.gov backlinksGetting backlinks is an integral part of doing SEO work.; it’s what makes you visible to Google and other search engines and it’s probably the largest part of the job of doing SEO. However, the most valuable of backlinks definitely are those elusive .gov backlinks. These links are the kind which come from government websites and they are considered to be the “Holy Grail” of the SEO world. Here are five ways to get them:

Why .Gov is So Valuable

Before I begin though, for those not familiar, there is a raging debate on the value of .Gov backlinks. Some people claim that they are inherently valuable because Google ranks them more highly simply by virtue of being part of a government site. Others say that they aren’t inherently more valuable, but that because .gov sites tend to get lots of backlinks themselves, they tend to be worth more in terms of “link juice.” However, what is definitely not in question is that .gov links are coveted and hard to get.

Write about a Government Agency or Politician

The simplest way to get .gov backlinks is an idea I wrote about a number of months ago and which I found on the SEOMoz blog. This was basically where you would write a blog post about a government agency or politician and then let them know about it. Often, these people would then respond by mentioning you on their website.

Get a Government Contract

The problem with the method above is that it’s not all that sure fire, especially if it’s a well known politician or organization (i.e. you are more likely to get a backlink from your local councilman than you are from the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee).
However, one method which is 90% guaranteed to work is to get a government contract. The advantage of this is that a government agency will almost always issue a press release mentioning who they’ve contracted with and including a backlink.

Offer Regional or Limited Time Discounts

One great source of .gov backlinks which many people overlook is the local tourism board. Often, a city and or state will include information for tourists and locals which mentions special deals for locals or for limited periods of time. You can also get a link for offering deals to tourists who find you through the site. For example, NYC.Gov offers a huge tourism portal which includes links to things to do, places to see and special deals all over the city.

Comment on Blogs

Believe it or not, most government agencies do have blogs, even though it’s not particularly well known.  I found a list of government blogs and found that many of them do allow commenting. Of course, in most cases these will be no follow, but no follow links do have some value too. Plus, a handful of these are still set to do follow. You just have to sort through the list and post relevant comments.

Consider Foreign Governments

Finally, a number of foreign governments also maintain .gov sites. For example, there is .gov.uk and .gov.cn for the United Kingdom and China. The same techniques can be used for these sites as well and may well be easier to do because these sites have fewer hits from people looking for .gov backlinks than American government websites.