Scholarship link-building may seem like something that does not make sense when put together. Scholarships are awarded to people who are very good at their studies and even to those who may not have the means to pay the entire cost of it – either at the school or college level.

link building is a search engine optimization technique that helps gain backlinks for one’s site. So, how do these two fit in together? This is a novel hack to earn backlinks from sites that Google wants to push.

In this article, we will explore scholarship link building and find out what it is all about. We’ll also tell you how to use it to your advantage!

What is Scholarship Link Building

If you have been in the digital marketing or SEO business for quite some time, you may have noticed that Google values trustworthiness and authority. When we talk about education and getting genuine information, we think of government sites or official university/school sites.

The point of this is to gain Google’s trust through such reputable sites, and garnering the attention of millions across the globe! Yes! Such sites are visited by people from across the globe.

Scholarship link building is when you approach educational institutions to link your website from their portals. Your website should have a page that promotes a scholarship or bursary fund. This makes it a two-way transaction as you are promoting a scholarship from the educational institution you approached.

There are various ways you can utilize this to your advantage as it will not just boost your site’s off-page SEO. But you will also gain great traffic, and other opportunities to boost your business/brand.

How Does It Work?

How Does It Work

Exploring how scholarship link building works requires a deep understanding of everything that goes into this. You will have to conduct a lot of research on websites that have a good domain rating (DR) and a URL rating (UR.)

Take this example, your brand offers legal services, and you create a scholarship page offering to pay a percentage of the student’s law degree. The scholarship page needs to be live for you to contact educational institutions with a .edu domain.

Scholarship link-building campaigns have become quite popular in recent years, with educational institutions using it to their advantage. However, it requires heavy consideration which we will take you through in the following sections.

URL rating is an important factor for search ranking as it helps determine the relevance of the page or resource to the search query. URL rating has a few ‘helpers’ that play a role in the search ranking. One of them is the strength of the backlink.

Your backlink profile must be strong for your website to attract a higher search ranking. As per Ahrefs, it is important for the backlink profile in the context of URL rating and ultimately search ranking. The rating is measured on a logarithmic scale (0-100), where 100 represents the strongest rating.

As per SEO professionals, scholarship link building is still a great way to build strong .edu backlinks. They also note that it must be done right to be effective. You must follow through with your commitment to providing the scholarship.

If you do not, you will not just lose the chance of gaining backlinks, but you will also end up in murky waters. This can attract legal issues for you and your brand, which is obviously not something your brand image will appreciate.

Tips For Scholarship Link Building

It is important that you remember these points so that you can avoid being penalized, or worse, losing your site to poor rankings. A scholarship link building strategy should consider the following things:

  1. Scholarship awards should start minimally at $1000 to $1500 for the year. You can choose to increase the monetary reward as it can help in the scholarship placement
  2. Scholarship link building is not suitable for every industry, so you should do your research before you set up the scholarship page on your site.
  3. The scholarship pages should remain active despite the scholarship ending. You should consistently keep the page updated with the latest information, for example, by posting the names of past winners.

Something that veteran SEO professionals warn against is the use of this tactic purely for building backlinks. Google penalizes companies that use scholarship aggregators, earning them the title of toxic domains.

This is because getting backlinks has become hard to get, which makes it difficult for people to genuinely use the tactic. Another one of the reasons that can affect your site’s health and the brand’s image is a backlink profile.

Google can take manual action on the website once it notices black hat SEO practices. This is another one of the recommendations from SEO, having a mixed backlink profile that has natural and authoritative links.

Buying backlinks can be detrimental to the site and your brand as well. However, there are other services that can help you build a healthy, balanced backlink profile. Google keeps a close eye on manipulative links that direct search engines to the website. It also boosts the domain authority and PageRank.

When Did It Begin?

When Did It Begin

Scholarship link building became a powerful tactic around 2015, when there was a sharp rise in the return on investment for scholarship campaigns. For example, some of the campaigns gained around 100 backlinks for a single scholarship.

Companies noticing the profit started using this tactic to reap the benefits of this link building strategy. Then there was an overuse of scholarship link building for gaining backlinks in bulk, which made Google suspicious.

