Google’s goal is to provide searchers with the most relevant and most trusted search results possible.
One way it does this is by ranking sites by their domain authority score, which is a metric scored between 1 and 100.
When ranking websites, Google assigns a lot of trust to websites with high authority backlinks pointed back to them. High authority backlinks are links that point to your website from another website, ideally with a higher domain authority score than your website.
The more backlinks your website has, and the more trustworthy those backlinks are, the higher your website's domain authority will be.
One of the most challenging aspects of SEO is getting these highly trusted and authoritative websites to link to your website.
However, one way to get a high number of high authority backlinks, for a relatively low cost, is through a Scholarship Link Building Program.
Part One: What is Scholarship Link Building?
Scholarship link building can provide a lot of added value to your brand, including social media traction, good PR, tax-deductible donations, and more.
However, the primary goal for this link building campaign is to add value to your SEO campaign by collecting high-value backlinks.
Through scholarship link building, you can obtain backlinks from very popular and authoritative university websites with domain authority scores ranging anywhere from 20-99.
Through backlink placements on these trusted websites, you will be able to improve your website's domain authority, which will, in turn, improve your website’s overall SEO value and search engine visibility.
The biggest value of this particular strategy is the high number of backlinks you can get placed compared to the relatively low cost of the campaign.
Oftentimes, getting article and link placements on authoritative websites can cost hundreds of dollars per link!
Alternatively, you can expect to get about 20-30 backlinks for the cost of offering a $1,000 scholarship award.
As mentioned before, this also a great PR and social media opportunity, all while making a significant impact on a student’s life.
Part Two: Scholarship Campaign Case Study
In 2016, we executed a scholarship link building program for a global technology company.
They wanted to take advantage of the program because it offered a high number of authoritative links for a relatively low price compared to their other acquisition channels.
We leveraged our list of university contacts both domestically and internationally in order to launch this client's first scholarship program in 2016.
After the outreach was completed and the scholarship submission deadline was met, the client followed through and awarded their first scholarship in mid-2016.
During the interim, their webpage accumulated dozens of backlinks from universities across the U.S. and the U.K.
The website's scholarship page itself achieved a Page Authority rating of 35 and, as a result, the overall domain authority of their website improved by several points.
These backlinks and the improved domain authority will continue to help their entire site rank better through Google’s algorithm.
In fact, the program was so effective, that the client has renewed the program annually since 2016.
Part Three: Backlink Sample
Below is a sample of backlinks Webgrowth was able to obtain by executing this campaign.
Note that all of these links have very high domain authority scores and are all considered very high-quality backlinks from trustworthy domains:
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Part Four: The Scholarship Link Building Process
Hopefully, now you have a good understanding of how university backlinks can bring value to your SEO campaign.
This big question is, how exactly do you get these highly authoritative domains to link to your website?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to just that.
Step One: Build Your University Contact List
Before you spend time doing anything else, you'll want to make sure you have a substantial contact list that includes the email addresses of university staff members who can help you promote your scholarship opportunity on their university's website.
One helpful tool to help find and organize email addresses is hunter.io.
Here's an example of what a university contact might look like:
Step Two: Create A Scholarship Webpage
Once you feel good about the contact list you've created, you'll need to create a page on your website that's dedicated to your brand's scholarship opportunity.
Key details that should be included on this page are:
- The scholarship award amount - We recommend a minimum of $1,000 to qualify for most universities.
- The number of scholarship awards you'll be granting - You can grant an award to as many students as you'd like!
- The entry method - Will it be a randomly selected winner, an essay submission, a video submission, or another type of entry?
- Candidate prerequisites - Do you want to select your winner based on certain criteria such as their area of study?
- Submission deadline - Include the start date, deadline, and award date. We recommend a minimum of three months to allow plenty of time to gather links.
- Submission channel - We recommend creating a dedicated scholarship email address to use for student correspondence.
Step Three: Conduct Your University Outreach
Now that you have all of your university contacts organized and your scholarship page is ready to go, you can begin your outreach!
You'll want to create an email outreach template that includes all of the key information for your scholarship program.
Keep in mind that a lot of your contacts are very busy and might take some time to respond.
You might have to follow up with them every so often over the several-month duration of your outreach program.
In order to save a ton of time, you can use an email marketing tool such as mailchimp.com.
Step Four: Record Your Progress
Be sure to track your link placements throughout your campaign.
You'll want to get a good idea of how much traction you have and adjust your efforts accordingly.
Also, when you're finished with your outreach, you can use a backlink tracking tool to see how many backlinks are pointed towards your scholarship page.
You might even discover some websites that are linking to you organically, outside of your outreach contacts!
A great tool to use for tracking your backlinks is majestic.com.
Step Five: Grant the Scholarship Award!
When all is said and done, and your campaign deadline has been reached, make sure you select your winner(s) and grant them their scholarship award.
This is also a great opportunity to share their success on social media, and update your scholarship page to showcase your generosity when next semester rolls around!
Interested in Growing Your Organic Traffic?
Contact us to learn more about our Scholarship Link Building strategy and other creative SEO tactics we use to grow our clients' brands online.