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How To Get High Authority Backlinks? The Best Off-Page SEO That No SEO Pro Will Tell You


How To Get High Authority Backlinks? Best Off-Page SEO Pros Will Tell You About

For years I had worked as an SEO consultant. For years “I thought” I thoroughly understood SEO strategies and tactics. Turns out I did understand the strategies quite well but I was missing out on some very important fundamentals.

Over the years I CONSTANTLY asked myself;

How do brands (like Kim Garst, Jeff Bullas, Neil Patel, etc.) get published on main stream publications and websites? How is that they magically can be cited in media sites like Forbes, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, etc.? I KNOW, there is something more to this, but there is NO information anywhere! I FEEL like they purposely are not showing all their cards, they are holding something back – AND – INDEED THEY WERE.

My Aha Moment

Feel free to listen to the full podcast – OR – you can simply fast forward to the 10:50 milestone and listen for 2-3 minutes.

The gentlemen on this video, Jeff Root and Anthony Martin, shared their “secret sauce” for building a high traffic website with domain that results in LEAD GENERATION AND NEW BUSINESS.

When I heard the 2-3 minutes of audio on that podcast starting at the 10:50 milestone, it was the AHA MOMENT I had been waiting 7 years for! It ALL CAME TOGETHER FOR ME AT THIS MOMENT.

NOTE: From a professional perspective, sometimes technicians will get caught up in their own solutions and mindset. They are unwilling to listen or learn new ideas. This is because of a variety of reasons that include fearing the unknown and/or a perceived threat. I am NOT ashamed to admit that although I had heard of HARO previously, I both feared it and considered it a threat so I did not follow up on it. Once my mindset and objectives changed, I was more open-minded – I LISTENED TO THIS PODCAST AT THE ABSOLUTE BEST TIMING POSSIBLE!

SEO Consultants Can’t See the Forest Through the Trees

5 years ago, I would not be caught dead saying such a statement. Now that I have moved on to bigger and better things and now that I use SEO solely for my new business (and my partners), I have no problem at all saying this. Furthermore, I will further admit that I was 100% GUILTY OF THIS MYSELF!

The problem with most SEO consultants is that it’s a constant race to identify “better, faster and easier.” In other words, it’s a constant quest to find ways to “operate in the grey“.

White Hat, Grey Hat, Black Hat

  • White Hat – Tactics that will result in positive results (rankings) in search engines according to best practices, ethics, and standards. White hat may require a lot of time, money, resources and patience (could take a while to get results).
  • Grey Hat – Tactics that are “easier and faster” than traditional white hat but are developed (disguised) to avoid obvious black hat signals that will result in a website being removed from search engines.
  • Black Hat – Tactics whose sole purpose is to artificially manipulate search engine rankings – IF A WEBSITE IS CAUGHT BY A SEARCH ENGINE USING “BLACK HATS” TACTICS, IT WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE SEARCH ENGINE – ENTIRELY.

The problem with the vast majority of SEO consultants is that they are SO FOCUSED ON GREY HAT (and sometimes Black Hat) that they completely lose sight of best practices, ethics and standards! SEO consultants lose sight of the fundamentals of sound marketing and search engine optimization.

SEO professionals collaborate and share “shortcuts” among each other. These shortcuts supposedly help grease the wheels of search engine optimization FASTER than conventional means. The problem with that is indeed they are just that, shortcuts.

If you give me a website to analyze and do an SEO audit, inevitably here is what an audit will dig up the majority of the time;

  • PBN (private blog network) Links – THESE ARE CONSIDERED BLACK HAT TACTICS, GOOGLE WILL UNPUBLISH YOUR SITE – Yet SEO professionals are constantly looking for ways to “beat the system” (trust me, I am tempted on occasion to do this)
  • Mass Web 2.0 Backlinks – This is the trademark fingerprint of someone hiring an SEO person on Fiverr! For $5, you get what you pay for. It’s IMMEDIATELY OBVIOUS to a trained professional if someone has previously used Fiverr for off-page SEO.
  • Link Wheels – Links wheels are essentially a complete PBN that disguises the blog network with a series of intermediate websites. These are just the next generation of PBN’S. These are immediately obvious when evaluating a backlink portfolio for a website and tracing and used to calls the dogs (Google) off the scent of a PBN.
  • (NEW) Leveraging Cloud Assets – The latest craze is to create mass volumes of 3rd party assets on powerful domains like Google and Amazon. The theory is that you can leverage the domain authority and “siphen” the authority from these assets to your website.

