Using Educational Linkbait to Get Valuable .edu Links


Kellogg’s Cereal has space-themed nutrition lessons in downloadable PDF files. Orkin Pest Control has a virtual insect designed to offer an alternative to classroom dissection. Ben and Jerry’s has interactive games about the environment. Big companies have, for years, been putting educational materials online and getting benefits in the form of coveted .edu links and serendipitous traffic.

Smaller sites can do the same. They usually don’t, but the benefits can be significant. High-quality sites that would never link to your commercial website’s homepage will link to your educational page. You can also list your educational page in high-value places like Google groups for educators or Teacher’s Sourcebook – as long as you’ve got actual educational materials.

The first step is to identify the teachable aspect of what you do. Sometimes it’s obvious: a solar energy company can have lessons on solar energy and a pet store can have lessons on pet care. Sometimes, though, you have to think outside the box.

We made an environmental education lesson for an electronic payment company, because paying your bills electronically saves paper.

Educational Link Bait

For a web firm, we went with a classroom technology lesson plan. A rock band with a song about snow got a lesson on the science and math of snowflakes. Chances are good that there is something about your business that hooks up with what gets taught in schools.

One place to look for that connection is in the McREL database. The Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory has a collection of classroom standards that is used nationwide, and you can search the database with your keywords and see what comes up. Once you find the point of connection, you’ll have the right terminology for your educational materials (for example, a jeweler should write about gemstones, not jewels) and the right to say that your materials are “standards-based.”

Make the effort to match your materials to the format teachers are used to, and you’ll look like an insider – a plus when you request links. The example below shows the standard format: objectives (get those from McREL), materials, and procedures.

.EDU Links

Go easy on the commercial connections; your educational materials should have their own page and your company should be listed as the “sponsor” or have a logo on the page, not anything obviously sales-oriented.

If possible, have someone try the lesson out with some actual kids. If the lesson really works, you’ll have the benefit of the teacher community’s habit of sharing. You know how fast a virus goes through schools? It’s the same with a viral web page. We had 25,000 visits at our Bunsen Burner Day lesson plan on March 30th and 31st this year – far more than the site normally sees.

Then it’s time to request links. Use the keyword for your educational materials page plus terms like “lesson plan,” “worksheet,” and “classroom theme” to identify the sites to ask for links. “We believe that our lesson on gemstones will be of value to the educators who visit your site,” you can say. Give a snippet of code with anchor text that includes your preferred keyword or even the name of your company for the sake of citations.

Don’t skip home school sites, either. These are frequented by parents, and can sometimes offer you a more varied audience than sites that caters to teachers. Traffic isn’t the main goal for this strategy – you really want those high-value links – but you never know who might want to buy what you’re selling.

Rebecca Hadenby Rebecca Haden, the owner of Haden Interactive, a content-focused web firm serving clients on four continents. She has been writing for the web since the 20th century, and has been an SEO copywriter since 2007. Rebecca's degrees are in linguistics: B.A. from the University of California San Diego and M.A. from San Diego State University. She lives in Fayetteville, AR, with her husband, kids, and dogs. She also operates an educational site, FreshPlans, and teaches college writing classes in her spare time.

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Richard Kraneis
Apr 13, 2011

Thanks Rebecca, Thanks WordStream

Internet serendipity again. Rebecca's article raised my awareness of educational linkbait.

And then I began my own serendipitous journey.

1) Read WordStream blog.
2) Briefly researched Rebecca's blogs and the McRel database.
3) Realized McRel couldn't immediately help my website but the phrase "lesson plans" stuck in my mind.
4) Searched Google for "GED lesson plans" and found a goldmine of useful articles on the Internet.

So after reading Rebecca Haden's article today I am much better informed regarding educational linkbaiting and regarding an interest of mine: high school dropouts and GED training.

Thanks everyone.

Apr 13, 2011

Hi Rebecca,
That was a really great post. I would love to read a post dealing with how to ask for links. I'm sure this type of subject matter is in demand as well. I will be periodically coming by to read blogs here. May Success Always Be With You. -

Novel Writing Software
Apr 14, 2011


Thank you bringing this up..Its going to be a tough job matching works from those someone who is really are made for it..but then again its worth the time and hopefully it'll return great on our part...

