The thing I love best about image link building is that it's a very hands-off method of generating backlinks over time. You can simply create visual content, and it should help attract links for years if done right.
If you want to optimize your visual content to generate links, this guide will show you how.
Why Image Link Building is So Valuable
You may ask, what is image link building? Why is it valuable? Image link building is a way of earning organic links over time by creating relevant, long-lasting images that create a link when someone shares it. This way, your visual content appears on multiple websites that redirect users back to your site!
Do image links help SEO? These are the stats
If you create and own high-quality images on your page, it means you have potential backlinks to your website! Other sites may not make their own visuals, so they use content from others and link back to you as the owner. If your visitors find images valuable and share them, think of how many other users those images will attract.
Images help readers understand complex information easier. Furthermore, if they are eye-catching, they cause people to spend more time on your site. Some recent statistics claim that:
- 52% of digital markers state: “link building and brand mentions directly impact organic search rankings”;
- The first site on Google’s search results has 3.8x more backlinks than the following 9 ranked pages;
- Users focus on informational images more than the page’s text.
How Do I Create A URL For An Image?
You can use Imgur, which is simple and easy.
1. Go to imgur.com and click “New Post” on the top left.
2. Drag an image into the box or choose an image from your desktop or other sources
3. Choose a title and select the “Hidden” button on the right side of the image
4. Select “copy link” and share it
You can also use more professional sites such as Digital Asset Management, 500px (paid account), or SmugMug (initial free trial).
Types of Images to Build Links
You can’t simply post a picture of the first thing you find. There are many ways to use images to reach your users and multiple kinds of images that serve different purposes.
Well-designed and eye-catching infographics are a great way to build backlinks. Even though they take time to research, there are tools such as Visme and PowerPoint that make it easier for you to benefit from this strategy.
Logos, badges & banners
If you have a logo for your brand, exploit it. You should be using it everywhere, so people associate that image with you! Badges are also a good way to add numbers and variety to your backlink portfolio. Banner ads are a great way to capture attention via images.
Photographing products that users are searching for can create many links if the photos are of high quality, represent the product well, and make it stand out. This is a particularly great strategy for Ecommerce link building.
Visual statistic graphs
Many content marketers regularly use visual statistic graphs to enhance their own content or analytics. Consequently, when such data is used, it requires a link to the original source, which boosts the traffic to your page as a source of expertise.
This map, for example, is colorful, eye-catching, and informational. The website the image is from has 278 backlinks from strong domains such as BBC and Vice.
Do Your Keyword Research For Images
Keyword research is crucial for SEO. You can apply the research results to your images to impact your ranking with images.
Find trending topics via Google Trends
Stay on top of news and trending themes. Use trends to your advantage and figure out how certain topics relate to your brands’ niche. Creating trending content that is tangential to your brand improves the number of shares and mentions. Look at the results of this on-brand vs. tangential content experiment:
Narrow your search via target keywords using Answerthepublic, Keywordtool.io
If you need help narrowing your search through target words, there are multiple tools available online. Answer the public is great for guidance in your marketing strategy since they offer detailed keyword and search information. The free version gives you 3 searches per day, while the $99 pro version offers unlimited searches.
Keywordtool.io is a great keyword research tool to add to your SEO efforts. It’s 99.99% reliable and can generate over 750 long-tail keywords suggestions per query. It’s free, and you don’t need to create an account, but you have to purchase one of their plans to see the complete data.
Analyze competitors' images that perform the best (earn mentions)
By keeping track of your competitors’ activity, as is the tradition in marketing strategies, you can stay up-to-date on trends and draw inspiration for your content. You don’t need to anonymously stalk your competitors, but rather just engage with them! Earn mentions and attract attention through interactions!
Evaluate keywords with link intent
To find potential new link sources, you can image search keywords. This will aid you in finding relevant platforms that will boost your SEO efforts. Look up long-tail keywords in the Google search engine and select images similar to your niche. See where those images are coming from and try to get links on those websites.
Create Unique Images
When using unoriginal images, it’s always better to create your own illustrations in online editors like Canva and Crello, or Photoshop. Unique images can be of the following types:
Data visualizations that simplify a confusing concept
We’ve already stated that images are easier for our brains to understand. Use this tool to explain confusing things in your niche!
Stock style photography
This is a supply of photographs licensed for use in marketing, commercial and for-profit projects. You can subscribe to platforms such as Getty Images to use high-quality images for your visual content creation or even add your own original content for others to use on these sites.
These can be informative, entertaining, and funny. Use them to draw attention and engage users.
Typography based images
This enhances texts for your readers, making it easier to perceive different kinds of text information.
Optimize for Search Engine
Search engines send robots and crawlers to crawl the images on your website to find you. You have to make it easier for them to find and comprehend your visual content; these robots can’t decipher images.
This is the image description and the most crucial part when it comes to text in attributes. Providing your image with the correct text info helps search engines better understand and match the information with the accurate users’ queries. You may add keyword-rich alt text along with the hyperlink in Photoshop to the relevant information on the web. Alt text was also designed for visually impaired users, allowing screen-reading devices to explain the image to the user. It provides engine crawlers with the context of the image that they can’t see.
Provide a short explanation of what the image is trying to convey. It’s essential to use keywords here.
It's essential to use relevant keywords to help your web page rank on search engines. Creating descriptive, keyword-rich file names is crucial for image optimization. Search engines not only crawl the text on your webpage, but they also crawl your image file names.
