As we’ve written before, there’s a multitude of reasons why companies and individuals decide to launch a scholarship. One of the most popular reasons as of late has to do with SEO as part of a marketing strategy. Simply put, scholarships can get you a large number of links to your site, which can also drive significant traffic to it.
Here is how starting a scholarship can directly influence your SEO and what kind of benefits you can expect.
SEO has gone from being largely unknown as a marketing strategy to one of the main channels for acquiring new customers and improving your bottom line. So, the basic principles are:
1. People search for terms on Google every second
2. Your website needs to be optimized to rank on the first page for each search result on Google
Essentially, every time someone googles “Phoenix electrician” and you come up in the first place, you’re almost guaranteed that they land on your website.
If you want to learn more about the basics of SEO for your business, there’s lots of reading materials out there, but I suggest starting with Brian Dean’s blog.
So, what do scholarships have to with this?
Besides optimizing for keywords, the basic principle of SEO is links. If your website gets links from high-authority sources, Google will recognize it as reputable and rank it higher in search engine results.
Of course, scholarships get quite a lot of attention and as a result, they also generate a nice amount of links. Just by starting a scholarship, you can get a great number of backlinks to your site, which would otherwise take months of hard work and manual outreach.
So, you get links from your scholarship
There is no magic app that turns your scholarship into links so you can get more visits and purchases from your website. However, once you launch a scholarship, it acts as a PR magnet. Your chances of getting picked up by reputable websites increase significantly.
Some of the biggest proponents of using scholarships for SEO claim that you can get links from sites with .edu domains. In other words, you’ll get picked up by university and school websites that have high domain authority and a large number of links flowing to them.
Think of links from .edu websites as getting a really good card in a game of poker. They are difficult to get and hold more value than regular .com, .net, .io or other links. That’s the theory of SEOs around the world, at least.
Will you get .edu links from your own scholarship? Maybe, maybe not. A lot of it depends on your specific scholarship, but the good news is that you are the one who can influence whether you get these links or not.
Publishing a scholarship = getting links?
In theory, yeah. However, to get the most SEO worth out of your scholarship, you need to put in some work as well. Once you’ve prepared your scholarship and laid out all the details, it’s time to do some outreach.
Compile a list of universities you think would be interested in the scholarship (or you would like a link from) and get to work. You can take a look at this page for a comprehensive list of hundreds of universities across the USA. Import these in an Excel sheet and remove any you don’t think belong there.
Once you have the list, here comes the hard part – you need to find the contact info for each (which shouldn’t take too long) and send an outreach email about your scholarship. This can be tedious, so I would strongly suggest hiring someone to find the emails and do the outreach for you.
A few notes: make it easy for the university staff by giving them all the necessary information in the email you’re sending. That includes the scholarship requirements, the deadline and anything else you think they absolutely should know.
Finally, let the person on the other end know why they should share the scholarship link. What’s in it for them? A good idea is to tell them that their students can benefit from the scholarship, so you’re asking them to share a link to the scholarship on their website.
Does getting links from scholarships mean that you’re buying links?
Technically, each link that’s not earned naturally is paid. Unless someone found your site on the internet and linked to it, Google could consider your link as paid and you could potentially be in trouble.
However, scholarships are a perfectly legitimate way to build links to your website and this method has been used by experienced SEOs for decades. If your primary goal with a scholarship is to help someone achieve their full potential through education, you can consider links and all other PR benefits as a nice extra.
In terms of return on investment for your company, there are very few things better than launching a scholarship. Besides helping out students to build a better future for themselves, you get a large number of marketing benefits. If you play your cards right, getting a nice amount of links can be one of them.
PS. If you’re looking for an efficient and free way to set up and manage your scholarship – we got you covered. Give Scholarship App a try and you can launch your new scholarship within 15 minutes from signing up!