That is because of the fishy business that these businesses were conducting under the innocent tactic of scholarship link building.

This is when the penalties started for websites, especially when they are using it in a spammy way.

So, If They Are Attracting Penalties From Giants Such As Google, Does It Still Work?

So, If They Are Attracting Penalties From Giants Such As Google, Does It Still Work

Surprisingly it does, despite there being low chances. In comparison to what was visible back then, almost ten years ago, it has reduced to somewhere between 5-6%. However, the above results cannot be exactly replicated. That is something we must work on. 

A good rule of thumb for you would be to not overdo scholarship link building. This is because Google will see it as if you are relying on link building scheme. Thus, resulting in the ‘extra’ backlinks being ignored.

So, naturally, the question pops up whether you should invest your time and money in scholarship link building? You can, but you must proceed with caution as it can cause a lot of trouble for you.

One of the ways you can take care of this is by focusing on giving this tactic a very small part of your backlink profile. This will help you stay in the good books of Google.

Relevance is also something that comes into play, just like in normal link building. If you are using scholarship link building, you should keep it within your niche. This will help you in steering clear of penalties.

So, What Can Be Done Differently?

So, What Can Be Done Differently

There will be obstacles in the way of scholarship link building, which requires a special approach to the process. You must make your outreach stand out from the several other SEO professionals who are targeting the same institutions as you. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Cold emails during this time become monotonous and huge in number for the educational institution you are targeting. Scholarship offers stand out from the crowd when you have put in the work to make it unique.
  2. This includes having a look at the subject matter your site is dealing with and considering if it is appropriate to offer a scholarship. Some brands may not see it as a natural fit, while others may consider it to be just right.
  3. Additionally, when your business operates from a physical location, instead of conducting the business remotely, it becomes easier to gain links from .edu sites.
  4. It is also an important part of offering scholarships that remain relevant to the brand. This is because it shows your site as well as the scholarship you are offering is legitimate. Thus, improving the chances of gaining backlinks.

Now that you know what not to do with scholarship link building, you should know the different steps that can help you:

Seek Out Referring Pages With .edu Domains

Seek Out Referring Pages With .edu Domains

Educational institutions form a crucial part of scholarship link building, and that much has become apparent by now. The hack here is to ensure we are being careful about the domains that we will approach.

.edu domains do not just signify that these are educational institutions, they also give Google the signal that it’s the real deal. Another one of the reasons domains are valuable for scholarship link building is their authority.

So, seek .edu domains or referring pages with them so that you can increase your site’s visibility.

Maintain a spreadsheet

Maintain a spreadsheet

This may look like manual labor that may just be futile, but trust us, this one hack will help you save a ton of time! You can have the contact information of the educational institutions in one place.

Learn from your cold emails!

Learn from your cold emails

Man learns best from their mistakes, some philosopher must have said those words in a different way in another point of time, I’m sure. So, take lessons from your experience and learn from your responses to improve your email template.

Don’t bombard the customer with emails, send them in staggered stages.

Ask your applicants to submit a relevant essay

Ask your applicants to submit a relevant essay

This will not just show you if they are worthy candidates, it will also be a digital marketing campaign for you! Your applicants may also choose to sign a waiver for intellectual property rights.

Wrapping It Up!

Now you know how to nail scholarship link building and gain those legitimate backlinks that will make Google notice you. Scholarship link building is a great hack (still relevant, by the way) that can get you up on the search rankings.

But there’s a catch, you will have to be very careful with it. The hack is to balance the backlink profile and not just rely on scholarship link building as that can be seen as a major red flag by Google.

Need more such advice? Let us know in the comments below!

Debamalya Mukherjee

Debamalya is a professional content writer from Kolkata, India. Constantly improving himself in this industry for more than four years, he has amassed immense knowledge regarding his niches of writing tech and gaming articles. He loves spending time with his cats, along with playing every new PC action game as soon as possible.

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One response to “Scholarship Link Building: Steps To Nail This SEO Technique”

  1. Hey there You have done a fantastic job I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends Im confident theyll be benefited from this site

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