GOV link building: How To Get Links From Government Sites

So, you’ve heard that .gov links can improve your SEO and organic traffic. But what makes them so valuable… and how do you actually build them?

We’ll answer these and other common questions about .gov link building based on our almost decade-long experience in the industry. Let’s dive in. 

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What Are .gov Links And Why Do They Matter?

.gov links are links coming from sites on a .gov domain. 

.gov domains are reserved for websites owned and run by federal, state, or local government agencies, such as the FBI, Department of Justice, or the IRS. 

This should already give you some clues as to why .gov backlinks are so valuable. But let us quickly unpack that for you. 

1. Not Everyone Can Get A .gov URL

According to the official DotGov website, the .gov domain is reserved for U.S.-based government and public sector organizations and isn’t available to the general public. 

To register their websites on the .gov domain, organizations go through grueling processes which include attesting their eligibility through letters “signed by authorizing authority,” providing supporting documentation, and supplying additional records if needed.

Search engines like such strict eligibility requirements and verification processes, as they help ensure that websites are run by credible entities. That’s why they consider .gov websites – and .gov backlinks – more credible than websites on most other domains. Consequently, .gov backlinks are given more weight than average backlinks. 

  • TL;DR: Search engines prefer sites belonging to known and verifiable entities, and .gov sites fit those criteria. 

2. Getting A .gov Backlink Is Just As Difficult

.gov sites are typically not open to linking to other, sites. In fact, acquiring even a single .gov backlink can be out of reach for most “average” site owners with no government ties.

Search engines know this, which is why they place a lot of trust in .gov backlinks. The sites they’re pointing to are almost automatically deemed as credible and authoritative, precisely because obtaining gov. backlinks isn’t an easy feat — as opposed to, say, getting links from link farms or PBNs.

  • TL;DR: Search engines appreciate the fact that .gov backlinks are hard to obtain, so they give them more weight than more widely-available backlinks.

3. Government Sites Are Extremely Trustworthy

Finally, government sites and .gov backlinks are extremely trustworthy. This is due to the reasons mentioned above, as well as the fact that the content published on .gov sites often has to be approved by a number of reviewers and supervisors before seeing the light of day.

This lowers the chances of .gov backlinks being purely commercial or having no real value for users and makes them more credible.

  • TL;DR: .gov backlinks are extremely credible because of the reasons mentioned above and because content published on .gov domains typically undergoes rigorous review and approval processes.

3 Types Of .gov Backlinks

Although all .gov backlinks are valuable, some hold more weight than others. Their value – and impact on search engine optimization (SEO) – typically depends on organizations or agencies managing the sites they’re coming from.  

In that regard, you should distinguish between three types of .gov backlinks and sites: 

  • Federal .gov sites: Federal government websites belong to organizations and agencies operating on a national level. These sites typically have the highest domain authority and get the most traffic. Example: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • State .gov sites: State government sites belong to entities governing individual states. These sites are often not as well-maintained as federal government sites and have lower authority and traffic. Example: California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Local .gov sites: Local government websites belong to entities governing specific municipalities and counties. These sites have the least authority and traffic out of the three. Example: Virginia Beach Fire Department

With that in mind, we can easily conclude that backlinks coming from federal .gov sites have the most value.

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn't try to build links on state or local .gov sites. They're still more valuable than links from “average” sites, a well as easier to obtain than links from federal .gov sites.

Still, you should keep these differences in mind and calibrate your expectations accordingly. 

How To Find .gov Websites 

The first step towards building .gov backlinks is actually finding .gov websites to build them on. We’ll show you four lesser-known methods you can use for this purpose.

1) The Google Method

The Google method allows you to knock out two tasks in one go:

✓ Find .gov sites

✓ Ensure they’re related to your industry 

Let us walk you through how it works step-by-step. 

You can start by entering the following query string into Google:


This query will allow you to find only sites with .gov domains via Google.

.gov sites found via Google search‍

You can further add your target keywords to your query string in order to find  .gov sites that are related to your industry: 

  • “target keyword” 

Here’s an example of how this string works in action:

Google search results for the query string “beauty standards”

The drawback of this method is that it requires you to manually go through different results to determine if a .gov site would be open to linking to you. This could include analyzing each individual site to check if it links to non-government sites or, better yet, other websites in your industry.  

This process can be very time-consuming, especially if you want to find more than one good link-building opportunity. If you want to accelerate the process, try method #2. 

2) Competitor Analysis

Alternatively, you can check your competitors’ backlink profiles to determine whether they have any .gov backlinks you could “steal.” 

You can do this using backlink checker tools like Ahrefs. Simply copy your competitor’s URL and run it through the tool to see their backlink profile: 

The backlink profile of a site with a .gov backlink highlighted‍

The purpose of this strategy is to find easy link-building opportunities, i.e., .gov sites that have already demonstrated interest in your industry

A potential disadvantage of this method is that it may not help you uncover as many link-building opportunities as you’d like. This depends on how many .gov backlinks your competitors have. It may be the case that they had no luck landing .gov backlinks themselves, so their backlink profiles won’t help you unearth new .gov sites you could target. 

