12 min read

Is HARO Still an Effective Link Building Tactic?

Dmytro Sokhach, CEO of Admix Global
HARO Link Building
  • “It was great while it lasted.”
  • “Chances of getting a link were already very, very minimal. Not worth the effort, in my view at least.”
  • “Likely too saturated, but could potentially work for some very specific niches like cyber security or something like that.”

These are the unfavorable opinions of SEO experts on HARO link building. Indeed, HARO has been oversaturated for a few years now, and the rise of ChatGPT only made things worse.

There’s still hope though — in 2024, HARO finally rolled out a new pay-to-pitch model that may save the platform from spammers. But will it save HARO link building? Is it still a viable link-building strategy?

These are the questions I’m exploring in this article.

TL;DR

  • HARO has been a go-to platform for winning high DR placements for years.
  • It has shifted to a pay-to-pitch model in 2024 and has been rebranded as Connectively.
  • Success rates on HARO vary significantly by niche, with certain sectors like cybersecurity still showing promise.
  • Despite its benefits, HARO requires much more effort than ever before to break through the noise.
  • Journalists are generally wary of link builders on the platform.
  • Overreliance on HARO for link building can result in Google penalties and negative impacts on SEO efforts.
  • Alternatives to HARO include #Journorequest, Featured, Help a B2B Writer, Qwoted, and editorial links.
  • Editorial links offer a reliable, controllable, and measurable link-building strategy, albeit at a higher cost than HARO.

What Is HARO?

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform where journalists submit requests seeking subject matter experts to contribute to their content.

Important: Technically, there’s no such thing as HARO anymore.

As of early 2024, HARO has transitioned into Connectively and migrated to a new website. Along with the new name and site, some things have changed.

Previously, pitching through HARO was generally free. While users could opt for a paid plan to access advanced features like keyword alerts or multiple profiles, there were no limits on the number of pitches allowed in the free plan.

Connectively now offers two plans: a free plan that includes up to 10 pitches per month and a paid plan that includes up to 25 pitches per month. Additional pitches come in packages, too: $5 for 5 pitches, $20 for 25 pitches, and $35 for 50 pitches.

HARO pricing

Note: Over the years, HARO’ has become a common noun so we’ll stick to the term throughout the article to avoid confusion.

So what’s HARO link building?

HARO link building is the practice of using the Help A Reporter Out (HARO) platform (now known as Connectively) to contribute brief commentaries to relevant articles and earn links in return. A journalist gets a quote from a reliable source, and your company gets some spotlight — it’s a win-win.

haro links from Forbes that we build

How to Use HARO for Link Building?

Submitting your pitches is incredibly easy on HARO, especially with the new Connectively platform.

The prior workflow involved receiving email newsletters packed with relevant requests based on the preferences you specified in your account. Now, you access queries through the platform’s neat interface. You can filter them by deadline, outlet, topic, or keyword.

example of journalist request

Once you’ve selected the most relevant queries, you start pitching. Just read the details of the request, click the Pitch button at the top right corner, and draft your response. Don’t forget to include a link to your site.

one more example of journalist request

The new platform also makes it easier to track your pitches. In the Pitches tab, you can see a list of all your submissions and their statuses. It may take from a week to a few months for your contribution to go live (if approved).

HARO Statistics from 2023

  • Health, home, and finance were the most popular topics on HARO.
  • GOBankingRates, SHEfinds, and Homes & Gardens were the most active media outlets.
  • More than half of placements in 2023 were dofollow.
  • Around 30% of articles took around a week to be published.
  • 50% of all articles were published within two weeks.
  • Pitching within the first 6 hours after the request is submitted results in a 20% higher conversion rate.
Haro Conversion Rate Statistic

Speaking of conversion rates…

What is the success rate of HARO?

You can expect a 5–15% success rate on HARO. Your exact conversion rates depend on the topic, the quality of your answer, and, to a great extent, luck.

conversion rate of HARO pitches

Is HARO Good for Link Building?

