Image Link Building: Earning More Links with Visual Content

A strong headline will draw someone in. A hook will entice someone to keep reading. And a well-placed visual keeps you focused and will help you remember the content long after you forgotten the words you read.

The images will captivate your audience but using video visual content goes beyond this. You can also use it as a practical approach to building more backlinks to your site.

A Skyword study showed that content containing related images performs better across all content categories. Google is continually working to include more imagery and videos in their search changing the way the information is presented on a search results page.

Because of this, you need to change the way you present your website’s information to Google and to other search engines.

You know the visual content is a valid way to build links, but how do you make it work?

Types of Visual Content to Build Links

It’s important to understand the various kinds of visual content you can work with. Here I’ll cover 6 of the main types of content you can use for link building purposes.


Infographics are a way to take a lot of data and make it easier to understand and more interesting to read. While there are plenty of people who believe infographics are overused, there are still plenty of people out there championing for them.

Using eye-catching infographics combined with useful information that readers can digest is a wonderful way to earn links, especially when you do the promotion work,  whether you are for or against infographics.

You don’t have to hire a professional designer to build your infographics either, since there are several tools you can use to build your own, including Piktochart, Venngage, and Canva. The image you see to the left is nothing more than a basic template from Canva, and there are hundreds to choose from to help you get started, with plenty of niches to choose from as well.


Your logo is visual content too. You already have it on several places on your website, and it may even be on other websites if you’ve written guest posts, contributed to any kind of community pages, or been featured as part of a podcast or other content.

It’s a good idea to keep track of the places where your logo shows up on the web so you can make sure the image links back to your site.

Product Photos or Brand Photoshoots

This one is for all the online shops and ecommerce sites out there – it’s easy to build links with your product images.

Just be sure you’re using high-quality original photos that have been optimized for SEO.

If you don’t have products to take photos of, then you can hire a professional photographer to do a brand photoshoot as it relates to what you do.

Employee or Company Photos

Have photos of your last company retreat? Feature employee photos on your team page? These are great for link building, too. Keep the images high-quality and make sure everyone’s names are spelled correctly.

Charts, Maps, and Graphs

Data visualization is a fantastic way to generate links. As long as the information is useful and easy for people to understand, you can put it to good use. You don’t even need to create an original map, graph, or chart!

Instead, you can run a report from a third-party site, take a screenshot of the results and share it as an image in your content. It’s important to share the source of the report but the image itself can be attributed to you.

For example, if I wanted to show data about the number of websites online that use the WordPress CMS to operate, I could visit BuiltWith to get the data, Screenshot and include it in my blog post. This is exactly what I’ve done here.

Memes and GIFs

Memes and gifs have taken the Internet by storm and they aren’t going anywhere. If for any reason you’re not using them in your content already, now is a great time to give it a try.

Use them well and use them Tastefully because people love to share good means which means plenty of inbound links for you. There are plenty of memes out there you can use, but if you want to keep things original, you can make your own memes for free using a variety of tools such as Meme Generator.

Above I mentioned the importance of image optimization and link to a post on the blog about it. Though it gives you an in-depth look at what you should do to make sure your images are optimized for the search engines, I thought it would be ideal to end this post with a few quick and dirty tips for those of you who are in a hurry and can’t take the time to read the full post.

  • Include ALT text for all the images. The ALT text appears in place of an image when it can’t be shown for whatever reason. Your ALT should be similar to the filename and provide a short relevant description of the image including keywords. Adding ALT text to your images can boost your site’s rankings by associating your images and therefore your site with the keywords and descriptions you’ve used. ALT text is also important for accessibility standards so that people using screen readers can understand the images on the page.
  • Optimize your file names. Use keywords in your image file names. This helps describe the content to the search engines. You should keep your file name short, relevant to the image and include both primary and secondary keywords.
  • Add descriptive captions. Wildcat options are often overlooked, data shows that captions get 16% more readership than text. An image caption differs from the filename are all text because it is the text that appears below the image that briefly explains the picture. The majority of relevant images are understood without captions but it’s best to never assume that yours will be, too. You can use captions to add additional context to your images, helping both readers and search engines process the information on your page.

