Is it pointless getting .gov or .edu backlinks?

By Simon Slade
Is it pointless getting .gov or .edu backlinks?


For a long time, SEO experts have believed that links from government (.gov) or educational (.edu) sites are worth their weight in gold. Educational and government institutions are unbiased, respected sources of information (more so than the average and so a link from them is a good sign that your site is also trustworthy.

So is this actually the case? Does a .gov or .edu backlink give you more “oomph” purely owing to the snazzy TLD? Or is this the internet equivalent of an old wives’ tale?

It seems the camp is divided. On one hand we’ve got the “official word” coming from Google spokesperson Matt Cutts, saying that there is no bias towards government and education links. He mentions it in his video blog and again more recently on his personal blog page.

... And on the other hand we have anecdotal evidence from respected voices in the SEO community who say that Google is spinning a yarn right there. Prominent SEO blogger Aaron Wall expressed his disbelief in a blog post where he describes sites with lower PageRanks performing better than sites with higher PageRanks. Guess what these low PR sites had? Links from .edu and .gov domains.

Big-time SEO analysts Moz also came to the incredulity party, with a line from Google’s US patent application (#20050071741 - Information Retrieval Based on Historical Data, for the snoops amongst you), which speaks in part of using “government documents” as a factor that attributes a greater level of “trust” to the link.

So who is right here? Are Google just trying to obfuscate this fact so that education departments don’t start selling links to boost faculty budgets? Is it actually true that government and education sites just tend to have higher PageRanks, and that’s why their links can be so valuable?

We’re not picking sides in this debate. Instead we’re going to say that if you want to try it out, we’ve got a pretty cool tool for helping you pick up some .edu and .gov backlinks...

In the Trusted Sites Tool, you can search for government or educational sites from a number of different regions including the USA, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and the UK / Ireland. The trusted sites tool will search for relevant government and education sites that allow you to contribute content – either on a forum or a blog post.

To use it, simply enter your keyword phrase in the Keyword field. For example, if you are in the dog training niche, enter a broad phrase like “dog training”, and the tool will generate a report with a list of pages where you can post a link to your site.

Trusted Sites Screenshot

Lets have a look at the table of results above – In the keyword column, you'll see the main keyword that has been found on the site. The site type indicates whether the site is a a blog or forum. The Extension tells you whether it's an education or government site. The Follow icon shows if the backlink from user contributed content is a no-follow (red x), a do-follow (green tick) or unknown (question mark). You can sort the report by clicking on the column headings. For the example above, I've sorted the table by PageRank by clicking the PR column heading, so I can select the sites that have the highest PageRank.

The Link to Comment is the link to take you to the specific page the tool has found. Click on this link to go and post a comment with a link back to your site!

For some people this might be where it would end, but let me suggest some other strategies you could also use to get better quality backlinks from these sites. If you've found a site that is particularly relevant to your niche, offer to write a guest article or blog as an expert in the field. If you approach this in the right way, chances are you'll get the opportunity to post a link to your site, and this will likely be a higher profile link than if you had just commented in their blog or forum.

Educational sites are often lacking in style and design – if you've developed some web design or SEO skills in your site building activity, why not offer your services to help them bring their website up to date. They may well be happy for you to add a link back to one of your sites – just be up front and open about doing it!

There are plenty of other strategies you could consider too – be creative! We'd love to hear of any ideas that you're using to generate links from these respected sites – does anyone have anything they'd be willing to share?

Start using our Trusted Sites Tool now! If you need more help, watch the training video under 'Getting Started'. If you're not a premium member – sign up today to access this tool, and all our other Affiliate Marketing tools exclusively available with premium membership!


View all 63 comments (Currently displaying latest 50)

Tim White 13 years ago
Thanks Daniel for the link.

I spent just a little time on this and got some easy backlinks.

Backlinks seems to be the hardest part of this process and I have had very little luck with any automated system.
Amit 13 years ago
Very useful post especially coz i got two seo tools to help hunting relevant .gov .edu urls. :)
bet365 13 years ago
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Jake 13 years ago
I have been trying to educate my readers on my mailing list for days about the importance of .edu links. Some seem to take an interest but the majority of them seem keen to blow money on backlink packets. Maybe I will send some of them over here to learn from the real experts...


