Scholarship Link Building: Does It Work? Is It Safe?

Scholarship link building still works. But you MUST do it in a certain way, as discussed in this article.

In 2015, scholarship link building was the rave of the town. Now, it’s dreaded. What happened? Does it still work? More importantly, is building links this way safe?

This article will answer these questions…

Put simply, scholarship links are a type of edu backlinks.

Like other edu backlinks, scholarship links come from edu domains like university websites. And because of the sources’ domain authority, they [scholarship backlinks] significantly impact search rankings.

The scholarship link building tactic work in three “not so simple” steps:

  • First, launch a scholarship program for students in your local area
  • Second, create a dedicated scholarship page [or even an entire scholarship website] for the program
  • Third, reach out to colleges & universities for a backlink

Levin Injury Firm

This personal injury law firm launched a bi-yearly $1K scholarship. And they created a page for it like this:


Looking at the backlinks to the site, I noticed this:

Levin Injury Firm got 7 dofollow links because of their scholarship program.


And here, you can find the live scholarship link:


By all means, 7 dofollow links mean the scholarship link building campaign was successful.

Outlier Success: The Recovery Village

This addiction and behavioral health center also has a scholarship program. And like Levin, they gave the same $1K to winners.

Here is one of the winners of the scholarship money:


Now, let’s analyze the page’s inbound links


Amazingly, The Recovery Village’s scholarship page has 30+ dofollow links. That is 23 more than Levin, despite giving out the same $1K.

Here is one of the 30 links live:


Since scholarship worked for the samples, it must be an effective backlink strategy. Right?

Let’s find out…

It’s hard to say because there is a divide among SEOs.

On one hand, SEOs think scholarship link building has a “nice” ROI. A great example is Hunter Branch of the Rank Tree.


Another SEO on X [or Twitter], @affiliatevet, says he’s been using the strategy for years.


On the other half of the divide, SEOs won’t use it. Denis of Passive Sphere on X said it’s an outdated link building strategy.


Also, Jim Boykin of Internet Marketing Ninjas reinstated Denis’ stance. According to him, his client got 3 manual actions for unnatural links.

And one of the links was a scholarship backlink.


So, which is which? Does scholarship still work?

Before I answer the questions, let’s look at what Google is saying.

John Mu said this in 2018:


But if there is anything we can learn from the recent leaks, Google doesn’t always tell the truth. Plus, SEOs still build scholarship links and get results with them.

📌 My verdict:

Scholarship links like other “ignored” backlinks still move the needle. But not in all cases. And I will give you examples of these cases.

  • You’re loud about it
  • The scholarship program doesn’t relate to your business
  • You build only scholarship links
  • Poor outreach
  • You didn’t use a systematic approach

You’re Too Loud

I noticed that the recent clampdown on AI content was more on the so-called frontrunners. Examples include Julian Goldie. He was everywhere discussing how he created hundreds of articles per day. And he got hit.

The same thing applies to scholarship link building. You can’t go making noise about it.

IMO, you shouldn’t list scholarship link building as one of your strategies. Let your clients see the results. Let that do the talking. Otherwise, your backlinks [and site] will get hit.

The Scholarship Doesn’t Relate to Your Business

Recall Levin Injury Firm and The Recovery Village. Their scholarship links were relevant. The former built her links around law students. And the latter for nursing students.

It all made sense and was natural.

In contrast,

A construction guy creating scholarships for nursing students is odd. Your links will look like link schemes. At that point, your efforts won’t count. Only relevant backlinks matter — regardless of the authority of the referring domains.

It doesn’t matter if scholarship links are the best of the bunch or not. Diversify your backlink profile. Why?

Digital marketing revolves around diversified strategies for consistent and sustainable results.

Recall the law of marginal returns in economics. The more you consume the same thing, the lesser the effectiveness.

The same rules apply to link building.

In summary,

Diversify your backlinks. Build high-authority backlinks like niche edits, guest post links, scholarship backlinks, etc.

Poor Outreach

Institutions gave backlinks freely in 2015 when scholarship link building started. They had since caught wind of the strategy.

In other words, getting the so-called ignored scholarship links is not straightforward. And you won’t help your case with a poor outreach.


Ditch scholarship backlinks if you can’t state how your funding program can help. It’s that simple.

No Systematic Approach

You might not get a scholarship link even with the best outreach approach. Only a well-thought, systematic process can provide assurance.

For example, the first plan should be analysis. Analyze the market and competition to see likely scholarship pages that will link to your site. Then, create a scholarship program that will suit such targets.

Now, you can build the page and start your outreach. And lastly, you can’t focus your strategy only on adding as many backlinks as possible. Instead, focus on the quality of the referring pages and the anchor text.


