HARO or Help a Reporter Out is a website that puts reporters looking to research a particular topic with subject matter experts in that topic. Many SEOs are excited about HARO. It is not hard to figure out why. You have to understand that some of the best websites to get backlinks from on the internet are news websites.
These news websites often have an offline version, while many are completely online. Regardless, they employ reporters. Reporters are either freelancers or regular staff reporters. These reporters are always looking for resources to help them put together articles and news reports.
SEOs are excited because if they get quoted as a news source, they might get a backlink opportunity. They might get a link from a high-quality, highly authoritative, and credible news site to their target site. This is extremely important from an SEO perspective because backlinks from high-quality news sites are solid gold. They can really skyrocket your search result rankings for your target keywords.
The reason why they can explode your results is because of the fact that they are often very hard to get. Also, the links come from high-quality and highly credible sites. You have to understand that most of your competitors in your niche, or even probably you, are getting most of your backlinks from less trustworthy, less credible, and less established online properties. It’s a no brainer, really. It is always a good idea to get backlinks from high-quality sources.
The Real Benefit: Expert Credibility
It’s too easy to get caught up in the SEO benefits of being used as a source through HARO. As mentioned above, you can get backlinks. Don’t get too excited, though. In many cases, many of these news sites are aware of Google’s link editorial policies, and would probably only give you a backlink if it’s a direct backlink. At most, many of them would give you a link in the form of a brand backlink.
Still, a link from a high-power, credible news site can really do wonders for your search results. These benefits alone make HARO worth the time and hassle.
The problem is that many SEOs leave the analysis here. They think that HARO is all about SEO benefits. Don’t be fooled into thinking this way. The real benefit of HARO goes beyond SEO benefits. It goes beyond getting backlinks; it goes beyond getting in touch with high-quality, high-value news sites. Instead, the real benefit is you become an instant credible expert in your niche.
I cannot emphasize the value of this benefit, because the internet is fast evolving towards a closed system. Make no mistake about it. Currently, the internet is a closed system in terms of credibility and trust. Anybody can start a website, post all sorts of garbage, and pretend to be an expert. If you don’t believe me, you only have to go to many webmaster forums or affiliate marketing forums to see exactly what I am talking about. All sorts of self-proclaimed gurus, mentors, and subject matter experts pop out all sorts of garbage regarding fields that they have no clue about. Anybody is at liberty to do this.
However, the internet is fast evolving towards a system where there are lots of editorial controls and quality filtration mechanisms that basically give internet users a higher assurance regarding the credibility of a potential information source.
HARO is one key element to making this happen. When your credibility is filtered through a highly-edited, highly-monitored system, chances are whatever information you bring out there and get published has a high likelihood of being trusted.
This is tremendous, because once you establish yourself as an expert in your niche, the world can open up to you. We’re not just talking about more backlinks; we’re not just talking about blog partnerships; we’re talking much, much more.
Where can Your Expert Credibility Lead to?
In addition to more article opportunities and credibility in your niche, you become a niche resource. Once you become an acknowledged expert in a particular arcane or esoteric body of knowledge, people will seek you out. People will seek you out for books, people will seek you out for interviews, so on and so forth. Basically, you develop a brand in your niche which is very hard to replicate. This can be a tremendous asset that you can leverage to produce more dollars in your pocket.
Reporters are Under-Utilized SEO Pool
The sad reality about HARO is that despite that fact that the SEO community is excited over it, very few actually use it. The reason for this is that HARO actually requires that you know what you’re talking about. HARO actually requires effort.
SEOs, being SEOs, would often focus on the path of least resistance. This means spamming the usual suspects of backlink sources, this means doing this the easy way, this means using software or taking all sorts of shortcuts. Sure, they talk a big game about the value of HARO, but when it comes to their actual behavior, you have no competition if you use HARO.
Reporters are Easier to Approach than Bloggers
The reality is that bloggers tend to be prima donnas. They know what you will be doing with the content that you will be contributing to them. They know the value of backlinks. Reporters, for the most part, don’t care. They just focus on the story. They are just looking for an asset that they can tap so they can do their jobs. This is why they are easier to approach, and you can get better deals from reporters than bloggers.
Make no mistake about it. Getting a backlink from a piece of contributed content to a blogger that is an authority in your niche can be like pulling teeth.
Hone your Outreach Skills through HARO
Another benefit that HARO brings to the table is that you can hone your outreach and online interpersonal skills by using this system. HARO enables to you to get in touch with people, you can do a lot of back and forth, you can negotiate, you can try to read people, you can try to get the best deals, and you can investigate.
These skills aren’t just useful in the context of using HARO. These skills can actually benefit you when you are reaching out to blog owners so you can get blog alliances. You can use this same skill set when trying to contribute content to respective blogs in your niche.