Best Link Building Strategies for Higher Education to Drive More Traffic to Your Website

What is Link Building for Higher Education

 

With the quality of inquiries continuing to deteriorate from lead aggregators, it’s more important than ever for schools to drive more of their own self-generated leads; and, what better source than through your own website.

Leads coming through your website can convert as high as 20%, while leads from aggregators convert in the area of 1-5%.

We speak with prospective clients everyday who want to get more people to visit their website. So how can you get more people to visit your website? Keep reading, this article answers that very question.

Backlinking

One of the most effective strategies to increasing your search engine rankings is to earn more backlinks coming to your website. Backlinks continue to be one of the top search engine ranking factors. It’s also one of the hardest and most time consuming elements of search engine optimization, but one of the most important.

 

What Is Link Building? And How To Get More Backlinks?

Link building is acquiring hyperlinks coming from another site that links to your own site. A visitor can
click on this link and visit your website. And, search engines give this link a lot of credit. A good way to think about how search engines view links to your website is to think of links like votes in an election (1). The more votes you have, the
better your ranking; the more popular your site is, the more links you acquire; the better and the more likely your website is to rank better in search results (or win the election) (1).

You want to make sure that your site is getting links from quality sites. To build on the election metaphor, imagine you’re a politician and you have a lot of outspoken and somewhat crazy people voting for you. You’re more likely to lose support from more moderate voters when they see who is voting for you. Link building works the same way. If Google sees a lot of bad quality websites sending you links then it assumes you’re a bad quality website too and may artificially hold you back in search engine results and rankings.

The more legitimate a source and the more links, the better you will do on Google’s algorithms. Links build trustworthiness. You want your site to be trusted.

Search engines use links to “crawl the web.” What this means is search engines will use their bots, or as Google calls them “spiders,” to crawl links between websites (3). The more positive interactions your site has, the better it will do.

That’s why it’s important to find your internal broken links and fix them. You don’t want Google spiders to get held up on broken links on your website.

To sum this all up: the more links, the more trusted your site is; the better the site, the better your link looks. If you’re a health website and WebMD links to you, your site is looking pretty good right about now.

Check out this video by Google about search results and link building: How Search Works

 

How Do You Build A Strategy For Link Building?

Best Higher Education Link Building Strategies to Increase Organic Traffic to WebsiteBelow you’ll find a number of strategies to use to grow the amount of high quality links coming to your website. Before we dig into the actual strategies, you need to make sure you know how to set up your links to get the most impact from them.

 

Anchor Text

Anchor text is text that is highlighted in the link that someone would click on to get to your website. The keyword phrase used as the anchor text is incredibly important. You wouldn’t want the anchor text to say something like click here. Instead, you would want it to say something like College in Orlando, FL.

You want the anchor text to target a variety of your top keywords phrases. If your anchor text says click here, ultimately you are optimizing for the word “click here” and that is not going to help you get more prospective students to your website.

Have you done the keyword research to figure out which keyword phrases you want to optimize for?  Here is a beginners guide to keyword research.

This is where it gets a little confusing. You always optimize your anchor text for the keyword phrase of the page you are linking to, not the page you are linking from.

A lot of times you are not in control of how your text looks on another site. It can be worth the effort to ask the websites who gave you links to change the anchor text of the links. Some may change it per your request and others may not.

 

Optimizing Internal Links

When you optimize anchor text on your own website, this counts too, but not as much as those links you get from external high-quality websites. It is important to make sure all of your internal links are all well optimized.

Buildings links within your site will ensure that your site is properly indexed, as well and is still a positive way of helping your SEO efforts.

Important: When you publish a new article, blog post or page on your website be sure to go back to another related page that is well indexed and add a link from that page to your new page. This will help the new page get indexed quicker.

 

XML SiteMaps

If you haven’t already, submit your XML sitemap to search engines to ensure they have all of your pages for indexing. Also, try to submit your images to search engines. It helps to have more pages and images indexed.

 

Social Media

Most social networks have it set up in a way that search engines will noFollow (not give you credit for the link) to your website, but these social networks can send you a tremendous amount of traffic.

Driving traffic from one website to your website is incredibly important. We will be going through strategies below on how to do just that.

 

youtube channel Ebook

 

Pinterest

Pinterest is the biggest exception. Their pins count as links! You can get 300,000 pins and get 300,000 links coming to your website. In order for the link to count, the article or video needs to reside on your website. If you pin other people’s content and it links to their website, it will not count as a link for you.

I couldn’t be a bigger fan of Pinterest for this reason and so many others. Check out this  The Higher Education Marketing Guide to Pinterest I recently wrote about how to best use Pinterest to grow your incoming website traffic. 

 

Guest Posting / Guest Blogging

How to Develop Link Building Strategies for Higher EducationBeing a guest contributor for another site can help you, too. Your bio page will generally link back to your website; if not, work with the website you are guest posting to get this link. These two methods will increase your ranking, as well as make inroads within your own community, developing relationships with other bloggers…etc.

If you are working with someone and they are posting content on your website, make sure the content they are providing you is at least 25% different from the content they have on their own website or content they have published some where else. This will help from the content being considered duplicate content by search engines. If the content is deemed duplicate content, your article may never show up in the search engine rankings. Using the same content is not suggested, as Google and search engines will rank this content poorly because it may consider this duplicate content (2).

