HARO Link Building Tips and Strategies

Can you build quality backlinks with HARO? Definitely! HARO often gets a bad rap due to link farmers, unverified sources posing as experts, and poorly edited AI responses. But it’s still a valuable link building tool for SEOs and businesses that use it the right way.

Responding to HARO pitches that match your experience, providing expert-driven responses, and being professional can earn you quality backlinks from high authority websites and grow your brand presence, leading to higher search rankings.

We’ll dig into some other HARO link building strategies in a bit. First, let’s explain how HARO works.


What is HARO?

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is an online platform that connects journalists with PR professionals and subject matter experts in different fields. When used correctly, this service gives journalists needed subject matter insights to improve the credibility their work needs and provides business owners with valuable exposure and quality backlinks.

the new home of haro

How Does HARO Work?

Completely free, HARO hosts requests from journalists for valuable insights, quotes, and expert-led content. When you subscribe to HARO, the platform sends you requests for input on subjects that match your expertise.

Imagine you’re an authority on heart disease. A journalist for a top health and well-being website requests a quote about a new and exciting heart medication. As the expert, you
send a pitch in response, and the journalist accepts your offer. Once you’ve answered their questions and submitted your quote, your name, your comments, and a link to your website are published on their site.

This arrangement is very much a ‘you scratch my back’ type. It’s a great way to build backlinks and authority as a thought leader when it works.

How to Set Up Your HARO Account and Profile

You need a HARO account to use this service for link building. Setting up a HARO profile is relatively fast and straightforward, but it’s a good idea to take your time and create a presence that will get you noticed.

1. Visit
https://www.connectively.us/ and click “join now” at the top right corner of the page to create a HARO account.


haro is now in connectively

2. Complete your profile as a subject matter expert. This is your chance to sell yourself to potential journalists and publishers. You must include detailed and specific information about yourself, your experience, and your qualifications. Include some of your proudest achievements to sweeten the deal.

HARO profiles usually include:

  • A professional headshot
  • A brief and catchy bio
  • Links to a professional website and social media channels
  • A list of your most relevant and prestigious qualifications


mark mcshane haro profile

3. Subscribe to lists in your niche. A polished profile is only the beginning. To start receiving requests by email, you must subscribe to lists that align with your qualifications and specialties. Select the broad subject areas where you’re an authority, and you’re good to go.


add or remove topics

As a subscriber, you’ll receive regular industry newsletters. However, if you want to receive all relevant requests, tick the “Master HARO” box on the “HARO Preferences” screen.

Why Use HARO for Link Building? 

HARO outreach is a great way to obtain backlinks on premium websites with high domain authority. Domain Authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). It is scored on a scale from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to higher ranking chances.

The more backlinks from high DA sites your website has, the more search engines recognize it as credible, increasing your chances of ranking high in the SERPs.

Here are some other benefits of HARO link building:

1. Acquire Valuable Referrals

Imagine you provide a quote with useful insights for a publication such as WebMD or Forbes. That would generate a significant uptick in traffic. But it gets better. If you have a service to sell, the people rushing to your site for more information are all potential customers.

Securing a place on a “Top” or “Best of” listicle through HARO is great news. Why? The publishers will update the article regularly to ensure it remains relevant and up to date. You may find that your web traffic receives a nice boost several times a year — or whenever the article is updated.


2. Free Networking

Have you ever tried to contact a journalist directly about a press release or a potential story? They’re very busy people, and making contact is often a fruitless game of cat and mouse. But with HARO, you have a mutually beneficial relationship with tens of thousands of reporters.

Rather than sending speculative, spammy emails and cold calling journalists, respond to their requests, provide them with valuable insights, and develop a long-term relationship. Who knows? That elusive reporter you finally made contact with might contact you directly next time.

3. Grow Brand Awareness

If you or your brand gets mentioned regularly in high-quality articles relating to your expertise, you’ll gradually develop a reputation as a thought leader. And if you have something to sell, that kind of authority is priceless. 

Learn more
: How do backlinks affect your keyword rankings?

HARO Link Building Strategies to Earn Quality Backlinks

HARO links can be very powerful, but they’re not easy to come by. To boost your chances of an accepted HARO pitch, implement these top tips as part of your link building strategy.

1. Stay Within Your Field of Expertise

Don’t be tempted to stray outside your immediate area of expertise. While you might have a broad knowledge of related subjects, you risk ruining your reputation if you offer incomplete or erroneous information.

2. Check the Website’s Domain Rating

Domain rating is a third-party metric for quantifying the SEO value of a website. The higher the domain rating, the more SEO juice you’ll get from the website if you earn a backlink.

website domain rating

According to Rockcontent, an average “DR” score is between 40 and 50. Scores above 60 are generally considered high. The closer the website is to the maximum of 100, the more SEO juice it will give you.

3. Lead with Your Credentials

If you’ve completed your profile thoroughly, your credentials will be available to everyone. However, it’s probably a good idea to mention your top achievements and relevant qualifications early in your pitch.

4. Get Straight to the Point

Journalists and editors are very busy people. They want to be able to assess a response in seconds, so don’t write a short essay.