All of the above are PREVALENT in the industry, all SEO pros will say; “I don’t do any of those things“, but the vast majority do it (they are lying)

While some of the tactics above may indeed work, the problem is that your website, brand, and digital presence is the just a house of cards! There is no foundation for you to build upon.

Enter, the next section —>

How Do Big Brands Get Published On High Authority Media Outlets And Websites?

It’s VERY SIMPLE – within the podcast at the beginning of the video, Mr. Martin cites the exposure and results from being published in Investopedia.

Successful brands build relationships with journalists and the media. For years, many of the reputable marketing personas and brands would provide instruction and recommendations, such as; “create good content and authorities will share your content”, which is great – HOWEVER – they will NOT share with you HOW TO DO IT!

UNTIL NOW! If you search google for “How to get high-quality backlinks”, the very first article you are greeted with is by Neil Patel.

Please read the link above by Neil Patel, it contains incredible detail and information to help you understand the nuts and bolts of HARO and HARO citations. Here is an excerpt from Mr. Patel’s article;


Become a Source For Reporters and Bloggers (HARO)

Here’s the deal:

If you want to rank on the first page of Google, you need to build AMAZING links.

(I’m talking about white hat backlinks from authority news sites and blogs)

Fortunately, this isn’t as hard as it sounds. All you need to do is use a free service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

HARO homepage

HARO is like Tinder for public relations.

It connects people that need sources (bloggers and journalists) to people that want links and exposure (you).


HARO – Is It The Magic Bullet?

Yes and No

Why it is a magic bullet? For me it’s the magic bullet in that it opens the door to nearly unlimited opportunities to be cited, mentioned, build relationships with journalists, and receive HIGH AUTHORITY BACKLINKS.

I started using HARO for my two new websites and am getting results less than 3 months into the venture (which any SEO pro will tell you is incredible!)

  • Affordable Final Expense Insurance: Website that is 3-4 months old, started to implement the HARO strategy on day one and have developed the following;
    • 18 – Majestic Trust Flow (managed websites in the past that required YEARS to achieve these results)
    • 17 – Majestic Citation Flow (once again, this can take YEARS)
    • 18 – SEM Rush Domain Authority (can take YEARS)
  • Leave a Legacy, Not Debt – Life & Finance Insurance Advisory: I started building the “evergreen” content for this site 1-2 months ago and have begun a full-court press submitting as many HARO requests as possible. I have yet to receive any HARO citations or mentions – BUT – I just started my full-court press in the past 2-3 weeks. Having just went through this with the other site, I am confident we will begin getting results any day now.

Why it’s NOT a magic bullet? It’s NOT a magic bullet because you have to put in the time and effort! It’s not easy and just because you submit a HARO response does not mean you will be cited. Matter of fact, when starting out you may have to submit 10-20 times before you are cited. After the first round of submissions and after your first citation, you will have a much better understanding of the “the numbers game” involved with HARO.

The HARO Numbers Game

As mentioned above, HARO is just like sales – A NUMBERS GAME. The more people you speak with, the more people you meet with, the more people you interact with the more likely you are to succeed.

The same goes for HARO. The average person can probably bank on 5-10% of HARO responses being published. That means you will need to respond 10-20 times to get one citation, which on the surface may sound painful.

