HARO stands for “help a reporter out” and it’s a great way to score high authority backlinks without having to reach too far.
Bloggers, website owners, and SEOs are all trying to find more unique ways to get links and HARO is a quick way to connect yourself to some high quality link building.
In this guide, I’m going to break down HARO link building, the steps involved in doing it right, and potentially provide you with some resources to help along the way.
What is HARO?
HARO (help a reporter out) is a media platform used by popular journalists and reporters to connect with people who have the information they’re looking for. These journalists want to reach industry experts like yourself and gather information to complete articles they’re writing.
When you provide them with the information they need, they provide you with the link you want. As you can guess, this is an amazing way to score high quality backlinks on major news websites.
This is an example of an email you would receive from HARO once you sign up for free.
If you meet the requirements they request to apply for the guest spot, you could potentially earn a link on MedicalNewsToday.com.
This site has a domain rating of 91 and over 104 million visitors per month. Acquiring a link like this on your website would be a huge accomplishment.
Of course, not all the links are this powerful and you likely have to meet strict requirements to pitch a site like that but these opportunities come every now and then.
HARO emails are delivered three times a day to your email at 5:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 5:30 pm Eastern Standard Time.
You’re allowed to apply for as many as you like and you can filter the results to only show the link building opportunities you think you’ll actually be able to obtain.
How to Use HARO for High Authority Backlinks?
Now let’s talk specifically about creating a HARO link building strategy. Out of all the methods you can use for link building, this is a pretty simple one. HARO links are easy to obtain as long as you follow the instructions and pitch the opportunities that you actually have a chance of scoring.
Here’s how you can get started with HARO link building.
Sign Up For HARO
The first thing you’ll need to do is sign up for HARO emails. You can do this for free on their website.
You’ll want to apply as a source because you’re the industry expert with the information and the journalists are the ones looking to give you the backlinks.
All you need to do is agree to their rules, fill out a super quick one page form, and you’ll start receiving link building opportunities in your inbox.
Filter HARO Links
The next step is to filter the results so you’re not inundated with emails and HARO pitches that are irrelevant to you.
You have a few choices for this.
The easiest option is to sign up for a paid HARO account. When you pay for the account you can filter the results based on a number of keywords and you’ll also get the emails ahead of the non-paid accounts so get first preference.
If you don’t sign up for a paid account you can set up a filter in Gmail to move the HARO emails to a specific label.
Craft Your Pitch
The next and most important step is putting together your HARO pitch that will help you build links fast.
Don’t complicate this because it’s really no different than sending an email and it comes down to a numbers game at the end of the day.
Get Attention With Your Subject Line
HARO link building is done through your email account so you’ll need to craft a great subject line that will get attention.
Your subject line should be brief, to the point, and clear about who you are and what you’re pitching.
A good example of a subject line would be:
- [HARO Response] Your Job Title + Query Subject
So, if you were pitching a website looking for SEO experts to talk about a recent Google Update you might use this subject line:
- [HARO Response] SEO Pro’s 3 Key Takeaways From the Helpful Content Update
Experiment with different strategies but be sure to focus on who you are, what you do, and why you’re qualified to be the source of information for these reporters. The better you can do those three things, the higher chances you have of having success with HARO link building.
Focus on Expertise and Credentials
As we start talking about our reply, you should always open with the answer to why you’re in their inbox. Who are you, what do you do, and why are you qualified?
You want to do this in as few words as possible because reporters don’t want to read a whole paragraph of you bragging about your accomplishments.
That said, they do want an authoritative source so don’t be afraid to tell them the following:
- Your name and job title
- Publications you’ve been featured in
- Recent accolades or accomplishments
- Links to businesses, websites, or anything you own
- Credentials to help you stand out
Building links with HARO is all about standing out in a sea of people chasing the same opportunity. It’s believed that roughly one percent of all HARO pitches are accepted so anything you can do to stand out will help.
Have a Unique Angle
As always, value is the magic word. The more value you can provide to the journalists, the higher the chances you have of getting a response to the HARO queries.
If you’re giving the recipients information they can find anywhere in the search engines you won’t likely hear back from them.
The reason journalists turn to HARO is for unique insights. They want to know what YOU the expert think about something. Feel free to put your own spin on things and cite personal anecdotes from your real life experiences.
If you have original research and data that you can provide, that will give you an even stronger advantage.
Sites like the Wall Street Journal and other major publications are always looking for SEO agencies and other digital marketing specialists to provide original information for their readers.
Make Sure to Follow the Requirements
I saved the best for last because the key to getting a HARO link is following the requirements and reading the rules of the pitch very carefully.
If you take a look at the example you’ll see a long list of questions they want you to answer to get featured on Healthline.com. The HARO queries usually come with a deadline and also credential requirements.
You need to make sure to read all the questions very carefully, respond only to what is expected of you, and write a unique response every single time.
Do not try to provide canned or templated answers in an attempt to send more pitches out faster because it will not be beneficial to you.
If the requirements say that you need to be a real estate agent to pitch the link building opportunity then you should make it clear right off the bat that you’re a real estate agent with [blank] years of experience.
Here are a few other things to remember for HARO link building:
No link swaps – It’s against HAROs terms of service to suggest to a reporter that you’d be willing to do a link swap. Chances are the sites you’re pitching have a much higher domain authority than you anyway and would never agree to a link exchange in the first place.
No pitching products – Keep in mind that many journalists on HARO are working for a larger company and will not have any interest in your products. Give them what they ask for. If a product you have backs up a point or increases your authority then feel free to include it.
Link images – HARO does not support images so if you need to include an image for any reason be sure to link to it.
No attachments – If you include attachments in your HARO response the system will automatically mark you as spam and your reply will not make it through. Do not include attachments, any external documents or images need to be linked.
4 Tips for Having Success with HARO Link Building
Let’s take a look at some of my top tips for using HARO requests to secure high quality links.
1. Answer Emails Quickly
HARO reaches over one million sources and 75,000 journalists. What does that tell you?
It tells you there are a heck of a lot more sources than journalists so you’re literally floating in a sea of other people who have the same information as you. HARO outreach is all about being the quickest to the punch and the guy who checks enough of the boxes.
Each day when the HARO query comes into your inbox, plan to check it as soon as possible. Go through the link building opportunities, find all the relevant links, and start pitching them right away.
2. Focus on Quality vs Quantity
Don’t worry about replying to every query, use HARO as a way of finding the best opportunities and focus on those. Take the time necessary to provide a valuable response and the journalists will reward you with HARO backlinks.
3. Provide Value to Journalists
It goes without saying but the best link building strategies are the ones where the most value is provided. Develop relationships with the journalists, offer to share the content, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to the journalists as well.
4. Keep Track of Contact Info
As you’re using HARO to build high authority backlinks, you’ll start to see some repeat journalists who are posting frequently. This is common and can be great for your link building.
Keep track of the contact information of whoever you’re sending pitches to because you may be able to reach out to them later on for future opportunities and you may also want to follow up at some point.
Considering a HARO Link Building Service?
HARO link building is a great way to build quality links to high domain authority websites in a short amount of time. It’s one of the most popular link building strategies in a number of different niches.
At We Outreach, we believe it’s important to have as many options for link building as possible and HARO linking is just another tool in your tool belt. If you’re looking for a HARO link building service or simply need help with your HARO SEO, contact us today!