As an Agency, our team followers the best names in marketing, we also follow the small people that do not receive the credit they deserve. One of my favorites to follow is a *Henry. Henry is a link activist and a dedicated SEO analyst, he is constantly studying the latest tactics and best practices to help with a website’s link profile.
His latest newsletter gave a run-down of HARO, Help a Reporter Out, and where he sees flags in their system. The HARO Company is a paid subscription that give real-time media opportunities in a three tiered plan with subscriptions starting at $19/month and a basic plan that is free. HARO works by giving the subscriber publicity alerts that are powered by Vocus, an integrated marketing and PR software based in Maryland.
While there is some value in a HARO subscription for obtaining links, you have to be weary of the magnitude of crap sites that are distributed in the “3 Media Opportunities Emails a day”. So here are 10 tips for HARO users:
As with anything you do in life, be discrete and selective. Really look around sites before just deciding to post your information on them. Similar to a group of people, do you want people to see you associated with them? If you hang around dogs, you’re going to catch fleas… And no one likes a flea-infested website.
Most of the “3 media opportunities delivered daily” are written anonymously; this is something that should cause a red flag. Good, rich, informative content will have a source, if there is no source, which means there is no reliability or assurance about the information you are reading. However, the HARO editors do claim to "vet each and every reporter source before they post to make sure that they meet an Alexa traffic ranking and that they actually write for the outlet they claim", a direct quote from Stacey Miller the Senior Social Media Manager at Vocus.
Do not limit yourself by restricting the content or topics you are willing to read opportunities on. Sometimes opportunity arises in the most surprising places, and the last thing you want is to miss it!
All three of the subscription tiers for HARO include 3 opportunity emails a day, time is of the essence when reading news, so it is important to be timely about reading the notices upon receipt.
There are two types of opportunities that you will receive from HARO: wide and narrow. Wide opportunities are good for building “mindshare”; that means traffic from making your business visible to those likely to visit your site at some point in time. This would be link exposure in related articles similar to your product/service. Narrow opportunities are more targeted towards your demographic and those searching for your product but many not know who you are. This is where you can see growth in lower conversion funnel opportunities such as social shares and traditional media newsletters.
6. Traditional SEO
Don’t just focus on the traditional SEO tactics, digital marketing is constantly changing to become more advance and serve a better purpose and more relevant search result. PageRank and other SEO trusted ranking metrics should not influence you to refuse participation in a potentially good space. Focus on the traffic and if sales could possibly come from it, search traffic is only one piece of the puzzle.
Investigate where you are receiving the content, sometimes people have a bias because they are actually affiliated with a competitor or because they are an advocate of a group. Learn about the person who is giving you information before you decide they are a good or bad source. And don’t underestimate the ‘little guy’; you may think someone does not have a lot of followers on Twitter or Instagram, but could be VERY influential in your industry; the small fry may be the opportunity you have been looking for! “Pick battles big enough to matter, and small enough to win.”
Bloggers can be very beneficial or extremely harmful depending on their audience. Again, do your research on the blogger before reaching out to them about any type of work or assistance. Be familiar with their work and see their metrics for posts and their quality of work.
Google’s favorite food, color, number, sport, and word is content; fresh, unique, new, rich content. Any site you may find that has guest post or repetitive content, STAY AWAY! Google’s main focus is and will always be the best, most relevant search result for the customer query, there is a reason why that page in not listed.
10. Quality over Quantity
Greed is one of the seven deadly sins, so do not be greedy when doing any form of link building or SEO. Focus on Quality of work over Quantity. It is better to have 10 dedicated followers, than 1,000 that do not engage with your brand. And this can be applied anywhere on your site and in any industry, it is better to have less but better quality work, employees, products, blogs, content, and links than it is to have a million crappy anything.