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Why Are HARO Links Important to SEO?

by | Last updated Feb 15, 2024

HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out, is a well-known platform that connects journalists and bloggers with relevant expert sources. The symbiotic relationship fostered by HARO can significantly contribute to an effective SEO campaign. In this post we’ll get into the importance of HARO links in SEO, discussing what they are, their value, who should use them, and how to increase the chance of getting your HARO submission accepted.

How Does HARO Work?

HARO works by connecting journalists and bloggers with relevant sources for their stories or articles. When a journalist or blogger requires an expert source for a particular topic, they can submit a query through HARO’s platform.

HARO Pitch Example

An Example of a HARO Pitch Request

These queries are then sent out to the HARO database of experts, who can respond with quotes, information or other contributions. In return, the quoted source is rewarded with a branded link from a website, typically with immense traffic and visibility in Google.

Some common HARO publications include MSN, USA Today, Forbes, the NY Times, the Washington Post, etc. These types of publications have a lot of weight and credibility to search engines, so obtaining a link to your website flows that weight and credibility to you. This tends to result in ranking changes and increases in organic traffic.

MSN.com example

An Expert Round-Up Example from MSN.com

Above is an example of an expert round-up article from MSN.com. When search engines discover a link to these websites from MSN.com, they see acknowledgment being passed to your website from a very credible website. This credibility then lends itself to your website appearing higher in search results.

Who Should Obtain Links via HARO?

Businesses and individuals looking to establish themselves as thought leaders or experts in their field can benefit immensely from HARO link development. By providing valuable insights and information to journalists and bloggers, you can position yourself as a go-to resource in your industry, boosting your brand’s reputation and credibility.

HARO Link Example

An Example of a Niche Relevant Link

Moreover, if your website is relatively new or lacks high-quality references / links, HARO can be a great way to build your backlink profile. It can help your site gain exposure and improve its ranking on search engine results pages quicker than other forms of links.

Who Might Not Benefit from HARO Links?

While HARO can be a valuable tool for many, it may not benefit everyone. For instance, if your business operates in a niche industry or offers highly specialized products or services, there might not be many opportunities for you to submit content. In this case, you may need to submit responses for requests that aren’t perfectly relevant to your business.

Similarly, if your primary goal is to generate immediate sales or traffic, then HARO might not be the best fit. It’s a long-term strategy that focuses on building relationships and credibility, rather than driving instant results. The more responses you get accepted through HARO submissions, the better the chances of getting future requests for your expertise.

How to Measure the Value of HARO Links

HARO links can significantly contribute to your SEO campaign, but it’s essential to measure their value to ensure your efforts are paying off. Here are some key metrics to consider:

  • Keywords: Check if your site is ranking higher for the keywords in the content you provided as a source. An improvement in keyword rankings indicates that these links are in fact enhancing your SEO.
  • Organic Traffic: An increase in organic traffic to your site is another tell-tell sign that your HARO efforts are effective. It means more users are finding your site through search engines, which could be a result of the improved visibility from the links you’ve acquired.
  • Referral Traffic: Look at your referral traffic in Google Analytics to see if you’re receiving traffic directly from the sites that linked to you. This can be a clear indicator of the effectiveness of your HARO links and that people engage with your expertise.

If you secure links from HARO pitches over time, but you’re not seeing these SEO performance indicators change, you may need to look into your site’s technical SEO or review your website’s content for any issues that could be holding back the SEO.

Increasing the Chances of HARO Submission Acceptance

Getting your HARO submission accepted isn’t always easy, but there are ways to increase your chances:

  • Provide Value: Ensure your responses are detailed, and insightful, and offer unique perspectives. The more value you provide, the more likely journalists and bloggers are to use your input. Avoid generic input that anyone could provide. Rely on your expertise to really impress the journalist so your submission is chosen.
  • Meet Deadlines: Journalists often work on tight deadlines. Responding quickly ensures your submission is considered before the journalist completes their article. HARO requests go out 3 times a day so they can pile up quickly and you may miss out on pitch opportunities. Be sure to take the time to review requests for information and respond as quickly as possible.
  • Follow Guidelines: Pay close attention to the query guidelines. If the journalist asks for certain information or a specific format, make sure you follow their instructions so you have a better chance of being selected.

Remember, HARO submissions do not guarantee citations or links. You may submit a perfect response to a journalist’s request and they may still choose other submissions over yours. We see this happen all of the time and the important thing to remember is to be consistent in your responses. Don’t give up if you don’t see your responses selected right away.

What Budget is Needed for HARO Links?

The beauty of HARO is that it’s an inexpensive way to earn very valuable links to your website. However, it’s worth noting that it can be time-consuming. You’ll need to sift through multiple queries each day and craft thoughtful, high-quality responses.

If you lack the time to dedicate to HARO, you might consider hiring an SEO agency or a PR professional to handle it for you. This could be a significant investment, depending on the rates of the professionals you hire. Therefore, while HARO itself may not cost money, utilizing it effectively might require a budget, especially if you’re outsourcing the task.

HARO links are no doubt a valuable addition to your SEO strategy. They can help enhance your visibility on search engines, establish your brand as an authority in your field, and drive more organic and referral traffic to your site. While it might not be the best strategy for all businesses, and it does require time and effort (or potentially a budget), the potential benefits for your SEO are significant.

Connectively: The Future of HARO

The HARO platform as we know it will be migrated to a new Cision service called Connectively in early 2024.

HARO is now Connectively.us

Connectively will be the new home of HARO and is expected to function the same.

Other Services like HARO

HARO isn’t the only name in the expert quote link game.

Featured.com

Other tools like Featured (formerly Terkel) and Qwoted follow the same model as HARO, but they allow you to submit content to even more publications. If you’re not finding success with HARO, consider trying Featured or Qwoted for this type of link development.

Our Approach to HARO Link Development

If you’re ready to start earning HARO links to your website, we’re here to help. We research and learn as much as we can about your brand and tone, then use the information to start crafting responses on your behalf. We review all pitch requests and set alerts for pitches closely related to your brand, so we can respond to journalists immediately. This enables you to save time and energy while still earning highly valuable links to your website.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about HARO links or how to get started.

About the Author

Jeff Romero

Founder of Octiv Digital, University of Utah alumni, drummer and digital marketer for local businesses, e-commerce organizations and more. I write on the Octiv Digital blog about SEO, paid search, web development and analytics.

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