Marketing 7 min read

How to Build Links with Visual Content

DaLiu /

DaLiu /

Everyone knows that images make blog posts more engaging. What many don’t realize, however, is that it’s easy to build links with visual content.

They don’t say an image is worth a thousand words for nothing. Studies show that when people hear information, they only remember 10% of the information three days later.

However, if you pair an image with the same information, people remember 65% of the information three days later.

Want someone to remember your blog? Pair it with an image. Images stick in our heads more than text or speech ever could. Ideally, you should build links with visual content whenever you can.

Man kisses woman at the end of WWII
This image shows us more of the time and feeling of the moment than any description could | Wikimedia Commons

By nature, images are powerful digital marketing tools. It’s not surprising that 37% of marketers agree that visual marketing is one of the most important forms of content second only to blogging (38%).

Besides making your content more memorable, images and visual content are great ways to build links and drive traffic. Here are three smart ways to create a solid strategy to build links with visual content

Read More: How to use Keywords and Backlinks to Create a Solid Link-Building Strategy

1. Become the Go-to Blog for Amazing Visuals in Your Niche

Picture of dog eating ice cream
Ryan Mc Guire | Gratisography

Using stock images can save time, but by using original images you can open your site up to a whole new world of backlinks.

Invest time in creating images that represent niche specific keywords and their related topics. These could be in the form of original photographs, infographics, memes or even just visual metaphors.

Over time, your stockpile of images will build up and you could even become a go-to resource in your industry for visual content. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Before you go off creating your visual masterpieces, you’ll need to do a little bit of keyword research.

In your keyword research, aim for more than just your audience’s search terms. You also need to identify keywords that bloggers and influencers use to search for images.

Here’s how:

  • First, identify the key players in your niche with a similar target audience. These are the sites you will want to examine.
  • Then you can use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl these sites.
  • In this tool, you can use a filter to select images.
  • When you have the information you need, export the image links and analyze the image alt text to identify patterns.

You may notice that many publishers don’t use external links to display images. Instead, they choose to host the image on their own site.

If this is the case, they will use an image credit link that won’t be embedded in the same hypertext markup language (HTML) as the image itself. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for us to identify image credit links.

Don’t give up just yet though! There is another way.

If you crawl the site for their internal images you can analyze the image alts they are using to get a few ideas. For instance, you’ll be able to see what topics the site’s visual content usually focuses on.

If you want to take your research a step further, you could consider crawling all external links and exporting the anchor text. This extra information combined with your image alt data will give you a clearer picture of what keywords you should be targeting with your visual content.

After you repeat this process for each site you have selected, you can compile a detailed list of keywords to use with your original images.

Before you dive in, make sure to test your keywords. You can use Google Keyword Planner to check the volume. Keep in mind that every keyword won’t need a huge search volume as your aim is to use keywords searched by bloggers, not the general public.

Make sure to check the difficulty of ranking for each keyword. You can use handy tools like SEMrush or Keyword Finder.

The results for the keyword “Coffee” on KW Finder |

Next, search for the keyword using Google image search. Take a look at your results. Is the image high-quality? How relevant are they to your search term?

If the answer is no, then you’ve got a winner! If you can produce a higher-quality image for this keyword, then you will reap the traffic. This is one of the most tried and tested ways to build links with visual content.

Top Tips to Build Links With Visual Content:

1. Avoid generic keywords in favor of highly specific ones.

2. Make sure to choose keywords that lend themselves to visual presentation.

3. Don’t be afraid to create and center blog posts around visual content. Sometimes information can be presented better using visuals than text.

Read More: How to Build SEO Backlinks Like the Experts

2. Make it Easy for Bloggers to Copy Your Images

Woman standing in front of a blue sky
Alexsandr Bormotin | Life of Pix

Don’t get carried away with your pretty pictures. You need to remember how important it is to make it easy for people to copy your images. Not only that, but they need to be able to give you proper credit with minimal effort.

Once you have mastered visual content you can create a “stock photo” page on your site. This is a database that people can use to easily access your images along with their embed codes.

Make sure to have a clever title for your page that uses keywords bloggers might search for. “Free stock photos” or “creative commons images” will work a treat to attract traffic.

Combine these terms with relevant niche keywords to see the bloggers flock to your site. You should always include image alts and image labels in text to target more specific keywords.

To take full advantage of original images, make sure to embed code. This will make it easy for others to reuse your images with credits. Don’t worry if creating embedded code seems complicated to you. An embed code generator tool can do the hard work for you.

Read More: 3 Working Link Building Strategies to try in 2018

3. Build links with Visual Content by Reaching Out

Ferris Wheel with a blue sky
Pic Jumbo, a free stock imaging site, ensures that all of its stock photos can be traced back to the site. | Image via Viktor Hanachek | Pic Jumbo

If your images do become popular and are appearing in Google Images, then there’s a good chance that people are using them without attribution. This means you are missing out on linking opportunities.

But this is easily fixed thanks to Google image search.

You can easily reverse search all your images to see where else they are being used online. Just go to Google images and click the camera icon.

Then the search engine will ask you to upload an image. Simply paste the URL of your image into the “Paste image URL” tab or locate it within your folders and upload it.

Click “Search by Image” and go to “Pages that include matching images”. Make sure that the listed pages are still using your image.

If they are, then feel free to find their contact information and ask them to cite your image with a link.

If your visual content really takes off, you might be better off automating this process. You can use sites that allow you to “reverse image search” for groups of images periodically.

Nine out of ten times, the only reason people have not given credit will be because they didn’t know they had to so. So if you ask politely they will probably oblige, securing one more backlink to your site.

Read More: The Importance Of Building Link Placement Strategies

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