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How to Build Authority Links (including .edu .gov .mil)

How to Build Authority LinksAfter I wrote a comprehensive Link Building Tutorial, I got few emails from my readers and I noticed a common trend in their questions. Majority of them wanted to know How to Build authority Links without buying them?

So I thought rather than replying to each of them individually, I’d just put it up a short answer here in my blog so that everyone else gets value out of the information that I’m about to share.

If you have been in this industry for some time, some of these techniques may not be anything new for you but then again I welcome you to go along with me as I talk about Authoritative Link building.

What are Authority Links?

As the name implies it basically refers to links that have high authority. Some time back a link coming from a High Page Rank site was considered Authoritative. Now that is still not 100% discounted as PageRank still is a good indication of how search engines like Google look and value a website. But obviously when I’m saying PageRank I’m not saying the small green bar that you see in your Google Toolbar. Toolbar PR is very different than what your actual PR is. Toolbar PR is just a small representation of your actual PageRank value.

Years passed and search became more complex. The demands of the users increased substantially and so did the spamming in the search results. So Google came up with another ranking system called TrustRank (Actually the research paper was released by Yahoo first I’m not sure how Google got hold of the patent). Anyway so TrustRank is basically built upon the concept of PageRank but it takes the concept further by taking a set of Absolute Quality Sites and then following their link patterns to find out other quality sites. [Read the Initial Research Paper (PDF) of TrustRank].

So basically educational institution & universities, government sites, military websites, News sites are of high authority. So if Google looks at their Outbound links then they are likely to find another set of quality websites and then can go another step down and look at the outbound links of the second set of quality sites and that will reveal a 3rd set of quality sites and this will continue on until the search engine dies. So the assumption with this concept is – Good sites will always link to good sites. And when there is an exception and a Manual reviewer at Google finds out – they penalizes that “Good site”.

Anyway back to the original topic, Authority Links are those links that helped create the 2nd, 3rd level of quality sites. So if you can get such links, your website will supposedly be treated well by the engines (Its like the President telling his Chief of Staff to give you a Job).

How Do I Find Authority Links?

Ok for those who just jumped to this section without reading the first section – I totally understand. You want to jump right to the nuggets without grasping anything unnecessary. Well I’ll just go right to the point –

  • Spy On your Competitors: Yes, that obvious! If your competitor is doing really good in the search engine, its possible that he has a powerful link profile. So you can easily spy on him by diving into his incoming links and as you do so, give particular attention to the links that you think are authoritative. Tools that I recommend you to use – Yahoo Site Explorer, BackLinkWatch.Once you find some quality sites that are linking to them, go to those respective pages and try to figure out why they are linking to them. If that seems like a natural link you might imitate the strategy that your competitor used to get the link. In most of the times quality sites links to other sites just as a citation or as “related resources”. So if you have any resource that you think can fit that article/research well, you can send an email and ask the webmaster to consider adding your resource in the list. If your resource is top notch its very likely that they will add it to make their resource page more rich.
  • Find out which .edu/.gov/.mil are linking to your competitor: I am often surprised to see how many people doesn’t know about this simple Yahoo Site Search command –

    linkdomain:www.google.com site:edu

    If you go to Yahoo Search and type the following, you will get all the EDU sites that are linking to google.com. So simply put your competitors URL in place of Google and you can change edu to gov, mil and other extensions that you like. Example: See how many EDU backlinks twitter has.

    Find out why those sites are linking to your competitor and then you will automatically know how to get links from them. E.g. Imagine that a university professor is doing research about semantic web and he referenced my blog post where I wrote about some advanced semantic web algorithm. Now if you are my competitor you can probably try to produce a 3 times better piece on semantic web and pitch that processor to include your work in his article. In many cases he will, if your writing is good and relevant to his area of research.

  • Get Links from .Edu/.Gov/.Mil blogs on your Niche: There is another simple search command in Google, that can help you to find .edu, .gov, .mil blogs on your niche. Go to google and type the following:

    Keyword+inurl:blog site:.edu

    Just replace “keyword” with your own keyword. So for example If I’m looking for edu blogs that talk about SEO, i can search for SEO+inurl:blog site:.edu. And it gives me a nice list of blogs that has talked about SEO and has linked to many SEO resources. So If I have something that is absolute quality, I may be able to pitch the author of the blogs to link to my resources as they are relevant to what they are writing about. But you need to be creative with the “keyword” when using that query in Google, because sometimes it may return irrelevant junk results.

