In this SEO method you will learn how to use the power of announcing and running a scholarship program for students attending universities – to your advantage to acquire some juicy and very powerful .EDU backlinks!
Lets start with a brief overview of the Secret Scholarship Method (its a secret because other SEOs don’t share this openly).
While Google is very aware of this method and loophole, they seem to be still rewarding it and the method still works very well. However, I give no guarantees of anything that happens!
I’ve tried this method personally, and it has worked well for me and my clients
I thought I’d share how this works with everyone – because this is a very powerful method to get .EDU links and is not shared or spoken about openly!
If you are interested in the database list of .EDU sites that you can submit your scholarship program to, then please opt-in to get updates – as that is (free but) private. I am still preparing a more comprehensive list, and I’ll share parts of it with you when you sign up. If you are already on my list, please access the private download resource page.
With that said lets get started on the method…
An Overview of the Secret Scholarship .EDU Backlinks Method
Here is how it works briefly…
- The core essence is to announce a scholarship program award that you or your client will be handing out to one student winner out of several who apply for the award.
- You will then plan to award between $500 to $1000 (whichever works best for you) for this scholarship and publish a properly formatted page (as explained below in detail) to announce your scholarship program on your website. Under your terms and conditions – only students in the universities / college may submit their application to enter to be awarded the scholarship. It will be kind of like a contest and you will collect entries in the form of “essays” or “videos”. This is explained in detail below.
- You will then reach out to a database of Universities that have a dedicated section or page on their website that lists all the active and upcoming scholarship awards. Universities do this to make attending students in need of financial aid take part in various scholarship programs (one of which will be yours!).
- This method will require you to search for the specific email addresses or contact information of the person at the university that handles these scholarship announcements and is responsible for listing them on the university website.
- On reviewing your scholarship announcement on your website, and after the designated university person does their internal checks (you will have to pass all of them – and I show you how to make sure you do by simply following the steps and method below) – they will then gladly insert a backlink to your scholarship page on their scholarships listing page on their university website.
You now have some powerful .EDU backlinks being created to your website!
DOWNLOAD THE .EDU LIST
To execute this method you can jump start your link building with the database of .edu scholarship sites. If you want access to the .edu database of universities and outreach email template, please sign up below. If you already have access you can find them in the private area.
The EDU Links Scholarship Method Explained in Steps
It’s basically not very complicated, but does have some critical components that must be followed.
Step 1 – Plan Your Scholarship
You plan to setup a page on your main site (or your clients site) that announces and offers a (monetary) scholarship for students.
An acceptable amount for this is between $500 to $1000. If you or your client can budget $1000 for the scholarship – you will get a lot more responses (backlinks in this case) – than, if you were to budget a lower figure.
With lower amounts – some of the institutions may decide not to list your program in their scholarship page(s) that announces the scholarship awards.
If you absolutely cannot budget more than $500 – then once you get a few mentions on some university pages – just make sure to mention all of them in your mail to future universities… as it will give you a higher chance!
Step 2 – Publish Your Scholaraship Page
You create the scholarship page announcing the scholarship. (I have included some links to other scholarship pages that you can use) or simply use the template swipe file I have included below.
Step 3 – Outreach To Universities
Gather a database of University scholarship announcement pages and get the email addresses where you must submit details of your scholarship program for inclusion. You can use some nifty footprints scraping with Scrapebox to uncover a massive database of Universities that list third party scholarship programs for students. Please sign up for this private method, as I will teach you how to do this!
Next, lets go into the details of the entire process…
How to Write And Position Your Scholarship Page on Your Website
Here is an example scholarship program announcement page on a site called DuoCircle, that ran a successful EDU scholarship.
As you can see (by visiting the link above), the content on the page is structured in a specific way.
There are some important key elements in this page that you must follow with creating the page, namely…
XYZ Scholarships Program
Please find below details for the XYZ scholarships program.
Begin by introducing your organization and what they do, and why your are offering the scholarship… you want to give back to society, students in need of aid, every student must get an opportunity to learn and study and pursue a career etc.
You want to be writing to impress the reviewer from the university who visits your page and decides if you deserve the mention and link on the Universtiy website or not. They are looking for genuine businesses and scholarships and are wary of announcing scams.
A good way to impress them would be, to write as under –
“The costs of education place a massive burden on our future generations. Anything we as good corporate citizens can do to ease the long term stress of a 4 year education, we should be doing it. This is our part to help inspire science and math – STEM undergraduates with their tuition expenses”
Title: Our Core Values
Make bullet list of the core values of your organization. This is important as it appeals to the University person who may review your page, and tells them that you are real.
