The Value of .edu Backlinks
The .edu Top Level Domain is exclusively intended for educational institutions. Since 2001, the U.S. Department of Commerce made the .edu TLD exclusive to United States-affiliated institutions of higher education.
Due to the exclusive nature of the .edu TLDs, Google treats backlinks from .edu domains as a very important ranking signal. Since, .edu domains are exclusive institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Columbia and the likes, they are sources of high authority. In the same vein, winning backlinks from a .edu domain is extremely difficult.
A page that receives a backlink from a .edu domain will receive link juice from the page that is linking to it (as long as the link is a do-follow link), which will have a positive effect on the page authority of that page, as well as the domain authority of the domain.
It's hard to get a .edu backlink
If getting .edu backlinks was easy, then they wouldn't be as valuable. There are no real shortcuts. It requires effort and luck.
We got lucky with our site, the Fundamental Finance Playbook. One of the keywords that the FFP targets is the term Value Investing. The birthplace of Value Investing comes from Columbia University, where Benjamin Graham, the so-called father of value investing, taught a class on investing.
About a year after publishing our article A Brief History of Value Investing, the article received a backlink from the Columbia Business School website. The Heilbrum Center of Graham and Dodd Investing published an article on the History of Value Investing where our article was referred to.
This was possibly the best backlink our article could have received. It's equivalent of Google linking to your article on how backlinks work. At no point did we reach out to the Heilbrum Center or try to get a backlink for the article. We simply had the good fortune that the person writing for the Heilbrum Center stumbled upon it, read it and felt it was worthy of referring to.
We got lucky. But of course, the more effort you give it, the more likely you are to get lucky.