Every publisher has a love/hate relationship with backlinks. We love when they’re high-quality and make us look good, and we hate when they’re bad and make us look spammy. For the most part though, backlinks of all shapes and forms at least provide a smidgen of proof to Google that we’re worth reading.
Additionally, every SEO manager knows that backlinks from .edu and .gov are special. Google holds education and government domains in high regard, and if this was a skee-ball game, they would be the 100-point holes in the top corners.
Getting a backlink from a .edu domain isn’t currently all that hard. There are plenty of blogs out there to leave a comment on and they’re pretty happy to accept guest posts.
In comparison, .gov sites don’t like to link at all. On their sites, it’s rare to find an outbound link to anything other than the not-so-secret society of other .gov sites.
But it’s not impossible! So here are a few ways to get inbound links from a government website.
Write about a politician – Conduct an interview or write a positive article about a politician and you’ll have a much better chance of getting that article shared, but also sometimes linked to from their blog or press page.
Head straight to their blog – Federal agencies are not allowed to endorse or promote commercial or individual interests or services. This isn’t to say they never link externally, but every outbound link is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Even if you’re well-aligned with their mission, you’ll run into red tape trying to partner with them. The easiest way to get a backlink, even if it’s a no-follow, is by commenting on their blog and using your URL in the “website” field.
- To find government blogs, paste this into Google: site:.gov inurl:blog
Post in forums – Forums are another easy place to post links, and they’ll even be well-received if you do the right thing and participate in the current conversation.
- To find government forums, paste this into Google: site:.gov inurl:forum
Start working for the government – Whenever you get a government contract, a press release will be released on their site with a backlink to your site.
Engage elsewhere – Build rapport with organizations that you want to align yourself with by talking to them in social media and re-tweeting their articles. Once this base is built, you’ll have better luck trying to work with them on the next few strategies.
Guest blog – Government sites aren’t typically known for their laid-back blog content, even though many do have infrequently updated blogs. Offer to fill in the gap by offering guest posts, with the request that they link back to your site.
Work with other countries – America isn’t the only country with a .gov address. Try working with the United Kingdom, for example, who’s more lenient on who they link to.
Make it your goal to spend a month or so dedicated to your .gov mission and make time to be more engaged with those sites. Over the course of a month, you should definitely be able to snag at least one link back!