If this is the first time you are offering a scholarship – its OK to say so!
This is first time XYZ has offered a scholarship program.
Then go on to state eligibility for applicants… (this is an example and you can tweak as per your requirements) –
The applicants need to be presently studying/enrolled in high school or college/university situated anywhere in the world.
There is, however, no restriction on major/minor. All can apply.
The applicant will need a GPA of 3.5 weighted or higher.
Next, mention the Award value…
XYZ is offering $1000 scholarship.
Next, write about the application process (again, modify specially for your program / industry)
Title: How To Apply
We’re looking for a 1500-word essay or 2-minute video on why email is so important.
You will need to make a series of questions that relate to your industry that prompt the applicant to this about issues in your industry so they can do their research write the essay or create their video. These should of course be significant issues in your industry. You should discuss this with your client as they would know their industry best. Otherwise, you will have to visit forums or the top blogs in the niche to get ideas for these prompts.
Aim to create about 5 to 6 such prompts in question style.
Some broadly examples are –
- What will change in the next 10 years as it relates to ABC development?
- How would you teach ABC to avoid XYZ issue?
- How would you explain to a 10 year old the concept of AB ?
Next we move on to the requirements unit (again edit as you require)
- Current year grades and transcript
- Extracurricular activities
- Current letter of acceptance or letter of enrollment from an accredited University, Trade School or Community College.
- One letter of recommendation
- Facebook / Instagram / Twitter links
- Name and contact details
And, finally the closing section…
Applications for the 2019, XYZ Scholarships program will be accepted between midnight, May 15, 2019 and June 15, 2019. The Winner will be announced on June 17, 2019 on our website and they will be informed by email / SMS.
Alternately, if you don’t want to publish winner names – just say the winning entry will be announced on our website.
Once you are ready with the details, please send an mail to: [email protected]
and/or – if you have an online submission form / include a link to it for the submissions.
Pro Tip – It is important to create a different email account on your domain name for this. It shows that you are serious to the assigned University reviewer that visits you page to check and you can also use this email or share it with your VA for communications with universities during the outreach phase.
Overview of Scholarship Page Elements
You can simply swipe and use the above method to create your scholarship page. Just make sure to pay attention and have all these elements in place –
- There must be a reason why your are running the scholarship.
- Eligibility of who all can apply. (region and other criteria)
- You should tell them how they can apply (via email or link to the application form)
- Make sure to have a deadline and submission period for the scholarship.
- The date you will announce the winner.
- How you will let people know who won and how you will notify the winner.
- Make sure you remove any advertisement code on this page – if its there – the page must be clean looking with no ads!
Pro Tip – do make sure to follow any laws and regulations in your country or clients country of business. While I can’t give you any legal advice for your country, in general any website / business is free to announce a scholarship program. However, it must be genuine and you must follow through with awarding it or you risk getting into legal trouble! (apart from it being unethical to do).
Setting Up Your Page To Pass Keyword Rich Juice To Your Money Pages
Make sure to add your primary keyword anchor links to your main ranking pages (on this scholarship page) so the SEO link juice passes through!
I have explained how to implement this properly, in the example template below – so you are safe and don’t get rejected by the university reviewers
When you are writing about your company, you should also insert links which are keyword rich (exact match and your primary keywords) – that point to the page(s) you would like to rank for the anchor keyword.
This is OK to do – as long as you don’t overdo it! This is because then the college reviewer may not approve your scholarship page.
Pro Tip – You can always update and add a few more links later if you must, after your page acquires the backlinks!
Just make sure to include the links contextually within the paragraph that introduces your company and its services/solution/product.
Doing Your Email Outreach to Universities
Once you have all these elements in place and your scholarship page is live and published, you can start sending out emails to specific contacts at universities that handle the listing of scholarships.
They probably get many requests regularly, and they are aware some people use it for backlinks and are scams – so its in your best interest to craft out a well worded email that includes as much personalized information.
At the very least you should include the name of the university and the name of the contact person who you are mailing.
You can use mail merge browser extensions to personalize your emails for the receiver.
