Possibly the most important off-site factor in an effective SEO strategy is high-quality, relevant backlinks. Google views backlinks as free votes for your site from people who feel that you have worthwhile content. The more live links are pointing to your site, the more credible it appears and the higher it ranks on Google.
Many SEO forums have lauded backlinks from high authority domains such as .edu as one of the most useful ways to improve a site’s page rank. They claim that a string of backlinks from a reputable .edu site is worth ten .com backlinks. Their working theory is that since Google values .edu domains, any URL linked to it is elevated up the organic search engine rankings.
This is, however, an unsubstantiated claim, which Googlers have refuted explaining that all backlinks are treated equally by the search engine. So what makes .edu backlinks so valuable?
Where their value lies
It turns out that Google domains are equal, but sites are not built the same. Google recognizes the value a site provides regardless of its domain extension. This means that backlinks from an authoritative and highly rated .info or .biz site can have the same value as those from a .edu site.
Website content is one of the most important factors that influence Google ranking. Any website has to prove its credibility and value before it receives a .edu domain. To qualify for a .edu domain, you have to be a legitimate educational institution. Your site has to provide credible information to users, failure to which it faces severe consequences.
As a way of rooting out sites with incorrect and spammy content, a vetting process is put in place for all registrants. This preserves the authority and trustworthiness of .edu domains. The value, therefore, does not lie in the .edu domain extension but rather in the site associated with it. This domain extension only crowns already existing quality and value.
If you can get backlinks from the rare and coveted .edu sites, well and good, but if it’s taking up too much of your focus, energy, and resources, it is not worth it. When you find yourself forcing your links into educational sites especially if your niche does not relate to them, you are better off focusing your SEO efforts elsewhere. At the end of the day, the more high Page Rank backlinks your site has the better, regardless of their top-level domain.
— Brian Sousa (@YodHehVodHeh) 20 de septiembre de 2013