The above strategy is only a rough sketch. You will need more to achieve significant success from your scholarship link building.

  1. Start with a valuable scholarship offer
  2. Create your scholarship web page
  3. Estimate your ROI
  4. Do strategic outreach
  5. List your scholarship on relevant directories
  6. Monitor your scholarship links
  7. Select a winner

Start With a Valuable Scholarship Offer

A meaningful and genuine scholarship offer is the core of this link building strategy. 

Keep in mind, that your scholarship offer must truly help students or the recipients.

In short, your offer must be real, no BS.

So be sure to put all its pieces in place. 

  • First, decide on an amount (money) for your scholarship -it does not have to be extravagant, but it should make a difference.

However, note that a greater amount will get you more submissions, and recognition from your target educational institutions.

Check this out:


Although the average offer is about $2500, it is obvious that Stevens-Henegar/CollegeAmerica Carl. B. Barney scholarship has more potential for visibility, submission, and recognition.

  • Second, your application and vetting process – it should be a fair process, therefore it is advisable to involve your business’ legal team.
  • Then, select your target educational institutions.

Note: make sure, your scholarship offer is in line, with your niche.

For instance, if your business is marketing-related, you should not offer a health-related scholarship. 

In essence, the intention of your scholarship link building must be to provide value to recipients and get quality backlinks for your business in the process.

Create Your Scholarship Page

Once everything is in place, the next thing to do is set up a webpage for your scholarship. 

This is where prospective recipients will access all the information they need to participate in the offer.

Know this: your scholarship webpage must be easily navigated by your audience because complexity may drive people away. 

In other words, keep your web page design simple and professional.

See an example here:



According to this webpage, every important detail such as the award money, application deadline, application requirements, and eligibility criteria are contained on this page. For additional questions, a contact was also included.

The page was easily navigated. Essential details were provided and application details were clearly stated.

Everything was kept simple and straight to the point. You should adopt this while setting up your scholarship webpage.

In addition, you can add a FAQ session on your page to answer common questions.

Another awesome idea is to add shareable links so that users can share the scholarship opportunity with their friends on social media.

The bottom line is that your scholarship page must be well structured to give a smooth experience to your users from beginning to end.

Estimate Your ROI

Of course, the sole purpose of creating a scholarship opportunity is to offer help.

You already know this but you must know what you stand to gain.

Remember that this is a link building strategy. Therefore, you must understand your scholarship link building strategy’s return on investment (ROI).

So, how do you go about this?

  • Understand the basics of ROI.

Simply stated, ROI is the ratio of the profit you gained from your investment compared to the capital you invested.

In this case, you gain high-quality backlinks, increased brand visibility, and higher website traffic.

  • Also, check for websites that list scholarships in your niche. 

This will help you get an estimate of the links you will generate.

For instance, you can get a list of websites that are related to scholarships by typing .org”scholarship” into the Google search bar to check for scholarship URLs with .org


Source: Google

Estimating your ROI will help determine if your efforts are moving you closer to your goals. By assessing your potential ROI, you ensure your scholarship link-building strategy stays on track for success.

Do Strategic Outreach

At this point, it’s time to get the word out about your offer through outreach.

Thankfully, there are many online platforms dedicated to scholarships you should connect with. Contact these platforms to make your scholarship visible to reach a wider audience.

See this:


 Source: Google

Remember to select your target educational institution or online platforms in line, with your niche. 

While you send out your emails, make sure you personalize each email to be relevant to a target institution and its students. 


Sending out volumes of cold emails could make you seem like a spammer.

Therefore, a consistent and targeted email outreach campaign over some time is the best way to succeed in your link building efforts.

Note: make sure that, all your scholarship details and the URL for your scholarship web page are listed within your email.

Here are a few things to also keep in mind during outreach:

  • Be professional. Simply inform your target institution. Do not beg or demand from them.
  • Once your emails are sent out, don’t hesitate to share them on social media for more visibility and engagement.
  • Lastly, be consistent. Regularly update and engage your audience.

List Your Scholarship on Relevant Directories

In addition to quality outreach, you should put your scholarship offer on relevant directories like Bigfuture, Scholarships360, and

For instance, according to Moz, Bigfuture has a DA score, of 86. This shows that this directory has high traffic and good authority.

In essence, these directories are good for your scholarship link visibility and traffic, since they are easily accessible to students or users. 

Doing this will also get you other backlinks to your website.

Additionally, you’ll build your brand awareness and credibility.

Here’s an example of scholarship listings on Bigfuture:



You can join other credible scholarship listings by listing your offer on trustworthy scholarship directories.

First, not all platforms, especially major college sites, will accept your scholarship offer.

Know this and know peace.