If you have a small list of say 30 to 40 universities you are mailing, then you can cut and paste an do this manually – but if you are going to be doing this often or just want a faster way to do this you can use some of the free mail merge browser extensions to help you, as under –
- G Merge: Mail & Doc Merge with Attachments (formerly Wizy)
- Yet Another Mail Merge
- Mail Merge with Attachments
- Mail Merge Google Docs Add-on
Alternately, if you have access to a cold email outreach SaaS tool – you can use them.
Read this post on Cold Email Outreach to learn how to do outreach effectively!
Announcing Your Scholarship Winner
Its time to announce the winner!
At the time of announcing the winner, please make sure that you are fair! You or your client review all applications and pick the one you/they feel deserves to win.
This is not a random draw! You must take the trouble to go through each application essay or video – before you pick the one you feel is the most creative or where you can see the student has put in the most effort!
Just be fair!
Bonus Content For Your Website
This method not only helps you generate some powerful links from EDU sites and aggregator sites that list scholarship programs, but also gets you real site traffic and content from applicants – that you can then publish on your website!
Just make sure to keep names of applicants hidden publicly unless they / you are ok to mention names – and that you are covered legally to do mention names publicly.
You can also publish each entry on your website, and this method will also give you a ton of free content.
You can create a separate page or section for all the submissions, or you can take extracts from each essay and curate them to create one post.
You may or may not want to mention individual applicant names (check on the legality of doing this and comfort level of your client).
If you have video submission – you could embed them directly (assuming applicant submitted for example a Youtube video.
You could make it a requirement of terms where each applicant who submits a video has to link to your website in the description of the video. However, this is tricky because you have to be careful as you don’t want the University reviewer rejecting your scholarship on the grounds that you are primarily seeking backlinks!
That said, you could always take permission later to republish on your channel from the student (and so you bypass the need to mention anything openly in your terms about all applicants submitting videos, having to include a backlink to your site).
Secret Method To Scrape University Scholarship Page Lists
While you could easily use a tool like Scrapebox to find these university pages, and then visit them manually to get the contact email addresses – you can also use a clever spin-off idea, I came up with.
To execute it – you will need access to any backlink reporting SEO tool like Ahrefs.
The trick is to first find one scholarship program (that you use as a starting point) – that has been announced by any company.
You then take this one URL and find all the backlinks to it using a tool like Ahrefs!
Then just filter to only show the .edu TLD links.
IF you did not understand that… we’re simply scraping all the scholarship backlinks an organization that ran a scholarship program acquired from .edu sites.
Later on your can reverse crawl and get a whole list by just finding one .edu page and extracting the URLs of all the companies offering scholarships on it!
step 1 … find Scholarship page of any company
step 2 … find edu backlinks to that page
step 3 … there is no step 3 🙂
… you now have your university pages to submit your scholarship program to!
List of Scholarship Pages on Universities
To help you get started in discovering these seed target lists here is a couple of pages from two universities that announce scholarships.
Just follow the method above to reverse crawl and scrape the backinks of companies offering scholarships that are listed on these pages.
Pro Tip – You can also use these pages to look at real life scholarship programs and pages created by other businesses so you can quickly get more ideas for your page.
Example 1 – Scholarship Lists Page
Example 2 – Scholarship Lists Page
Want access to the complete .EDU Scholarships Database List?
Please sign up and you will gain access to the private premium download area where you can get these.
If you are already signed up – simply go to the private download area and look for the EDU Scholarship Databases.
DOWNLOAD THE .EDU LIST
If you want access to the .edu database of universities and outreach email template, please sign up below. If you already have access you can find them in the private area.
Powering Up the Method with a Press Release!
You can extend the power of this method and push out a press release that is related to your scholarship announcements.
You can do this press release at the time you announce the scholarship AND one more again at the time you announce the winner.
At both times, you can link to your scholarship page and the pages where the winner is announced.
Not only does this push additional link juice down to your website, but it builds branding and credibility.
In addition you can announce this in local community websites in your area, as well as notify your clients (or your client’s clients) – so you/they are seen as a socially responsible business that is also doing its part for the community!
That’s it for now!
I hope you enjoyed this powerful method of getting some amazing links that have a lot of punch and power.
Make sure you sign up to be notified of the method I use to mass find universities database and contact information. If you’re already on my list, your good. The private area already has a small partial list of universities that you can start reaching out to, and I will add more to it in the coming weeks.
I’ll also include a series of 2 to 3 outreach emails that you can swipe and use during your outreach, but do make sure to customize them a bit as you don’t want to be seen as using these swipes (if everyone starts sending out the same emails!).
So… do sign up for these valuable updates!