If that’s the case, don’t worry – you can always try a different method. Let’s see how method #3 works.

3) .gov Sites Directories

This method is probably the easiest out of the four. It involves browsing through directories of government agencies in order to identify government websites:

One disadvantage of this method is the possibility that the directories are not regularly updated. It can also require you to browse through long lists of websites only to find a handful of sites that would be a good fit for you. 

4) ChatGPT

We wrote an entire article about how ChatGPT can be used for link building. But, in case you missed it, here’s a quick rundown on what it is and how it works: 

  • ChatGPT is an app based on a large language model, GPT-3.5, that can perform many language-related tasks for you. You can think of it as your own virtual assistant (that you can use for free at the moment of writing). 
  • ChatGPT can understand human language, answer your questions, and act on your commands. 
  • There are virtually no limitations as to what you can do with ChatGPT, from solving math problems to link building.

That brings us to our main point. You can use ChatGPT to find government websites or, at least, get acquainted with different government agencies that you may want to reach out to later.

All you have to do is ask ChatGPT the right questions or give it appropriate commands, such as “list some well-known government agencies in the US:”

ChatGPT listing different government agencies

Just like other methods we’ve mentioned, the ChatGPT method has its disadvantages, too. The main one is that ChatGPT can sometimes generate inaccurate and downright false responses. For example, it can make up a local government agency that doesn’t factually exist. 

To counteract this, always double-check ChatGPT’s suggestions before creating your strategy around them.

How To Tell If You’ve Found A Good .gov site

Links from any .gov site can benefit your site. However, some will benefit you more th

7 Ways To Build .gov Backlinks

Now that you know why .gov backlinks are so valuable and how to find the right .gov sites to host your links, it’s time to see how you can actually build them. 

We’ll reveal 7 .gov link-building tactics that we use ourselves when building links for clients. Let’s dive in.

1. Write About A Government Agency

Government agencies are always looking for ways to get their message out. If you can write a compelling article that showcases their work, they'll probably be happy to link back to your website.

Here’s how to get started with this tactic: 

  1. Find a government agency that is relevant to your niche or industry. For example, if you're in the healthcare industry, you might want to write about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
  2. Research their work. This will help you find a topic you can write about.
  3. Write the article and reach out to your selected agency. Let the agency know you’re giving them free publicity on your website and check if they’d be willing to share your content with their audience by linking back to you.

2. Interview A Government Agency Official

Just like agencies, government officials like free publicity and exposure, as well as showing themselves in a positive light. 

You can leverage this to build backlinks to your site by interviewing officials and publishing your interviews online – in a form of a blog post, podcast, or something else. You choose.

Follow these steps to get started with this method: 

  1. Identify a government agency that is relevant to your niche or industry. 
  2. Find a high-ranking official in that agency. Reach out to them to see if they would be interested in doing an interview.
  3. Publish your interview. Again, it’s up to you which format you’ll choose. Perhaps you can decide on this collaboratively with the official you’re interviewing.
  4. Let your interviewee know that your interview is published. Encourage them to share your content on the official gov site or, at the very least, share it on their social media profiles.

Even if this strategy doesn’t immediately get you .gov backlinks, it can help you create strong ties with insiders and build new links in the future.

3. Find Broken Links On Government Websites

Broken or dead links are links that usually lead to 404 pages, indicating that the target page is no longer available or doesn’t exist.

A 404 page

More rarely, broken links may also return errors like 400 Bad Request, Timeout, or Bad Code. 

Either way, no site owner wants to send their audience to unavailable or non-existent pages — government agencies included. That’s why they may be interested in replacing existing broken links with links to your site.

Here’s a step-by-step on how to replace broken links on .gov sites with yours:

  1. Identify broken links on government sites. You can manually open links on government websites one by one or use tools like Ahrefs to find all broken links on a site automatically and in a matter of minutes. Alternatively, you can use free tools like SEO Minion that will highlight all broken links on an opened page in yellow.
A page with the broken link highlighted in yellow and working links highlighted in green
  1. Determine if you can replace the broken links with yours. Your proposed link and target page should fit the existing anchor text and overall context. If you don’t have an appropriate replacement link and page, consider creating them before reaching out to site owners.
  2. Reach out to website owners. Let them know about the broken link and offer to provide a replacement link to your website. 

This is a win-win strategy for both sides. You can get valuable .gov backlinks, while government websites get working links.

4. Write About A Relevant Social Issue Or Cause

Writing about a relevant social issue or cause can be an effective way to attract attention and get backlinks from .gov domains. This approach works particularly well if you can tie your content to a specific government agency or program related to the issue or cause.

