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The Ultimate Guide to Link Building with Images

| Posted in category Image Content Link Building

We all know that a picture can speak a thousand words. Using images adds richness to website content, makes it more valuable, enhances readers' experience and provides more definition to textual information.

But not everybody knows that besides all the above mentioned advantages Web images can also be a great means to get more natural links.

From this post you will learn how to:

  • get a full list of your site images indexed by Google;
  • find your images that are illegally used on other sites and turn them into backlinks;
  • automate the process of searching for coverage that didn't result in a link, and mine for relevant platforms to place your image content on;
  • analyze your competitors' image content;
  • use image search by keywords as a way to find new sources to get links from.

How to Get a Full List of Your Images

Before you get down to analyzing your images SEO potential, you need to get a complete list of pictures that belong to you and that have been indexed by Google.

Go to Google Image Search and enter search operator. Thus, you will see all website's images that Google has indexed, and will be able to select the ones you have copyright on.  We will take a website as an example:


How to use Google Image Search to Find Stolen Copies of Images That Belong to You

Google lets you run a reverse image search and explore all sorts of content that is related to a specific picture. This type of search takes your image as a query (i.e. search term), and locates pictures with visually similar elements (e.g. color, size, etc.) as well as similar text descriptions (metadata and captions).

If we click on any image, it will open in the field below. Here, under the image title, you can click on the Search by Image link.



Pages that include matching images

When done, you will get the list of sites that are using your unique images.  Perhaps some of these sites are using your image content without your official permission.

It vests you with the legal right to get a link, mention or reference.  Also, you may try to get some other value in exchange for providing the right to use your images.

When you spot unauthorized usage of the images that belong to you, you need to contact webmasters of the sites that have your images.

As a rule, webmasters and website owners prefer to avoid any legal issues, so the response rate of your emails will be rather high.

Just note that you shouldn't be excessively aggressive and threatening. Otherwise, your images will just get deleted, and you won't derive any SEO benefit from them.

Do your best to compose a nice but convincing and persistent emails. Thus your chances to enrich your backlink profile will rise manifold.

Additionally, to collect a picture pattern of your site, you may use special services – TinEye, for example. That is a search engine for images that lets you check where your pictures appear on the Web.


How to Automate the Process of Collecting Coverage That Didn't Result In a Link

Having analyzed some pictures in the way described above, you will be able to give an esteem of the value your image content is currently bringing.  If the number of sites that may be illegally using your images is rather small, you can research them manually. But if the number of sites to analyze is too big, we advise you to automate the process.

The diagram below provides you with the detailed instructions on how to collect all URLs of websites your images are placed on:

* the detailed instructions on how to install Multilinks are provided here.

When done, filter the gathered data in the following way:

  • collect a full pattern of your site backlinks with SEO SpyGlass;
  • update status of all the found links in the Links Back column;
  • sort all links that have the status Yes. You can do that by clicking on the header of the column;
  • delete all links that have the status No;
  • import the URLs you previously collected (via File- Import),  tag them and sort alphabetically;
  • update statuses of these links in the Links Back column.

Thus you will get the fullest pattern of your site backlinks and will easily see which images drive traffic to your site and which ones don't bring you any SEO value. Next, you can analyze sites that don't link to you (check such ranking factors as PR, Alexa rank, number of social shares, etc.) and try to get links from the worthy ones.

Now, the only thing left to do is to send out link outreach emails.

By the way, you may collect webmasters/website owners' contact emails with the help of SEO SpyGlass.

And finally, before you send out emails, visit a website that is using your image to make sure that the image is still located on that site.



Analyzing Competitors' Image Content

Analyzing your competitors' images can also help you get a list of target sites to approach.

For instance, knowing the sources your online competitors use for promoting their pictures, you can try to place your image content there too.

The procedure of analyzing competitors' image strategies is identical to what has been described above. The only difference is that instead of site: search operator, you will need to enter All the other steps will be absolutely the same.

Also, completion analysis lets you find unique sources for guest blogging. Via Google Image Search you can find industry big influencers and build lots useful connections, which will result in a greater exposure for your biz and a bigger number of valuable links.

To achieve that, follow the steps below:

  • find your competitors' guest posts;
  • copy a link to the author’s avatar or their Google+ profiles;


  • go to GoogleImage Search and click on the Camera pictogram in the search field;


  • In the window that opens, paste a link to the author's profile and click Search by Image;


  • in the new window you will see the list of all posts a particular author left in different sources. These are the websites you can potentially write guest posts for.

So, competition research will let you not only reach relevant sources to build links with but also find new sources to place your content and images on.

Image Search by Keyword as a Way of Link Building

Image search by keywords is another great way to mine new sources to get links from.  The procedure is rather easy:

  • enter long-tail keywords in Google Image Search;
  • choose 100% relevant images in the results you have got;
  • check where those images are located (the way we previously described);
  • try to get links from those websites.

Employing this tactics will let you find more relevant platforms for your content and links.




All the little-known tricks that are described in this post will help you find more backlink opportunities and diversify your site backlink profile. Since many website owners are unaware of these link building methods, employing them will amount to a stealth SEO tactic, giving you an advantage over your online competitors.

P.S. Have you ever tried these ways of link acquisition? What was the result?  Feel free to share your experience and thoughts on the topic in the comments below.

Image Credits: ISO3000 via iStockPhoto.

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