SEO pro tip: Use HARO and FlackList to generate links to your site

Offer yourself as a source to needy journalists and you may just end up with a great link-building strategy!
Written by Stephen Chapman, Contributor
Invisible rain is invisible.

Invisible rain is invisible.

In the world of link-building, it can be a royal pain-in-the-butt to obtain genuine links from high-quality Web sites. More and more these days, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) finds itself at the convergence of all things interactive marketing (social media and the likes) and the technological advancements that give us more ways to utilize the Internet.

As such, to build quality links, we have to get creative and make use of the very best and very latest of what the Web has to offer! Of the myriad options at our disposal, two of my absolute favorite services to leverage are HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and Flacklist.

In short, these two services help to bridge the gap between journalists looking for sources and sources looking for journalists. What does that mean for you as an SEO agency/freelancer or otherwise looking to build links? Well, it means you stand a great chance at garnering some of the most genuine and potentially authoritative back links you ever have! But these services don't come without a price: Your time.

Yes, it can take quite a bit of time for the end result of a published link to happen. Between keeping up with the daily newsletters to journalist deadlines that are a couple of months away, there are a number of intangibles you must take into consideration. Therefore, it is essential that you always maintain clear communication with any journalists who select you as the source for a story of theirs. Sometimes, people are looking for opinions only and there's no link-back in the equation at all. The last thing you want to do is put in a bunch of effort only to have it not pay off for you in the end. Establish the transaction early on in the exchange. What's in it for you, if anything? Because you're an SEO, all you want is a link. That's usually not a difficult favor to return.

Now, the real strategy for you as an SEO is to use services like these for your clients. For instance, if you have a client who is in a niche/market pertaining to something specific -- let's say lawnmowers -- and one day, HARO sends out a newsletter about a journalist looking to write a story on defective lawnmowers. Send an email to that journalist and get the ball rolling!

Naturally, it's up to you to decide how you go about obtaining the information you choose to send journalists, but clients sometimes enjoy being involved to the extent that they write a small piece on their expertise -- especially if you accurately convey the SEO value to them. Of course, you can always choose not to involve your clients, but don't discount the positive results that can come from at least offering to get them involved with the SEO process!

Be the source. If you strike while the iron's hot, you may just land yourself (and your clients) not only a great link to help with ranking, but also a potential surge of visitors when the article goes live. Also, it's worth mentioning that there are more sites like HARO and FlackList, such as PRManna and ProfNet. So, as you can see, there is a vast world out there of journalists looking to connect with sources and there are plenty of sites that help perform just such a task. Lucky you!

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