Luke 13 years ago
Very nice tool.
Santosh Prasad 13 years ago
nice post..
but where is the answer for which this post has been generated.. ? :P
question still remains unanswered..

and i agree to the fact that.. .gov .edu has less number of links that any .com or .net link page thats why they get more juice or say more value towards linking structure..

another good point i had covered during my current project.. that bing's crawl rate is faster than google's..

so if ur site is performing good in bing after some work on ur project.. it is likely to get good ranking in google's paradigm too :D
Samuel 13 years ago
Thanks for the valuable info.I tried it and I have been getting tons more traffic.

Thanks Dude.
Battle Los Angeles 13 years ago
Resources like the one you mentioned here will be very useful to me! I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.
Brent Selwyn 13 years ago
Thanks for an in teresting and thought provoking post Mark. I have sought to try to obtain 'follow' .edu and 'gov links to my legal review sites in the belief that these type of links are more powerful than 'ordinary' links. I suppose like anything the secret is in finding a balance. Regards. Brent
Mallorca Finca 13 years ago
Thanks for post! it is very helpful information. :)
Brian 13 years ago
I think like most things, Google hides alot of their information. If they didn't give more authority to some sites over others then there would be no need for a page rank at all I would think.
Morgan 13 years ago
Google, the all powerful. Who really knows what goes on behind the curtain. All we do know is that getting a winning position within the Google SERP is a must if we want to have a successful website. Until Toto comes along and pulls the curtain back, we just have to keep on trying the things that appear to work.
Jeff Moreau 13 years ago
Hi, Great post with some good information on this subject.
Have heard for years now that this was the way to get some great links.
thom 13 years ago
Very interesting post, Ive been searching edu sites and picked up a few links but it is hard to find the ones that allow html
upload and earn 13 years ago
Thanks for the post. I always enjoy reading your blog.

Keep'em coming more frequently.

Robert 13 years ago
I thought they were more valuable. Well Google changes every 6 minutes
Chris Parker 13 years ago
Thanks for the post.
Atif Silal 13 years ago
Although there are lot lot of blogs and websites where this debate discuss about .edu and .gov ,but this is fact that the writer here give lot of unique and sourceful information,I agree with writer and congrate for writing such good post
credit card consolidation 13 years ago
I dont think its pointless, i found edu and gov links to be rather successful???
education 13 years ago
Thanks for the post :)
James Gordon 13 years ago
I read a lot forums and most people say .edu and .gov backlinks are important and valuable than normal backlinks. It's rather confusing though and google webmasters would have already known this fact and updated their algorithm!
Tyler Peng 13 years ago
Many SEO tools include .edu and .gov backlinks as a measure of competition, seems like there's widespread agreement that these backlink (which cant usually be registered by just anyone) produce more link juice / trust with the search engines.. Im not sure about google though anymore
Tim Gardine 13 years ago
I'm quite sure whether a link is from a .edu or a .gov site is quite irrelevant. The reality, as far as I can tell, is that a .edu or a .gov domain is more likely to have content that creates trust, and is more likely to be linked to because in the eyes of real people they are trusted. They will also generally get a significant amount of traffic.

But this doesn't mean that an edu link is better than, for instance, a .info link, if the .info site is reputable and the .edu one is not.

If you get a link from a dodgy subdomain on a .edu or .gov site, you won't get any benefit. There are ways to buy these kinds of links, and they are completely worthless.
Phillip Turner 13 years ago
I think that getting a back-link from theme based site/content has much importance than to getting it from any .edu or .gov site. These sites are known for their trustworthiness, so only if you have relevant information then try to post.
jayachandran 12 years ago
Really useful for a newbie like me..
Thanks Bro..
how to get more youtube views 12 years ago
It seems that there are a lot of different views on the subject. I can attest to much higher rankings when edu and gov links are used.
noel vintage lights 12 years ago
A lot thinks that edu and gov links can help in better ranking fast but I think it will always depend on what you post and how you make use of it...
fotograf nunta 12 years ago
I think that edu and gov are very helpfull at least when you have a young blog
majed 12 years ago
really interesting, thanks for sharing
Gov Backlinks Guru 12 years ago
One also has to remember the fact that government websites are often updated regularly due to frequent policy changes in corresponding government departments. Due to this, search bots regularly crawl such websites and hence, any backlinks found on them are able to quickly thrust a site to top rankings.

