Search engines, like Google, are the primary way how people find things. Think about the last time you looked for a new restaurant, app, barbershop, or salon. You likely "Google'd" it before landing on the one you liked.
When searching, you likely clicked on the first or second link. Maybe you scrolled down and clicked the 3rd, 4th, 5th....maybe even the 7th link. But how often do you visit page 2 of Google? What about page 313?
So for any business, brand, or website looking to attract people - it's *super* important that they show up at the top of Google's rankings. More visitors = more readers, users, and customers = more money. And the best part about it is, these visitors are "free". There's no paid ads that you need to run to get people to show up through a Google search.
In fact, this practice is so important that it's an entire field of marketing - called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
One of the primary ways that search engines figure out what websites to surface for a given query is via backlinks. A backlink is just a link from another website to your website. The more backlinks (aka links from other sites) that your site has, the more Google "trusts" it, and the higher it's likely to show up in search.
Backlinks are also weighted - meaning that a link from Forbes to your website will weight significantly more than a link from Joe's Blog. Or if your website is about gardening, a link from another gardening blog will weigh more than a link from a shoe store.
As you can see, getting backlinks is one of the most important aspects of ranking higher on Google & other search engines. At the end of the day, this means more organic ("free") traffic to your site, app, or blog - and ultimately more money.
So how does a blog, site, or company get backlinks? And why would Forbes or the NY Times include a link to the site of a brand new company or startup?
HARO stands for "Help A Reporter Out", and it's a service that connects reporters to sources.
On one side, reporters looking to write articles on specific topics will reach out to HARO and ask for quotes from specific sources that they need access to. For example, if John Doe is writing an article on the impact of remote work on tech companies - he likely wants to include a quote from a VP or CTO of a tech company. He doesn't know any personally, so he reaches out to HARO to get a quote.
On the other side, everyday people like you and me, subscribe to HARO as "sources". HARO then sends out emails filled with prompts from reporters, and if you see a prompt that you're a good fit to answer - you can reply to the prompt with your input.
Here's the kicker: if the reporter accepts your response, they include it as a quote with a direct link to the website of your choosing! 🎉
These "asks" from reporters are known as "prompts" and they follow a set structure.
As you can see in the image below, a typical HARO reporter prompt includes the following fields:
Title: A summary of what the topic they're writing about
Name: The name of the reporter
Email: The email of the reporter
Category: A single category that the prompt falls under (this is from a pre-defined list of categories from HARO, including things like "Business & Finance", "Education", etc.)
Media Outlet: The outlet or publication in which the article wil be published
Query: The set of questions that the reporter has for you (the source). If they like & accept your answer, it'll be included as a quote in the published article
Requirements: Specific credentials, roles, or professions that the reporter wants to hear from for this prompt
Figure 1: A typical reporter's prompt from HARO
And that's it! That's how you get backlinks.
HARO is the industry standard in backlink acquisition, and it's mailing list of "sources" is over 2 million people (and growing!).
But it's completely broken, and almost rendered useless. Why?
The biggest issue with HARO is the noise.
With prompts from reporters spanning across 10 different industries, there are hundereds of prompts every day that flood your inbox.
This noise is so overwhelming that it becomes impossible to discern truly valuable prompts from those irrelevant to your brand, business, or website. As a result, you end up missing out on golden backlink opportunities and ultimately hurting your chances of organic traffic & revenue.
That's why we built BacklinksAI.
With AI-powered & manual keyword filters, auto-reply, and more - we want our tool to be the "must have" extension to HARO.
It's meant to bring HARO into the modern age, and help you use AI as your co-pilot in increasing your brand's organic reach. All done, at a fraction of the cost of an "SEO agency".
It's an incredible tool, made to help you grow your business.
We hope you enjoy using it as much as we do.
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