• Tue. Jun 14th, 2022

A captivating title will attract you.

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

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

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

A Skyword study showed that “content with related images performed better across all content categories.”

And Google is constantly 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 information from your website to Google and other search engines.

So, you know that 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, it’s important to understand the different types of visual content that exist.

Here is a brief overview of some of the main types of visual content you can use to build links 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 always a great way to earn links, love them or hate them.

2. Proper use of logos

Yes, your brand logo is visual content!

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

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

Image Link Building: How to Use Visual Content to Gain More Links

3. Product photos or brand photoshoot

If you are an e-commerce site or have an online store, use your product images for link building.

Always use high quality original photos and make sure every step has been taken to optimize each image for SEO (more on that later).

Image Link Building: How to Use Visual Content to Gain More Links

You don’t have products to photograph?

Try a branded photoshoot by a professional photographer, where you work in front of your computer.

If you are an author, also show your books during the photo shoot.

You can use your brand photos in many ways.

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 company retreat or photos of employees on your team page can be used for link building.

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

Image Link Building: How to Use Visual Content to Gain More Links

5. Statistical tables, graphs and maps

Also known as data visualization, charts, graphs, and maps are a great way to generate links.

You can even extract them from statistics or cutting-edge research.

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

Even without creating an original chart, graph, 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.

Don’t forget to share the source of the report if you go this route, but the image itself – the screenshot – may be attributed to you.

Image Link Building: How to Use Visual Content to Gain More Links

6. Memes and GIFs

Memes and GIFs aren’t going anywhere.

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

Use them tastefully and well, because people to like 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 photos

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

Do not use any stock photo.

Choose a high quality, tasteful photo that is relevant to your message and adds to the content.

Image Link Building: How to Use Visual Content to Gain More Links

3 ways to optimize your images for SEO

OKAY. You have ideas for images.

Now let’s talk about optimizing those images for SEO so you can take full advantage 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 PRSA.

An image caption differs from the filename 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 filenames for images is essential for SEO optimization.

The filename of your image helps describe the image to search engines.

Filenames should be short, relevant descriptions of the image, and should include primary and secondary keywords.

3. Include alt text

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

Image alt text should be similar to your image filename: a short, relevant description of the image, including keywords.

Adding alt text to your images can improve your site’s rankings by linking your images – and therefore, your site – to 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 link.

There are a few tools to help locate these images, such as 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 link back to your site as the source.

Image Link Building: How to Use Visual Content to Gain More Links

Is a picture worth a thousand links?

Visual content gives your readers a clearer picture (pun intended) of what your message is about.

As you put together your content, think about 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 grow.


Time range: Immediately include images in your content

Results detected: 3-6 months

Average links per month: 5


  • Creations (images, visual content)


  • Improve site ranking and SEO
  • Earn links
  • Improve text content for readers.

Image credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by the author