Is HARO Link Building Worth The Time and Effort?

min read

You can Help A Reporter Out (HARO) with quotes, case studies, and data and get backlinks in return.

It sounds like the perfect ‘passive’ link-building strategy.

So should you do it or continue with it? We’ll answer all of these questions with proof & examples.

Relevant authority links are the ultimate pursuit of any website owner.

If you want to rank higher on Google, you can’t afford to waste resources (time & money) on low-quality links.

Getting authority links, just like raising a kid, is hard. While it’s not impossible to get these links, you must be willing to do the work.

If you don’t want to work but need high-quality links, you can get them today by tapping into the SERP Pro guest post database.

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) used to be one of the most powerful ways to push the boundary and get some authority backlinks from trusted sites. But is it worth your time and effort in 2022?

What is HARO?

“HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free service platform for Journalists and Sources (bloggers, site owners, research agencies, content creators).”

Journalists and writers looking for sources (quotes, data, or case studies) for upcoming stories can tap into the robust database of sources.

Using HARO as a link-building technique, you can get your name, website, or quote mentioned by journalists.

The process is simple, but sometimes, it largely depends on timing and luck. 

The most significant benefit of HARO is PR coverage. Getting featured in major publications (such as TheBalance, Forbes, MarketingProfs, Entrepreneur, etc.) means you will earn social proof, referral traffic, backlinks, and earn some credibility as an expert in your field.

Signing up is free, but you will need to create an account to start participating. First, click on the sign-up link at the top-right corner, then fill out the form.

To begin using HARO, sign up and subscribe to receive the newsletter or emails. You’ll receive daily emails (up to 3x) from HARO based on your preferences.

By scrolling down, you’ll find details on the topic of each email. Alternatively, you can choose to receive notifications from a specific category.

Make sure you respond to emails that resonate with your niche or interest as quickly as possible (within 4 hours) to increase your chances of getting a reply from the journalist.

Here’s an example of an email you’ll get from HARO:

HARO is free to use (with 3 Paid Plans). It’s suitable for small and medium-sized businesses. The emails come from different industries, so you’ll want to subscribe to those that fit your area of expertise.

Getting Started: Selecting The Correct Preferences

HARO has a ‘preferences’ section that lets you pick the kinds of topics you can provide sources (data, case studies, quotes, and results) on as an expert.

Some users choose to keep every industry checked. While this approach gives you a high volume of reporter queries, it’s the wrong approach because you’re looking for trusted, relevant, and editorial links from industry websites.

When setting your preferences, choose topics or industries relevant to you and your business. Avoid the “General” preference because it’ll trigger irrelevant emails to be delivered to you.

Set Your Goals First

It’s essential to take the proper steps to increase the odds of getting your content element accepted by the journalist.

Start by setting a clear goal. It would be best if you were sure of what you want to accomplish with HARO. Building backlinks is usually the go-to goal. Generating traffic, acquiring leads, and growing sales are also business goals that can be achieved using the HARO service.

After all, you can expect a lot of people to visit your website if a Journalist links to you from a popular website like Mashable or Entrepreneur.

How To Succeed with HARO Link Building

HARO link building is complex. We don’t want to sugarcoat anything here and raise your hopes, but so many brands and marketers are making a difference nonetheless.

Use these four key elements to dramatically increase your success rate when using HARO to build backlinks:

1. Respond Quickly

Speed is essential if you’re envisioning success with HARO link building. It would be best if you were on alert to respond quickly to a query.

You want the journalist to see your email at the top of their feed, where they can easily click to see what you’ve got inside.

Make no mistakes about it; waiting for more than 8 hours or worse, 24 hours to respond would mean that 50 - 100 people’s responses are already on top. Yours will be buried, an opportunity lost.

2. Scan HARO Queries for Relevance

Not all HARO queries are correct for you. As marketers and bloggers, it’s critical to understand where your strength lies and fan the flame in that industry.

So, scan every daily email you receive for relevant queries.

If you’re a finance professional, you can provide pretty intelligent answers to questions related to business, investing, crypto, credit cards, small businesses, loans, insurance, entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, etc.

3. Respond With Data-driven Answers

This tip is the most critical aspect of succeeding with HARO link building. You want to respond to queries with real-world data. Here’s why:

Journalists, writers, and contributors for authority websites aren’t looking for general information or fluff.

They signed up with HARO because they don’t have enough relevant data for every story they’re working on.

That’s why they need you. Data is what gets them excited. So if you can reply with credible case study results, statistics, or some ‘numbers,’ you’d have increased your chances of getting a mention/links by up to 75%.

Pro Tip: You can also share the specific tools, templates, or platforms you used to get the results. Give Journalists some relatable quotable points of expertise.

4. Be Concise

Keep it concise and rich when responding to HARO daily queries that appeal to you. Your response shouldn’t exceed 200 words.

Here’s an email template you can tweak to align with your query when sending a pitch:

If you must drop a link to your social profile, drop your LinkedIn profile link where Journalists can find additional samples.

Should You Be Excited About HARO Link Building?

Your excitement or how much you embrace the idea of using HARO to build links will depend on your short and long-term goals.

If you care about getting inbound links as quickly as you can, you might want to use SERP Pro, a blogger database of 5,000+ authority websites that are ready to link to you.

On the flip side, if you want to build up your link profile gradually, you may give HARO a chance.

