14 min read

Boost Your SEO with HARO Link Building

Dmytro Tsybuliak Co-Founder
Dmytro Tsybuliak
HARO Link Building

In the world of digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Everyone wants to reach the top of Google's search engine ranking, but few know the secret to getting there. Fortunately, there is a way to boost your website's SEO that doesn't involve chasing rainbows - HARO link building.

Understanding HARO Link Building

Link building is a critical component of any effective SEO strategy, as neglecting it can severely impact a website's ranking and visibility. This is largely due to the fact that backlinks serve as one of the most important factors in determining a website's authority.

Most important factors in determining a website's authority

HARO link building is shaking things up in the industry! Today, HARO reaches more than 1 million sources and 75,000 journalists. I know, HARO may seem oversaturated and challenging to navigate. But with the right approach, it remains a valuable source of high-quality editrial links in 2023. Skillful use of the platform can still yield significant benefits for those seeking to improve their website's authority and search engine rankings.

No need to stress if you're not familiar with HARO – I've got your back. I'm CEO of the Editorial Link team, and we've been involved in HARO link building for a long time, continually enhancing the effectiveness of our campaigns. I'll be your guide and show you how this powerful tool can give your website a big boost. 

What HARO Is and How It Works

HARO serves as a link between journalists, bloggers, and sources with valuable insights to offer. It's like a virtual marketplace where those seeking information and those who have it can come together and form mutually beneficial relationships. Peter Shankman started it up back in 2008, and since then, HARO has become one of the best tools for building top links.

When it comes to building links, our team absolutely loves HARO. It's like a treasure trove of high-quality backlinks that we can use to beef up our clients' link profiles.

HARO homepage

First off, let me give you a quick rundown of how HARO can be used for link building purposes:

  • The link builder registers on the HARO website as a source;
  • Reporters post requests for information and sources on HARO, and link builders can sign up to receive these requests in the inbox;
  • HARO sends out three emails a day, packed with juicy queries from reporters seeking sources for their stories. Think of HARO as a matchmaker, connecting reporters with sources for their stories;
  • If a link builder is interested in responding to a query, all he/she has to do is craft a thoughtful and informative response and send it back to the journalist or blogger;
  • If they decide to use this response in their story, they'll usually include a link back to a website or blog;
  • Voila! A link builder has earned a high-quality backlink to the website!

Although anyone can sign up for HARO and start engaging with journalists, let's be real here, HARO link building is no walk in the park. It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but the needle is a journalist's query, and the haystack is a flood of responses from other sources.

Increase traffic +534% with HARO Link Building

So, HARO link building comes with its own set of challenges:

  1. In today's hypercompetitive world of online media, standing out is crucial. Journalists are bombarded with pitches, so it's essential to make yours stand out. Competition can be fierce when it comes to responding to HARO queries from journalists who write for popular online publications. In such cases, speed and the quality of your response can make all the difference. That's where professional link builders come in. They have a wealth of experience crafting pitches that cut through the noise and get noticed;
  2. Finding the ideal request to respond to can be a real challenge. Moreover, sifting through the deluge of HARO emails that flood your inbox every day can be pretty overwhelming;
  3. Crafting a winning response is more than just stringing a few words together. It requires skill and expertise to offer valuable insights or information that positions you as an authority in your field. This is where professional link builders really shine. Editorial team experts know how to create responses that showcase expertise and leave the journalists hungry for more. But I have to note that our specialists have honed this skill over time, using it to great effect in their work today;
  4. Building relationships with reporters is like cultivating a garden: it takes time and effort. Luckily, the team of experts have the resources and connections to help them plant the seeds of a long-term relationship that can bear fruit for years to come.

HARO link building isn't going to happen overnight. It takes a bit of work and some good old-fashioned patience to see results. But trust me, the payoff is totally worth it.

Benefits of HARO Link Building

  • Getting some major link juice. HARO link building can be a total game-changer when it comes to scoring some major link juice. When our link builders respond to queries from journalists and bloggers on HARO, they have the chance to earn high-quality backlinks from some authoritative sources. And as any savvy SEO knows, quality backlinks are like gold when it comes to boosting website's rankings.
  • Climbing the search engine rankings. As mentioned earlier, building backlinks from authoritative sources can help improve your search engine ranking. Pages with lots of backlinks rank higher. According to Backlinko,the #1 result in Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2-#10.
  • Increased brand authority. Responding to queries on HARO can be a total game-changer when it comes to boosting your brand's authority and reputation. When our link builders score a feature in top media outlets like Forbes, Huffington Post, or Entrepreneur, it's like hitting the jackpot for your brand's visibility and credibility. Customers are more likely to trust and respect a brand that's been featured in reputable media outlets, which can lead to increased leads, sales, and all-around business success.
  • Industry connections. HARO link building also gives you the opportunity to connect with other industry experts and thought leaders. So, in addition to all the SEO and PR benefits, I find HARO link building to be a great way to grow your professional network. 
Graph of the ratio of the number of domains on HARO to their DR

HARO Link Building Best Strategies: Trumps in the Hands of Professionals

While HARO link building may not be a simple "set it and forget it" strategy, it's definitely worth the investment if you want to see real results for your website's SEO.

