Obtaining high quality, high authority links is a prequisite to ranking well on Google. However, getting these links is no easy task and often involves large scale content or digital PR campaigns. Link building as an activity has evolved from a quick and scalable tactic, into a more thought out, more methodical and ultimately more time consuming exercise, with much less guarantee of success.
In fact, It could be argued “link building” in the classic sense has become a bit of dirty word, such is the preference for big content marketing and PR campaigns. Link building has become link earning. This is of course is entirely understandable given the importance of acquiring high quality, editorial links from trusted online publications, which in the main, only come from these larger scale PR & content campaigns. That said, links can be acquired much more quickly, for example by not just focusing on the national press or larger online publishers for your outreach.
Below I have outlined four scalable tactics for getting links from Universities that don’t involve huge amounts of creative content, akin to a big PR piece. (That’s not to say you shouldn’t be doing these kinds of campaigns in conjunction with the below)
(i) Alumni Discounts
Most universities have an alumni centre which deals with past students. Many of these have a specific section for discounts, which retailers can apply to be listed on in exchange for an exclusive discount. If your business is local to the University or has a local branch, you stand an even gearter chance of being listed. Here is one example page from Aberystwyth University.
Universities are very often keen to help promote schemes that widen participation. These include scholarship opportunities which help to lessen the financial burden on students. However, scholarships can also be an opportunity for businesses as they can offer to sponsor their own. Not only is this good PR for the company funding the scholarship, it also creates a great link opportunity, as many universities have dedicated scholarship listing pages. Here is one example of this from Kent University.
(iii) Graduate Posts
Do you have any recent graduates working in your organisation? If so, ask them to reach out to their University and pitch an idea for a guest post. There are many examples of these on the web, with the content often centered around how to land a career in the industry with which the graduate is working- something that is very useful and relevant to current students. Here is one example from Salford University.
(iv) Sports Clubs
Most UK Universities will have a plethora of different sports clubs, such as football, rugby, cricket etc. As student finance is a perennial problem, these clubs are very often open to sponsorship opportunities, particularly with regard to equipment or clothing. Some advanced search queries on Google can help unearth who to target. Here is one example from Lancaster University.
These are just four methods I have utilised, I am sure there are others that could be tried. It is worth noting the response rate is often low, so be prepared to send plenty of initial emails. That said, the rewards on offer are so great, that just a handful of links makes the entire exercise worthwhile.
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