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How We Got a Link from The Huffington Post

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Arianna Huffington doesn't care that we got a link from the Huffington Post

By David Shankbone (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There are plenty of blogs that get links from HuffPo on a daily basis, but this was a first for us. This is how we got it.

A couple weeks ago, I was browsing Reddit on my lunch break and saw a post that caught my attention. It was the perfect example of that legendary “Great Content” that SEOs love to talk about, and it was going fully viral. Because no one had commented on the SEO/content marketing side of it, and because the post was only six hours old, I decided to whip up my fastest blog post to date. It took a little over an hour to write and post it through all of our regular channels, and then I was back to work on our clients’ sites (my calendar says I was working on Miguel Palma’s site, and who am I to argue.)

The next day, a pair of pingbacks arrived from two blogs I’ve never seen before. They were both on the funkier end of the spectrum, so I didn’t spend too much time looking at them. If I did, I may have noticed that they were both ripoffs of a Huffington Post article.

It wasn’t until another day or two went by that I noticed our blog was getting a little more traffic than usual, so I decided to take a look at our traffic sources. Lo and behold, we were getting a healthy bit of traffic from huffingtonpost.com. I ran the site through my personal favorite backlinks checking tool, Ahrefs, and found the link immediately.

The link we got from the Huffington Post

The HuffPo post came a day after ours and linked back with the anchor text “covered in pins.” It’s not clear if Suzy Strutner saw my post and decided to turn it into a bigger interest piece, or if she was inspired by the original Reddit post and just found mine while doing some research, but the important part is that my “story” about Phil’s pin board was so niche that I literally had the only blog post on the subject, anywhere on the internet. And that’s how I got the link.

Big Whoop. How Does That Help Me?

If you’re still reading, you probably want to know how to get a link like this that you can call your own. While I’m no expert on the subject, I do have a few tips I can share.

1. Start acting like an expert

If you’ve been alive for long enough to learn how to tie your own shoes, there’s probably something you can teach me. Even if you mow lawns 60 hours a week, you can probably tell me something about mowing lawns that I would never have thought of. Try writing blog posts, or even just social media posts, about the kind of things that only you would notice. Even if it seems like no one else could possibly care, you’ll be surprised time and time again.

2. Respond quickly to new stories

If I had written the post on Phil’s Fish Market two weeks after the Reddit post, I would have never gotten that link. Today there is more of a market for brand new content than ever before, and the insatiable demand for new subjects to write about means that even minor news items can turn into a thousand different blog posts. The trick is to get in on the ground level so that other bloggers will find your post when doing their research.

3. Discover new content the moment it’s posted

If you want to be the first writer to offer a unique perspective on a story, you need to be one of the first people to see it. Set up a Reddit account and learn how to use Subredditslearn to use an RSS reader, or make Twitter a part of your daily routine.

Can I Buy a Link from the Huffington Post?

Let’s start with this short answer: Hell No.

Lately we’ve been seeing an influx of unsolicited emails from people claiming that you could pay them to build links to your site from the Huffington Post. Read Tony Edward’s post on Search Engine Land if you need to learn why these jokesters should not pass go or collect your $500.

Sign Up for Help A Reporter Out Instead

Another way you can get links from the Huffington Post (and a lot of other websites) is signing up for Help a Reporter Out. Once you sign up, you’ll get three emails per day looking for experts on everything from tree trimming to plastic surgery. Head on over to my guide on how to build links with HARO for free to learn more.

Any Questions?

Leave a comment below or tweet me @joeadamg.

37 Comments

  1. Sherry Sherman

    I am a new blogger and this info was so very important to my growth in this thank youso very much for the knowledge and tools I appreciate it.

  2. Jake

    Can please elaborate how HuffPo search for their content .Whether I have write it directly to them or they will crawl the google search result for their content?
    I am a new blogger ..please reply

    1. Joe Goldstein

      I’m sure every writer at Huffpo has a different approach, but considering the time frame and which channels I used to promote it, I think chances are good that she found it from organic search. One of my goals when I helped redesign Navolutions.com was to keep a firm grip on the indexing and load speed, which help with the crawl budget, while also pushing more prominence to our latest blog posts. That means new posts get indexed pretty quick, and the pagerank flows into them fairly easily.

