Whether you have just come to grips with understanding link building for SEO or you have been in the field before, it’s high time Google has seen its potential for over a decade. Building images with links is an easy, passive way to build links over time. To get the most out of your link building strategy, understanding what image link building is and how to get your images found can be a huge asset!
This blog will act as a guide to answering:
- What Is Image Link Building?
- How Does Image Link Building Work?
- What Images Get The Most Links?
- How To Build High-Quality Links Through Images
Wrapping your head around these frequently asked questions will help you to boost your link building strategies in the future, leading to higher search rankings and referral traffic all through images.
What Is Image Link Building?
Image Link Building is the process of creating shareable images that, when used, will be attributed back to your business and therefore, earn a link.
It’s a great way to earn natural, high-quality links over time – it’s passive link building at its finest!
Optimising your images with alt text can help them be found easier and is a great tactic for building quality links to your site, but it is not the core part of what image link building is.
To do image link building successfully, you need to identify an image that is trending and relevant enough to be used over time.
Think of it as the dance crazes on TikTok. If a particular song and dance is gaining a lot of traction at the moment and is receiving high search volumes, you could optimise the chances of your content being found on the social media platform by joining in on the dance craze of the moment, creating something in demand and highly relevant.
As well as recreating the popular trend, you would also input relevant hashtags that users will be searching for to gain visibility and links to your profile. This is the same as alt text being used on stock photos to gain links and attributions to your business.
Although this may feel a bit ‘Millennial’, TikTok trends are still an example of creating optimised, shareable content surrounding popular searches that are intended to grow an engaging audience.
But not so fast, you can’t just attach random alt text to an image or worse, use keyword stuffing and expect immediate links to your site.
How Does Image Link Building Work?
Image link building allows you to earn high-quality links from images that you own. If your image is being used from a high domain authority website, not only are you gaining referral traffic but also relevant backlinks that can continue to be used over time. The more relevant your images are, the longer they’ll be able to earn links for you.
What Images Get The Most Links?
Images that attract the most links are those that are always in high demand.
Images designed to simplify data/ information are always linked more.
We don’t mean all photos are link-worthy. If you are producing photos that relate to trending topics (e.g. News topics, Seasonal), more people will be searching the trending keywords you’ve embedded in the alt text, optimising the chances of it being found.
For example, if you post an image on your blog explaining how to DIY Christmas baubles. That piece of content will build more high-quality links to your site around December when people are searching with the seasonal keywords you’ve embedded.
Who doesn’t love a good graph? Like infographics, they are evergreen content that people will always need and use links to refer back to.
People will always need to know how to go places and if you have a great navigational image that’s optimised to be found with relevant alt text, you’re guaranteed to generate links.
This fun London bar crawl for example takes the effort out of searching and makes it link-worthy since consumers will want to use and share.
Professionally shot photos of your business’ latest products will impress searchers as your site will look E-A-T (Expert, Authoritative and Trustworthy). This will encourage them to promote your content and business through good links and search engine optimisation.
How To Build High-Quality Links Through Images
You need to think about what kinds of images are both relevant and in high demand, the best way to do this is through high-quality keyword research and trend analysis.
Optimising your images to be found requires great research around what your consumer market is searching for and doing so will make it easy to build successful alt text. Sites we recommend to find relevant and highly demanded keywords include:
Google makes it easy to find what’s trending to develop your link building strategy for your images. They allow you to see the latest insights on popular topics, currently trending searches and search individual keywords related to your business to understand how relevant they are in your audiences searches.
Say for example you are a children’s party business and you want to create images to use image link building to boost your SEO performance. Here we have looked at the ‘Child’ topic as it relates to the industry your business relates to and we filtered for image search results instead of web search results.
We can see that Christmas craft ideas for kids are up +1,600% and Google regards it as a rising topic, ranking at number 6 in the UK. It shows that your target consumer has a high demand for kids’ Christmas crafting images, so why not take photos of this to share as part of your party business’ portfolio?
