HARO link building is a simple method for getting powerful backlinks from reputable websites pointed at your digital properties. If you want more organic traffic from high-quality links, it’s a great strategy to implement.
The service HARO (Help A Reporter Out) connects publishers (websites, blogs, reporters, and business owners) with subject matter experts. It can give you the chance to be featured on prominent websites with relatively minimal effort compared to other link building methods.
In this guide to HARO link building, I will explain what HARO is. I’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how you can start using HARO to increase the online visibility of your business.
We’ll delve into HARO best practices, and I’ll reveal how to maximize your HARO pitches to get the links you really want.
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What Is HARO?
HARO stands for “Help a Reporter Out.” This freemium service functions as a middle ground between publishers and subject matter experts. It originally focused on providing expert sources for journalists, but now many websites and blogs use HARO to connect with niche experts.
Popular news authorities such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, and Mashable, are known to use HARO. Unlike other link-building techniques, HARO encourages publishers to reach out to you with a relevant question instead of you needing to exert effort to connect with them.
Here are a few sites I’ve received in-content article links from thanks to HARO:
And I only have three years of experience in my field. Imagine the kind of backlink profile you could get with ten or more years of experience in your industry. That’s the power of HARO backlinks.
How Can You Start Using HARO for Link Building?
Follow the instructions in this article or watch my HARO video tutorial:
Step 1: Fill Out the HARO Signup Form
First go to HelpAReporter.com and sign up for HARO as a source. You’ll need to provide your name, email and phone number. You may also need to fill out a reCaptcha form and jump through another hoop or two, but it’s worth it.
Step 2: Activate Your HARO Account
Check your email and open the confirmation message. Activate your HARO account by clicking on the verification link included in the email. The link will redirect you to a welcome page to confirm that your HARO account is now up and running.
At some point (I honestly don’t remember, I signed up awhile ago), HARO will offer you their premium service. I just use the free tier, but if you want to get serious about increasing your domain authority, you might consider one of the paid plans.
Step 3: Set Up Your HARO Profile
Now that you’re in you can set up your HARO profile. Go to the “My Account” screen and select the account type that you prefer. If you want to act as an expert source and get backlinks, tick the “Source” box, instead of “Reporter” or “Sponsor”.
Next select the industries that you want to receive queries related to. You will be subscribed to the master list automatically, but you may want to unsubscribe from it and select the most relevant options.
Click on the “Save & Update” button to save the changes to your HARO profile.
Step 4: Respond to HARO Queries
After you are done setting up your HARO profile, you can begin responding to queries. HARO will send you 3x emails each weekday which contain a summary of queries and the media outlets requesting the data.
Note: If you sign up for multiple lists, you’ll receive multiple daily emails. For example, I’m subscribed to the master list and two industry lists, so I get 3 HARO emails 3x per day.
You can either skim through the emails or just do a keyword search if there are only a few topics you want to talk about.
Keep in mind that publishers often receive hundreds of responses to queries so you need to stand out and provide real value.
You can either send your pitch in via email or go to your HARO account in the “My Pitches” section.
Step 5: Keep Track of Responses via Alerts
Not all publishers will contact you even if they use your response on their website. Here are a couple of ways you can monitor whether or not your content gets used.
RSS Subscription: If you subscribe to a website’s RSS feed, you can get a notification every time they publish new content. This could get annoying for active blogs, but it’s one way to stay on top of someone else’s publishing.
Google Alerts: The second and more convenient option is to subscribe to Google Alerts. Just make sure to set up the Google Alert using the same name which you included when you responded to the query.
BuzzSumo Alerts: BuzzSumo alerts are like Google alerts, but much faster and more powerful. If you plan to build a lot of HARO links, it might be worth signing up for a free trial.
What Are HARO Link Building Best Practices?
Here are some of the best strategies for HARO link building:
Best Practice #1: Send Responses to Queries ASAP
Do your best to respond swiftly to queries as soon you receive them. Even if you have the best response out of all the contenders, it’s much easier for publishers to pick one of the first few pitches they receive rather than reading through dozens or hundreds.
Best Practice No. 2: Keep It Short
Expert quotes usually usually aren’t that long. Make your HARO pitch conducive to publication by minimizing your responses to around two or three paragraphs, except for queries that request longer content.
As a general guideline, you have probably fallen into the pitfall of wordiness if you need a Word document to fit in all the information.
Best Practice No. 3: Meet All the Query Requirements
Ensure that you meet the requirements of the query before you write and send a response. Publishers are generally searching for reliable sources who are experts in the field. You can increase the possibility of having your HARO pitch approved if you only submit responses to queries directly related to your expertise.
Best Practice No. 4: Share Interesting, Substantial Information
As you craft your response to the query, share information that is both interesting and relevant. Your HARO pitch should be compelling enough to draw the attention of readers, but weighty enough so that they learn something new.
When relevant, include solid data in your response such as verifiable facts and statistics in your pitch. If the topic has been covered many times before, write about it from a fresh point of a view to offer a unique twist to the readers.
Best Practice No. 5: Review and Improve Your HARO Pitches
As you regularly utilize HARO to market your business, you can evaluate which of your subject titles, pitches, and strategies work best. Look for patterns in pitches that get accepted and try to provide similar content for future queries.
Level up Your HARO Link Building Strategy
HARO is a great way to build links, but you need to make sure that you provide real value in as concise and engaging a manner as possible. Be right, be different, and be quick to send in your pitch.
If you can do that, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of this valuable resource.
Need help writing your HARO pitches, or with SEO strategy or marketing and writing services? Feel free to contact me for a free quote and we’ll see if we work well together. I can also refer you to some of the best HARO link building services in the game.
Frequently Asked Questions About Building HARO Links
Here are some common questions and answers related to HARO and link building.
What is HARO link building?
HARO link building means signing up for helpareporter.com’s mailing list and responding to questions submitted by major publications. Sites such as Business Insider and American Express are known for using HARO to source expert quotes.
Is HARO good for backlinks?
Help a Reporter Out is one of the best ways to get relevant backlinks from authoritative domains. I have personally gotten links from websites like Shopify that would not contact me under normal circumstances, but they liked my pitch so they cited me as an author.
How much does HARO cost?
I included a screenshot of HARO’s pricing above, but it may be subject to change. The best way to check the cost of HARO is to sign up for the free tier and then navigate to subscription options to see their current offering.