Link building

How to use visual content to gain more links


A captivating title will appeal to you.

A good opening line – a hook – will keep you reading.

And a well-placed, eye-catching visual will keep you focused and be remembered long after the words you’re reading have been forgotten.

Not only will images captivate your audience, but using visual content is also a hands-on approach to link building.

A Skyword study found that “content with related images performed better in all content categories.”

And Google is continually working to “include more images and videos in search,” changing the way information is presented on a results page.

This means that you need to change the way you present your website information to Google and other search engines.

So, you know visual content is a valid link building strategy, but how can you make it work?

7 types of visual content used to build links

First of all, it’s important to understand the different types of visual content.


Continue reading below

Here’s a quick look at some of the main types of visual content you can use to link back to your site:

1. Infographic

Some people think infographics are overused; some people swear by them.

Using eye-catching infographics with useful information that readers can understand is still a great way to earn links, whether you love them or hate them.

2. Correct use of logos

Yes, your brand’s logo is visual content!


Continue reading below

It’s already in several places on your site, and it may show up on other websites if you’ve already written a guest post, been featured, or contributed to a community page.

Keep track of where your logo appears on the web and make sure it is linked to your site.

Image Linking: How To Use Visual Content To Gain More Links

3. Product photos or brand photoshoot

If you are an eCommerce site or have an online store, use your product images to build links.

Always use high quality original photos and make sure that all steps have been taken to optimize each image for SEO (more on this later).

Image Linking: How To Use Visual Content To Gain More Links

Don’t have any products to photograph?

Try a branded photoshoot from a professional photographer, where you are the one working on your computer.

If you are an author, also show your books at the photoshoot.

There are many ways you can use your branded photos.


Continue reading below

For example, I even used one of mine in my own Search Engine Journal author header.

header sej julia mccoy

4. Photos of the company or employees

Yeah! Even photos from your last corporate retreat or employee photos on your team page can be used for linking.

Again, make sure these images are of high quality, and please – spell your employees’ names correctly!

Image Linking: How To Use Visual Content To Gain More Links

5. Statistical tables, graphs and maps

Also known as data visualization, tables, charts, and maps are a great way to build connections.


Continue reading below

You can even extract them from major statistics or research.

Make sure the information displayed is useful and easy for readers to understand.

Even without creating an original chart, chart, or map, 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.

Remember to share the source of the report if you go this route, but the image itself – the screenshot – can be attributed to you.

Image Linking: How To Use Visual Content To Gain More Links

6. Memes and GIFs

Memes and GIFs aren’t going anywhere.


Continue reading below

If you aren’t already using them in your content, maybe it’s time to give it a try.

Use them tastefully and use them well, because people love to share a good meme, which will mean a lot of inbound links for you.

To make things really fun and original, you can generate your own memes for free on Meme Generator.

7. Creative photo bank

Another often overused (and sometimes misused) type of visual content, stock photos can still be useful for link building when done right.

Do not use all stock photo.

Choose a high quality, tasteful photo that matches your post and adds to the content.

Image Linking: How To Use Visual Content To Gain More Links

3 ways to optimize your images for SEO

OKAY. You have ideas for images.


Continue reading below

Now let’s talk about optimizing these images for SEO so that you can get the most out of your visual content.

1. Add captions

Adding descriptive captions to your images is often overlooked, but surprisingly, “captions get 16% more readership than text,” according to the PRSA.

An image caption differs from the file name or alt text of the image. This is the text that appears below the image, briefly explaining the image.

Many relevant images are included without captions, but this is not always the case.

Captions add additional context to an image, helping both readers and search engines process the information on your page.

2. Optimize image file names

Creating keyword rich file names for images is vital for SEO optimization.

The file name of your image is used to describe the image to search engines.

File names should be short, meaningful descriptions of the image and should include primary and secondary keywords.

3. Include alt text

Alt text is text that appears in place of an image when an image cannot be rendered, for some reason.


Continue reading below

The alt text in the image should be similar to the file name of your image: a short, relevant description of the image, including keywords.

Adding alt text to your images can improve your site’s ranking by associating your images – and therefore your site – with the keywords and descriptions used.

Reverse Image Search

Sometimes your image will be shared on another site without a link to your site, or with the wrong connect.

There are a few tools to help you locate these images, like Google Images and TinEye.

Use these tools and when you discover your images, contact the publication or blogger who uses them and ask them to refer to your site as the source.

Image Linking: How To Use Visual Content To Gain More Links

Is an image worth a thousand links?

Visual content gives your readers a clearer picture (pun intended) of the subject of your post.


Continue reading below

As you put your content together, consider what visuals to include to clarify and enhance your message.

Try using different types of visual content as part of your overall content marketing strategy and watch your link profile change.


Time range: Immediately include images in your content

Results detected: 3-6 months

Average number of links per month: 5


  • Creations (images, visual content)


  • Improve the referencing and referencing of sites
  • Earn links
  • Improve textual content for readers.

Image credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by the author


Continue reading below