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How to Use HARO to Build Quality Backlinks and Increase Your Site’s Visibility

If you want to claim the top spot on the front page of Google, outperform your biggest competitors, and skyrocket your reach, credibility, and sales, you need high-quality links from blogs and authoritative news sources.

Easier said than done, right? Well, maybe not.

By leveraging  link building services things like HARO, business owners can generate powerful endorsements from sites like Business Insider, Forbes, Harvard, The Guardian, The New York Times, Huffington Post , and many more.

In this guide to Google’s ranking system, you’ll find everything you need to know about HARO link building, including what it is, what it does, and how it can help your business grow.

In this guide to Google’s ranking system, you’ll find everything you need to know about HARO link building, including what it is, what it does, and how it can help your business grow. 

What is Link Building?

Link building is the process of acquiring links from other websites to your own. A link (usually called a hyperlink) is a way for users to navigate between pages on the Internet. Search engines use links to crawl the web. They will crawl the links between the individual pages on your website, and they will crawl the links between the whole websites.

Benefits of Link Building

  • Improves Website Traffic
  • Better Search Rankings
  • Higher SEO and Site Scores
  • Increase Sales and Revenue Generation Opportunities
  • Boosts Authority
  • Boost Visibility
  • Low Site Bounce Rate
  • Creates More Valuable Content for Readers

Types of Link Building

Backlinks (Inbound Links)

Backlinks, which are simply links from other websites pointing to yours, are a critical factor that Google uses to rank your site. In the past, people focused on getting as many backlinks as possible to improve their search ranking, but that’s no longer the best approach. Now, the key is to have high-quality backlinks.

Outbound Links

Backlinks are essential for your website, but don’t overlook the power of outbound links too. These are links from your site to other websites, and they can have an impact on your search ranking as well. According to Backlinko’s list of Google’s 200 ranking factors, outbound link quality comes in at #35.

Take a look at the content on your site and think about where it would be helpful to add an outbound link. For example, you might want to link to a research source or a related article that provides more information on a topic.

Adding outbound links to reputable sites will not only provide value to your visitors, but it will also increase the authority of your own website.

Just be sure to set your links to open in a new window, so your readers can easily return to your site after they’ve explored the link.

Internal Links

Internal links are links that connect to other pages within your own website, and they play a big role in keeping your visitors engaged. When you add internal links, you make it easier for your site visitors to find related content, which helps keep them on your site longer.

Not only do internal links benefit your visitors, but they also help search engines understand your website structure, see the relationship between your content, and determine the most important pages on your site. All of this can improve your search rankings and make it easier for people to find your content.

Every time you create a new blog post or any other type of content, think about ways you can link to related content on your site. Doing a content audit is also a great idea to identify your most popular pages, and then adding links from those pages to other relevant content can help distribute the “link juice” throughout your site.

When you create internal links, make sure to use anchor text that is relevant to the destination page and includes keywords. Avoid generic anchor text like “click here.”

If you have multiple links to the same internal page, make sure to use different anchor text for each link, so you can rank for multiple queries.

HARO Infographic


What is HARO and How Does It Work?

HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is a platform that connects journalists and bloggers with subject matter experts for quotes and information to use in their articles and blogs.

It’s become a popular tool for building links for media outlets such as  Time  Forbes  The Washington Post , and  The New York Times  , and is also useful for brands looking to boost their SEO and website traffic by gaining and building links from high-authority sites.

Link Sites

Anyone with relevant expertise can respond to queries on the platform and use it to enhance their own SEO efforts, and the end result may come in the form of quote snippets, full features, or ongoing editorial relationships.

Here’s a basic four-step breakdown of how it works:

  1. Journalists send out queries to HARO to reach potential sources (that’s YOU.)
  2. HARO sends queries to potential sources (that’s YOU) as daily emails.
  3. Sources respond to the queries they relate to and provide expert opinions, feedback, or research on the topic. 
  4. The responses are sent back to the journalists for review.
  5. Journalists publish relevant responses in their media publications, complete with backlink placements that point to the websites of expert sources.

How Is HARO Link Building Used in SEO?

HARO in SEO

Backlinks (also known as “inbound links” and “incoming links”) are links from another website that direct to your website. They are particularly beneficial when it comes to SEO since they are pretty much an endorsement of one site by another.

