We get it. You want to build strong links to your website, and now you are trying to learn how HARO can help you build links.
We will help you with that.
But before you start using HARO as one of your link building strategies, you must first properly understand what exactly HARO is, why you should use it, how it works, and so on.
So why wait any further? Your ultimate guide to HARO link building is ready.
Let’s dive right into it.
What is HARO?
HARO (Help a Reporter Out).
To make things clear, let me tell you that the term HARO refers to a website that is all about connecting journalists with sources.
The concept is very simple – Journalists and reporters are constantly looking for expert sources for their topics. This strategy is all about providing those journalists with what they want, and in return, getting backlinks from them.
Sign up to receive their daily newsletter. Each email will contain a request from a journalist looking for expert insights on their topic.
Once you feel that a request falls under your area of expertise, respond to that request and provide valuable insight.
If the journalists find your response to be valuable, they will link to your website.
The only downside is that there is no guarantee that the media will pick your thoughts.
The new home of HARO
Connectively is now the new home of HARO. It’s your new home to find all of your favorite HARO features along with some new additions.
Why is HARO important for your website?
Now that you know what HARO is, it’s time to understand why exactly it is important for your website.
Here are some reasons why HARO link building is important.
1. You get quality backlinks
Now this thing is obvious. The journalists posting requests on the HARO website often come from big publisher websites that have a high domain authority and a good image in Google’s algorithm.
That’s exactly why HARO link building is important for your business.
If you want to earn high-quality backlinks to your website, you can do it by using the HARO strategy and getting approved by journalists from reputable websites which can help you improve your search performance.
2. You can increase your credibility
Another benefit of using HARO as a link building strategy is that along with giving you quality backlinks it also gives you the opportunity to increase your credibility.
Let me explain how.
So when you get featured on reputable news websites, it presents your website as a trustworthy brand in front of your target audience.
This way you gain more credibility in your industry.
3. You get more and more traffic
Most news websites have thousands of people coming to their websites each day. Just imagine how much traffic you will get if you get featured on these news websites.
Yes. Getting media coverage with the help of HARO often leads to higher traffic to your website. News readers may find your expertise in the article and may visit your site to learn more about your business.
4. You create a diverse link profile
You know what? Google loves it when you have a diverse link profile.
What is a diverse link profile?
Well, a diverse link profile means having links coming to your website through different kinds of websites and methods.
When you get a variety of high-quality backlinks from high-authority websites of different domains, you get the opportunity to improve your SEO rankings.
5. You get more networking opportunities
Now, the last and final HARO benefit we are going to talk about is that, along with all the other benefits, HARO link building also gives you some opportunities to network and build connections with strong partners.
With HARO, you can build contacts with journalists and popular publishers. This can be extremely useful to your business in the long run.
How does HARO work?
As said earlier, HARO is the best platform to find journalists looking for sources and build connections with them.
But how does it work? Let’s understand that now.
So HARO is a website that is all about connecting journalists looking for sources with experts who can provide them with what they need.
You’ll need to sign up as a source on the HARO website and register for daily emails. Next, you’ll get daily emails on various requests posted by journalists.
It’s your job to find the most relevant one and respond to it and provide value.
If the journalists like your pitch, they’ll include you as a source in their article and provide a backlink to your website.
Now after signing up with the HARO website, you’ll get three emails every day related to different topics.
All you have to do is open those emails and check if any of the requested queries fall under your area of expertise.
The best thing about this website is that it has four different plans including one free plan where you don’t have to pay even a single penny.
However, most businesses prefer the Standard plan ($19/month) over a free plan as it offers many additional features giving you a competitive advantage.
Advantages of a paid plan
The first and foremost benefit that you get from a paid plan is that it allows you to add alert messages for keywords.
Meaning, you can select a keyword that you want to set an alert for and then you’ll get an email alert whenever there is a request that contains your specific keyword.
For example, if we set an alert for “Digital marketing“, we will get an alert email whenever there is a request from a journalist that contains this keyword.
This way, we can be the first one to respond to relevant queries and get a competitive advantage over other free users.
Next, it also helps you make your pitches even more impactful by automatically adding your bio and other links, giving you more opportunities to showcase your credibility.
Another amazing feature is that you can even search for specific queries directly from the online interface.
How to use HARO successfully to build links
Now, it’s time to get a proper understanding of how to use HARO to build strong links to your website. First, let’s talk about the step-by-step process you must follow.
Step-by-step process to follow
Step 1. Sign up as a source
The first step towards your successful HARO link building campaign is visiting the HARO website and signing up as a source.
