Try the HARO Way to Great SEO Backlink Building
Helping reporters is an excellent way to score great backlinks that boost your website’s domain authority (DA). That is why SEO agency experts strongly advise using platforms like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to get backlinks. Connecting with writers there is smooth and intuitive.
This guide covers everything you need to know about HARO, why you need it, and how to use it, including:
- Backlink building for SEO
- Why backlinks from journalists are valuable
- A primer on HARO and five steps for using it
There’s a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
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Using Backlink Building for Great Website SEO
Backlinks are integral to off-page SEO because they show and add to your content's value. A strategy to collect links from various sources is a must for better ranking. That said, high-quality backlinks often come from guest posts or references on other websites.
Authoritative websites, such as Forbes or The New York Times, are the best targets for backlink building due to their reputation as reliable sources. You do not need to be so ambitious all the time, however, because bloggers and podcasts are also valuable sources of quality backlinks.
The most important factors are the relevance to your content and a sensible relationship between the linking website and yours. For example, you would probably find it confusing if a cosmetics blog suddenly posted about top gaming PCs and the best food spots around Chicago.
Why You Need Backlinks from Journalists
Whether on a television, computer screen, or smartphone app, the news is still one of the major driving forces for spreading information. News sites have a captive audience that guarantees some degree of attention or traffic funneling straight to your business’ website.
People (usually) trust the news, so getting backlinks from journalists acts like a seal of approval. It is like an endorsement that says, “This website is legitimate and worth your attention.” There are few better ways to advertise your website or content than on the pages of a newspaper.
Of course, though, you must tread carefully and ensure that you work only with the right platforms. Outlets that publish fake news or misinformation are in the same category as spam or low-quality backlinks. That means they also cause serious harm to your SEO efforts.
HARO: The Ultimate PR Outreach Platform
HARO is one of the best content distribution and PR platforms for link building. With prolific clients such as Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and TIME, HARO has plenty to offer in terms of SEO backlink opportunities. Adding it to your strategy is as easy as these three steps, too:
1. Sign up
2. Read your daily HARO emails
3. Respond to reporters
However, success is not always a guarantee with HARO. There is the element of selling yourself as a reliable source of information that separates the novices from the experts. In a way, it is similar to job applications in that you highlight your uniqueness to win backlinks.
5 Steps For Using HARO In Backlink Building
Now that you know about HARO and what people use it for, orient yourself on how to add it to your backlink-building strategy. For the most part, it works in three easy steps, as mentioned above. However, a couple more steps in between need addressing.
1. Create A HARO Account
To create a HARO account, visit their front page and click the "Sign Up" button on the top-right of the page. That takes you to the application form for a basic account. If you want to unlock paid features, click on “Subscriptions” or upgrade on your Basic account’s profile.
Whichever account type you apply for, the required personal information is the same:
1. First and Last Name
2. Email and Phone Number
After signing up, check your email for a confirmation message, click the link inside, and then sign in. You might have to wait a while before you receive it, so be patient.
2. Get Updates And Alerts
Once you access your account, you must set up your email alerts. Expect to receive digests full of requests three times a day — a morning, afternoon, and evening edition. This is how you connect with journalists. Set up email alerts by following these steps:
1. Log in and make sure you are on the My Account page.
2. Set your Account Type to “Source.”
3. Put in your current approximate address.
4. Select your industry under HARO preferences.
5. Add any other contact information you feel is necessary.
Do not exclusively rely on keyword research tools to find journalist keywords, even if they are the best. For one, even with today’s rapid technological development, artificial intelligence (AI) programs are still incapable of advanced decision-making.
3. Learn The Platform’s Rules
As with any other platform, community rules govern how members — journalists and sources alike — interact. HARO’s editors have set theirs specifically to remain faithful to their goal. Helping reporters by volunteering information should always be your top priority.
To do that, conduct yourself appropriately on the HARO platform. Otherwise, you might struggle to get your information published, or find yourself scrambling to avoid a ban. Here are some guidelines you need to familiarize yourself with when using HARO.
1. Send answers directly to the journalist’s @helpareporter.net address in their request.
2. Make explicitly sure you have the appropriate credentials before you make any claims.
3. Stick to providing genuine and factual information based on your expertise.
4. Do not prioritize backlink building. Stick to using HARO only for its intended purpose.
5. Refrain from adding anything unrelated to the subject when responding to requests.
4. Find Relevant Requests
Once you have your HARO preferences set, you only need to wait for the requests to roll in. The email digests arrive like clockwork three times daily, at 5:35 AM, 12:35 PM, and 5:35 PM EST. Be sure to note these times so you can attend to any requests sooner rather than later.
Each request contains a query (the information the journalist needs) and a requirement (the qualifications for prospective sources). Review these until you find one that suits you, and then immediately reply to the journalist. Other relevant information is in the request as well, including:
1. Journalist’s Name
3. Anonymous @helpareporter.net Email
4. Media Outlet
5. Request Deadline
5. Reach Out And Pitch Ideas
The last step to using HARO is contacting a journalist and responding to their request for information. Needless to say, only choose ones that match your knowledge and expertise, backed by experience in your industry. Overselling yourself may turn sour if you are not careful.
When writing your response, answer the journalist’s question as simply and clearly as possible. Avoid anything that could confuse the recipient to eliminate all possibilities of miscommunication. Look at the tips below to get a better idea of what to add to your email pitch:
- Did I use an attention-grabbing subject in my message? Is my title accurate?
- Is my information relevant to the needs of the journalist and their audience?
- Did I state my point clearly and concisely? Did I avoid unnecessary details?
- Have I included my contact details? Are they immediately visible to the recipient?
- Do I have any supporting documents to add? Did I include a link to those files?
Getting a backlink from journalists is easier said than done, even when you have friends in mainstream media. However, platforms such as HARO have made PR outreach a faster and smoother process for everyone. Simply sign up and start sending pitch emails to writers.
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