Guest blogging helps create relationships, grow content on your site and helps build more links. You can invite people to guest blog on your website. If they do, you can ask them to socially share all of their content on their social network and hopefully they’ll add a link from their website to yours. It wouldn’t makes sense for them not to.

 

Content Rich Infographics

Creating content rich infographics is a great way to get links to your website. Be sure to imbed a link within your graphic and watch as it is shared and re-shared.

When you create any piece of original content, be sure to amplify it by asking your students and staff to share the content on social media. Also, share it on your social media accounts. It helps to give some content a kick-start on social media.

You can also create some kind of tool or app that other websites would find valuable and want to link from their website to yours. This isn’t easy to do. This is where you need to put your marketing hat on and figure out what will be the most compelling for your audience and for other websites.

 

17 Link Building Strategies to Increase Your Links and Traffic to Your Website

  1. Look at backlinks of competing sites: Find your competitions, see where they are linked and ask to be linked on those sites, too. This will help build your ranking and help you compete better.  This is by far #1 on the list! Here is how to do competitor backlink research.

I like ahrefs.com to help with this research. It is not a free tool, but it’s features make up for it’s monthly price. 

  1. Create shareable content: Even if social media isn’t counted in Google’s algorithms, there’s correlation to how often your website is shared on social media and your ranking on Google and other search engines.
  1. Build Relationships with Influencers: Build relationships with influencers to acquire a link on their site. This will also generate more traffic to your site, as well. Work with influencers to have you create original content for your website, Youtube Higher Education Link Building StrategiesChannel and other social media channels. Tap them to talk about your school or degree with their built in audience. Learn more about how to use influencers in your marketing.
  1. Events: Use your events as an opportunity to grow your links. You can reach out to local and national websites and let them know about each and every event by filling our a request to add your event to their calendar.  Add a link back to your website. Write a Press Release: You can also write a press release about your more newsworthy events. Be sure to add keywords and links in your press release. It’s important that you create your events with the goal of getting publicity from the event. This way you can make sure you create the event in a way that can be newsworthy. What is your event hook and angle? Are their newsworthy statistics you can mention in your press release that are related to your event? Are there any career or hiring trends that you can mention too? Is your event helping the community and how? You can also pay to submit your press release to distribution websites. This isn’t the best way for press releases to get picked up by media outlets. The best way it to build relationships with local and national editors.
  2. Donate to charity: Giving out business donations could help you create a link on a good, authoritative site. You’ll generate a link beside other organizations that have donated. This goodwill can pay off with added exposure and a link or two.
  1. Get listed on a business directory: Getting listed on a business directory can help build links for your site. Business directories will add more authority to your site.
  1. Guest Blogging: Once you guest blog, you should be able to add a link to the site to link back to your own site. The goal is to get guest blogging opportunities with sites like the Huffington Post and other large news outlets, but if your prospective students are on smaller local websites, focus on those!
  1. Create a conBest Higher Education Link Building Strategies to Increase Organic Traffic to Websitetest or sweepstake: This is a great way to build natural links. Create a contest and ask for people to share. Watch the word and link spread.
  1. Submit Online Reviews: By submitting online reviews on sites that allow links, you are branching out and building more footing for better ranking on search engines.
  1. Share content on reddit: Another social site called the “front page of the internet” will help you not only build links, but relationships. This site is a forum and will add some authority to your site.
  1. Become a part of Q&A sites: Become a part of Q&A sites, like Quora and Yahoo questions and answer relevant questions that pertain to your site, adding a link to your site to help answer the user question.
  1. Ask for links: By far the toughest way to get links, but it can be effective depending on your approach and how much time you put into it. You can always just reach out and ask for links. You could even build new relationships this way that can enhance your business.
  2. Find Industry Related Websites: Find industry related websites and ask them to add you to their directory. If you offer a degree in Surgical Technology. Find websites and trade publications specializing in Surgical Technology and start to foster a relationship with them and ask to be added to their directory.
  1. Podcast: You can create your own podcast, contribute to a podcast or reach out to a podcast for an interview. This is a great way to build some more links for the same reason it’s advisable to do guest blogging. By contributing content and interviews with a podcaster, you are exposing your brand to their audience.
  1. Infographic: Create infographics and share with embedded links. People love infographics and love sharing infographics, too.
  1. Post on comment sections: You can always comment on websites comment sections and add a link you your site, so long as it’s allowed to add links and is a welcome contribution to the discussion. Generally, you will not get credited a link from search engines, but this can be a great way to introduce new visitors to your website.

 

If you want to always create great content that people will want to share; you want to be a leader in your industry; you want to reach out to people within your community for guest blogging and create affiliations that will help build more links, drive more traffic, create new relationships and make your site rank higher on search engines. The key factor is to build what you have using a strategy that works for your brand while staying true to your name.

 

 

 

 

Best Link Building Strategies for Higher Education

 

Citations:

 

  1. Moz: Chapter 7: Growing Popularity & Links
  2. Search Engine Watch: Six Crucial Link Building Strategies to Drive Quality Traffic
  3. Moz: The Beginners Guide to Link Building
  4. Business Growth Digital Marketing: 60 Natural Link Building Tactics To Turbocharge Your Site’s Seo Rankings!

 

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