This boosts your performance in Google’s unique algorithm.

But what’s HARO’s job in all of this?

HARO generates organic backlinks to high-authority sites and positions you as a total boss in your industry. 

By responding to queries from journalists and bloggers looking for quotes and information, individuals and brands can provide valuable content that can be used in articles and blog posts. 

You’ll instantly gain greater brand visibility, increased organic traffic from readers who click the link to your website, and a higher ranking on the SERPs. 


What Does HARO Mean for Digital Marketing

HARO can be a game-changer for your digital marketing, especially when it comes to link building strategy. With its wide range of queries and diversity of experts, it’s a great way to get your brand in front of journalists and experts from various industries and niches.

But how do you know if it’s the right fit for you? 

Website

Here are a few statistics from HARO’s study to consider before making your decision:

  • Only 3 out of every 10 queries submitted are accepted and published
  • The Business & Finance category has the highest number of queries.
  • Queries from sites with a domain rating (DR) of 50 or higher are considered more authoritative by search engines.
  • 68% of all queries have a DR of 50 or above, while 89% of all published queries have a DR of 50 or above
  • 69% of queries receive 1,000+ organic site visitors each month, which are considered more trustworthy and authoritative.
  • 87% of the published queries’ websites had 1,000+ monthly organic visitors.
  • More than 50% of all published articles used a ‘do-follow’ link, which is more valuable for SEO.

By using these statistics, you can decide if HARO is the right platform for your link building efforts.


Step-by-Step Guide to HARO Link Building

Step 1: Create An Account

Sign up to HARO as a source – all you need is a few spare minutes and an active email address. 

You can start with a free account and upgrade to a premium later. 

Step 2: Monitor Your Inbox

You’ll receive three emails per day, Monday through Friday, containing queries from journalists and bloggers that you can answer. 

These are sent at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m., and 5:35 p.m. ET.

Step 3: Respond To Queries

Respond to any and all queries that are related to your niche and fall under your personal expertise. 

Increase your chance of scoring a backlink by being genuine and professional. 

Step 4: Respond To Follow-Ups

Many of the journalists who use HARO circle back with additional questions or clarifications. 

Reply to these as soon as possible to increase your odds of scoring backlinks.

Step 5: Create Google Alerts

Rather than manually wading through billions of articles online, set up a Google alert on your website’s name to get notified when a journalist uses your content. 

Some journalists may notify you, but don’t count it. 


How to Select the Right Opportunities Without Compromising Your Reputation Online

There are hundreds of categories on HARO, from biotech and healthcare to travel and entertainment. You need to make sure you’re reaching out to journalists in the right category. 

For instance, if you run a personal training business, you don’t want to pitch a reporter in the travel industry an article for the best methods for fat loss. 

Before approaching journalists or responding to a query, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Is this relevant to my brand and expertise?
  • Can I provide accurate information on this topic?
  • Will be published by this journalist be mutually beneficial?

How to Ensure Quality Links

If you’re wondering, ‘hmm, this sounds great – but I don’t want to do a tonne of work for no pay-off. How do I know I’ll get quality links?’

Great question!

While HARO already has a strict vetting service to ensure only quality journalists and reporters request queries on their site, we’ve created a handy checklist to run through to ensure the inquiries you respond to align with your goals: 

  • Do they have a 50+ DA rating?
  • Are they respected and verified and authored by authoritative sites?
  • Do they post relevant content for my niche?
  • Have they ever written inappropriate or reputation-damaging content?
  • Do they have a trustworthy backlink profile?
  • Is their previous content ranking in purely organic placements?

HARO Link Building Best Practices

Don’t Wait

Journalists often have tight deadlines and a large number of sources may respond to a query. With a high number of source members (475,000) compared to journalists (35,000), competition can be fierce.

When reviewing a query that is relevant to your expertise, prioritize the deadline. Your goal should be to submit a pitch within 12 hours or less, even if the deadline is still a few days away. Avoid sending a pitch if the deadline has already passed.

Keep Responses Relevant

HARO is like a dating app for journalists and sources – you need to swipe right on the queries that align with your brand and expertise. And just like in dating, being relevant is key to making a connection. 

But don’t just stop there, do your research on the media outlet you’re reaching out to, it’s like checking their profile before the first date.

