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How to Use HARO for SEO and HIGH Quality Backlinks

How to Use HARO for SEO and HIGH Quality Backlinks

BACKLINKS, BACKLINKS, BACKLINKS – The bane of existence for website owners and SEO professionals. A constant quest to GAME THE SYSTEM and get MORE backlinks. In our quest for QUANTITY, it’s easy to lose sight of link QUALITY.

As someone that delivered SEO for 7+ years, I know firsthand the mindset and pressure associated with delivering SEO services, delivering higher rankings, delivering more traffic, and (YES) delivering more results.

YES, I have been that person that hired someone Fiverr to acquire backlinks, YES, I have been that person to submit clients to link directories, YES, I have been that person to do link exchanges, YES, I have been that person to exploit blog networks (PBN’s), YES, I have tried many of the SEO hacks in an attempt to achieve results for us and our clients.

SEO – The Truth About Backlinks

SEO is also referred to as “organic search marketing” for a reason. Just like you would grow a garden organically, a website’s search exposure was and is meant to grow ORGANICALLY.

Search engines LOVE organic content and organic growth. Organic website growth includes;

  • Solid relevant content to the website topic (and sub-topics) … AKIN to making sure your garden has fertile soil.
  • Quality of links back to your site. The higher the authority (ranking) of a site linking to you, the bigger the impact on your site’s results … AKIN to making sure you are using quality seeds and you pick weeds regularly.
  • Quantity of links back to your site. The more high quality links to your site, the better the results … AKIN to making sure you regularly water your garden.

HARO and SEO – How to EARN High Quality Backlinks

The Supply and Demand of Backlinks – Please note the word EARN is in capitals, that was NOT by accident. ANYBODY (SEO professional, webmaster, blogger, etc.) can register a link to a link directory, submit blog responses, or any other of the traditional SEO hacks.

The challenge is that just ANYBODY can’t earn a link from powerful and authoritative website like Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, Huffington Post or others.

ONE, just ONE, link or citation in a Forbes article is worth WAY more than an infinite number of directory links or blog comments.


Sounds like a daunting task? Well, yes and no! The daunting part is that YES it requires work, persistence and patience. The part that is not daunting is that with work, persistence and patience – IT WILL HAPPEN!

You can easily acquire high quality, ORGANIC citations and links from POWERFUL AND POPULAR WEBSITES like Forbes, Fortunes, CNBC, Huffington Post using HARO (Help A Reporter Out).


HARO stands for “Help a Reporter Out.” HARO is a service provide Cision that connects journalist with sources. Journalists publish requests for subject matter experts and content to use as sources and CITATIONS (LINKS) in their articles. HARO is used by journalist for nearly ALL media outlets from Fortune to Forbes to Huffington Post to small individual blogs.


HARO is an effective and cost efficient tool for managing your Public Relations (PR), Marketing and SEO all in one. An effective media outreach and content program can save businesses THOUSANDS of dollars on expensive, unreliable and risky SEO services. With HARO you can source your internet marketing and SEO in-house – OR – outsource it for a fraction of the cost of traditional SEO services.

HARO Links vs. Paid SEO Services

When you hire a 3rd partner SEO vendor, what are you paying for and what should you expect for results?

The traditional SEO agency, or freelancer, will include the following with their services;

  • A pre-launch report, analysis, recommendations and an action plan
  • Content optimization, or recommendations to optimize content
  • Data, metrics, and reporting to measure results vs. deliverables
  • Local SEO (as needed) Optimization
  • OFF-PAGE SEO (acquiring links, citations, and mentions)

At the end of the day, the majority of your cost and expenses are going to be on OFF-PAGE SEO, that is what will drive results. The quality of the OFF-PAGE SEO will differentiate one SEO vendor from another.

Unfortunately, MOST SEO vendors rely upon a mixture of black-hat, grey-hat tactics with a sprinkle of white-hat SEO (you can read about White, Grey, Black Hat SEO here).


Without getting into the technical details of backlinks (the what, how, why, when, etc.), wouldn’t it be nice to UNDERSTAND and KNOW that your vendor is operating ethically and in your best interest (i.e. NOT using black hat techniques)?

BETTER YET, wouldn’t it be nice to know WHEN you are cited or mentioned by a source and who that source is? Wouldn’t it help build your confidence to know and understand that a journalist for Forbes or Fortune has mentioned or cited you in their article? You may not care or you may just ignore when you are cited in a link directory, but when you are cited in Forbes, it’s a game changer!

BETTER YET, what if you could be in control of your own SEO, your own “OFF-PAGE SEO” without having to understand the nuts-n-bolts of SEO?

With HARO, you can accomplish all of the above. With a well built web site that has GREAT content, you can confidently respond to and build relationships with journalists, share your expertise/knowledge and be cited in media outlets. The benefits of doing this are;

  • SAVE MONEY – You will save LOTS of money on short + long term SEO
  • SAVE TIME – Chasing backlinks (low quality backlinks) is TIME CONSUMING, DOWNRIGHT FRUSTRATING, AND EXPENSIVE.
  • PEACE OF MIND – YOU are in control of your internet marketing and not at the mercy of understanding (or not understanding) what your vendor is doing.
  • CONVENIENT – Monitoring HARO for relevant journalists requests and queries is EASY and FAST. When you respond to a journalist, the response is typically 2-3 paragraphs, it’s FAST and EASY.
  • DIFFERENT & EFFICIENT – While your competition is wasting time and money on “old school black/grey hat” tactics, you are acquiring powerful and meaningful mentions and citations in outlets like Forbes.

Who Should Use HARO for SEO?

The simple answer is EVERYONE; business owners, professionals, trade professionals, service professionals, doctors, lawyers, financial professionals, realtors, mortgage loan officers, and many others.

It costs you (or an employee, or a vendor) just a few seconds of time each day to pay attention to HARO notifications, find relevant requests/queries and respond to them.

A decent HARO response rate (number of time published per response) for beginners is 10%, meaning that 1/10 times that you respond to a journalist you will be cited or mentioned. That response rate, should improve to 20-30% after 3-6 months, once you get used to the process and HOW to respond.

Let’s break down the math and cost for a minute. Say your timeor the time of an employee or vendor is worth $50 per hour. A HARO response may take 15 minutes to draft and send. 10 responses may require 150 minutes, that is 2 1/2 hours.

QUESTION: For 2 1/2 hours or $125 ($50 an hour), is it worth your time or money for an opportunity to be mentioned/cited ORGANICALLY and receive a powerful backlink from an authoritative website?

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 (

1 Comment

  1. […] SEO PROMINENCE – Prominence, in the most simple terms possible is OFF-PAGE SEO, where OFF-PAGE SEO are both quality and quantity of links to the respective website, and more importantly …. […]

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