Not only will you benefit from your images generating more links, but in turn, this will increase demand for your company’s services too!
Google Trends also allows you to compare keywords so you can see which words are in more demand and therefore, better to use. Here, for example, you can see the word ‘Child’ is a better keyword to use compared to ‘Kid’.
SEMRUSH KEYWORD TOOL
Another great website is SEMRush’s Keyword Tool which gives you a much deeper insight into keyword research. You can compare up to 100 keywords at once in their keyword overview and you are offered recommended keywords to embed in your images to make it easier.
SEMRush also has link building tools such as Backlink Analytics to help you see how many backlinks other popular images have in your target area.
I placed this image’s URL into SEMRush’s Backlink Analytics to find 4 other sites that have backlinked it and what for.
Shutterstock Related Searches and Flickr stats can also be used to track what your audience is most frequently searching for.
BUILDING YOUR ALT TEXT & ANCHOR TEXT
Now you have all your high-quality keywords to implement, it’s time to start uploading and distributing your images.
There is an abundance of places to upload your images, not just Google Images. Flickr, Creative Commons and Pinterest are all great image distribution websites too but Flickr is probably the best for beginners since it handles licensing for you and you have a greater chance of ranking high Flickr’s image search.
When formulating the title and description behind your image, it’s important to know what keywords should best fit where:
The title should accurately describe what the image looks like and the description should explain the purpose and/or context of the image.
Google advises when writing alt text to, “focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately” and to avoid keyword stuffing. “it results in a negative user experience and may cause your site to be seen as spam.” Google has warned you!
Overall, the key is ensuring every single image has a unique, keyword relevant title and description. With this in mind, you are all set to see SEO results from your image link building strategy.
While you’re in writing mode, take a look at your anchor text and make sure it follows a similar structure of using descriptive keywords to accurately describe the page or idea you’re linking to without keyword stuffing. To get a better understanding of how to optimise your anchor text, Moz goes into more detail on this subject separately.
SPREAD THE WORD
As well as typical link building techniques such as internal links, you can increase your images outreach through the guest post and guest blogging on other authoritative websites which will enable you to create high-quality links back to your website.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and build relationships, if you create good work then they will appreciate the free content you give in exchange for backlinks.
Although, we wouldn’t recommend buying links as this is not a trustworthy tactic in the eyes of Google and it can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results
MONITOR THE IMAGE
To prevent spam and broken links from low-quality websites affecting your SEO ranking, you need to monitor how your images are performing: are they being used appropriately? Are you being credited if your image has been used?
An easy way to find out is Google’s reverse image search. In the Google Images search bar, there is a small camera icon, here you can paste your images URL to see where else your images exist. If you see that your image has been used and not credited, kindly inform the website responsibly and if they are trustworthy, they should fix the matter. The same goes for broken link building, ask them to replace the link they have used with the correct link to prevent any problematic misdirects.
Optimising your images to be found using link building SEO is something rarely discussed, however, once mastered, it will place you one step ahead of your competition and give Google another reason to push your website up its search rankings.
The key points to take away are:
- Image Research – What types of images generate the most backlinks and engagement?
- Keyword Research – Get into the mindset of your target consumer, what are they searching for? What’s trending and what’s evergreen? and what can you create to target their queries?\
- Image Titles & Alt Text – use relevant keywords appropriately and avoid keyword stuffing.
- Engage & Share – Get your images in front of the right eyes with effective link building techniques such as guest posts and good old-fashioned internal links.
- Track Your Images – Make sure you are being credited and prevent spam backlinks.
Looking for help in building quality backlinks to your website?
TSCA is at the forefront of the SEO industry with long-term experience in link building. We can provide your business with expert guidance on how to optimise your website through image link building amongst our many SEO and Digital PR services. So, whatever your business’ goals are, we can tailor a unique package to suit your needs.