Although the debate regarding backlinking power of government websites has been around for quite some time, I believe there is absolutely no doubt as far as their trustworthiness and authority as backlink partner is concerned.
johnstonannam 12 years ago
Congratulations on having one of probably the most innovative blogs Ive come across in some time! Its just incredible just how much you can take away from something simply because of how visually beautiful it is. Youve put together an excellent blog space -great graphics, videos, layout. This is certainly a must-see weblog! .
toplist 12 years ago
and gov links can help in better ranking fast but I think it will always depend on what you post and how you make use of it...
Silvani BLOG 12 years ago
Thanks for this tutorial at least i now know the impotance of gov and edu backlinks.
3dSoftology 12 years ago
I must say, very nice blog, very informative and concise. However, the edu and gov backlinks means nothing if they are noflow. They might increase the page ank but the SERP Rank is increased when the juice is passed from the link. So, if you have 20 edu and gov back links with noflow and 20 PR 6-8 backlinks which are passing jouce to your anchor text. edu and gov links will increase page rank only while PR 6-8 links will increase SERP Rank.

Hope it makes sense for you guys!

Elisa 12 years ago
that's true.. but i did backlinks for years and good looking .gov are very good, have a look at most popular website backlinks..
osman mus 12 years ago
You dont need an html enabled comment box for google to see the .edu backlink, nearly all of my backlinks which show up on google webmaster tools as .edu sites are plain text and google bot still recognized, i went from rank 0 to 4 in just 2 months on my site and i think was a major factor in boosting my rank because right after i made a post there, google instantly indexed it which shows google bot is very active on that university site
photography backdrops 12 years ago
i don't about you. but for me edu or gov link still work fine. they have high authority on big G.
neo 12 years ago
So, it's better to have it.. or no?
Beehler 12 years ago
Has anyone actually determined if .gov and .edu has any real weight to ranking? And how do I go about actually getting real backlinks on .gov and .edu sites?
Brent Gourley 12 years ago
Government and eduction sites tend to have a higher google page rank due to their popularity. That is why backlinking to some of them is good. Check there PR and if they have a higher PR then you, link with them.
Andy 12 years ago
i think GOV and EDU is not so important as before
Gary @ EDU Backlinks 12 years ago
They may not be weighed as much as they were in the past, but they are certainly still worth getting. The more diverse your link profile is the better.
thuc pham tang can 11 years ago
that's true.. but i did backlinks for years and good looking .gov are very good, have a look at most popular website backlinks..
scrabble word Finder 11 years ago
I still think that the edu and gov links hold heavy link weight, Ive been doing some research today and for example there is a site with 60K backlinks only 3 edu, and 1 gov, then there is another site 540 backlinks 180 gov and edu links....ranking higher for the same keyword. Thanks for the backlink finder for edu and gov links :) never seen that way done before.
Master kupukupu 11 years ago
I think that the particular edu along with gov hyperlinks hold weighty url bodyweight, Ive already been doing some analysis today as well as for example there exists a site with 30K inbound links simply Three or more edu, and One gov, then there is another website 540 inbound links One-hundred-twenty gov as well as edu back links....position increased for the similar key phrase. Basically one way link finder of the bird regarding edu as well as gov backlinks :) not witnessed that way completed ahead of. Why remove bad links?
internet profit 11 years ago
Well, it is great I can find your article mark, Actually we can test if this backlink really have and impact with our mediocre blog.

Asher Elran 11 years ago
It depends on the type of link you are getting. It is all about relevancy. If it is a comment link for something completely unrelated to your site then .gov or .edu link is not going to help you much. If it a link coming from a article or blog post, definitely worth a lot.
maryam 7 years ago
Such a useful information.Thanks for sharing. Regard,website development companies
Renaissance Marketing 6 years ago
really interesting, thanks for sharing
6 years ago
Brilliant Post. you have done a great Job.

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