How to Generate High Quality Backlinks with HARO?

If you want to be on the first page of Google (or better yet, secure the number one position), you need high-quality links from blogs and authoritative news sources. These are the best white hat backlinks you can create. In fact, Google has specific guidelines when it comes to link building. They disapprove of black hat techniques, including link schemes, hidden redirects, and link farms, as these methods can hurt your search rankings.

In this article, SEO Consultant Luca Tagliaferro shares how to use HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to build links from reputable information sources.

Backlinks (also known as “inbound links” and “inbound links”) are links that lead to your website from another website. They are particularly useful for SEO, as they are pretty much the endorsement of one site by another.

Backlinks to your website are actually a signal to search engines that people are promoting your website. When multiple websites link to the same web page or website, search engines may conclude that the information is worth linking to and therefore worth displaying in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). As a result, getting backlinks can improve your site’s ranking position or search visibility.

Some backlinks are much stronger than others. Backlinks from trusted, prominent, relevant sites are most desirable, while backlinks from low-authority, potentially spammy sites are normally at the other end of the spectrum.

Quality, white hat connections have some common characteristics:

  1. They come from trusted, authoritative websites. For example, websites New York Times or Business Content falls into this category.
  2. The authority of these sites is usually very high and any provided SEO tool has its own metrics. For example, SEMrush uses AR (Authority Score), Ahrefs DR (Domain Rating) and Moz DA (Domain Authority).
  1. They are related to your site. For example, if you operate in the travel industry, you will want to get links from the same industry, not casino or pharmaceutical websites.

Unlike links, mentions only refer to your brand or your website domain without linking. Such “votes” are considered strong by Google and Bing because both search engines have figured out how to associate a mention without a link, as a Google representative explained during a Reddit AMA in 2019.

In the SEO world, despite the encouraging aspect of current trends, backlinks are still stronger than promises.

HARO is one of the best link building services that connects journalists and other bloggers with people who want to get backlinks from otherwise impossible sources. For example, with HARO you can create backlinks from sites such as: Business Content, forbes, Harvard, Guard, this New York Times, Huffington Post, and more.

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What are your chances of getting links from these sites? Unless you personally know a journalist working at any of these outlets, or if you don’t work for a very well-known brand like Apple or BMW and can’t get those links easily (in which case you probably don’t even need them), chances are pretty slim.

I have used HARO many times to refer to highly trusted websites for myself and my clients.

Yahoo!  finance
Luca Tagliaferro Yahoo! finance

I’ve also used HARO to generate backlinks for my clients. For example, from this link Business Content It landed at an online pharmacy in the UK just a few days ago.

Link on Insider
Luca Tagliaferro’s customer link at Insider

Business Content It is a big publication with 29 million visitors per month. You can use your SEO tools to get an overview of the website.

To be clear, this strategy requires a lot of work, as journalists receive a large number of presentations. However, I don’t know of any other way to generate such high quality backlinks. Getting a link from HARO will cost you nothing but your time.

How Good is HARO for SEO?

HARO is a great approach to get high quality, secure and reliable links which is great for SEO. The service is a valuable alternative to expensive digital PR campaigns. In other words, the more natural relationships you develop, the more authoritative you become and the more rewards you get!

This depends on the industry and the link opportunities to your email, which can vary significantly. In my experience, on average, I converted 1 link placement every 15 steps.

Should I Use a Paid HARO Account?

After trying the service, you should seriously consider switching to a premium HARO account. Many extra features become accessible and give you a competitive edge when shooting.

HARO Premium
Brief summary of HARO Premium

How to Use HARO: Step-by-Step Instruction

Step 1. Sign Up and Choose Your Preferences

First go to www.helpareporterout.com and register as a resource.

HARO is a co-messenger
HARO home page

Second, choose your industry preferences.

HARO preferences
Choice options at HARO

After you save your preferences, you will start getting a daily summary of connection opportunities the next day. You can also change the frequency to “weekly” or “monthly”, but I recommend setting it to “daily” so you don’t miss anything.

Don’t forget to check the pitch opportunities sent to your email address.

Step 2. Respond to Quote Requests

It’s important to note that you don’t have to answer every question. HARO is more about quality than quantity. Here are my suggestions for choosing the best deals possible.

Match the Field to Your Skills

It is very tempting to offer each of these opportunities, but if you read the request for proposal, you will see that it requires certain qualifications or job titles.

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Requirements in the field
Requirements for field marketing professionals

In the case shown in the screenshot above, the pitch requires a marketing professional. Therefore, if you are a web designer or CEO, your chances of securing the pitch are extremely low. Be sure to choose a query that requires your specific skills.

Journalists seek quotes or expert opinions from people with certain job titles, so they designate roles such as “needing a dermatologist”, “needing a pediatrician” or “looking for a physical therapist”.

Role on the field
Specifies the role on the field

Another best practice is to choose blogs that fit your industry.

From an SEO perspective, linking from websites in the same industry gives a stronger signal to Google than linking from unrelated sites. This means focusing on sites where your potential audience hangs out.

Of course, there are a few exceptions to this rule:

  1. If your website is new and doesn’t have a lot of online presence, any link is better than nothing.
  2. When famous, authoritative news sites open up an opportunity, your relevance no longer matters. This is because their authority is high enough to override its relevance.

It takes some research to find which are the best sites to evaluate the most reliable and relevant media outlets before preparing your pitch.

Be Quick to Respond

If you don’t respond very quickly, your chances of success are slim. Be sure to check your HARO emails as soon as you receive them. Journalists will receive presentations in the order of presentation, and previous presentations will be seen first.

Step 3. Prepare Your Site

The most important thing to remember is that HARO is an email-based service. So, if you want to get noticed, follow best practices for email marketing.

Make sure you answer questions concisely and clearly without compromising the quality of your message.

Here’s what I did to get the links Business Content, Yahoo! financeand more:

  • write a short biography: Journalists need expert answers. Therefore, the first thing you should do is write a short bio followed by a link to your LinkedIn profile. This allows the journalist to check your credentials.
  • Follow the instructions given in the query: It is important that you keep the order of your answers in the same order as the questions. Ideally, journalists and bloggers will copy and paste your answers into their articles, making them ready for publication.
  • Use a call to action: Sometimes the author needs to ask more questions, so it’s vital that you provide a CTA with your contact information and email address.
  • Provide creatives: You can give the link of your passport photo or company logo to make the work ready for publication. At HARO, you are not allowed to provide downloadable content to prevent anyone from downloading viruses.

This is an example of the response I got from a request I made at HARO:

Example of a response from a request in HARO

Step 4. Complete Your Job

When you reply, your work is not complete. In my opinion, you have two options from here:

  1. You can do nothing and wait for the journalist to inform you. If you did everything right, you will receive an email.
  1. You can set up Google alerts to be notified when your brand name or website URL is mentioned.

HARO is a great way to build high quality backlinks; however, the process can become time-consuming and competitive. With that, it doesn’t have to be like that. Be sure to apply these best practices to your presentations and increase your chances of success.