How To Build Powerful Backlinks Using HARO [Complete Guide]

Have you neglected off-page SEO and now you’re struggling to find a way to consistently get high quality backlinks?

You’re not alone.

I was in that position for quite some time too…

I remember learning about outreach, and knowing it wasn’t something I would be able to stick with!

But I wanted to rank my websites, so I knew I had to find a way to get backlinks easier.

Then one day, I came across HARO (aka Help-A-Reporter-Out) from Sam Rexford who writes on ChillReptile about blogging and other topics. He explained how effective this approach can be for building powerful backlinks!

All you had to do is answer questions from highly authoritative companies that are sent to your inbox daily and you can get rewarded with a backlink!

Immediately, I was hooked.

And I started getting great results using this simple approach, receiving backlinks from massive websites in the 60-90 DA range!

If I were to pay for those links, they’d cost hundreds of dollars if not thousands.

This isn’t the only site I’ve used HARO for, and I’ve done it with minimal effort at this point (we’ll get into the details of my results later in the post!)

Here are the results I’ve gotten so far:

Not all of these backlinks are from HARO but a solid majority of them are, mainly the one’s that helped me move the needle and rank better.

Now it’s time to help you do the same…

What exactly is HARO?

Help-A-Reporter-Out (HARO) is a popular service that connects journalists to sources with expertise in the subject they’re interested in reporting on.

As you can see, even major news outlets are using this service to help get sources for their articles!

That’s super powerful, because you can get featured on their site by contributing an answer to their questions.

In most cases, you’ll even be rewarded with a backlink to your website which helps you gain authority!

All of this is available to you free of charge, and you can always upgrade if you feel the need at a later date.

Not only does this strategy help you build authority with Google, but it also helps you build brand authority!

Now that you understand what HARO is, let’s go over what types of results you can expect.

How effective is HARO for building links? [Case Study]

Over the past few months, I’ve sent a solid amount of HARO responses in.

And outside of HARO, I’ve been able to get featured in a lot of other roundups by simply networking with others in the community!

In this case study, I’ll only be including the results I received from official HARO emails, and the metrics will be pulled from Ahrefs at the time of writing this post, since I’m expecting most of these sites to become stronger with time!

Here’s a complete breakdown of the results I received from!

Responses sent in73
Do-follow backlinks14
No-follow backlinks4

Here are the metrics of sites I received do-follow links from:

  • DR 81 / 288,000 organic traffic per month
  • DR 82 / 195,000 organic traffic per month
  • DR 76 / 18,700 organic traffic per month
  • DR 76 / 18,700 organic traffic per month (again)
  • DR 75 / 17,800 organic traffic per month
  • DR 75 / 17,800 organic traffic per month (again)
  • DR 29 / 214 organic traffic per month
  • DR 19 / 26 organic traffic per month
  • DR 11 / 21,000 organic traffic per month
  • DR 29 / 23 organic traffic per month
  • DR 61 / 1,500 organic traffic per month
  • DR 20 / 1,700 organic traffic per month
  • DR 37 / 1,600 organic traffic per month
  • DR 15 / 0 organic traffic per month

Here are the metrics of sites I received no-follow links from:

  • DR 90 / 197,000 organic traffic per month
  • DR 68 / 2,000 organic traffic per month
  • DR 35 / 7 organic traffic per month
  • DR 0 / 0 organic traffic per month

Not too shabby, right? And these aren’t just vanity links, they’re seriously moving the needle for my affiliate sites in the SERPs.

Now that we know how powerful this strategy is, let’s dive into how you can sign up and start building links that will help you rank much better!

How to sign up for Help-A-Reporter-Out

Signing up for a HARO account is pretty simple, so here’s how you can get sign up now!

First, you’ll want to go to their official website here and click the “sign up” button on the top right.

After you click the sign up button, you’ll be brought to a page where you enter your basic information so you can get the emails directly from journalists.

Simply enter your information and you’ll receive an email titled “HARO Account Activation”.

Once you click the link inside, you’ll get a welcome email with all of the instructions on how to start contributing!

From here on out, you’ll receive 3 emails per weekday with various questions directly to your inbox that you can answer if they fit your expertise and you fit the qualifications.

It’s also important to login to your account on HARO’s official website and make sure your account type is labeled as ‘source’ (see below).

How to filter out irrelevant questions

Since HARO is used throughout many different industries and niches, you’ll want to filter down the queries you receive in your inbox.

You can do this pretty easily inside of your HARO account on their website.

After you login and go to your account details, you can scroll down a bit and you’ll see a box labeled ‘HARO preferences.’

Master HARO will send every query to you, but try to filter down the list to anything that will be relevant, so you don’t waste unnecessary time each day filtering through the questions! You can see how I did this below.

Now you should be set up perfectly to respond to queries, so you can start gaining authority!

What to look for in a journalist and query

When looking at journalists, you’ll want to check and make sure they are reputable.

You can do this by simply running their website URL in a tool such as Ahrefs or Ubersuggest, to get a better idea of how strong their website is!

Something you’ll notice is a bunch of journalists are anonymous, so you don’t know exactly where you will be featured. This usually leads to less competition for being featured, but presents a risk since you have no idea what website you will be shown on!

And for queries, I suggest you stick to the queries you are truly an expert in, and qualified to answer. There’s no point in wasting your time talking about a topic you don’t understand! These journalists will be able to tell, so don’t waste the effort trying to squeeze out every link possible.

Build relationships, be authentic, and it’ll yield better results!

I’ve been able to consistently get featured on ~20% of my queries by simply sticking to this formula, and structuring my emails the way I’m about to share with you.

How to structure your emails to get more features

Structuring your emails properly is crucial to the success you have when using HARO.

You need to follow the instructions, make everything clear, and remove grammatical/spelling errors!

Aside from reading the query and giving them exactly what they are looking for (they usually give crystal clear instructions), you want to follow the following formula:

Example HARO Response

I’d recommend you to find a systemized approach that works for you, and not copy the exact formula I put above.

As you can see, I do the following:

  • Address the query in the subject line
  • Take the time to write the first name
  • Give an authentic introduction to the query
  • Enter a brief bio at the end, with a headshot attached

Doing this in each email shows professionalism, authenticity, and overall helps build a quality relationship with the journalists!

Can you scale this process effectively?

HARO is a super lucrative way to build authority to your website, so I’m sure you’re curious on whether or not it’s a scalable process.

The short answer is yes, you can scale this strategy.

But, there’s a lot of things to be weary of since you’re putting your brand on the line!

Most people using HARO will eventually have a VA go through and answer questions, but that can be risky.

Personally, I wouldn’t suggest scaling due to this risk AND because there simply isn’t enough questions to answer most days!

I’d recommend using a quality over quantity approach, building relationships with the journalists, and look long-term with your brand.

And if you are looking to scale HARO to the next level, I’d suggest finding a GREAT VA who understands the niche you’re in and having them learn the process in-and-out.

I hope this detailed guide on Help-A-Reporter-Out helped you out! 🙂

Oh and if you are looking at using HARO to gain backlinks, be sure to join the Affiliate Marketing Pros Facebook community. There’s a good amount of us inside the group using this strategy effectively!

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