The process is simple, all you have to do is click the sign-up button and then fill out the next form.
After filling out the form, you’ll get a verification email to finalize your account setup.
Once you click the verification link you’ll be redirected to a welcome page and your first step will be completed.
Step 2. Set up your profile
Now that you’ve successfully created your account, it’s time to set up your profile.
First, confirm all your general information.
Next, you’ll also be given the option to select your preferred industry to receive more queries related or it.
Step 3: Start responding to queries
After you’ve set up your preferences, you’ll start getting queries related to your topic.
Now, it’s your job to carefully read all the queries and respond to the ones that fall under your area of expertise.
One thing to understand here is that you are not the only one responding to those queries. The journalists may be receiving hundreds of responses from different sources. It’s very important to stand out from the crowd to make sure that the journalist picks you as their source.
Here are some things to remember when responding to queries:
- Keep it short and concise
The first thing to keep in mind here is to always keep your response as short and concise as possible. Don’t try to add anything that is not needed in your response and try to only write about what’s needed.
Generally, it’s a good rule to always restrict your length to 2 to 3 paragraphs unless the journalist is asking for more information.
- Show them why they should choose you
Along with keeping your response short, you must also focus on showing the journalist the reason why they need to pick you as their source.
- Show expertise
Because journalists will be looking for someone who is an expert on the topic, it is extremely important for you to show your expertise in your response.
Step 4. Set up alerts to monitor your responses
Once you’re done with responding to the queries, it’s now time to monitor them.
The best way to monitor the result is by setting up alerts to check if you made it in.
The best way to do it is by using Google Alerts. You can set Google alerts for your name so that you’ll be notified whenever an article is published containing your name.
This way you can stay updated with your HARO efforts.
Key points to follow
Here are some key points that you must keep in mind and follow when using HARO link building.
1. Respond to relevant queries
Now the first and one of the most important key points to keep in mind is to only respond to relevant queries.
It’s all about saving both your and the journalist’s time.
Be sure that you are qualified enough to provide your expert advice on the query you are responding to and that it is relevant to your area of expertise.
Responding to a query that is not relevant to your business is a simple waste of time.
When responding to relevant queries you must consider the following goals:
- It should be within your niche
- It should give you strong backlinks
- It should give you referral traffic
- It should give you brand exposure
2. Be quick to respond
“The ones that are quick, are the ones that win”. That’s the rule you must follow with your HARO link building.
Try to be among the first ones to respond to the relevant query posted by a journalist.
Journalists may sometimes even get thousands of responses to their queries. This makes it difficult for them to read and check every response.
That’s when they stop reading new responses and continue with the responses they checked earlier (first responses).
Another reason is that journalists may even sometimes set the same-day deadline. Meaning, they will stop checking their responses after one day.
That’s exactly why you must always try to respond to your queries as quickly as possible.
3. Be ready to wait
When using HARO to build links, it is extremely important for you to understand that this thing takes time.
You cannot expect to get your mega backlink right after you respond to the query.
You see, there are hundreds of queries being posted on the HARO website each day. Most of the time, journalists post their queries before even starting to write their articles.
That’s why you must always be ready to wait at least a few weeks before you can see the result of your HARO website.
4. Make sure the website is worth it
Next, you must make sure that the website you are aiming to get backlinks from is worth it.
You can do it by using Ahrefs site explorer.
Simply take the domain name of the website from the HARO query and paste it into Site Explorer to get data and information about the website.
You can check metrics such as the website’s daily traffic and domain authority to ensure that it is a high-quality website.
Next, you must also take a look at the website’s backlink profile to check if it contains spam backlinks.
Finally, you can visit that website and take a look yourself at its latest post, and other webpages to determine the quality of that website.
This is simply because there is no point in getting a backlink from a site that doesn’t give you overall results. Try to aim for a website that has high domain authority and receives high daily traffic.
5. Craft the best responses
Now this point is by far the most important point that is going to decide whether your pitch is going to be approved or not.
You see, just because journalists receive hundreds of responses to their queries, it is extremely important for you to do something that makes you stand out from the crowd.
The very first thing to consider is to make sure that you are providing some value. Check through the first page of the SERP for the topic and be sure that you are providing something that is not already used.
Be short and concise
You must always focus on keeping your pitch as short as possible. Avoid using filler content and only talk about what is required. Try to explain as much as possible in the least words possible. Generally, it is advisable to keep your pitch between 100 to 200 words.
Add your personality
Next, you must focus on showcasing your expertise in your response while also keeping your pitch as short as possible. You can use your personal viewpoints and communicative language to engage with the journalists.