It’s really not that bad! When you start responding to HARO requests, it might take 30-60 minutes to draft your response and send it. Over time, responses will take 15-30 minutes. If it takes you 10 submissions at 15 minutes per submission, that is 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) for ONE ORGANICALLY DEVELOPED AND HIGH AUTHORITY BACKLINK – USING WHITE HAT TACTICS! (you would pay $1,000-2,000 for a link like this on the open SEO market)

Let’s look at some numbers before we dissect the value;

  • NEW SITE METRIC BOOSTS – One organic citation from a “low ranking” site may boost your domain authority 1-2 points, one from a “medium ranking” site may boost your domain 3-4 points and one from a “high ranking” site may boost your domain authority 5-6 points. THESE ARE TREMENDOUS BOOSTS FOR A NEW SITE.
  • TRAFFIC INCREASE – Once published, you will receive an immediate boost of traffic varying from a couple of dozen visitors to potentially thousands of visitors to your site. ALL ORGANICALLY PRODUCED REFERRAL TRAFFIC (that is GOOD traffic)!
  • SEO RANKING BOOSTS – Depending on your website on-page SEO (i.e. how well your content is organized), you will receive a nearly immediate boost to your search engine rankings for your target keywords.

HARO – The Value and Benefits

Okay, now a little about my backstory, who I am and what I do before we talk about the value.

I owned and operated a 3V, a digital agency (marketing, web, software development) for 7 years, which included SEO services. Over the course of those 7 years, I worked on 3V SEO as well as SEO for dozens of clients.

For those 7 years, my focus and energy were ALWAYS to find something “faster and easier”, and that did indeed include Grey Hat and maybe even some Black Hat tactics (BEING OPEN, HONEST, TRANSPARENT HERE.) My goal for those 7 years was ALWAYS how do I get the fastest results possible, with much less thought about QUALITY AND SUSTAINABILITY!

In 2019, I changed careers and started an insurance brokerage with two websites, as mentioned above. My 100% goal and focus was LONG TERM SUSTAINABILITY. I did not feel the pressure (either internally or from clients) to produce results immediately, so it put me in the mindset of; HOW DO WE DO THIS THE RIGHT WA?

So, because of my experience with SEO and also because I can’t afford $2,000+ per month to hire an SEO agency (without mentioning IF you can find someone you trust) in my own business, I approached this problem from a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.

My perspective is bottom-line results without any prejudice or premonition of metrics, vanity metrics, KPI’s (key performance indicators) or other useless performance data – I JUST WANT RESULTS! Results in the form of an increasing amount of good quality organic traffic and an ever-increasing amount of quality organic lead generation.

Indeed, our Affordable Final Expense website is producing returns on the TIME AND RESOURCE INVESTMENT, 3 months into the effort. We are producing;

  • 5-10 organic leads per week
  • A steady flow of 10-20 organic (search engine traffic) visits per day

Having done SEO for many years, my understanding of the market is that indeed I would have already had to pay anywhere from $3,000-10,000 to a 3rd party professional for these services – AND – I am 100% certain that we would have not achieved these results.

“SEO professionals are NOTORIOUS for using ‘it’s a long play, we need more time to measure/monitor keywords and traffic.’ It can and will bleed you dry”

Conclusion & Takeaway – Why Did I Publish This Article

I wrote this article for a few reasons;

  • I do share my HARO experience and results with partners and trusted professionals. Sometimes it’s easier to see it in writing. So now, there is an article I can send people to help communicate the value.
  • As part of my brokerage, I add value to my partners and my clients (small business owners) by providing sales/marketing advice and more importantly – SOLUTIONS. HARO is a cost-effective solution for businesses that are looking to get more exposure in search engines!

If you would like to learn more about using HARO for marketing media relations and PR;

  • Feel free to CONTACT US at 3V (click here)
  • If you are reading this because you are a business owner and spoke with me (Michael Lucy) about business solutions – call or text me at 734-288-8323
  • Click Here to Join our Facebook Group – We provide FREE training and daily updates on HARO requests. We can even connect you with freelance writers to help you with your HARO responses and press releases.
Michael Lucy
Michael Lucy
Michael Lucy is an avid digital marketer with a deep-rooted passion for anything and everything involving technology. Michael has owned and operated 3V for nearly 8 years - AND - has now taken the knowledge and experience acquired over that period and has started an insurance and financial services brokerage (

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