The most of your image backlink building efforts, use reverse image searches such as Google Images and TinEye to help you locate images that have been shared on another site without linking back to your site or images that have been shared with the wrong link.  With these tools, if you find an image that doesn’t link back to you as the source or links incorrectly, contact the publication that’s using it and request that they link back to your site as the source.


The Pre-Outreach Strategy

When you ask marketers what their biggest challenges are, it’s no surprise to hear that many of them say “content promotion.” Getting links and social media shares is becoming more of a struggle for even the most popular blogs.

So, what can you do to promote your content more effectively?  That’s where a pre-outreach strategy comes into play.

Pre-outreach is great if you have established relationships with influencers, and industry experts you team up with on a regular basis to promote content.  Pre-outreach is useful to linking various fields together which can allow you to get a decent traffic boost that won’t die down, but only continues to bring additional users everyday.

Before I dig deep into the strategy, it is important to note that this approach may not be the best option for companies that don’t yet have visibility. If you are one of these companies, it makes more sense to invest resources into increasing brand visibility across your industry first. Once you have achieved a stronger brand visibility, you can come back to using a pre-outreach content promotion plan.

Check Your Network

Start your campaigns by putting together a list of people you regularly work with on content promotion. Using CRM systems or at least keeping a spreadsheet with names and contact information can make this step a bit easier. Pitchbox is a good option because it serves as an influencer outreach and link building platform.

It’s also a good idea to review your current list of social media followers and email subscribers. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find some people who are interested in sharing your content.

At this point, separate the contacts of the two lists. The first list should be people that you asked to show some love and endorsement for your content across their social media channels. The second list of people is who you should reach out to about linking back to the content.

In both situations, you must remember you are asking for a favor and you need to make sure it’s easy and beneficial for them to help you out. Take time to ask whether they want you to promote anything in return.

There are people out there who believe the best way to get links is to email blast people you might not even know. I don’t recommend that course of action. Recent studies show that cold outreach emails have an 8.5% open rate and through personal experience, I can confirm that number.  A better use of your time is to only ask people whether they could refer to your content if you know them and they have previously worked with you on link building.

While it is possible to use automated email outreach funnels like Mailshake, it’s always a good idea to handle your free outreach manually so that you can double-check that you are sending it to the right person and taking the time to add the appropriate amount of personalization to each email.

If you don’t have a very large network, you may want to consider launching a podcast or your own event to help you build relationships with industry leaders. If you have any close ties with companies that send out mass emails to their subscribers, it could be a gold mine for you. If you ask to be featured in their mass emails and  in return mention their posts to your email marketing campaign, you could see quite a burst of traffic.

Expanding Your Horizons to Build Links

If you want to build enough links, you will have to reach out to people outside of your network of contacts. This is a great time to use your pre-outreach to warm people up and start building relationships with them.

The key here is to provide any one you’re reaching out to with benefits and value first so they start to feel like they owe you. If you’re not familiar with your industry experts, it may become time-consuming for you. To maximize your time, do this:

Find Experts that Regularly Publish Guest Posts

To gather a list of contributors, you could start with checking sites that accept guest post opportunities. If you have access to Buzzsumo, you can run a report with the top authors tool where you can search using any keyword related to your pre-outreach content.

From there, take a look at the list of authors and find contributors that write across several blogs. Chose one or more writers to write on several blogs that are fully relevant to your search.

Create a Strong Value Proposition

The majority of us are not as popular as big names in our industry so it is crucial to create a powerful value proposition. Ways you can do this include:

  • Ask them to add their quotes if they are interested and have the time available
  • Sharing your final draft and seeing if they have a post they’d like to refer to in your piece.

Both of these options provide value to them and help you establish a mutually beneficial relationship. if you want to work with people you don’t know well, you’ll have a much better shot at getting what you want if you can provide them with value first.

Though it may seem easier to send cold mass emails, it’s better to invest your time and energy into building relationships with experts because they will absolutely pay and you may even become link building partners.

Get it Done!

That’s all there is to it. It’s a fairly simple idea but it is complex. You want to think long-term and try to find the best way to approach every person you reach out to. Remember you are asking them for a favor so you must take time to see what you can help them with in return. This not only ensures links, but a growing network of connections which we all know is the key to success in digital marketing.