Do .edu or .gov links have more weight for SEO?
Recently there has been some discussion on whether Google gives special attention to links from .edu or .gov websites. In a couple of statements, Google, through Matt Cutts, has stated they don’t.
Does this mean you should give up looking for links from .edu and .gov site? No way!
You have to read between the lines here to see reality.
Here is a quote from Matt Cutts from a Google chat question:
TylerDee, TX: Are .gov and .edu back links still considered more “link juice” than the common back link?
Matt Cutts: This is a common misconception–you don’t get any PageRank boost from having an .edu link or .gov link automatically. Hah John, I beat you to it! If you get an .edu link and no one is linking to that .edu page, you’re not going to get any PageRank at all because that .edu page doesn’t have any PageRank.
JohnMu: We generally treat all links the same – be it from .gov or .edu or .info sites.
Here is another quote from Matt Cutts in an interview with Stephan Spencer:
Matt Cutts: Typically, our policy is: a link is a link, is a link; wherever that link’s worth is, that is the worth that we give it. Some people ask about links from DMOZ, links from .edu or links from .gov, and they say: “Isn’t there some sort of boost? Isn’t a link better if it comes from a .edu?” The short answer is: no, it is not. It is just .edu links tend to have higher PageRank, because more people link to .edu’s or .gov’s.
While it may be true that Google has no special logic for .edu and .gov links, look at that last statement: “It is just that .edu links tend to have higher PageRank, because more people link to .edu’s or .gov’s”.
Gee — that sounds special to me! What they are saying is that links from .edu and .gov links are of higher value than many other links, simply because most of them have very high authority as link sources. www.berkeley.edu and www.stanford.edu are PR9, and most medium to large universities are PR6 or better. Are those good places to get links? You bet. Also, .edu and .gov sites have good traffic, so you can also get real visitors over these links.
So, bottom line, look carefully before doing what Google tells you. They have their own agenda and that is not necessarily helping you with SEO for your website. As you do link building, by all means include .edu and .gov sites in your list of candidates.