Visual content has increasingly dominated the internet in recent years. Yet, when it comes to SEO and link-building, text copy is always top of mind. Many online companies and content creators aren’t aware that images are an effective way to build brand authority and link to other credible resources.
Whether it’s a funny GIF or a custom infographic, you can use your visual content to your advantage.
In this blog, we will share the most powerful ways to use your images for link-building and strengthen your online presence.
Create Custom Infographics
If you can create graphics, producing relevant informative images that others can share online is a great route to take. Taking startling statistics and turning them into shareable visual elements, or creating industry specific images, is an effective way to appeal to online publishers. People like to share things that prove them right. So for example a person who eats only organic food is very likely to share an infographic that details how people who eat organically live longer.
If you create content for people that proves them right, they are likely to share it and that’s why infographics are such a great way of building links, because you can build a ton of links off one infographic.
On the flipside of things, creating an infographic can be expensive, you’ll probably need a writer to do the research and a graphic designer to piece it all together for you, meaning that not a lot of smaller companies focus on them as a link building tactic.
So if you send infographics they can use for free to their inbox, that proves them “right” you’ll likely get a bite! A link back to your website is a small price to pay for pertinent visuals that can be used across a range of platforms.
To make sure your infographics make it into the inboxes of people who are most likely to use them, you may want to pick a niche and do some research first. Gather email addresses, find the top bloggers or content generators in a specific field, and reach out to them in a personal way (no generic emails!).
Reverse Google Search
Following on from the guestographic method, where your goal is to find sites interested in the subject of your infographic, with the reverse image search you are hoping to find people that have already linked to your infographic, but haven’t credited you as the creator.
Most companies that don’t understand the value of other using their images to build links, and will asked that the website in question have the images removed – this isn’t useful to you or the site that has republished your photo, and there is a better option that’s more beneficial to both of you.
While it is proper online etiquette to reference the original source of an image, we all know that this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should, so doing just one reverse Google image search will likely surprise you. It will reveal all the places your image has been used on the web, and chances are you will find that other websites have used your image without giving you proper credit.
When you have compiled a list of websites that are using your images without credit, you can reach out to each site and request that they include a link to your website in the caption of the photo. To be proactive, you can even offer them access to other images that may be relevant to them under the agreement that they include a link.
This tactic is sometimes called awardsbait or egobait as defined by PointBlankSEO.com. If you are a website that has multiple guest content contributors, or that regularly acknowledges the work of other businesses, you may want to consider creating a custom badge for your website.
For example, if you are a well-known restaurant critic, you could create badges that show how many stars a restaurant received from you. Then, you could send each restaurant you feature their badge to display on their own websites with a link back to your blog. Restaurants who are ranked well will be proud to display their badge, making the transaction mutually beneficial.
Or let’s say you happened to run a wedding venue. You could build a list of 100 wedding suppliers who have great looking websites, such as photographers, chauffeurs, make up artists etc and publish a post with the list calling it the top 100 wedding supplier blogs. You could then create a prestigious looking badge that appears like an award. Once you’ve created your badge, you can reach out to the 100 blogs you listed, congratulate them on making the top 100 list of wedding suppliers and offer them the badge to embed on their site. This works out great and offers huge value for both parties, because the suppliers have a prestigious looking badge to add to their site for social proof and you’ve got a link back to your site.
Other ideas include having an official employee badge and encourage staff members to place it on their personal online profiles with a link back to your site, or offering badges to people who have completed your online courses or tutorials.
Remember, when giving these badges to people, you want to make it as easy as possible to utilize them. Send the graphic, link, and embed code (if applicable) in a short email. You don’t want the person who receives the email to be overwhelmed by text and close out without acting. We also recommend personally addressing the email, and requesting that the receiver notify you if the badge has been used.
The more of your badges on the web, the more authority you gain!
If you are familiar with WordPress, you are probably aware that all images have data attached to them. When you upload an image to WordPress, it asks you to input information about that photo, known as metadata. These fields are an excellent place to build up brand authority.
When Google crawls a website, it checks all data, including the metadata for images. What does this mean for you? It means that you can appeal to Google and increase your rankings by inputting descriptive, keyword rich text in your image fields.
Google reserves the right to use image EXIF data that is automatically collected by any modern-day camera (i.e. camera type, date image was taken, etc.) as well as metadata that is manually inputted on websites to better fine-tune their search engine results. What does this mean? Your rankings can be impacted by image data.
Why not send pre-created metadata to those interested in using your images and ask them to include it when posting your photo to their site? The more keyword rich and tailored to you that data is, the more Google will attribute the image to you.
Make It Shareable
It’s no top secret that Google factors in social media when ranking your website. The more shares, likes, and follows you have on your social media platforms, the more credible you are in the eyes of the search engine gods. It’s likely that Google’s algorithm can’t track these factors, but all of these factors combine to bring traffic to your site and traffic/user metrics is becoming one of the most important factors for SEO.
So, how can you use this to your advantage when link building with images?
One of the most effective ways is to make your images more shareable. How do you do that? Focus on your audience. What does your image incite them to do? How does it make them feel? The decision to share content is often an emotional one. People are outraged, shocked, saddened, motivated, uplifted etc. by what they see and they want to share it with other people they know.
The more your image drives emotion in those who view it, the more likely it is to be shared. And of course, the more your image is shared, the more points of contact there are that lead back to you.
Using visual content will increase engagement, which will likely increase the number of shares you receive and can even increase conversions according to DesignWizard.com.
Still not convinced that link building via images is a worthwhile venture?
We add a tag to each individual image page, meaning that every single image on the site is a potential link building asset,” he said. “We’ve left it as an option though, our users can still download the image without crediting us at all, but because we’ve included the embed tag, anyone that wants to credit us as the source can do so and we get lots of juicy links as a result.
Interested in learning more about link building? Contact Linchpin SEO today. We’d be happy to work with you on a strategy that will bring results.