Undoubtedly, there is one significant benefit to using HARO for link building.

HARO lets you earn high-quality links for free (or almost for free since the rollout of the new pricing model).

No other method will bring you a link from a website like Forbes or HuffPost without you paying a hefty four-figure sum or being a regular contributor to the platform. HARO will.

Why is HARO Absolutely Wasted for the Marketing Niche?

For now, it doesn’t look like the new platform and the pricing model are going to make HARO link building great again. Here’s why.

It’s harder than you think

If you think you could submit hundreds of AI-generated comments and secure dozens of high-quality placements, think again. Writers easily recognize AI-generated content, and when they do, they filter it out immediately.

If you’re planning to use ChatGPT or another AI tool to generate responses, please know it’s probably going to be a waste of time. 

You already know these responses are generic and unhelpful. But what you may not realize is… 

THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME! Seriously, in some cases, they’re almost completely identical.  

[…] If you’d like to be featured as a subject matter expert, please share some actual expertise.

Anna Sonnenberg, B2B SaaS Content Marketer
Anna Sonnenberg

B2B SaaS Content Marketer

HARO, as the majority approaches it, is indeed a wasted technique. To succeed with HARO, you need to handpick the most relevant queries, invest your time in talking to the actual subject matter experts within the company, and craft original responses. But that’s not what most link builders want (or have time) to do when they engage in HARO link building.

It’s been discredited by fellow link builders

You’ve got to know — journalists aren’t the biggest fans of link builders, and for good reason. While they seek value and expertise on HARO, link builders seek, you know, links. So when the latter bombard journalists with countless pitches that contribute neither value nor expertise to their articles, it hurts the reputation of link builders as a whole.

now haro sometimes feel like a spam a reporter out

Source

It gives you zero control over the results

First off, you can only build homepage links on HARO. Therefore, if you're aiming for specific pages and keywords (which you should be), HARO link building won’t cut it.

Furthermore, you have no control over the destiny of your submission. Will it truly be featured on Forbes, or has the author used Forbes as a facade for their low DA site? Will it get published at all?

When building links with HARO, you can’t set clear goals or outline a strategy due to numerous factors beyond your control.

It can actually be bad for your site

Google works hard to detect unnatural links and penalize websites that use them. Recently, site owners have been seeing an unsettling trend — it looks like Google hits sites that rely heavily on HARO link building.

Google hit withe a manual action for unnatural links

“Umm, how does Google detect HARO links?”

If you're not selective about the topics you engage with, it becomes relatively straightforward. Too many link builders respond to queries that aren’t even remotely relevant to the site they’re linking to.

For instance, if you build links for a fitness app, having your product manager contribute to the article on app development doesn’t make this link relevant to your niche. If you accumulate a lot of links like this, Google will notice that you're getting too many placements from sites unrelated to your topic and raise red flags.

It’s not scalable

We’ve just figured out that if you want to do HARO the right way, you should only respond to queries in your company’s niche. Where does this leave us? Right, we’re left with a handful of relevant queries per month and, considering conversion rates, none to only one link.

Definitely not the fastest way to ramp up your link profile…

All things considered, while HARO may drive some positive results, it’s not sufficient as a standalone link-building strategy. What are the options?

5 Recommended HARO Alternatives

Here are the best five link acquisition strategies that could effectively complement or replace HARO link building.

#Journorequest on X

#Journorequest is a hashtag that journalists and marketing writers use on Twitter to collect contributions from subject matter experts (and apparently avoid sifting through a multitude of irrelevant pitches from HARO).

example of Journorequest on X

The biggest advantage of this method is that you actually connect with the journalist. This way, you boost your chances of being featured and set the ground for a long-lasting relationship with a person who will be coming back to you with more requests in the future.

example of using X for HARO links

Source

On the downside, the daily volume of requests isn’t too high, which also means this strategy doesn’t scale well. You can use it as an addition to your link-building initiatives, and it’s particularly helpful for acquiring high DA PR links.

