Awarding an annual scholarship isn’t giving away money, it’s an investment in your blog
What if I told you, there’s a blogging strategy that could get you dozens of the strongest inbound links plus more content than you can publish…would you be interested?
You bet you would be.
A lot of bloggers I know hesitate from offering a scholarship because they only look at it as giving away money. Look at it as an investment in your blog and all the benefits you get and you’ll see it in a completely different light.
An annual scholarship is one of the easiest blogging hacks I know. It will take less than a day to set everything up. The increase in blog traffic and authority will last for years.
Between the two blogs on which I run a scholarship, I’ve gotten dozens of .edu backlinks. That’s a ton of SEO ranking power for the blogs and which I can pass through internal links to other pages. I also get dozens of essays every year which I publish to the blogs, posts that get shared with the applicant’s family and friends.
So for a $500 annual investment in your blog, you get:
- A big boost in your blog authority through all those .edu links
- Free posts written by scholarship applicants
- Viral traffic from people sharing these posts
How to Invest in Your Blog with a Scholarship
Why do scholarship pages work so well?
Google loves .edu links! These are like the Holy Grail of links because obviously, state colleges and universities just aren’t going to link to any website. Google sees links from a .edu source as highly authoritative and they can really boost your blog.
Many universities have scholarship pages that link out to private scholarships, kind of a directory their students can use to find scholarships.
Not only do you get high-quality inbound links that lead to a boost in your search rankings, you get pages of content that you know is going to be shared!
How to Start Your Own Scholarship
Let’s look at how to create and promote a scholarship page as an investment in your blog.
Creating the page is easy. We’ll use one of mine here as a template. You want the page to be over 700 words and optimize it for a keyword just like any other article. On my page, I’m trying to get my post to rank for the terms ‘financial education’ and ‘personal finance scholarship’.
- Eligibility and application rules: Who can apply? What are the deadlines to apply and when will a winner be announced? For which institutions can students apply? Do candidates need to be students or entering freshman or be in a particular major?
- Is an essay required? What are the requirements, i.e. original content of 500+ words? Is there a specific topic the essay must be on?
- How will a winner be chosen, i.e. by essay quality, social shares or traffic?
I require an essay about what the candidate has learned about personal finance or what their parents taught them. I get dozens of personal stories that really resonate with readers and always get lots of shares.
You also want to add a few paragraphs about your blog as well as links to your best content. You’ll be getting a lot of traffic to the page from young people, might as well turn them into life-long readers.
The page could also be one of your strongest in terms of search engine authority. All those awesome .edu links will help boost your overall domain authority but you can also pass SEO power through to specific posts through internal links.
How to Get Links to Your Scholarship Page
That’s it for the page, easy. Now you need to promote the page to get schools to link to it.
We’re going to do a Google search for ‘outside scholarships’ on .edu sites. Most schools have these pages so it should be easy to find three or five pages for a start.
Click through to a few of these pages and copy the URL links to each of the scholarships. You’re especially interested in scholarships offered by commercial websites or blogs. This should give you a list of 50+ scholarships.
Now we’ll go to the Ahrefs website and download all the ‘dofollow’ links pointing to each of these scholarships.
- Paste the scholarship page’s URLs into the search box and click on ‘Backlinks’ in the left-side menu
- Change ‘Link Type’ to dofollow to narrow the list to links that are going to give you the most SEO authority
- Export the list of links for each scholarship page and combine them into one spreadsheet.
The information you want is in the ‘Referring Page’ column, the website that is linking to the scholarship. Each scholarship might have 15 or even into the hundreds of .edu links pointing to it so you’ll end up with a huge list of hundreds of school websites.
Remove the duplicates in the Referring Page column and click through to each to find an email contact.
Then, it’s just a matter of reaching out to the school to offer your scholarship opportunity to their students. My template goes like this:
A lot of these websites will link up to your page. Some will have questions and others might send you a link to include your scholarship details on their Google doc.
That’s it. It’s that easy to get dozens of high-quality links or more to your blog.
Essays will trickle in throughout the year but you’ll get the vast majority within two months of the deadline. Not all will be Pulitzer-quality work but you’ll be able to publish most with a little light editing. You’ll also be able to link your own articles and monetize each post.
I publish essays two or three times a week in July and August. Email each candidate the morning the post goes live and ask them to share on social media. This always brings a huge wave of traffic and email subscribers during the two months. I pick a winner based on social shares and notify the candidate in September.
If you think about the ways you advertise your blog or the different blog investments you’ve made, how many have resulted in dozens of links and thousands in traffic? A scholarship page can do all this for as little as a $500 investment. It’s a blog strategy you don’t want to miss.