Law Firm Link Bait: How to Create a Law Firm Scholarship to Improve Your Local SEO
Chris Dreyer | March 04, 2014
Most link-building campaigns do not help you enhance your public relations1 or social shares. Scholarship campaigns can help you do both while helping you attract high-quality links to your website. Depending on how you leverage your campaign, you might be able to land some links from .edu sites in addition to .coms and .orgs.
What Is a Scholarship Campaign?
The basic idea is that law firms can create a real scholarship with real procedures related to applying for and winning the scholarship. The criteria can be pretty much anything from disadvantaged or protected minorities to funds for students returning to school for the first time.
The scholarship is then promoted via the firm’s website, social accounts, traditional marketing avenues or anywhere else they want exposure for it. These are mostly aggressive strategies for promoting the scholarship for link-building purposes.
Attorneys can also reach out to local community colleges, universities and trade or vocational schools to promote the scholarship to their students. Many of these organizations are happy to let businesses promote free money to their students. The goal here is to get other high-quality sites to link to you.
Why would sites link to you?
• Helping students is newsworthy
• Educational Institutions want their students to know about funding opportunities
• Students will share this news with their student friends
A Word on .edu Links
I do not want you to get the wrong idea here and think that .edu links are somehow better than links from other domains on the web. All TLDs are created equal, and a link from a .edu TLD carries just as much weight as one from an equivalent .com TLD. Matt Cutts addressed this topic2 some time ago. The fact is, many .edu sites tend to be more authoritative because they are used by authoritative entities. Educational institutions have to go through a special application3 process to use .edu domains.
You have to be sure you include a disclaimer and clear instructions on how people can take advantage of the scholarship. There should be straightforward statements on what students need to do, how they should do it and when the deadline is to get it done. Never lead people on or plan on not delivering the scholarship. Make sure your process is organized, legitimate and renews on an annual basis.
Additional Benefits of Scholarship Campaigns
The main idea is linking, but there are other benefits that you can get out of your scholarship campaign.
- Improve local SEO (links from local IPs)
- Social shares
- Improved public relations
- Get secondary links from notable sources
Odds are that local news organizations and educational institutions will be the entities linking their sites to yours. When people see an opportunity for students to get money for school, they are likely to share it through social media with people they know who would be interested.
Starting a scholarship also looks very good from a public relations standpoint. Even though it is a marketing strategy for your website, you can also position it as giving back to the community. You can even tailor your campaign to give back to institutions that helped you get your start.
When you make your scholarship campaign, keep the following things in mind:
- It needs to be real, and someone needs to be able to win it
- Do not make the process too difficult
- Do not impose too many restrictions for using the money. Make it appeal to a broad audience
- Support things you know and believe in
- Be proactive about using the campaign to build links for the most success and best return on your investment.