Again, the ones that accepted may not write back to let you know that, they’ve linked to your webpage.

Upsetting? Don’t be

Do this instead: monitor and analyze your scholarship links.

Don’t just list and forget about them.

You need to employ, backlink-monitoring tools to analyze what’s working.

This way you can ascertain if your scholarship link building campaign is in the right direction.

See some Backlink monitoring tools here:


Source: Google

Furthermore, listen to feedback from your audience. This will help improve your scholarship link building strategy.

And if something is missing, change it!

In the end, monitoring your scholarship links will assist you in keeping tabs on your most valuable backlinks.

You’ll also know the benefits your website has received from your scholarship link building strategy.

Select a Winner

Gather and sort out all submissions based on the criteria provided.

Remember, zero bias.

Using a spreadsheet for this exercise to make things easy is advisable.

After your winner has been selected, let them know they’ve won and send them the award money.

Ultimately, you get the backlinks, you want and improve your overall SEO profile.

But, don’t stop here!

Celebrate with your winner on social media.

See a sample here:


Source: Swedish Institute Scholarships for Global Professionals

 With the permission of your winner, announce them on your social media accounts.

Aside from earning backlinks, doing this will help you create brand awareness for your scholarship.

The winner, friends, and family may even share your post. Just like that, you get a free brand promotion.

In essence, your business will be known especially in your local community.

Let’s check out the pros and cons of scholarship link building first.


As earlier stated, the sole purpose of creating a scholarship opportunity is educational support.

However, remember that this is a link building strategy for your business.

Hence, you get high-quality backlinks in return.

But this is not just any backlink, with scholarship links you get a long-lasting presence for your backlinks.


Because scholarship applications open months before admission deadlines. This means that your links will remain visible on .edu sites for a considerable time.

Also, your link will consistently attract significant traffic if you consider offering the scholarship annually. 

This recurring event means your backlink will remain live for an extended period and draw regular, steady traffic yearly.

New Content for Your Website

The scholarship process usually requires students to write and submit essays. These essays are relevant to your industry. 

Again, this is why your scholarship offer must be related to your niche.

After selecting your scholarship winner, you also get a good amount of fresh content.

Here’s the good part: 

They are new and FREE. And you can publish this high-quality content on your website.

When Google sees new, valuable, and high-quality content to crawl on your website, your site’s search engine rankings and visibility will be improved.

The bottom line is building scholarship links can generate high-quality content for your website. 

In return, high-quality content will significantly boost the effectiveness of your link building strategy.

Improved Local SEO to Boost Your Brand

When educational institutions or platforms agree to put your scholarship link on their website, your local SEO, improves.


Many of these platforms are local (except your scholarship offer is on an international scale), so you will get .edu links within your business region.

Even better, if your scholarship offer is solely for schools in your local community, the institutions are more likely to accept your scholarship link request.

In essence, scholarship links will increase your search ranking for local results and provide opportunities to boost your brand.


The Process Is Long and Expensive

It takes a long time to build successful scholarship links.

Much more, it requires a huge investment.

First, you have to set apart a significant award money for the winner. 

Then, there are other things to consider:

You need to design the webpage for the scholarship and optimize the page with quality content.

You also need to do an outreach campaign which takes a lot of time.

Remember, the scholarship process needs review and vetting to pick a winner. Additionally, You may need to form a committee for this.

Of course, you need professionals to help you with all of these. Meaning, more money to spend!

For instance, the outreach campaign alone takes about a couple of months to achieve your results and you have to pay for the service over that period.

In short, considering how the ROI of this link building strategy has dropped over the years, investing in scholarship links may not be worth it.

Scholarship links involve exchanging links for money.

Know this!

Google frowns at paid links because it sees it as a link scheme, which could land you in trouble with Google.

Meaning, your backlinks could end up receiving a penalty.

Over time, Google has categorized paid links as low-quality and spam links. Therefore, building scholarship links can result in a manual link penalty against your website. 

This can significantly affect your search results. So, you have to be careful while building your scholarship links.

There Is No Guarantee of Success

After all your SEO efforts in putting everything in place, the sad news is that Google may ignore your link entirely.

There is a misconception that scholarship links are more valuable for SEO strategies. 

However, google ignores many .edu links because they often get link-spammed and many student pages were spammed and manipulated over the years.

In short, your intentions may be genuine, but other businesses have misused this link building strategy, so Google ignores these links.

In Conclusion

Like any link building strategy, there is a thin line between unnatural and natural. So, focus on the latter. Create valuable content, assist students, offer financial aid, and watch your links flow in from reputable universities.

With that approach, your scholarship links won’t get manual action or violate Google’s guidelines. And while you’re at it, hone your outreach skills.