Backlinks are the single most important SEO factor, bar none. But acquiring authoritative backlinks to your blog can be difficult.
So today I will give you a proven link building strategy that can increase your search engine position, and drive traffic, for free, using a website called Help A Reporter Out (HARO).
Table of Contents:
What is HARO?
HARO is a free questions and answers service that aims to match journalists and news websites, with industry experts.
If journalists accept your answer, you will usually receive credit in the form of backlinks from websites that sometimes have a domain authority of up to 90, and you also get a lot of traffic of course.
- Backlinks prospecting
- Answering questions
- Tracking results
First I will teach you how to do backlink prospecting, so you find the right opportunities.
Then I’ll teach you the right way to answer questions, so that journalists accept your answers and give you backlinks.
And then I’ll teach you how to track your results, so you can figure out what works and then do more of that.
So if you haven’t signed up to HARO, go to helpareporter.com and get on the mailing list. You will receive three emails a day, from Monday to Friday at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. EST.
Now, HARO is a numbers game but you do need to take the time to provide decent answers. Journalists are usually looking for a wide range of answers, from multiple sources.
That means your answer is likely to be featured with several other people who are also using the same strategy.
And the emails that HARO sends can contain hundreds of questions, spanning hundreds of niches, so I recommend taking a few minutes each day to go through them.
I will give you a couple of shortcuts, so you don’t have to manually sift through each question if you don’t want to.
Ok, so let’s find the best link building opportunities, so you can have the best chance of success.
So this is what a typical HARO email looks like. But we need to prioritize which questions to answer because we’re not going to answer all of them.
Now, there are two ways to go through the emails.
The first way is to search for keywords relating to your niche, using Command or Control F.
The second way is to search all HARO emails through your email client, using HARO + keyword. For example, HARO + marketing. Now you can filter which emails will be of interest to you. This works best if you’re answering HARO questions once or twice a week, or if you just want to filter out all the emails that are not relevant.
Today, I’m going to use the Command F method to search individual emails, because answering questions is part of my daily routine.
So I’m going to search this email for marketing related questions.
And these are the questions that I can answer in a professional capacity.
But there is another way to go through this list, and that is to manually look for questions that you, as an individual with life experience, can answer.
For example, I’m also a dad, so I might be able to answer questions about parenting.
Either way, if the journalist accepts my answer I will probably be credited with a backlink from a website that has a high domain authority.
It doesn’t have to be directly related to my niche. It’s still very valuable to have.
So when you find a question you can answer, click the link in the email and it will take you further down the page and give you some detail about what the journalist is looking for.
Now you can decide if you WANT to answer it.
Often, it will display the name of the website that will link to you.
You can search Google for the website to make your own assessment, or you can put the URL into the Ahrefs, or the SEMrush domain checker tools.
But a word of caution. If the domain authority is lower than your domain authority, then move on to a different question.
The domain authority must be equal to, or greater than your website.
Now, if you’re happy with the domain authority score, then you can look at the actual query, and then decide if you want to answer it.
Then, let’s start with using your existing knowledge. Tap into your own experiences, and your stories, and unique insights. Take the time to provide a well thought-out answer.
Then you can move onto the questions that you might need some help with. I’m not keen on using Google in this way, but that approach is an option.
But don’t copy answers directly from other websites, reword them and include your own opinion, make them unique.
And if the journalist provides their name, you should use it in your answer so they know that you have read their question.
They are much more likely to respond if you address them by name.
Take a look at this example. Here’s an answer I provided a few days ago.
I put the journalist’s name in the subject line so my email stands out.
Then I introduced myself, and briefly explained why I’m qualified to answer his question.
In this instance, he was asking for predictions for video marketing trends. Which is great, because it’s an area that I do have lots of experience with.
Then, to make it crystal clear why I’m emailing him, I include a subheading so he can take one glance at the email and immediately know what it’s about.
Then I provide a detailed answer. We want to give them as much useful content as possible.
Chances are, they won’t use the ENTIRE quote but will select a line or two. And that’s fine.
So we need to give them lots of options.
How To Structure Your Answer
We don’t really know what type of article they’re writing, so I like to cover a few bases.
I try to include three things in my answers. First, my professional opinion. Then my personal experience or results. And then finally, some facts and figures to support my answer.
Then I sign off by putting my website address underneath my name.
This makes it very clear that, should they use my answer, this is the website they should link to.
Now, some journalists might come back and ask for a headshot, so make sure you have one ready. But don’t send one unless they ask for it. And always follow their instructions.
Stick to the deadline, and don’t divert away from the questions being asked.
Tracking Your Results
Now, most of the time journalists will notify you when they use your quote. So it makes sense to keep track of your results.
Here is a simple spreadsheet you can use, it has seven columns.
One for the question, another for the date it was received, the answer you provided, the date you provided it, was it published (yes or no), the URL of where it was published, and the domain authority of the website that published it.
This gives you an extra opportunity to build relationships.
If a journalist has quoted you, and you know they tend to report on specific topics, ask them if you can send them the occasional scoop.
Journalists are always looking out for new stories and new sources. They will probably be really pleased you offered.
Now, HARO is a numbers game and you do have to be persistent, it might take a while to get the hang of it, but if you do persiverse with it, you should do fairly well. And eventually you’ll start getting powerful authoritative backlinks and traffic.
If you want to see the traffic methods I never share anywhere else, for free, go to profitcopilot.com/traffic and see how I got over 30,000 visitors a day for free.