      My guess is that the writer was just Googling for more information about Phil’s pin board. If you search “phil’s fish market board”, “phil’s fish market pins” or anything like it, our post is the first link that talks about the board specifically. In retrospect, I could have come up with much better title and alt tags, but the fact that the description mentions Reddit made it clear that I was writing about the same subject.

  3. shafiuddin

    A Backlink from HuffPost will surely help in rankings,one of my friend’s blog went from #118 to #19 position with a single backlink from HuffPost

  4. Sergey Lucktinov

    One of my clients is ranking for a certain keyword on position #3. I think that was the reason why HuffPost’s writer included it in “Around the Web” section under related article. That and interesting content in that article. All those links are do-follow BTW…

  5. Manoj

    Can you list sites whose backlinks are as important like huffpo?

    1. Joe Goldstein

      IMO, a dofollow link’s worth (in terms of ranking power) correlates pretty strongly with the number of people who click it. Huffpo is #32 on the Alexa’s top 500 US list, which is a pretty decent indicator of the domain’s raw linking strength.

      So the simplest answer is that a link from anyone in the Alexa top 500 would be worthwhile, and links are worth more when the sites don’t hand them out like Halloween candy.

  6. Worth Reading

    Worth reading. I was searching for backlink from huffington post from a month, recently a guy told me that he will create a backlink in 500$. I was like WTF. But now feeling better. Thanks a lot for writing up on it.

    1. Joe Goldstein

      Yeah, steer clear of those kinds of “offers.”

      If you want an approach that’s a little more dependable, you should sign up for HARO. Prompts from Huffpo come through every now and again, and there are plenty of other good links up for grabs. Plus the free tier is absolutely fine, as long as you stay on top of the notification emails.

  7. Daniel

    I did something similar in January when that Anjali Ramkissoon (sp?) attacked an Uber Driver. I was at the right place at the right time, got a rushed blog post out and saw over 100,000 visits in one day. I got a link from Breitbart but haven’t been as lucky since.

    1. Joe Goldstein

      Nice. Most of my bigger wins have just been hunches and dumb luck too, but if you pick your battles you can still be luckier than the next guy.

  8. pratik apte

    Thanks for the tips Joe 🙂

  9. Asad Hanif

    Joe nice tips,,, i have a question, basically i am confused now because Google removed its most famous ‘Google Page Rank’ (PR) publicly then why still we need backlinks from other high authority sites? does High authority backlinks still works to rank our website or just we need these kind of backlinks for gaining traffic from those sources? waiting for reply.

    1. Joe Goldstein

      Google removed Toolbar PageRank, which is not the same thing as PageRank. The one they removed is strictly a public, visual approximation of real PageRank. It’s like removing the fuel gauge from a car – it doesn’t change the fact that it still needs gas to run.

  10. Jack Edwards

    That’s incredible – just shows how important timing is, most businesses would die for a link on a site like Huff. Keeping my fingers crossed! ha 🙂

  11. Lindsay E

    Great post! I found a blogger that wrote for the huffington post and was able to get me some backlinks. It really helped my SERPs. You can probably find a blogger for them using an outsourcing site, that’s where I found mine. Thank you!

  12. Maurizio

    some people are even paying $ 1000 for a post on huffington, I think it is exaggerated …..

    1. Joe Goldstein

      I’m sure someone is willing to take your $1000 for it. Whether or not you ever hear from them again is a different story.

  13. Josh

    When someone does offer to make you a HuffPo link for $500 (I got an offer like that today) what are they exactly doing to create it? Why would HuffPo allow that. The same person says they can make me links in Wikipedia as well for $200. That sort of makes no sense since I can edit wikipedia myself.

  14. Disini

    Huffington post, Wikipedia, and dmoz is same power backlink?

    1. Joe Goldstein

      Wikipedia links are nofollow, so they might pass trust metrics and citation metrics, but not pagerank.

      Dmoz and Huffpo both offer followed links, but the Huffington Post link is going to come with more traffic, more social signals, more freshness (since all their links are essentially time stamped), and stronger citation flow. Compare Huffpo’s global Alexa rank of 162 to Dmoz’s 6,130 and the difference should be clear.