Rebecca Haden
Apr 14, 2011

Hi, Linda! I've written about asking for links over at my own blog:

Ken Lyons has written about the subject here at WordStream, too:

It's definitely a skill worth developing.

Rebecca Haden
Apr 14, 2011

Hi, Richard -- glad it was useful!
Apr 16, 2011


I never thought of specifically targeting .edu backlinks by using linkbait but from a SEO perspective, it makes complete sense. Agree on your point about going easy on the commercial connections - def about keeping it real.

Eye-opening post for me :)


79 Link Building Resources - 2011 Edition
May 24, 2011

[...] Using Educational Linkbait to Get Valuable .Edu Links [...]

Fish Finder Guy
Jun 04, 2011

I read somewhere recently (I think it was in a forum) about a method used to get high quality .edu and .gov links by posting in Asian .edu and .gov forums in English but i thought it was sailing so close to the wind of spamming, I didn't bother trying it.

It's rather ironic that I only found Ken's post on getting links using the dog toy example yesterday after finding it tucked away in my favorites for nearly a year and find all the "wordstream" stuff I've read here today to be fascinating.

Great stuff and I've just touched the tip of the iceberg.

Rob at chicken coop plans
Jul 22, 2011

what a great method of aquiring .edu links. Up to now the only suggestions I have come across were to find .edu sites that allow comments. However they are always spammed with rubbish and then usually close down the comment forms and your backlink is lost. I will definately utilise this method, more work but worth it.
Thanks Rob

tert htyt
Apr 07, 2015

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submit mу comment didn't shߋw up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that օvеr again. Аnyhow, jսst wanteԁ
too say wonderful blog!

Sep 18, 2013

I think this approach would be considered viral.  I like viral approaches to link building that are a great resource to the public too.Don F ~La Jolla Bluebook

Jan 13, 2015

Good article, thanks!

Riya Gupta
May 25, 2015

What I have read here is, generally speaking, is lot of useful information for every business sites.
Thanks for the wonderful idea !!

Nov 13, 2015

Rebbeca. This is a great blog post. I think that it's so important to put up educational material and get edu backlinks. Not only that, but one can even learn something from thinking more deeply about the content that is being offered on a website.

Gaurav Verma
May 03, 2016

link from .edu website is more powerful then other extension website. You info graphic really helpful for me to create education backlink

Gaurav Verma
May 24, 2016

good article with a understandable infographic

Jeff Moyer
Sep 28, 2016

I still find getting educational links the hardest to get, unless you have a connection with someone that works there you are often out of luck. Great info though thanks....

Oct 24, 2016

Such a geat post, Thank you

خرید هدیه
Oct 25, 2016

great thanks

Jason Mueller
Nov 03, 2016


As a former student who has graduated and worked my way up the entrepreneur ladder I want to thank you for the great information you have for students on your site. I would like to like to help out by providing a guest post article in my areas of expertise. A topic I had in mind is “Moving Tips for Students on a Budget” but I am really open to talk about other topics.

Kind regards,

Moch Subkhan
Dec 05, 2016

Yes working in a ethical manner can fetch us good authority as well as good rankings too….I m not a SEO expert but learning few things from my experiences.

Moch Subkhan
Dec 05, 2016

Yes working in a ethical manner can fetch us good authority as well as good rankings too….I m not a SEO expert but learning few things from my experiences.

Apr 17, 2017

What I have read here is, generally speaking, is lot of useful information for every business sites.
Thanks for the wonderful idea !!

Ringo Li
Jun 10, 2017

This method is quite interesting, in the end, still, is how we serve the correct reader in a better way!

Victor Miller
Sep 26, 2017

helpful articles for .edu link building

Dec 14, 2017

This is a great blog post I have ever read. I think it is so important to establish educational links and achieve EDU backlinks. Not only that, a website can also learn from thinking more deeply about the content that is being given. Thanks again.

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