Featured (ex-Terkel)

Featured, formerly known as Terkel, is like a more advanced version of Connectively (just about time to remind you that HARO has a new name, too). It’s also a more expensive one.

Just like HARO, it’s a platform that connects journalists and subject matter experts. But in addition to the functionality you can find in Connectively, Featured offers:

  • Filtering by Domain Rating and attributes. Users of the Pro plan can see the DR of every publication and whether links from that resource are going to be nofollow or dofollow.
  • Sponsored content opportunities. You can buy links directly through the platform. It’s still in beta, but it does sound promising. 
  • Unlimited answers. Although it only applies to paid plans, it’s still nice to know you don’t have to pay an extra fee once you hit the limit.
  • Top-notch publishers. It looks like Featured offers a more diverse pool of journalists and credible sites.
Featured offers a more diverse pool of journalists and credible sites.

And what about the outcomes? It looks like it’s been outperforming HARO in that regard as well.

Featured Conversion Rate vs HARO

📌 Note: The paid plans on Featured start at $99/month. But if it does work as expected, it pays off.

Help a B2B Writer

Help a B2B Writer is another HARO-like platform, but with a major distinction — it’s specifically designed for B2B writers and sources.

It’s not as sophisticated as the new Connectively platform or Featured, but it doesn’t prevent it from being the go-to source for top-notch B2B writers. So if you’re looking for high DA links for your B2B company site, Help a B2B Writer is the right place to start.

All you need is to subscribe to the HaB2BW newsletter on their site, specify your areas of expertise, and check your inbox Monday to Friday at 3 pm BST.

📌 Note: You can find recent requests and even search them directly on the HaB2BW site, but you can’t respond to them using the platform.

Help a B2B writer interface

Qwoted

Qwoted is similar to all of the above but with a higher focus on agencies and PR professionals. It’s also the only platform where journalists can search sources and PR specialists and contact them directly.

qwoted interface

When signing up, you need to choose between an expert account and a PR rep account. If you’re planning to submit responses on behalf of different experts, it’s best to go with the second option.

Apart from receiving daily opportunities and pitching your responses, here's what you can expect after signing up for Qwoted:

  • Have journalists come to you. As you build a reputation on the platform, journalists may reach out to you directly for insights or comments on their stories.
  • Become a podcast guest or a keynote speaker. You can go beyond just building links on the platform if you want.
  • Feature your product in a curated list. Writers frequently seek products to feature in their articles. Qwoted gives you a chance to showcase your product(s), increasing brand visibility and earning links for transactional pages.

Qwoted starts at $99/month billed annually, but the selection of media you access on the platform is absolutely worth it.

Qwoted starts at $99/month billed annually

Source

Editorial links

Editorial links are placements that you naturally earn from large publications. If you're not comfortable with the uncertainty of the aforementioned methods, editorial link building is the right fit for you.

You don’t need to monitor requests and spend time crafting unique pitches. All you need to do is partner with a reliable agency that will earn editorial links for you. With a cost per link starting as low as $300, you can have your backlinks placed on sites like learn.g2.com, monday.com, toggl.com, etc.

We at Editorial.Link help our clients gain high-authority, relevant links that meet their requirements. Tell us about your project, and we’ll provide you with a sample of links that would strengthen your link profile and help you reach your goals.

Why choose editorial links over HARO link building?

HARO link building is a great addition to your link-building strategy. But you need a solid foundation for your link-building efforts — and this is where editorial links shine. With editorial links, you can:

  • build links to pages other than the homepage;
  • have control over your link placements and anchor text;
  • build a measurable strategy;
  • always get links from relevant sources;
  • save the time you’d have otherwise spent pitching on HARO.

Get a sample of high-quality backlinks for your project

It is absolutely free of charge!