Creating a quick pitch and hoping for the best may be tempting, but the truth is that HARO link building is a complex process that requires a professional touch.

Let's cover some of the practices our Editorial Link team uses to up their HARO game. You can use them as tips for your HARO campaign or just to familiarize yourself with how it works to have more control over your contractors.

Research and Targeting

Here's the main idea I will never be too tired to convey: To succeed with HARO link building, you need a solid strategy.

This means targeting the right opportunities, crafting compelling pitches, and following up with reporters and bloggers.

So, dealing with HARO is a continuous search for opportunities + a fine-tuned strategy of interaction with them.

Narrowing Down Your Research and Targeting

One of the most significant challenges in HARO link building is to identify and focus on relevant reporters and publications. It requires you to narrow down your research to a specific industry, niche, or topic that relates to your brand.

For instance, if you are running a website that provides digital marketing services, you may want to target reporters who cover the latest trends and insights in the digital marketing industry.

Here's a list of the categories in which journalists publish the greatest number of queries:

Top Categories with Highest Number of Queries

To find the right reporters and publications, you can use the advanced search feature on HARO's platform. This feature enables you to filter out irrelevant queries and focus on those that match your niche or industry. This is done with a keyword filter. However, to select multiple keywords and multiple bios, you need to get a paid subscription. By doing so, you can save time and effort while improving your chances of getting published.

HARO four subscription options

This is what the incoming email from HARO to its subscribers looks like. We chose the keyword phrase "Business and Finance" and received queries related to this topic.

Emails HARO sends to its subscribers.

It is also critical to filter domains. Often, you will come across sites you do not want to be published on. It is worth checking the DR, traffic, and backlink profile. If there is a suspicion that it is full of spam links, then it is hardly worth it to respond to this request. 

But more often, on HARO, you can find requests from journalists who write for media with high traffic and DR:

In HARO link building, quality trumps quantity

Emphasizing Quality over Quantity

In HARO link building, quality trumps quantity. While it may be tempting to respond to as many queries as possible, focusing on high-quality responses can lead to better outcomes. A single backlink from a high-authority publication can outweigh dozens of links from low-quality sources.

To craft high-quality responses, you need to provide valuable insights and information that add value to the reporter's story. You can achieve this by researching the topic thoroughly and including:

  • Relevant data;
  • Statistics;
  • Expert opinions. 

For example, let's say you are responding to a query from a reporter who is writing an article on "The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare." You can provide valuable insights by citing recent studies that show how AI can improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and enhance disease diagnosis. By doing so, you can increase the likelihood of getting published while establishing your brand as a thought leader in the industry.

Here's a comment from our expert about Blockchain use. Thanks to this query response, we were able to get a top backlink while the journalist got an excellent expert commentary on the article:

An example of using HARO link building

Crafting Effective Pitches

Crafting effective pitches is a game-changer when it comes to HARO link building. You're not just pitching your ideas to any Joe or Jane, but to the reporters who can make or break your brand's visibility.

Journalists respond to just over 3% of the pitches they receive. So, how do you get their attention and make them say "Yes, I want to feature you"? The answer is simple, craft a personalized and relevant pitch that will blow their minds.

Crafting Personalized and Relevant Pitches

The trick to crafting personalized and relevant pitches is to get into the reporter's head. Think of them as your ideal client, and you're trying to win their trust. Research their previous articles, social media profiles, and personal websites to understand their tone, style, and preferences. Once you've got a feel for what they like, tailor your pitch accordingly.

Tips on how to create personalized and relevant pitches

It can be done in this way (as you can see in the screenshot, you can choose one of the pre-made bios if you use a paid subscription to HARO):

How to pitch on HARO

Examples of Successful Pitch Strategies

Now, let's dive into some juicy examples of successful pitch strategies that will make you want to hop on board (These are our team's go-to strategies that we use the most and find the most effective):

Examples of Successful Pitch Strategies

Here's an example of a perfectly handled pitch. A brief but comprehensive response from a professional resulted in getting a high-quality backlink:

Example of a perfectly handled pitch

We respond to inquiries with professional answers from several experts in different niches. Thus, we cover quite a wide range of topics and get quality backlinks.

Building Long-Term Relationships with Reporters

One of the best things about HARO is that you can actually form real relationships with reporters over time. It's like a long-term investment in your PR game! You don't just get one link, you get the chance to be the go-to source for future articles, and maybe even score a spot as their new BFF (Best-Friend-For-Quotes) for life.

If you really nail that pitch and provide some killer insights, they might even hit you up for a quote on a completely different topic down the road.

