With all else equal in regards to the technical optimisation aspects and architecture of a website, it is the amount of high quality, relevant links that point to the site that determine the heights it will scale in the SERPs.
So link building is clearly important. It can also be challenging and quite time consuming, which is why the two image-based methods I am about to talk about are so good.
If you are a semi-established website (1 year+) and have either, 1- a gallery of images on the site you own the rights to, or 2- use images for product/category, etc. pages, there is a good chance other websites in your niche will be using them too, and a lot of the time, using them without attributing appropriate credit to the owner of the images.. in this case, you!
Depending on the size of your site and how many images you have there are a couple of ways of doing the first of the two methods. For larger sites, Screaming Frog will help you find all the images on your site and present them as a list of easy to copy and paste URLs. For smaller sites, this can be done manually easily enough.
To do this, open Screaming Frog, click Configuration – Spider, and make sure the only box ticked is the Check Images one. Next, paste in your website URL and start the crawl. Once complete, before exporting, make sure you filter by images. Now you have a list of all the images displayed on your site, in URL form.
Next thing to do – for a small number of images – is open Google images, click the camera icon in the search bar and paste in your image URL.
The results page will look a little different than usual as you can see by the screen-grab below. Google will label the image how it best thinks it described, using its “Cloud Vision” software, you will see the image itself and then some images of a similar ilk. The good stuff though, comes next; a list of sites using the exact image itself. If you are lucky, there will be one or two per URL, depending on the image, the niche, and how long it has been indexed in Google but as you can see from this stock photo, the list goes on to page 10+.
There are also tools that can automate this process for you should your site crawl return tens to hundreds of images, with Image Raider being the pick of the bunch. It can be temperamental and often slow, but it usually will return a bulk list of sites using your images.
The next thing to do is to check if the site has credited you or not. If the page is small and it is obvious where your image is, you can eyeball this, but for longer ones with more images, a simple CTRL + F “website name” should do, failing that, right click, Inspect and search for your site.
If both of these come back with nothing, they haven’t credited you and you can contact them.
Even though you will find people using your images without crediting you, not everyone will respond to your attribution request. However, the email template below I have found to be very successful. One recent campaign came back with a 25% link rate from the outreach, which is many times more efficient than other, more well-trodden link building approaches.
I think the key to this is that to the untrained eye, it does seem quite official and almost legalistic.
A bonus tip, and one that helped increase the conversion rate, was to Cc in your client to the emails, too. This helped give it another layer of authority.
I am contacting today you on behalf of my client, [CLIENT], as it appears you are using one of their images on this page of your website (www.websiteinquestion.co.uk) without apportioning appropriate credit to them.
The image in question is [IMAGE LOCATION]
Please can you add an image source link underneath the photo, such as “Image source [CLIENT NAME]” (hyperlink client name).
The original image can be seen here: [CLIENT URL WHERE IMAGE IS]
Thanks in advance,
The second of the two methods works very well if you have a bank of images that would be of use to similar sites who operate in your niche. You simply approach the webmasters of these, offer them access to your images and grant them permission to use them.
What do they get? Free access to your great quality, original photos and it means they no longer will have to put things like “image source” every time they use one.
What do you get? As long as they agree, you get a powerful homepage link as opposed to a more diluted image one. For this, you need to sell to them the benefits of this deal. All that you require in return is for them to link to your website once, from their homepage.
I am just getting in touch to see whether you would be interested in receiving free access to my client’s gallery of unique images centred around [NICHE]?
For any future blog posts or articles, the images are yours to do as you see fit – all we ask is for you to link to our website once from your homepage and then you can use them, source free, to your heart’s content.
It is a great gallery and one that I think you would be interested in viewing.
If this sounds of interest, brilliant! Just let me know and I will send you a link to the gallery for your perusal.
This is a more proactive method of building links than the former and can be done by any site as soon as they get some images uploaded that should be of interest to anyone operating in a specific niche. Coupled together though, these two image-based methods can really speed up your rate of link return and are ones everyone should be trying; specifically those operating in the traditionally blogger-friendly markets; travel, food, home and design, for example.