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Free Backlinks? An Introduction to HARO


Note: Following is an edited transcript of this video, featuring Josh Eberly, 5K | Formerly Conklin Media’s chief operating officer and SEO wizard.

Generating good-quality backlinks is a goal just about every business owner has. If you’ve been searching for tips on creating exceptional backlinks for your website, you have come to the right place. Today, I’m going to dive deep into one of the most-little-known aspects of link building called HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Let’s dive in and explore the benefits of HARO and how to set up an account.

What Are Backlinks?

As we’ve explained before, backlinks are super important in Google’s eyes. Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your business’ website. In other words, backlinks signify authority. Through this method that I’m about to explain to you, you can create some well-built backlinks for your website.

What Is HARO?

So what exactly is HARO, and what does HARO mean? HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. This website is an online service designed to help journalists gather feedback from the public. It is an excellent platform for exposing your company and generating backlinks for your website. If you are an industry professional and have intense knowledge on a certain subject or category, you are a great resource for HARO.

How to Use HARO

Now that you understand what HARO means, you may be wondering how to use HARO for your business. Fortunately, HARO is extremely easy to use and very beneficial for businesses. To begin, you’re going to get onto the Help a Reporter Out website. Once you’re in HARO, you’ll want to click on “I’m a Source.” By clicking this, you’re basically saying “I’m a valid person.” After you click on that, you’ll see a list of rules that HARO gives you. I highly recommend reading these rules before signing up.

The next step after reading through their rules is setting up an account. To sign up, you can simply choose the basic subscription package. It’s free to sign up for this package. You also have the option to upgrade your account. I haven’t found the need to upgrade my account, even though I get tons of links from different clients.

Once you sign up, you’ll need to log in to your account. In your account, you can make adjustments under the preferences section. This allows you to select what you’d like to see. For example, you could choose to see only high-tech subjects, travel, business or finance. Another option is to get the master HARO account, which I recommend for businesses.

How Does HARO Work?

In your HARO account, you’ll be able to see all the pitches that you’ve done. When you receive a HARO email—which I’ll explain to you in a few minutes—you’re going to receive a list of topics as well as some requirements. You can then click on that requirement and respond back. Afterward, you can see what you submitted.

I’m going to share with you an example about how this works. Recently, I reached out to Chris, someone who was pitching for interesting side hustles. I wrote to him: “Chris, I saw your HARO requests looking for individuals who have a full time job and money-making side project. Currently, I have a digital marketing business but also do real estate wholesaling on the side. It’s almost all online, and I run from my couch. I would love to share more knowledge with your audience and help them avoid mistakes I made. Best, Josh Eberly.”

The cool part is that sometimes inside the account, you can see that they accepted the pitch. For example, I responded back to someone looking for information about search engine optimization. I gave some SEO information as well as my company name and URL. What’s cool is that they accepted this pitch. So this pitch has actually gone live.

Now, this doesn’t always mean that they’re going to update this inside the account. A lot of times, they don’t actually do that, but you can still see where your pitches are getting accepted.

How to Use HARO for Free Backlinks

A good rule of thumb is to pitch often. On our account, we’re running about one in 10 or one in six for some niches on HARO. Which is great. But I highly recommend pitching a lot.

When you sign up for the service, what you get and how you pitch is really fascinating. I’m going to explain the process by pulling up an email from one of my clients.

These emails from HARO come in the morning and at the end of the day. This email is from the morning edition, and it basically says, “Here are your queries.” In this email, I see a list of biotech, healthcare, business, finance, high tech, lifestyle, fitness, travel and many other topics. You’re going to see anywhere between 50 to 100-plus of these a day. Usually, you receive the most on Thursdays and the lowest amount on Fridays.

Now I’m going to scroll down on this email to the business section. Once here, I’m looking for things we can pitch. One query on this email is “What is your one tip for writing a killer sales pitch that can be used across channels?” If you have any knowledge of this, you can pitch this by clicking on it.

How Do HARO Queries Work?

If you click on the pitch or query, you’ll see the deadline for these pitches. It is really important to see the actual query, as you can see what people are trying to answer.

On this pitch, it says that Simonetta is looking for unique entrepreneurs to interview on the next panel for a TV show. The first and recent panel show accumulated more than 4 million views.

Now, what are the requirements for this pitch? Well, you must be an entrepreneur or a person of interest. You can be based anywhere in the world, but this is urgent, so a contract would need to be signed by the end of Friday. So, basically, it looks as if she’s searching for entrepreneurs to get exposure on her TV show, which is on Instagram. So this seems to be a really good fit for us.

How to Respond to HARO Queries

Now that I’ve decided I want to do this pitch, I’m going to click on the email address that was given to me. You always want to make a unique subject line for your email. Perhaps you’d want to type “Guest on your TV show” or something that is funny or unique. Basically, you want to make them open the email.

In the copy, you want to write your name as well as say that you saw them on HARO and that you’d love to be featured on their site. Write a little bit about yourself and then have a closing.

So that’s how you pitch the query via email.

Keep in mind that when you pitch your queries, you may not hear back right away, but you may hear back a week or two later. This doesn’t really matter. The most important things to remember are that you want to pitch often and that you don’t want to be shy about pitching a lot. A lot of people would look at these topics and say, “I have nothing to say about some of these topics on here.” Well, that’s OK. Pick and choose the ones that you feel comfortable with. But if you have any expertise in any kind of slim fashion on these, I would definitely recommend that you pitch.

If you’re in the business area, I recommend that you check out the business and finance sections. Sometimes, there are topics under “general” that also apply to business. Additionally, lifestyle and fitness may also have a really good crossover, which is awesome. Always check the queries that you can give good backlinks to.

Tips for Building Backlinks on HARO

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you want to build relationships. I’m going to share with you another example of a HARO request for Rocket Mortgage. I pitched Kiana at Rocket Mortgage on June 8, and on July 22, she responded back. This is what she said: “Hey, Josh. Hope you’re doing well and staying safe. I want to let you know the real estate interview that you did for Rocket Mortgage is now live on the site. Thank you for taking your time to contribute. And you can go see the post here.”

So I actually got in this Rocket Mortgage blog, which really helped our SEO and boosted our domain authority. Additionally, she gave me an embed code to put on our website. This is why it’s important to build relationships.

She’s most likely going to have a lot of queries in the future that need answering, so I want to make sure I connect with her as an individual because she’s not just working with Rocket Mortgage, but she’s probably also working with 50 other brands. So if she needs a quote in the future about home insurance or maybe something totally different, I can be a go-to resource for her to get a quote. That’s because she knows I’m giving her quality information, and she knows that I understand this topic. So I can get multiple links from multiple websites from that relationship. In other words, connecting with her and creating a partnership here is really beneficial for me from an SEO perspective.

As I mentioned earlier, all this that I’m explaining to you is free, so it’s basically a time investment in order to get these pitches out. HARO is one of the best ways to build links for free online. It’s not necessarily a cost thing other than your time here.

In summary, that’s just a little insight on HARO and how it works. There’s obviously a lot more technical things to go into, but you can use these tips that I gave you today for boosting your business’ backlinks. Have any questions about backlinks and how to use HARO? Feel free to reach out to us at any time for information on these topics.

5K Team

5K Team

Our team helps companies to increase revenue, decrease costs, increase efficiency, and scale employees using digital marketing and Ai technology.

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