Why are .gov and.edu Considered “Good” Links and .info “Bad”?

When you start doing SEO for your website, you’ll often hear people say that you should aim for getting .gov and.edu links as they have the best link juice and ranking power in Google’s eyes. Likewise you’ll be told to stay away from “spammy” links such as those that come from .info domains. In reality these domain name extensions are just markers and there’s nothing inherently better about a .edu or.gov link compared to a .info link, but there are other factors that make it seem that way.

The Real Secret behind .gov and.edu Links

.gov top level domain extension

There are simple reasons why .gov and .edu links are so preciously sought after by website owners.

  1. In order to get these domain extensions, you have to be a legitimate government or educational institution. These are accredited domain names that require special licensing or certification in order to possess.
  2. The sites have people who are paid to put content on the sites. The content that the place on the sites tend to be of excellent quality.
  3. Because the sites have excellent quality, and because they are legitimate government or educational institutions, they tend to attract many links. Many of these links are citation all quality links where people are linking to the site as the official word on a law, regulation or other official topic.
  4. Because of the quality of the content and the number of citation links that .edu and .gov sites have, they tend to get lots of direct referral traffic (from links) and also search engine traffic.

Keep in mind that many .edu/.gov sites interlink among each other and further strengthen their authoritative position on many topics. The real reason why these sites are doing so well is because of their content and the links they get – has almost nothing to do with their .edu/.gov domain extensions in and of themselves. There’s probably a way to finagle a .edu domain name from a foreign country. But you will have an uphill battle as far as getting that domain to rank as you have no authority and won’t be attracting any links your way naturally.

Are extensions like .info inherently harder to rank?

Let’s look at the other side of the coin: is it harder to rank a .info domain compared to a.com domain name? Although I would prefer a.com domain name just because it’s more recognizable to the general public, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a .info domain name that makes it hard to rank. When the .info domains first came out, they were advertised at a nine cents a year which attracted tons of spammers / internet marketers to snap up these domains by the bushel full and crammed them full of really bad content. And so the opposite of what happened with .gov/.edu domains occurred with .info: crappy content attracted no natural links, so these webmasters had to manufacture low-quality things to these sites in order to get them to rank. But these types of black Links have a very short shelf life – once these.info domains tank, these webmasters either moved on to different .info domains all the way up until the $.99 per year domain promotion was over. While the $.99 promotion did help spur adoption of the domain name, it came at a heavy price that is still a stigma surrounding the.info domain extension. So keep in mind that there is nothing inherently wrong with a .info domain name, it’s just that there is still many low-quality sites on this domain extension and it has given .info a bad reputation.

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