Link building is among the best ways to boost your website’s authority, increase organic traffic and leads, and rank higher in search engines—it is an essential part of search engine optimization (SEO).
However, link building works best only if done right.
Recently, many SEO professionals have adopted HARO link building, and the results are visible. HARO link building is one of the best link building strategies that can help you acquire high authority backlinks on some of the world’s reputable publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Forbes.
But what does HARO mean, and how can you leverage the platform for link building? Here’s everything you need to know about HARO link building.
What is HARO?
HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a platform that connects journalists with sources who can provide expert insights on relevant industry topics. Reporters, journalists, influencers, and bloggers use HARO to find contributors and sources for stories they’re working on.
You can sign up on HARO for free to get alerts about opportunities to offer your expertise on timely topics or search the HARO archives for relevant queries from reporters.
HARO link building has become a popular digital marketing strategy for SEO.
How Does HARO Work?
The primary purpose of HARO is to help journalists find relevant experts for their stories. However, the platform can also be a powerful tool for link building.
So, how does HARO link building work?
1. Journalists submit queries
Writers, journalists, and bloggers submit queries to HARO when they need expert opinions, quotes, or information for their stories or articles. The queries cover a wide range of topics and industries.
2. HARO distributes the queries to subscribers
Once the queries are posted on HARO, the platform compiles them into three daily emails, which are sent to subscribers who have signed up as sources. These emails contain a list of queries categorized by topic and industry.
3. Sources respond to queries
Sources review the queries that align with their industry and expertise—if they find a relevant query, they can craft a response offering valuable insights, information, or quotes related to the journalist’s request.
4. Journalists evaluate responses
Once the responses are received from the sources, the journalists will evaluate them based on expertise, relevance, and quality of content provided. If your response passes the cut, the journalist may include your insights in their article.
If this happens, you may be cited, quoted, or mentioned in their article or stories. This inclusion in published content gives rise to link-building opportunities.
5. Earn a HARO backlink
If and when a reporter or journalist features your contribution in their story, they may link back to your website or a specific page relevant to the discussion. This link serves as a valuable backlink, contributing to your site’s SEO and online visibility.
Is HARO Good for Link Building?
HARO was not meant for link building. Rather, it was meant for journalists seeking expertise, opinions, and information from expert sources. However, the platform has become an excellent link building strategy for HARO SEO professionals.
But why would you want to secure HARO backlinks for your site? Is HARO good for link building?
Let’s explore the benefits of HARO as a link building technique.
- Acquire high-quality links: HARO helps you acquire big links from top-tier, super-authoritative websites. Plus, your competitors won’t replicate your HARO links. These links are excellent for improving your website’s ranking and visibility in search results.
- Increased organic traffic to your site: When you’re featured in a journalist’s story, people will want to click through to your website to know you more. This increases the amount of referral traffic to your site.
- Build brand awareness: HARO link building allows you to build solid relationships with other businesses, reporters, and potential customers. You can reach out to journalists, establish relationships, and secure more opportunities down the road.
While there are numerous benefits of using HARO for your link building, the platform has its fair share of challenges and cons. For instance, it’s highly competitive as many SEO professionals and marketers are all looking to land links.
Additionally, journalists receive hundreds, if not thousands, of HARO pitches for each query. Therefore, the chances of them picking your pitch are low, especially when you don’t respond in good time. Many journalists often go with the first suitable pitch.
However, there are various ways you can make your HARO pitch stand out. We shall look at that shortly.
Setting Up Your HARO Link Building Strategy
Now you understand HARO backlinks and how they can benefit your business. But you’re still wondering: How do I create a HARO backlink? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make the most out of HARO.
1. Understand HARO link building rules
HARO has rules that you must familiarize yourself with before using the platform. Therefore, head over to the “HARO’s Rules for Sources” page and browse essential rules for contributors. For instance, to be considered a HARO source, you must have clear, reasonable expertise in a topic relevant to the query you’re responding to. You may be immediately removed from the platform if found routinely pitching beyond your area of expertise.
Also, you’re not allowed to spam reporters with off-topic pitches in response to their queries. Moreover, you should not use HARO solely for link building without contributing meaningfully to the posted query. This means a journalist using your response in their stories and articles does not guarantee they will link back to your site.
It’s worth noting that HARO will only warn you once for violating their rules. A second infraction will get you banned from the platform.
2. Create a HARO account
Once you understand how HARO works and its rules, go to the HARO website to create an account. Click on “SIGN-UP” to register as a source on HARO.
You can sign up directly on the HARO official website or use Connectively, HARO’s new pitching platform. This new platform allows you to manage everything in one place as well as identify new opportunities as they go live. You can also apply search filters to identify relevant link opportunities.
