To give you an idea of relevancy, if you own a drycleaner and buy a link from a software site, it is not going to matter as much as if that link was from a SuperPages directory listing various drycleaners in your area. The “authority” of the website linking to your site is how much Google believes that source to be relevant to a particular, let’s say, your industry. It’s sort of like a hot news lead for a reporter. Is the source credible? If it is, then you have a great link.

Getting back to the main point, the reason why a link from a Edu is so highly recognized by Google is that not everybody can have a Edu domain for their website. You and I could not just register it online for $9.99 a year. To obtain this kind of URL, colleges have to go through a strict screening process of not only their university and educational philosophies, but the subsequent school website as well. This is all done by a non-for-profit organization. Therefore, if a Edu URL links to a particular site, more likely than not, this is a very trusting source for the search engine. It’s a hot lead.

Additionally, most college websites do not sell text link ads. University of Michigan sells some on an inner site, however this is somewhat of a rarity or at least I believe so. Colleges are very careful about the links they put on their website. Google knows and respects any link which has gone through a stringent screening process by actual human beings as opposed to robots.

Obtaining these links is not as hard as one would imagine. If you own a company or are a wiz at online marketing and have an A+ blog or website, below you will find a 3 great and creative ways to not only get Edu links, but to help younger college students while you’re at it.

1. Many colleges have a list of “Employers Which Recruit” or some variation of the term on their website. Unless you are Disney, get on this list, you have to either pay money to the school to attend a career fair or do a big favor for the career department. Trust me, in most instances, the former is easier. After contacting the career department, don’t just buy your link and leave without helping. Offer to mentor a student or two. Many college students are hardworking and eager to learn. Mentoring does take some time, but you get as much out of it as they do.

2. Advertising your company. Many colleges, if you are a viable company, will allow you to advertise on their website. Some will let you with a donation of around $300 for the year. Again, you know that the money is going towards something positive. Nobody is getting a commission on this donation. At least I hope they aren’t.

3. Writing articles. Many universities are more than happy to look over any material which would help their students. If you kiss up enough (career departments love and require adulation from anyone applying to get their site added) and your article is that good, you may get onto the website through this channel. I would label this route the hardest to be successful at, though weirder things have happened in this world.