EDU Links That Don’t Require Heavy Resources

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EDU links are looked at as the holy grail of link building. While I think they’re a little overrated, they are great for building a site’s authority. The only issue is they can require quite a bit of effort and resources to acquire.

Here’s a method that doesn’t take much at all.

Step 1. Create a Student Discount

college linksThis is usually the only step that requires anything from the dev side of things. Just create a student discount for your product. If you have multiple products, be logical and choose what’s most relevant, not the one you want. However you can create a discount works: discount code, tracking cookie, separate checkout page, whatever.

The discount can not be temporary and in some cases the discount can not be one time only. It has to be a discount that will work every time.

Step 2. Find Student Discount Programs

Lots of colleges have various forms of discount programs. You just need to find them! Here’s a variety of searches you can do to sniff them out:

  • site:.edu intitle:”student discount program”
  • site:.edu intitle:”student discount card”
  • Site:.edu intitle:”employee discount
  • Site:.edu intitle:”employee discount program

If it’s extremely relevant you can also find specific niche discounts. For example there’s usually a discount program for student housing.

Step 3. Contact

Nearly every discount program will have a specific person to contact. It’s not always easy to find, but do some digging and look for it. Don’t resort to emailing someone else unless you have to.

Some of them may require to fill out an application. There’s usually a set of basic guidelines that your discount needs to offer as well; however, if you followed the instructions on the first step, you shouldn’t run into any issues.

During your initial email I recommend using a soft opening and not running right in with why they should add your product to their program. Ex:

Emily,

I’m trying to get in contact with the person in charge of Random University’s Student Discount Program. If you could point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

All the Best,
-Peter

After you get a response, then you can go in with your full pitch. This makes the contact committed to the conversation and keeps them from simply ignoring your email. After that, it’s just the fine details!

Step 4. Improving Your Acceptance Rate

Ok, so far you know all the basics. However, you can vastly improve your acceptance rate by creating dedicated landing pages for each college. The easiest way to do this is to make a template that would be easy to personalize for each individual college. This way you can simply change out their school colors and name on each page.

acceptance rate

By doing this, you can also create a page before you make your pitch. If they see you already have a page up, it’ll be hard for them to turn you down!

Conclusion

There are lots of opportunities like this not just on EDU sites, but anything with a discount program: clubs, fundraisers, charities, etc. Do some random keyword searches with “discount” in them. You’re bound to run into a few ideas!

About The Author

Peter Attia+ is the founder of Cucumber Nebula, an internet marketing blog. You can find him on twitter: @PeterAttia

22 Comments

  1. Really like this idea.

    One I’ve been utilizing is finding a list of student organizations, specifically, my local Uni has a list of organizations without websites!

    Contacting them and getting the go-ahead to build them a free website (under the school’s .edu domain, mind you) has been just about the easiest .edu links I’ve ever gotten.

  2. Marc says: - reply

    Thanks Peter. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for a somewhat unusual niche.

    My business is metal detectors for hobbyists. While there are a lot of young metal detectorists out there, it seems like my store would look kinda funny listed among other student discounts.

    Would love to get your thoughts on not just my niche, but other somewhat unusual niches.

    • Marc,

      That’s kind of a tough one :) I think you would be best off in finding a list of science resources on an EDU site. From there you can create an article that’s relevant to those resources that would involve a metal detector in some way, which would be the hard part.

      You could word in a link to your desired page within in the article if you wished. Hope that helps!

      -Peter

  3. Matt says: - reply

    My store focuses on ladies golf equipment. I’ll bet there is a way that I could offer a discount on ladies equipment to girls golf teams.

    Can you think of a better query for this topic? Or maybe query list where I could input any topic for my clients sites?

    Never thought of this – thanks so much!

    Matt

    • Matt,

      That would require doing some digging, but I tried a couple quick searches like this:

      site:.edu intitle:girls golf
      site:.edu intitle:”womens golf”

      It looked like there were a few promising gems in there. One of them was actually some sort of college store for womens golf clothing. There might be a way to get your product in there. You just need to ask and see!

      The more you can make things centric to specific schools, the more likely they’ll be open to ideas. Hope that helps!

      -Peter

  4. Matt says: - reply

    Thanks Peter!

    Do you use any kind of software to perform the queries or do you do them all by hand?

    Also what type of conversion rate do you typically see? Meaning if you were to contact 100 sites, do 10 say yes?

    Matt

    • Matt,

      The conversion can vary drastically depending on what you’re doing. With a similar project I did, which you can see here – http://www.peterattia.com/how-i-got-high-quality-edu-links/

      With that project out of 30 colleges I contacted, I got a response from about half and then was able to get links on about 70% of those.

      Just email them with the soft opening email I mentioned, it’ll help a lot!

      As for software, I really don’t use that many tools. However, BuzzStream has a great feature that will compile multiple search queries! It’s quite handy!

      -Peter

  5. Matt says: - reply

    This quote from your other post sounds key:

    “Once I got a response, I would quickly make a page specifically for that college and show them what I had made for them. I made a basic template I could quickly manipulate to customize pages prior to doing my outreach.”

    I’ll bet that really increased your placement rate!

    Thanks again, can’t wait to get rolling!

    • This actually did help quite a bit. Once the colleges saw I had already made a dedicated page for them, they became very communicative.

      I also tried showing them examples of other colleges as well and honestly, it didn’t change the response much! So if you don’t have the time to make a page for each response, showing them an example of another would be the next best thing!

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  7. Vince Lin says: - reply

    Dude, not that impressed. What about alumni profiles, posting internships, etc. Better ways than trying to pin down a discounting contact at the school

    • julie says: - reply

      I actually really love the idea of the student discount…I think if you coupled that with alumni discounts you’d be onto something.

    • Vince,

      Alumni’s are great too. They also have their own discount programs. You should put into consideration that if you’re targeting something that isn’t discount related, you need to make elaborate dedicated pages.

      That would require more resources and I was elaborating on an idea that requires limited resources.

      Would love to hear your feedback on how you would run with the alumni profiles.

      -Peter

  8. [...] EDU Links That Don’t Require Heavy Resources, Link Fish Media [...]

  9. Didn’t JCPenney or one of the other big BRANDS that got penalized in the past year or so use a tactic like this?

    • Danny,

      That was actually quite different, but it did involve a student discount. Basically they were providing a discount for a block of content and the content was littered with obvious (and irrelevant) anchor text. It was basically considered a paid link.

      The links I’m talking about follow the colleges guide lines and is a program set up by them. You also probably won’t get any good anchor text. It’s more for authority than ranking.

      Also, here’s the Overstock article if you’re curious – http://www.seroundtable.com/overstock-google-penalty-13004.html

      -Peter

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  13. Kaushalam says: - reply

    Great use of search operators. .EDU sites are basically built for providing information to students on education, i am not sure for other areas the .edu sites can be found to get discount. e.g. If I want an discount on a specific product or services, then i have to search for .com site

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