After all, you might be lucky enough to get an authority link on (or it may never happen).

The HARO method is a popular link-building strategy used by bloggers. It works well, but it requires a lot of time and patience. It’s estimated that only 20% of all pitches receive a reply.

If you know what you’re doing, “you can increase your conversions by up to 20%,” says Andrew Elliot.

As with any link-building strategy, success will depend on your niche and time of year. Fortunately, the HARO link-building approach is most suitable for experienced link builders and successful websites.

Guest blogging (especially with a massive database of ready-to-pitch publishers) is the best link-building strategy for beginners.

Making A HARO Pitch: What Works

A successful HARO pitch can bring in loads of traffic and other benefits to your business. For example, KOYAs increased monthly traffic by 20.6% from one successful HARO pitch.

To be at the top of your game with HARO, you have to continually tweak your strategy and be prompt with everything you do.

Keep in mind that HARO emails are sent three times a day, in EST:

  • 5:45 AM
  • 12:45 PM
  • 7:45 PM

If you fail to check your email, you’ll miss out on a link-building opportunity.

It makes sense to use a spreadsheet to track your HARO strategies and be sure to consider them as part of your overall content and SEO strategy.

Pro Tip: You can set up a filter on your inbox and create a label for “HARO” so that all messages with that term will be visible on the inbox.

Use bios when sending out pitches. This is crucial!

HARO allows you to create as many expert bios as you want. A cheaper HARO plan gives you only one expert bio, while more expensive plans allow you to submit as many as you want.

Marketers who succeed with HARO prefer to add their bios within the first section of their pitch. The goal is to establish credibility and connect with the Journalist instantly.

Here’s how Chris Huntley does it:

Be sure to check the deadlines of HARO pitches. While many reporters have a strict turnaround time, you can still find a good match if you’re willing to put in a little extra work.

Depending on the reporter’s deadline, they may receive hundreds of pitches.

Be sure to be the first one to submit your pitch to avoid missing out on a great opportunity. Or at least be among the first set of people to respond.

If the HARO reporter doesn’t like your pitch, try sending a shorter one instead. Don’t give up just like that.

Does HARO Link Building Work For SEO?

In general, using the HARO service can be an unending pursuit of links. You spend countless hours pitching journalists, researching your topic, and hoping for the best.

It can be draining if you don’t have a system in place. Without a team, you may likely fail if HARO is the only link-building solution you have.

Here are the key reasons why HARO may not be reliable for SEO:

1. Journalists may not be explicit.

Whenever you get HARO queries, you might be responding in error if it’s not explicit or clear. So what exactly does the journalist want?

You’ll often receive queries that ask specific questions. But no matter how detailed or useful our answers are, the Journalist might not appreciate it.

2. Quantity matters.

HARO link building is a numbers game. Therefore, you need to send more pitches to increase your chance of getting mentioned on a website.

But it’s time-consuming to respond to one, three, five, or even ten HARO queries. Most businesses and entrepreneurs don’t have such free moments to explore. Do you?

3. Lack of personalization.

It’s important to challenge yourself to personalize every email response you send. But most bloggers and site owners have a lot on their table already. They’d rather use a template or sample and tweak it a bit.

Don’t get me wrong. Personalization is vital in every facet of marketing. However, my argument is that it’s hard to personalize many emails at the same time.

Lack of personalization leads to rejection. According to 33% of journalists, the #1 reason they reject pitches, even (data-driven ones), is that they lack personalization.

Pitching at the wrong time is another reason why journalists reject pitches.

According to Muck Rack, 68% of Journalists prefer to get your pitches between 5 AM and 12 PM EST.

There’s another school of thought when it comes to personalization.

When sending HARO pitches, it doesn’t make sense to personalize. Here’s why:

Personalization seems like a complete waste of time because you’re not pitching a journalist with a new idea, but rather, you’re providing answers (in the form of data or statistics) that you already have.

What Journalists want is quick answers they can use in their stories.

They don’t want you beating about the bush. The irony of this is that you end up being a nameless ‘commodity’ to them.

Is HARO Competitive?

Yes, hundreds of thousands of link-building agencies and individual bloggers actively use HARO to build links to their clients’ websites.

A better option is to use White Label Link Building Service to help your existing clients get high-quality backlinks, but you don’t have the time or team to do so.

With too many requests on HARO, you can be sure that the majority of emails will not even be suitable for your business.

When you receive HARO queries with questions that you can easily answer, keep in mind that at least 100 people have received the same queries.

What are the odds that you’ll be the first person to reply (usually within hours)? Worse, will your response be optimized for use by the journalists?

HARO link building is powerful, and the surefire way to find success is by building a team armed with the resources to respond quickly to daily queries.

Get inbound links from the SERP Pro blogger database quickly; you don’t even need to build a team. It’s that simple!


Is HARO truly worth your time and effort?

We’ve answered this question earlier, but I bet it’s worth addressing again.

Your decision to use HARO as a link-building technique will depend on your goals. 

If you’re willing to sign-up with the service (for free), get familiar with the platform and how it works, and you’re willing to scan your inbox for queries, there’s a chance you’ll get some links through this approach. Be prepared to spend 1 - 5 hours/day on this.

How many links are we talking about here? 1 - 5 links each month can be expected.

On the other hand, you can get 10 - 20 inbound links when you use the SERP Pro Blogger database of high-quality websites to find opportunities. Which one would you rather use?

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