  1. Find a social issue or cause that aligns with your brand or website. Choosing an issue or cause you're passionate about and that resonates with your target audience will make it easier to create compelling content that agencies want to link to. 
  2. Research relevant government agencies or programs. Once you’ve decided which social issue or cause to discuss, you can start finding organizations that are actively involved with it. You can use any of the four methods mentioned above to do so. 
  3. Pitch your content. Finally, it’s time to reach out to your desired government partners and explain how your content aligns with their mission. If they're interested, they may be willing to feature your content on their website, share it on social media, and – yes – link back to you from their sites.

5.  Get Listed On .gov Resource Pages

Resource pages are pages that provide links to useful resources related to a specific topic or industry. Getting listed on one of these pages can be an easy way to build .gov backlinks.

Here’s how to do it in three steps:

  1. Find government websites with resource pages. To do so, you can once again turn to your friend Google and add keywords like “resources” or similar variants to your query string. You can also add topic- or industry-specific keywords to get the most relevant results.
 Google search results for the query string “resource page” 
.gov sites with resource pages.
Google search results for the query string “resource page” + “law”
Industry-specific results


  1. Identify if you have relevant links to share. Once you’ve found appropriate sites and pages, check your existing content to see if you have a suitable resource that agencies would want to include on their resource page. If not, you may need to create it first.
  2. Contact the site owners. Suggest including your resource on their page and emphasize its value for their audience. 

6. Partner With A Government Agency

Partnering with a government agency is another effective way to get .gov backlinks. This approach involves working closely with a government agency to create content or provide resources that benefit their audience. In exchange, the agency may be willing to feature your brand or website on its website, social media channels, or other digital properties.

  1. Identify relevant government partners. Look for agencies that are actively working in your industry or share your values and mission.
  1. Establish how you can work together. First, decide what type of partnership you’d like to engage in. Here are a few examples of projects you can work on with government agencies in order to build links:

  • Co-branded content
  • Event – site owners can offer to sponsor events organized by government agencies
  • Data sharing – site owners and government agencies can mutually share data and insights that can benefit both parties
  • Social media campaigns that raise awareness of important issues
  • Public education campaigns

Once you decide what type of partner project you want to offer, consider what resources you can bring to the partnership. This could include content creation capabilities, access to a particular audience, or funding for events or initiatives.

  1. Pitch your partnership. Lastly, reach out to your selected government agencies and explain how your brand or website can help further their mission. Mention the resources you’re willing to invest, but make sure to emphasize that you expect a .gov backlink in return.

7. Write Guest Posts For Government Blogs 

Finally, the most traditional tactic of them all: writing guest posts.

Guest posts are posts written for the purpose of getting them published on someone else’s sites – in this case, .gov sites. When used for link-building purposes, guest posts will contain naturally-placed links to authors’ websites.

Here’s how to use this tactic:

  1. Find .gov sites that accept guest posts. Not many government sites accept or publish guest posts. To find them via Google, you can include the keyword “guest post” or a similar variant to your query string. This should help you find .gov sites that have already published guest posts before, so they’ll be more likely to be open to publishing yours, too.
Google search results for query string “guest post”, including previously-published guest posts on .gov sites
  1. Research published guest posts. Analyze the results you get to see how the guest posts are written, what they’re about, and what value they offer to .gov sites. These insights will help you write your guest post later.
  2. Write high-quality guest posts. Now’s the time to leverage the insights you extracted in the previous step to write a quality guest post that aligns with the target site’s style and TA. Don’t forget to include links to your site where it makes sense in the post.
  3. Pitch your guest post. Lastly, reach out to site owners and offer your guest post. Explain how it benefits their audience and objectives, but also inform them that it contains links to your site. Transparency is key when collaborating with government agencies.


Can .gov websites be fake?

The chances of .gov websites being fake are slim, as organizations typically have to undergo grueling application processes to register their sites on the .gov domain.

Are .gov websites peer-reviewed?

The content published on .gov websites is typically reviewed and approved by government officials or subject matter experts before it is published. However, the term "peer-reviewed" typically refers to academic research that has undergone rigorous review by other experts in the field, which may not apply to all content published on .gov sites.

We Guarantee You’ll Get The .gov Backlinks You Want

Real talk: you can take all the right steps, offer great partnerships, and write flattering posts all day, but there’s no guarantee that any government site will actually link to you. 

As discussed, .gov backlinks are notoriously hard to obtain, so there’s always a chance that your hard work will ultimately be for nothing. 

Fortunately, there is a surefire way to get the .gov backlinks you want – by working with agencies that can guarantee you .gov placements in advance. That’s us!

Want a sneak peek of our list of partner sites and available .gov backlinks? Schedule your free consultation today, and decide if you want to work with us later.

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Written by
Dina Šoštarec

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