Help a Reporter Out: HARO for SEO

What Is Help a Reporter Out (HARO)?

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform that connects journalists with sources for their articles. Founded in 2008 by Peter Shankman, HARO is a free service that allows journalists to submit queries or requests for information on a particular topic, and receive responses from experts or individuals who have relevant knowledge or experience.

On the other side, sources can sign up for HARO and receive a daily email digest of queries from journalists. They can then respond to the queries that match their expertise or interests and potentially be featured in a news article or other media outlet.

Fulfilling Journalists requests can lead to high-quality backlinks improving your SEO.

Journalist writing notes

HARO has become a popular resource for journalists who are looking for expert sources or unique perspectives on a story, and for sources who are looking to get their name and expertise in front of a wider audience, including opportunities for securing high-quality backlinks to improve SEO. It has been used by a range of media outlets, from small blogs to major news organizations like The New York Times, CNN, and Fox News.

What Are the Benefits of HARO?

There are many benefits for sources that use HARO, especially when it is used as a backlinking strategy:

Increased Brand Exposure

Being featured in a news article or other media channel can increase your brand exposure and potentially lead to new business opportunities, partnerships, or opportunities for securing valuable backlinks to your website.

Increased Credibility

If your business is quoted in a news article or other media channel, it adds to its credibility and can enhance your brand’s reputation within your industry or field.

Networking Opportunities

Responding to HARO queries can provide you with an opportunity to connect with other professionals in your industry or field, potentially leading to new collaborations or partnerships that could lead to securing additional backlinks.

Enhanced Rankings

When your business is featured in a news article or other media channel, it can also provide a valuable backlink to your website, which can help to improve its overall domain authority and search engine rankings, increasing overall organic traffic to your website.

Who Would Benefit From Using HARO?

Any business or individual that wants to gain greater visibility and acquire high-quality backlinks would benefit from using HARO. It’s a win-win situation where journalists get the benefits of original and interesting content, while the source gets the benefits of increased traffic and credibility.

How To Use HARO To Secure Valuable Backlinks

In the following step-by-step guide, you will learn how to leverage the HARO platform for backlinking purposes, in two different methods: one directly via the HARO website via email digest, and the other directly within Hike, which adds some extra time-saving features.

Method #1: Email Digest

Below is the step-by-step method of using HARO via their email digest to secure backlinks:

  1. 1
    Sign up for a free account on the HARO website.
  2. 2
    Create a profile that includes your area of expertise and contact information.
  3. 3
    Check your email for daily HARO queries. These emails will contain a list of inquiries from journalists seeking sources for their stories. These are organized by industry, so you can easily skim through the most relevant ones first.
  4. 4
    Read through the queries carefully and identify those that match your area of expertise. Think about creative ways you could offer advice for queries that may not be a 100% match.
  5. 5
    Craft a response that provides information about how you would be able to add value and why it would be relevant for their audience, and include a URL that you would like the reporter to use to review relevant content on your website.
  6. 6
    Submit your response through the HARO website or directly to the journalist's email address. Make sure it’s not generic, and it describes what’s in it for the reporter.
  7. 7
    Follow up with the journalist to see if they have any further questions or need additional information.
  8. 8
    If your response is used in the journalist's story, they will likely include a link back to your website, which can help improve your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your site.
  9. 9
    Monitor your website analytics to see if you've received any referral traffic from the link and track the impact of your HARO responses on your overall SEO strategy.

Method #2: Directly Within Hike

The second step-by-step method of using HARO is directly within the Hike platform, which provides a convenient way to filter only relevant results and the ability to send a message directly to the journalist within Hike, using a ready-to-use template. This saves you time versus the previous method.

  1. 1
    Sign up to Hike SEO to create an account.
  2. 2
    Complete the onboarding process within Hike with the required information.
  3. 3
    Hover over the “Backlinks” menu item then hover over “Backlink Opportunities” and click on “Journalist Outreach”.
  4. 4
    Enter as many relevant tracked keywords as required to automatically filter the queries as they come through daily.
  5. 5
    Scroll through the HARO requests column and read the title, deadline, request, and requirements to discern if this is an opportunity that would fit your business, story, or expertise.
  6. 6
    Click on “Remove” if not relevant, or “Get in Contact” to open up the email composer that already has a premade template for you to start your message with.
  7. 7
    Replace the bolded text with your response. Please ensure that your response to the request is specific, unique, and well-formulated. Format your response as one or more paragraphs, so that if necessary, a journalist could copy and paste your response directly into their article.
  8. 8
    Click on “Submit Response” once ready to send your message
  9. 9
    The journalist’s response will be forwarded to you within Hike, and you can review past submissions under “My Submissions”
  10. 10
    If the journalist includes your response in their story, they may provide a link back to your website.
  11. 11
    It's recommended that you monitor your website analytics to determine whether you've received any referral traffic from the link. Additionally, tracking the impact of your HARO responses on your overall SEO strategy can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts.

Remember, HARO is just one tool in your link-building arsenal. It's important to diversify your tactics and seek out other opportunities for backlinks as well. Check out additional methods for link building in our backlinking strategies article.