Be Unique

Nobody wants to read a bland, long, and boring pitch, so use your imagination! 

While professionalism and accurate data should be at the heart of your response, it’s important to think outside the box and create a catchy and intriguing pitch that leaves the journalist wanting more. 

Here are our top tips: 

  • Keep it short, sweet, and relevant 
  • Create a scroll-stopping subject line 
  • Be fresh and exciting in your approach 

Mistakes to Avoid

Replying to Anonymous Requests From Low DR Websites

When receiving anonymous requests, it’s important to evaluate the source and determine if it’s worth responding to. Ideally, you should only prioritize high-quality websites with a Domain Rating (DR) of 50 or higher.

Replying Late

Prompt responses are crucial in HARO as journalists often receive a high volume of responses within the first few hours of sending out a query. Delays, even as little as 3 hours, can decrease your chances of getting a link.

Not Proofreading

Sending responses with spelling and grammar errors can negatively impact your credibility and chances of getting a link. Always double-check your response and put it through Grammarly before hitting send. 


How to Craft a Successful Pitch for HARO

Read The Request Carefully

To make the most of a link opportunity on HARO, it’s important to carefully read the reporter’s request and understand their specific needs. 

Every HARO opportunity comes with a specific set of requirements you’ll need to follow. They’re not difficult, but following them is critical.

Read the request carefully

It’s important to spend a few extra minutes understanding exactly what the reporter wants and double-checking your pitch to answer their instructions.

Avoid Broad Requests

Avoid requests that are too broad or require you to answer multiple questions, as these can be time-consuming and may not result in a link.

Watch Your Word Count

When crafting your response, keep it concise and to the point, with a word count of 200-300 words. This makes it easy for reporters to quickly find the information they need.

Structure Your Pitch

Focus on structuring your pitch in a way that is easy to understand and highlights the most relevant information. Keep in mind that reporters are often working under tight deadlines, so making it easy for them to find what they need increases your chances of getting a link.


Proven Email Pitch Template with HARO

A proven email pitch template for successful link placements on HARO:

Subject: [The question in the query]

Body:

Hi [Reporter’s Name],

I really like your article idea and think it’s a great topic choice because [insert reason here.]

Here’s my response to your query:

[Insert your pitch, keeping it concise and to the point with a maximum of 200 words]

You can find my headshot here: [Insert link to your Gravatar account]

A little about me: [Insert a short bio, including a link to your website]

I hope you find my response helpful.

Thank you,

[Your Name/Signature]

Note that this is a general template and you may have to adjust it to suit the specific queries and outlets.


How to Track HARO Link Placements

While some journalists notify you when they use your pitch, others do not. 

To ensure you’re aware of when your quote or brand is mentioned in an article from a journalist you pitched to on HARO, it’s important to monitor your link placements. 

You can use Google Alerts or Ahrefs alerts to track when you or your brand is mentioned. 

Remember to monitor the specific element you included in your contribution to the journalist’s query. This way you can stay on top of any placements and know if your pitch was successful.

Alerts


Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Obtain A Link Through HARO?

The time frame can vary, it could be as soon as a week or take up to six months depending on your niche, response quality, and more. Keep in mind that high-authority websites typically have long wait for lists for editorial content.

Is HARO Link Building Software Suitable For Any Niche?

HARO queries are categorized into various fields such as Biotech, Business, Energy, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Education, Public Policy, and Travel. There are potential link building opportunities in any niche, but they may not be available every day.

What Makes A Strong Backlink?

Not all links are created equal, it’s important to earn links from high-quality and relevant websites for your business. When utilizing HARO, the goal is to secure do-follow links from high-authority sites. Dofollow links have a stronger impact on SEO than no follow links.

Can I Manage My Own HARO Link Building or Is It Beneficial to Hire An Agency?

It’s possible to handle your own link building through HARO, but the success rate of pitches converting into links can be low. An agency specialized in link building can increase the number of links obtained consistently, and also offer expertise and experience in a variety of campaigns.

What Kind of Publications Have Past Clients Been Featured On?

Placements on specific publications are not guaranteed, but our clients have received links on reputable sites such as Business Insider, Forbes, MSN, Bloomberg Business, Washington Post, and more.

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