Obviously there are plenty of other ways to find authoritative sites, but I guess the ones i mentioned here are probably the most easiest ways.

Read Some Other Resources Related to Authoritative Link building

The 4 Different Types of Authority Links – Wiep.net

The Wisdom & Folly of Directory Link Building – SEOmoz.org

TrustRank Algorithm – SEObook.com

Getting Links From Known, Quality Linkers – Search Engine Land

The Quest for Authority Links – Search Engine Guide

Beyond Link Building Tools – Search Engine Land

How to Get Links – Wikipedia – David Naylor

Some Link Spying Tools You May Like

Hub Finder: Simply Enter Two domains and you will find out which website (hub) Is linking to both of them.

SEOBook Link Tools – a variety of different types of Link tools

SEOMoz LinkScape – Gets you access to link information on more than 30+ billion web pages across 200+ million domains. [Its not Free]


  • Reply Saad |

    @Ben McKay – Hallo Ben! Thanks for dropping by! I’m glad that you liked it.

    Usually I give genuine reply to all the SEO questions that I get via email. [me@saadkamal.com]

    Now I’m think that its a better idea If I put them in my blog as a post as it gives value to more users.

  • Reply Brad |

    Saad, a great follow up to your first link building post. More people needed to be educated on how to use advanced searches to aid their link building campaigns.
    Well Done!

  • Reply alexc |

    Nice summary! You can also try one of our tools to see competitive backlink intelligence – our analysis options allow to focus only on .EDU backlinks or any other TLD :)

  • Reply Saad |

    @alexc – Hay Thanks for leaving a comment. I have tested your tool. Its pretty awesome. Will do a blog post about it soon. Thanks for sharing. If there is any info you can give me about your tool, please send me an email at – me[at]saadkamal.com or use the contact form on the top right.

  • Reply JerseyGuy |

    I am teaching myself SEO and although time consuming, blogs like this make it much easier. Good article and very useful to me.

  • Reply edu backlink |

    I’m new tho this business and its very inspiring to know these kinds of information that i can used to make my venture on Internet business and it can bring me to my goal of success.Thanks a lot?
    i have a searched and i researched most of the people will,
    agree with the topic?
    thanks a lot for youre post?

  • Reply Jessica |

    Great Post ….There was a time when the Goggle Algo gave high prominance to websites that linked to .edu and .org . This prominance has lowered since the last few updates , it no longer validates these links high. It give more importance to quality link backs.

  • Reply Kate Henlay |

    Well that is new info for me that now it is not so important to get back links from .edu sites. Quality back linking is important but as far i know links from .edu still holds more importance.

  • Reply Matt S. |

    I really appreciate this post as I am in the link building stage of SEO for my website. It is a tough thing to get quality sites linking to you!

  • Reply SEO Web Design |

    Great Post! I thingmo web design is complete if it doesn’t have clear naviation, readability of text and forms to contact

  • Reply fountains and statues |

    Nice post….But is is getting more and more difficult getting to find such blogs.

  • Reply Mel |

    I have to find great links to no avail. Everyone wants to charge a hefty outlay for links. How do I attract organic links without paying for it?

  • Reply Junior Daniel |

    Very interesting post. I started to implement some of your tips and it really works.

  • Reply Tank |

    i will just straight away to use the tips you give. i think the no 4 is what i can do is to comment on it.

  • Reply brian Cee |

    Excellent Advice, It’s my personal favourite is to check the competitions links through the search engines and research. Using the linkdomain:and site: operators, it’s time consuming but it’s interesting you can learn more around a topic and about your competition as you research.

    The way you have segmented the process looking at more important links and identified additional search operators is brilliant.

    Great Article! Cheers brian Cee

  • Reply michele |

    Thanks for the information. It was very valuable on how to find EDU links. Thanks.

  • Reply Vic |

    Wow, this is the 3rd interesting post about SEO in your blog Saad. I really like your blog. This deserve to be bookmarked again. I did not know that .edu or government sites can actually contribute to a high page ranking. Thanks.

  • Reply Dima |

    Wow Saad…

    Using the linkdomain:domain.com site:edu method I just found an absolute GOLDMINE of awesome links to my site.

    Thanks alot buddy!

  • Reply Tom Longacre |

    This is great information, I am starting the edu/mil/gov part of my SEO marketing plan today, this will definitely help. Thank you.

  • Reply Kelsey Jenney |

    Thanks for your advices. I will try it, and I hope I can get a better Page Rank as soon as possible. Take an effort more and more. Have a nice days… ^_^

So, what do you think ?