Image Link Building: How to Build Links With Visual Content

Your Images are Just as Linkable as Your Content
Published on 
May 2, 2024
Updated on 
May 2, 2024
Posted in 

A lot of new SEOs and link builders probably aren’t all that familiar with the idea of image link building. 

But building backlinks using high quality images as link vehicles is not a novel concept and has been used to great effect over the years to build fantastic passive links. 

Throughout the below article, we’re going to break down this underutilized but potentially high-ROI strategy in an era of link building saturation and site owner fatigue. 

It is getting harder to do the kind of user-centric white hat link building that will land you the calibre of needle-moving links that rocket you up the SERP, which is why a diversified link building approach (the kind we take at dofollow) is so crucial. 

We will cover: 

  • What image link building is
  • The mechanics of image link building
  • What kinds of images land you the most and best links
  • How you can generate links with images

Let’s begin. 

What is image link building?

In a nutshell, image link building is where you create shareable images that people want to use in order for them to then credit your website when they do. 

If you have a lot of really good images to share, it can be a phenomenal way to create high quality backlinks over time. You can think of your images as linkable assets. 

A linkable asset is a piece of content that you have put a lot of time and effort into and identified as likely to attract attention from other websites over time because it is unique and valuable. 

Images can be a fantastic way to help readers better understand complex information as well as spend more time on your website, which is good for engagement metrics and something that Google likes to see. 

The thing is, you can’t simply insert a link into the alt text of an image or keyword stuff the description and think that Google is going to reward you with visibility and, subsequently, links back to your site.

There is quite a bit more to image link building than that. 

The mechanics of image link building

Creating a URL for an image is pretty straightforward. 

Typically, people use Imgur and it involves 

  1. Heading to and creating a “new post.” 
  1. Dragging an image into the upload box or selecting it from your files.
  2. Choosing a title and setting it to “hidden.”
  3. Copying the link and sharing it. 

There are also more professional websites out there like Digital Asset Management (which is a paid software) or SmugMug (which comes with a free trial). 

Different types of image link building strategies

Image link building doens’t mean you just post the first image you find. 

There are some tried and true ways of using images to make an impact and build links. 

These include: 

  • Infographics
  • Product photos
  • Logos and banners
  • Data visualizations 
  • Maps


Infographic images image link building is a very good way to build high authority backlinks because people are always looking for nice visual representations of ideas and data to include in their content. 

While labour-intensive, there are tools out there like Visme and PowerPoint that can help you build attractive infographics. This type of image link building is well worth the effort, given that an infographic is far more likely to be read and engaged with than plain text. 

Quality infographics can end up increasing your web traffic, building you stellar backlinks and adding a whole new dimension of user experience to your content and website. 

Product photos

If you sell physical products, your product photos can be a fantastic way to build backlinks.

If you’ve got high quality images that do a good job of encapsulating the product and showcasing its best features, good product photos can build a lot of high quality backlinks for eCommerce websites. 

Logos and banners

Your brand logo is something that you should be using everywhere. Repetition, repetition, repetition is the only way that people are going to come to associate your logo with your brand. 

Banner ads are another fantastic way to get people’s attention using images and get them linking back to your website. 

Data visualizations 

A lot of content marketers have started to rely quite heavily on data visualization like graphs to augment their content. 

Not only do people like seeing visual representations of data (it adds credibility), but it’s also an opportunity for you to add a link back to the original source of that data (i.e., your website). 


Image Source

A well-done, colourful map can build a ton of great backlinks from really high authority domains across the web. 

The above image, for example, has acquired hundreds of backlinks, many from sites like the BBC and Vice. 

The importance of keyword research when doing image link building 

You would do keyword research for an image in much the same way that you would for a piece of written content. 

Using Google Trends

It’s a good idea for any marketer to stay abreast of breaking news and trending themes. You need to be able to quickly seize upon new information and connect it to your niche and brand. 

Leveraging trending content that you can connect to your industry and what it is that you do is a fantastic way to get picked up by not only Google, but also social media algorithms, increasing your shares and mentions. 

Effective tools to help narrow down your search

There are a lot of tools out there to help you target the right keywords. 

Two of the best are:

  • Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a fantastic addition to your marketing strategy and keyword research because they offer very in-depth information. The downside is that, with the free version, you only get three free searches per day. Pro costs $99, but you get unlimited searches. is a really good way to generate long-tail keywords based on queries and the free version offers you a lot of very useful data points. If you want to see the more comprehensive breakdown of each query and keyword possible, however, you’ll need to opt for a paid plan. 

Look at the competition

Looking at your competitors’ backlinks is an important part of any keyword research strategy, whether we’re talking about an image link building strategy or any other type of off page SEO. 

This is one of the best ways to stay current on trends and network with others in your industry. 

Image search keywords to find images with link intent

You can often find potential image backlink sources by image search longtail keywords. 

Simply plug a longtail keyword into the Google search engine and choose images in your niche. Make note of where those images are coming from and then try to get links on those same sites. 

How to create unique images

It’s always much more effective to create your own images using online image editing tools like Photoshop, Crello or Canva.

There are several different types of common infographics you can build to make an impact on people looking for linkable assets and do good image-based link building. 

Using data visualizations to make a complex subject more simple

It’s worthwhile reemphasizing the fact that the human brain prefers images. 