You should play around with different types of files and compression rates to find the compression sweet spot. You can use Adobe Photoshop as a tool to see what works best for each one. It even has an option called “save for the web.” This feature maintains a high-quality image while minimizing file size.
Though captions don't significantly impact SEO directly, they are visible on your website, giving users an overall idea of your content. Captions can be a plus for the user’s experience and aid in reducing the bounce rate.
When it comes to figuring out what image resolution is best in responsive images, use Source Set attribute, which can do all the work for you! You just tell the browser the size of the available pictures and access the srcset attribute on the <img> by using this syntax:
Source: CSS-Tricks screenshot
This feature lets you set the image size for different devices, allowing you to show the best quality pictures, whether it’s on a mobile phone or a tablet.
Promote Unique Pieces Of Visual Content
Instead of crediting other sites when using ready-to-use images, make your own to prove the value of your brand. Turn the data that you offer on your site into visual content your users will find valuable. Creating your own images will give you a stronger backlink profile.
Select an image type that can be promoted, is valuable, and interests your audience
Create visual content for your users, images they want to see. You may be tempted to share a simple photograph that you think looks nice, but maybe that isn’t what your audience is looking for.
Offer value by giving information on how to solve a problem your client might have. Fun facts, tips, and how-to guides are excellent examples of highly engaging content!
Adding embed codes to make linking easier
- Go to the site you want to embed and generate the embed code using the post’s options. Sometimes you can even customize it.
- Highlight and copy the embed code.
- Open the HTML viewer in your content management system.
- Paste the embed code, then click “Ok” or “Save.”
Get listed in infographic directory sites.
Sounds simple, but don’t forget to brainstorm and create great infographic images to share. Submitting your work is the quick and easy part. You can reach out to multiple directories, such as Visual.ly, Infographics Showcase, and the Infographic subreddit, the most popular.
Manual email outreach to bloggers
Outreach bloggers who might find the infographic helpful to their readers is a practical way to build a healthy backlink profile, though this could be a paid option as well.
But finding the ideal site to reach out to might be challenging. That’s why it’s vital to use tools like the SE Ranking backlinks checker. You’ll be able to find a website’s backlinks, backlink anchors, sites where the backlink leads, and IP addresses that link out to the domain. By specifying the URL of the site you want to get data from, this tool will evaluate the backlink against 15 important parameters. You can also select the type of analysis you want to perform.
In addition, the tool helps to check where your competitor's backlinks are coming from and then reaches out via email to those sites to offer your own visual content.
Instagram and Pinterest Marketing
What better way to share your visual content than sharing it on Instagram and Pinterest, the most popular photo-sharing platforms? Instagram has over 1.3 billion active users, and Pinterest has nearly half a billion monthly users.
You can create ads to reach clients who are likely to engage with your content on these social media platforms. Instagram ads are a priority for many brands, but don’t forget about Pinterest! Pinterest marketing converts more and faster since it has fewer steps from discovery to conversion. So keep both platforms in your marketing strategy.
You can either use a promoted post, which looks like a regular post that pops up in your feed with a light blue background and a “promoted” tag, or a display ad, which is a banner type ad and requires a larger budget (we’re talking a $30k starter point).
Promoted posts can be link or text ads. Link ads redirect you to an external link, while the text ad links to another Reddit page. Display ads offer dynamic campaigns and personalized analytics reports.
Find Stolen or Unlinked Image Copies
What if someone was to use your image on their site without crediting you? This reduces the exposure you get as a content creator and brand, so it’s useful to find your stolen or unlinked images. How do you do this? You run a reverse image search in Google, transforming your photo into a search term, locating ones that have similar elements and descriptions. To do this, follow these simple steps:
- Go to Google Image Search bar;
- Type keywords or the image file name in the search bar;
- Click the camera on the right side of the search bar and either
- Paste the image(s)’ URL
- Upload your image(s) to find possible matches
You’ll have a list of sites that have used the images you searched for. You can also check out how your competitors are doing. Another way of doing this via Google is by searching for your website in the search bar to see your unique images.
- Open Google Image Search;
- Type in: site:yourwebsitesname.com
- Click on an image result, and it will open, as shown in the picture below.
- Make a right-click to select the “Search by Image” option.
- On the search results page, you’ll find pages that include images that match that query.
You can also use a new engine called Pixsy as a tool to find your images online. Pixsy accesses images posted on multiple social media platforms, blogs, and various websites. In the results, you’ll see the thumbnails with links to the pictures URL and where it’s posted.
Besides finding your images on the web, they help you take action to protect your work. As they state on their website, they’ve successfully managed over 125.000 cases. If you’re interested, you can sign up for free!
Monitor Improper Image Attributions
You can monitor and keep track of sites using your images with a quality backlink monitoring tool such as SE Ranking, which is easy to learn, even for beginner marketers who want to control their backlinks performance and monitor image usage.
With SE Ranking, it's pretty simple:
- Add your backlinks to the tool.
- Run regular check-ups.
- Get notifications via email of any changes.
If you find unauthorized usage of your images, contact the webmasters of those sites. Legally speaking, you have the right to have a link or a mention.
The idea is to obtain that backlink, so you should be firm and convincing when emailing the webmasters. If you’re too threatening, they can simply delete the image.
Photos aren’t enough for image link building. You need creative, unique, and valuable visuals that people will want to use. This way, they credit your work and mention your brand on multiple sites, bringing organic exposure and growth to your site!
By applying these image link-building strategies that we’ve mentioned in the article, you’ll improve the users’ experience on your site and aid search engines in finding your visual content.