Here's an example: 

An example of a letter for building long-term relationships on HARO

Here are some strategies we use and would recommend if you're looking to build long-term relationships with reporters:

Respond quickly. Journalists are like cheetahs, always on the hunt for the next big story. And when they put out a query, they're not just casually browsing responses in their spare time. They're on a tight deadline, racing against the clock to find the best source for their story. When responding to HARO queries, make sure you respond as quickly as possible, ideally within a few hours of receiving the query. If you hit them with a killer answer right away, they might not even bother checking out other responses. And that is how we win HARO!;

Provide valuable information. When responding to HARO queries, provide valuable insights to make the reporter's story shine. Showcase your expertise, and don't forget to add a sprinkle of personality to your pitch;

Follow up on your pitch after a few days. It's important to keep in mind that around 12.5% of pitches may not be opened within the first few days of being sent. This means that there is a chance that the journalist may have missed your pitch altogether if they haven't opened it after three or more days. So, it's a good idea to follow up on your pitch after a few days but also be respectful and not overly aggressive in your approach;

Be reliable. Don't leave the reporters hanging. They have deadlines to meet, and if you're not responsive, they might start calling you the "ghost source." So, be sure to respond promptly and follow up with any additional information or sources requested by the reporter.

Measuring and Tracking Success

If you're diving in HARO link building, it's crucial to measure and track the success of your efforts. After all, you want to make sure your strategy is actually working, right? So, let's talk about some metrics we rely on to gauge the progress:

  1. The first metric to track is the number of responses you receive from reporters. This can give you an idea of how well your pitches are resonating with journalists and how often you are providing valuable information;
  2. Another metric to monitor is the number of backlinks acquired from your HARO efforts. This is an essential metric as backlinks are a critical ranking factor for search engines;
  3. It's also essential to note that tracking the success of your HARO link building efforts is not just about the numbers. Building relationships with reporters and establishing yourself as a reliable source of information is just as crucial. 

Note that not all queries to which you provide an expert response will garner you a backlink. However, more than half of the published responses result in getting a link:

Chart of published responses that led to a link

Such tools like Google Analytics can be super helpful in tracking the traffic and conversions that come from the backlinks you score through HARO. By keeping tabs on these metrics, you can get a better handle on how HARO is contributing to your overall SEO and marketing game. It's all about knowing what's working and what's not, so don't be afraid to dive deep into the data!

Challenges of HARO Link Building

  1. One of the biggest challenges of HARO link building is sifting through the massive amount of daily queries to identify the most relevant opportunities for your website. It can be overwhelming, but with the help of an experienced professional, you can rest assured that you're targeting the right queries;
  2. Crafting a winning response that meets the journalist's requirements and adds value to their content is another key aspect of HARO link building. If you're firing off bland, generic pitches to journalists' requests you found on the first page of Google, you're doing it all wrong. Those journalists can find those sources themselves! To stand out from the crowd, you need to respond only to queries that are in your wheelhouse and can truly show off your expertise. Trust our experience, if you want to succeed with HARO link building, you've got to bring your A-game;
  3. There are some strict editorial guidelines you gotta follow when submitting responses to HARO queries. If you don't play by the rules, your response might even damage your website's reputation. But don't sweat it too much because the pros know how to navigate these guidelines like champs and get their responses published;
  4. The anonymous nature of some HARO queries can make it difficult to determine their value. While it can be tempting to ignore these requests, it's always a good idea to assess them carefully before making a decision. After all, you never know when a hidden gem might be lurking behind an anonymous query. As the saying goes, "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take";
  5. It's important to remember that HARO link building is not a quick fix for your website's SEO. It takes time and effort to sift through the queries, craft winning responses, and build relationships with reporters. Additionally, it can take weeks or even months for your response to be published and for you to see the benefits of your link building efforts. However, although rare, it is possible to get a reference fairly quickly within a few days. But in my experience, this is the exception rather than the rule. Therefore, getting backlinks using the outreach method is sometimes faster and more reliable.
Pitching Cycle

Why Use Professional HARO Link Building Services?

Relax, kick back and let the professional HARO link builders handle the heavy lifting for you! They're absolute experts at crafting pitches that pack a punch and securing top-notch backlinks that can work wonders for your website's authority and search engine rankings.

They also have the skills and experience necessary to ensure that the backlinks you gain through HARO are relevant and of high quality.

​​Here are a few more benefits of HARO link building outsourcing:

Benefits of HARO link building outsourcing

This article is just the tip of the iceberg. HARO link building has many subtleties that can only be learned experimentally. But our Editorial Link team over the years has been able to master it and is now achieving outstanding results. This is evidenced by the many positive reviews on Clutch, where our team is a top-rated agency.


Success with HARO link building requires more than just blindly responding to every query that comes your way. You need to research and target the right opportunities, craft compelling pitches, and follow up like a pro.

It takes a long and experimental way to master all the most complex aspects of HARO link building. However, if you want to save time and effort, you can always count on professional help.

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