You’ll be required to fill out a sign-up form with basic information, including your name, email, phone, and country. If you’re signing up for a free account, follow the simple onboarding steps to complete your profile.
Take time to complete your profile and create a well-written bio. Also, keep it concise, underlining your unique skills and qualifications that make you an expert source in your industry or niche.
You’ll be taken to the main dashboard once you are done with the onboarding process.
If you’re just starting and want to test the waters with HARO link building, we recommend starting with the basic (free) plan. However, if you want to explore plenty of HARO’s features, including the ability to screen HARO requests more efficiently, see requests before others, and access phone support, consider the paid plans.
3. Find relevant HARO queries
You’ll find a long list of queries on the HARO platform seeking expert answers and opinions. However, you can only pick and answer a query if you’re an expert in that field. Do not waste your time (and that of journalists) responding to every request you come across.
Remember, journalists receive multiple responses to their queries. However, they filter through the results till they find the perfect match. And one of the things they look at is your title and the business you represent. Your pitch will only be considered if you’re a credible source.
Pro Tip: To get the most current opportunities and increase your chances of earning a HARO backlink, filter queries by “Date Posted.” You want to ensure that your response is among the first ones to reach the journalist.
4. Create a compelling pitch
Once you’ve identified a relevant query, you should create your HARO pitch. Remember, your pitch is the most important part of your HARO outreach. Therefore, you want to ensure that your pitch stands out.
When crafting your HARO pitch, ensure you include the title of the query, your name and job title, and something to make you shine. This hints to the journalist about the query you’re responding to and your qualifications.
Additionally, make sure the body is clear and concise, and use bullet points for easier skimming. Your body should be no more than 300 words. However, your response should not be too short. Focus on offering unique value to the journalist’s query.
Before sending your pitch, take time to reread the requirements and ensure your pitch contains all requested information.
5. Track your pitches
You may or may not get a response after submitting your pitch. Journalists receive many pitches, and they have no time or capacity to respond to each pitch.
However, if a journalist chooses your pitch, they may reach out to you to let you know that they’ve used (or will use) your contribution.
Connectively has a “Pitches’ tab that allows you to track the status of your pitches. This lets you know the pitches that have been read and used by journalists. However, the platform won’t tell you if you’ve earned a link from the reporter. Therefore, you may need to use other tools like the Semrush Backlink Analytics tool to know when someone or a publication links to your site.
Sometimes, a journalist may publish your quote or response without citing or linking back to your website. You can, therefore, reach out to the publication and ask them to link to you. However, don’t make it too obvious that you simply want a HARO backlink.
5 Help a Reporter Out Alternatives
HARO is among the best platforms to link up with journalists and earn quality backlinks. However, the platform comes with its challenges, which have made some websites and publications move to alternative platforms.
Let’s explore other platforms that work similar to HARO.
This Australian-based pitching platform works similarly to HARO. However, the link building opportunities are mainly for Australian media outlets, including The Guardian, ABC Australia, and Financial Review.
SourceBottle sends sources daily emails with relevant opportunities at relevant times. And just like HARO, SourceBottle offers both free and paid plans.
ProfNet is a HARO-like service connecting experts with journalists. In fact, ProNet and HARO are both owned by Cision.
However, ProfNet is mainly a resource for PR professionals, while HARO targets the general public. You can select how often you want to receive email updates. The platform also provides experts opportunities to speak at live events such as conferences and tradeshows.
3. Featured (formally Terkel)
Featured is a relatively new-comer in the industry and is based on the principle of “community.” The U.S.-based pitching platform directly connects experts and thought leaders with journalists from high-authority sites like Business Insider and Zapier.
Once you set up your profile, the platform sends you relevant opportunities to pitch.
You can register on Qwoted as an independent expert or as a company and outline multiple team members as experts. The platform has a strict vetting process to ensure experts are genuine.
Also, the Qwoted notifies you whenever a journalist reads your pitch. The support team is also excellent.
PitchBox is a link-building and influencer outreach platform recommended by top-tier marketers. The platform utilizes email templates to email publishers, automatically sends follow-up emails if they don’t respond, and takes much work out of the prospecting process.
Pricing ranges from $200 to $1500 based on the size of your needs.
Ready to Elevate Your Link Building Efforts With HARO?
If you’re looking for an effective way to build high-quality backlinks, try HARO link building. The HARO platform connects journalists with experts (sources), allowing you to get quality links when your pitch is used on a publication. Also, there are other sites like HARO that work similarly, including SourceBottle and Featured.
The biggest advantage of HARO linking building is that your competitors can never replicate your quality backlinks.
If you don’t know much about link building but still want to leverage HARO, hire a HARO link building service.