  15. sarkari naukri

    Hello Joe ,
    I have few things in my mind .That suppose i am running a jobs website then how i will link to huffington .Give me tips so that i will publish it there.
    Waiting for your reply.

    Thanks

    1. Joe Goldstein

      Do something newsworthy or give a fresh take on something that’s already newsworthy.

      In your case, you’ll have to report a job opening with novelty value (that no one else is covering), be the first to report a newsworthy job opening, get a short interview with someone close to a newsworthy job opening, or just invent something newsworthy. In the US, I would recommend creating a newsworthy scholarship, like this guy did, but I don’t know anything about the state of scholarships in India.

  16. Ahmed Ali

    i think i still not found my answer. i want back links for my website but don’t know where to buy. i think you says that we cannot get backlinks from hufinton post. a simple question is my website getting low visitors can backlinks increase my traffic immediately?

    1. Joe Goldstein

      i want back links for my website but don’t know where to buy.

      If you care about your website, don’t buy links.

      i think you says that we cannot get backlinks from hufinton post.

      You can put your site in a good position to naturally get links from the Huffington Post, or develop relationships with their contributors. Those are, more or less, your only legitimate options.

      a simple question is my website getting low visitors can backlinks increase my traffic immediately?

      They will not increase your traffic immediately. You might get a short burst of referral traffic in some circumstances, but the lasting, organic benefits are much slower. If you need immediate traffic, you want Search Engine Marketing, not Search Engine Optimization.

  17. verolian opiyo

    I`m reaching out to ask for your assistance. I am a contributor at Huffington Post, and my account is not accepting a do follow links. I have even experimented with other do follow links from other contributor`s articles and they are not working in my account.

    I am kindly asking for your assistance or if you know of anyone that can be of help to me.

    1. Joe Goldstein

      That’s odd – what does the error look like?

      My best guess is that you might have to hit some sort of minimum threshhold for published articles before they’ll let you use dofollow external links. Suzy Strutner, the writer behind the piece on Phil’s Fish Market, has about 30 posts in her archive, so that could be a factor.

      1. verolian opiyo
        1. Joe Goldstein

          Absolutely no idea, sorry.

          1. verolian opiyo

            Do you know of anybody from the site that can assist me to solve the issue

  18. Alicia

    Oh My God! And here I was ready to spend quite a few bucks for my website’s do- follow link from Huffington Post. Thanks Joe… Will be trying to write on my own from this time around!

  19. Ronson

    Thank you for the post, Just saw an ad on fiverr that says permanent do follow links available from Huffington post for $45, i immediately googled to know if this is good and found your article, really helpful.

    1. Joe Goldstein

      Yeah, I wouldn’t touch those.

      There are two ways to post to Huffpo now: you can either submit a blog post, or pitch a story to the editors.

      Anybody can write a blog post (even me) but those get a noindex, nofollow meta robots directive until the thing gets enough shares, views, and traction to be promoted. So anyone could easily sell you a Huffpo link and just not mention that it’s a nofollow from a noindexed page.

      The other approach is to go through the editors, which takes time and trust building, but gives dofollow links. If the Fiverr posts were selling those, all it would take is someone at Huffpo to buy the gig for $45, get the author’s name, and nuke all of their posts.

      Either way, you’d just be throwing your money away.

  20. sally high

    Joe, thank you so much for your information. I am a therapist and this field of backlinking and seo is so foreign to me. Over the years I have learned some hard lessons and have been scammed. I want to learn the best methods for getting backlinks. This really helped out clearing things up for me.

  21. Kenny

    Great info, Joe! I own a reptile blogs and was gonna pay someone for linking to my site on Huffington post, luckily I came by your article! Great stuff!!!

  22. Information abut Technology

    Right now it seems like Drupal is the preferred blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

    1. Joe Goldstein

      I’ve never touched Drupal, to be honest.

      But in terms of market share, it’s way behind WordPress. In terms of practically everything else, it’s still behind WordPress.

      P.S. I recommend the BuiltWith extension for Chrome if you want to see what tech a site is running on.

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