Communicate your credentials, explain why you’re the best candidate, and provide an example of your knowledge. For good measure, throw in a few relevant statistics to demonstrate the depth of your understanding.

Here’s how to write a good HARO pitch response:  

  • Get right to the point (after a quick “hello”)
  • Check your spelling and grammar
  • Tell the journalist about your expertise, experience, and qualifications
  • Explain why you’re the go-to authority for this particular story

5. Respond to Pitches Immediately

One of the ways to maximize the chances of a successful HARO pitch is to be one of the first responders. And that’s quite easy to do if you receive email notifications.

Most HARO queries have a pitch deadline, but most journalists select the responses for their articles long before then. So, if you’re sending a response just before the deadline, you might be wasting your time.

Also, many HARO pitches require a same-day response, so there’s a good chance your name could be “up in lights” on a high-ranking website within hours if you respond quickly.

6. Avoid the Temptation to Send a Follow-Up Message

While enthusiasm is usually a great quality on HARO, there’s a fine line between that and annoyance. Pestering busy journalists and pushing for a quick answer rarely bears fruit.

Send a thorough and thoughtful response, and wait for a response. If one doesn’t come, move on. You never know when that same journalist will need assistance again. If you’ve annoyed them in the past, they may remember you and avoid you.

7. Provide Details and Insights

Never lose sight of the fact that you will be expected to offer a level of understanding and insight that adds value to the story. No one else but you cares about the backlink you’re receiving, so focus on giving your perspective based on your experience and knowledge.

Anyone can offer generic advice they’ve just scraped from the internet. You, however, can include real-world examples to make your point. Back your comments up with statistics, case studies, and research to add credibility to your statement.

Remember the three principles of HARO quotes: value, value, and value.

8. Use an Appropriate Keyword in or Around Your Anchor Text

In most cases, your anchor text will be your name or brand. You’ll have to follow the rules of the publisher you’re working with. However, you can still gain a little extra SEO juice for your preferred keyword.

Choose the keyword you’d like to target and include it in the sentence that introduces your anchor text. You can also use a semantic phrase that means the same thing. While there are no guarantees, search engines might give your ranking for that keyword a little nudge upwards if the publishing website enjoys a healthy domain rating.

Don’t forget to
track the keywords used in your HARO campaigns to see how they rank in search results.

9. Watch Out for Black Hat HARO Tactics

Not all writers and creators use HARO with honesty and integrity. Sadly, some requests aren’t genuine and some are just downright dishonest. Be wary of the following tactics:

  • Link exchanging: This isn’t how HARO works; in fact, it’s a breach of the Terms of Service. If someone asks for a link swap, move on.
  • Link farming: Let’s get right to the point: Link farming is an underhanded approach to SEO that Google is actively seeking out and penalizing. Link farms comprise multiple websites created for the sole purpose of linking to one another for improved SEO juice. You don’t want your link anywhere near these types of websites. 
  • Misleading claims: Verify the website that will host your backlink. People often introduce themselves as contributors on a top website only to publish your answers and backlinks on a smaller site with a lower domain rating.

Requesting gifts:
HARO rules prohibit journalists from asking for money in exchange for links, and strict rules govern the exchange of products. If you’re asked for something other than your expertise in exchange for your link, it’s usually best to politely decline and move on.

HARO is a Great Way to Grow Your Online Presence

Building quality links using HARO is a proven method of developing brand awareness, driving referral traffic, and increasing domain authority. By creating a systematic approach to outreach, you can leverage the power of this collaborative platform to drive long-term growth.

HARO Link Building FAQs

Find answers to common questions about building backlinks with HARO. 

1. Is HARO Good For Link Building? 

Yes, HARO is a valuable link building tool when used right. You can get branded mentions on top websites, boosting your site authority and improving brand awareness.

2. What Can I Use Instead of HARO?

Not a fan of HARO? Try other HARO alternatives like Qwoted, Help a B2B Write, and Leaps.

3. Can I Use HARO to Build Backlinks for Any Type of Website?

Yes. HARO can be beneficial for a wide range of websites, including those in industries like technology, health, finance, education, and more. However, success on HARO largely depends on your ability to provide expert insight or unique perspectives relevant to journalists’ queries. Websites that cover very niche or obscure topics might find fewer opportunities to contribute, but when those opportunities arise, they will likely be highly relevant and valuable.

4. How Quickly Can I Expect to See Results From HARO Link Building?

Generally, it might take a few weeks to a few months to start seeing an increase in your website’s domain rating and subsequent improvement in search engine rankings due to your HARO efforts.

5. Is There a Way to Increase My Chances of Getting Selected by Journalists on HARO?

Yes, there are several strategies to improve your success rate on HARO:

  • Respond to queries as quickly as possible. Journalists often work on tight deadlines and may start reviewing submissions as they come in.
  • Tailor your pitch to exactly what the journalist is asking for. Avoid generic responses and focus on providing valuable, specific insights.
  • To make your contribution easy to use, highlight clear, actionable insights or compelling anecdotes that fit the query’s context.