If there is something with a lot of moving parts of that relies on sophisticated, insular concepts to explain, why not portray things using a series of images and text to make things less intimidating for readers? 

Stock photography

There are myriad stock photography repositories out there–iStock, Pexels, Adobe, etc.--and they can be a great way to create marketing and commercial content for your projects. 

What’s more, you are usually able to alter and edit stock photographs to make them more original. Don’t be put off by the fact that they aren’t your own. 

Well-placed, thoughtful stock images that make good use of image alt text (i.e., keywords in the description) can absolutely land you backlinks, especially if they are some of the first images that appear in Google image search. 


Custom illustrations are often one of the best ways to get an audience’s attention. They are high-effort and, best of all, original. Whether you do your own illustrations (if you’re lucky enough to possess some artistic ability) or commission them from someone else, the biggest selling point of an illustration is that they are unique.

Unless they are heavily inspired by something that already exists, odds are, they are going to be novel. 

AI-generated images

AI-generated image makers are now widespread, and they allow you to create basically whatever you want. 

There are both free and paid versions, and you can do some pretty interesting things with just the free version of programs like Picsart

This prompt: 

Produced this image:

If you harness your creativity and learn how to provide good prompts to these new AI tools, creating images is a breeze and you can build some really high quality links. 

Typography-based images

Typography-based images are used to enhance text and make it easier and more enjoyable to absorb different types of text-based information. 

Optimizing your image link building for search engines

Search engines work by sending crawlers to your website to analyze and index your new pages and content (this includes images). 

You want to make it as easy as possible for them to find and understand your images and you can do this in a variety of ways. 

Alt text

The alt text is the description of the image and it's the most important text attribute of an image. 

The right text helps a search engine better understand the image so that it can more accurately show it to searchers. 

It is important to optimize your image’s alt text (with your target keyword and detailed descriptions) because there has been a notable uptick in the amount of website traffic that originates with a Google image search. 

Image title

This is just a short explanation of what your image is depicting. This is another important place to use keywords. 


You can also use your target keyword in your file name to make it more likely that your image will rank highly on Google. 

Search engines aren’t only crawling the image alt text and description, they are also crawling the file names. 


Try to play around with different types of files and compression rates so that you can find something that works well for the type of images you are using. 

If you’re using Photoshop, there is even the option to save an image “for the web,” which will make sure an image is good quality while cutting down on the file size so that it doesn’t take forever to lord. 


Your captions aren’t going to directly impact your SEO, but they do provide a richer user experience. Good captions can result in users sticking around longer, which means a reduced bounce rate, positive signals for Google, and potentially better ranking and organic traffic. 

The importance of unique visual content

How many times have you found and used a great piece of visual content in one of your articles? If you are building multimedia-rich content (which you should be), then probably quite often. 

Wouldn’t it be great if people were finding your amazing visual content and doing the same? 

The trick is to turn your unique data into visual representations that people visiting your site will like. If you make your own images, the odds are that people will eventually find them, use them and you will get great image backlinks out of them. 

Selecting the right image type

The objective with image link building is to create visual content that your users want to see. Don’t just share an image or a photograph because you like it. 

Provide value by using images and visual representations of data that help your visitors/customers solve problems and better understand your products and services. 

Tips, interesting facts, and how-to guides are all great examples of content that engages the reader. 

Uploading your images to infographic directory sites

This sounds straightforward, but make sure you are uploading the kind of content that people actually want to see. 

Considering reaching out to a variety of directories like Visual.y and Infogrphahics Showcase, or evne the Infographic subreddit. 

Reach out to bloggers

As with other linkable assets, it is always a good idea to reach out to influencers and bloggers in your space and let them know about your new piece of visual content. 

Make a list of websites in your niche like you would with any other link building tactic. Collect email addresses for outreach and then let the owners know about your new image, whether it’s an infographic, a slideshow, or something interactive or augmented. 

You might even suggest your image as an addition to a particular article or, if you notice broken links, use the image as part of a broken link building strategy. 

Finding stolen or unlinked images 

When people use your visual content without crediting you, you are robbed of a potential backlink. 

Ideally, you want to be monitoring the web for instances of your visual media and making sure you are getting the proper credit for them (preferrably, in the form of a backlink). 

Using Google reverse image search

Often times, an image link building strategy can be thwarted by people failing to give you credit for your work. That is why it is important to stay on top of when and where your images are used. 

Building links this way requires you first open Google image search.

Simply copy the image address, navigate to Google image search and click on the camera icon: 

Paste the image URL into the text box where it tells you to paste the image link and Google will bring up a list of all of the instances of that image it could find on the web. 

What you can then do is make a list of all of these websites and then reach out with a message asking for an attribution. 

Something short, polite but adamant works well. 

Wrapping it up

A simple photo usually isn’t going to be enough to build high quality backlinks. You need to channel your creative energy to make something that is truly unique and valuable–something that doesn’t exist in a million other places online.

Done right, however, visual representations of data and other unique image-based content can garner serious backlinks and pay dividends well into the future. 

Of course, image links should only be one facet of your larger overall link building strategies. 

That is where a link building service like dofollow comes in. 

Why Trust Us On SEO

Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.

Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.

While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.

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