Getting to the bottom of .EDU SEO Value

We often receive chat requests from prospective customers (and competing SEO Companies ;) ) questioning our link building practices. Rightly so, they are concerned with the tactics and strategies we undertake on their behalf.

One of the common misconceptions however, is the value of a back-link originating from .GOV or .EDU domains. As a means to simply debunk the myth, pasted below is an exact transcript of the latest chat we had with a prospective customer, about this very subject.

We have also added the video mentioned in the chat, so as to obtain clarity direct from Matt Cutts (ala Google’s Web Spam Team). Be sure to listen in at the 00:50 mark and also the 02:00 position.

Wednesday, 13 Jul, 2011
[23:09] Visitor 372837516 has joined the conversation
[23:09] Richard: Hello, welcome to LoveClients – If I can help with anything don’t hesitate to ask me a question.
[23:21] Visitor 372837516: do you offer white labelling?
[23:21] Richard: We do indeed
[23:22] Richard: Are you looking to resell the service offering to an existing client base?
[23:22] Richard: Or is it a new initiative?
[23:22] Visitor 372837516: what are your methods for link building?
[23:22] Richard: We build links through many different methods including but not limited to, directory submissions, article creation and distribution, through ezines, blogs, article networks, and our own network.
[23:22] Richard: We also have several partners whom own large site networks, that will often assist with an appropriate thematic link where relevant and possible. We do not buy links, though we do request options like guest blog posts, or relevant research and case studies that will include a link back to your site.
[23:23] Richard: Merit based link building remains the single most effective way to assure your site of long term ranking success… ie: It is no longer a numbers game per say.
[23:23] Visitor 372837516: that sounds kind of shady and old school
[23:23] Richard: Oh really? How about you outline as to what you would consider non-shady and new school?
[23:23] Richard: I’m all ears.
[23:24] Visitor 372837516: getting .edu links and links from really high quality sites in my neighborhood
[23:24] Richard: Right. So clearly you haven’t read about the fact that the .edu domain holds no more weight than any other .TLD?
[23:25] Richard: Nor taken the time time read exactly what Google publishes?
[23:25] Visitor 372837516: that is debatable
[23:25] Richard: Not at all
[23:25] Richard: Shall I find you the reference?
[23:25] Visitor 372837516: please
[23:25] Visitor 372837516: so directories are good are they?
[23:25] Richard: What you just mentioned, is extremely old school. Please hold.
[23:25] Richard: Contextually relevant directories? Most certainly they are.
[23:25] Richard: Spam directories or Link farms, certainly are not.
[23:25] Visitor 372837516: and ezines?
[23:26] Richard: if the ezine relates to your niche? 100% perfect.
[23:26] Richard: For example:
[23:26] Richard: If you own a site that sells flowers online.. and you obtain a backlink for an active Ezine/Blog that relates to Floristry. That would be thematicaly perfect.
[23:27] Visitor 372837516: yes but the weight of such a link is quite low
[23:28] Richard: That completely depends on the site, the context, and the page within the site.
[23:28] Visitor 372837516: agreed
[23:28] Richard: We produce results for our clients, every single day, using that exact strategy.
[23:28] Visitor 372837516: how do you obtain your links?
[23:29] Richard: As I mentioned above
[23:30] Richard: Feel free to listen to what Google says about .EDU here:
[23:30] Richard:
> http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp?blend=1&ob=5#p/search/0/UxTmZulcQZ0
[23:30] Richard:
About the 50 second mark
[23:32] Richard: What you may have read or heard on forums about issues like .GOV or .EDU domains pushing more weight to your site than a .COM or any other .TLD is absolute nonsense. And google continues to publish videos and content debunking those claims.
[23:32] Richard: As per the video link I posted above.
[23:34] Visitor 372837516: do you buy any links?
[23:34] Richard: No. Never.
[23:34] Visitor 372837516: why not?
[23:35] Richard: Because it is generally considered poor practice to do so.
[23:35] Richard: Personally, I will admit that in the real world.. it happens all the time.
[23:35] Richard: However, in this specific company; it is against our policy
[23:35] Visitor 372837516: but it is the only way to get really really high quality links
[23:36] Richard: Not in our opinion.
[23:36] Visitor 372837516: okay
[23:36] Visitor 372837516: thanks for your time
[23:36] Richard: You’re most welcome.
[23:36] Richard: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
[23:37] Visitor 372837516: what would I get if I had $1000/ month to spend?
[23:37] Visitor 372837516: would I get noticeable results in my rankings for high competition keywords?
[23:38] Richard: If your total budget was $1k, inclusive of click costs.. Then we would suggest just spending $599/month on the standard SEO package.
[23:38] Richard: It all depends on the key terms..
[23:38] Visitor 372837516: not including any ppc
[23:38] Richard: Well, our packages are $599 / $997 as per the page your on now.
[23:38] Richard: What type of key terms are you looking to rank for?
[23:39] Richard: I’ll try to give you a realistic timeframe etc..
[23:39] Richard: No pressure at all to sign up, though at least you can make an informed decision regardless of who you choose to help out with your campaign.
[23:40] Richard: If you give me a few key terms… I’ll take a quick look
[23:41] Visitor 372837516: conference calling
[23:41] Visitor 372837516: currently I am high on the second page

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