Add other essentials
Along with these, you must also focus on adding other essentials.
Since journalists will be looking at your title before looking at your entire pitch, it’s important to add a title that makes the journalists click your pitch and shows your relevance and expertise quickly.
Next, also try to add a short and engaging intro as well as an outro in your pitch.
Finally, also try to add some personalization to your pitches by adding the journalist’s names in your pitch.
6. Craft HARO alerts strategically
One more thing to keep in mind when using HARO link building is that you must always set alerts for your target keywords to get an alert notification every time a relevant request is posted.
Just remember to be strategic when choosing the right keywords and make sure they match your area of expertise.
7. Follow guidelines
Next, it’s also important to keep in mind that the website has its own guidelines that you must follow.
You must also understand that even the journalists have their own set of rules and guidelines they need you to follow when responding to their queries.
Common HARO mistakes to avoid
Now that you know what to do when using HARO for link building, let me show some things that you shouldn’t do when using HARO link building. In other words, here are some common HARO mistakes to avoid.
1. Ignoring the journalist’s guidelines
Each journalist comes with their own set of guidelines when posting a request on the HARO website.
As an expert, it’s your job to understand those guidelines and follow them in order to get accepted by the journalist.
HARO is not just about showing your expertise to the journalist but also showing the journalist that you respect their guidelines to build strong connections with them.
2. Giving generic responses with zero uniqueness
Now that you know that a journalist posting a request on HARO generally gets more than 50 responses to their requests, you must also have understood that being generic with responses won’t work.
If you want to present yourself as an expert and stand out from the crowd, it’s extremely important for you to tailor your response to each query.
Next, you must also add some personalization to your pitch that automatically grabs the attention of the journalist.
Now this is the kind of HARO mistake that, on the surface, would look like a smart move but is a big mistake that can lead you to lose your spot.
Showing your expertise and experience is good, but writing an entire pitch all about them is not a smart move. Over-promotion can make your pitch more of an advertisement than a valuable response to the query.
You must only include those things in your pitch that are really needed to get accepted and not focus much on only promoting yourself.
4. Way too long pitch
Now we have discussed this point many times and I think it’s important to discuss it one more time. This is because even though most experts are aware of this point they still make this mistake while trying to prove their expertise to the journalist.
Even if you have a lot to talk about, never make your pitch too long. Journalists don’t want to read a response that is long and covers too many points.
Try to restrict your pitch to 2 to 3 paragraphs.
5. Being impatient
Now this is one of the most important points to keep in mind if you want to perform your HARO strategy effectively.
Oftentimes, journalists come from big publisher websites who look for sources to add to their articles.
Big publisher websites often have a long waiting time since they have a big process to go through before accepting any response.
It may sometimes even take months before you see any results from your HARO pitches. But because these requests are coming from high authority websites, they are often worth the wait.
6. Not being consistent
Yes. Even HARO link building requires you to be consistent with your strategy to show you any good results.
You can’t just write 2 to 3 responses and then sit and wonder why you are not getting any results from your HARO strategy.
Try to be consistent with your responses before expecting any good results from your strategy.
7. Ignoring your metrics
The last and final HARO mistake that you must avoid is ignoring your metrics.
Your HARO strategy shouldn’t be just about finding the most relevant request, crafting your pitch, and then moving on to another request.
Once you’re done with providing your pitches to various requests, it’s important for you to take a look at your metrics and start analyzing what works for you and what doesn’t.
This helps you get an idea of how you should tailor your HARO strategy and craft your pitch to get the best results.
Okay, so this was the complete guide on HARO link building.
In this post, we’ve learned everything about HARO including what it is, its benefits, how it works, how to achieve success in it, and common mistakes to avoid.
Now, it’s your turn to go for it and start your HARO link building strategy the right way. Just remember all the steps and points mentioned and you’ll be on your way to your success.
Is HARO good for link building?
Yes. HARO is one of the best strategies to use if you want to build strong links to your website. The best thing about HARO is that it gives you links from high-authority websites with high traffic that can benefit your website in many ways.
What are the disadvantages of using HARO link building?
Here are some disadvantages of using HARO as a link building strategy:
1. It takes a lot of time to get you the results
2. Hundreds of businesses are fighting to get the same link
3. There is no guarantee of success
4. You have limited control
5. Daily HARO emails can be overwhelming
Do I have to pay for HARO?
The simple answer is no. You don’t have to compulsorily pay for HARO as there is a free plan available on the website that provides all the basic features. However, if you want to access better features, you’ll have to go for their paid plan which starts from $19/month.