Link Building Image

One Way Link Building With Photos

Share Your Images To Build Back Links

Link Building ImageToday’s Quick Blogging Tip Thursday involves one way link building quickly and effectively by just being generous. This link building technique is far from being a new concept but I do think it’s underused.

I’m suggesting you share original images that you have already taken (photos) or created (images) in exchange for a one way back link to your blog. It’s the simplest thing in the world to setup and won’t cost you a dime. Here are a couple of examples;

Example One – Flickr

I’ve been using Flickr for years and below each photo I include the following statement after the description,

Feel free to use this photo for your website or blog as long as you include photo credit with a clickable (hyperlinked) and do-follow link to
<a href=""></a>

As you can see, I even set an active hyperlink back to my blog with every photo. Other than being a link in its self and even sending a little traffic my way, the big picture is the one way link building. I’ve been building one way links like this for years with various blogs. As a quick example, I had a personal photo blog and all the photos were uploaded on Flickr as well. One day Boing Boing used one of my pictures on their website and that photo credit link sent my blog from a PR0 to a PR3 even though it was only a few months old.

Flickr is the perfect place to use this link build method, not only because the incredible volume of traffic they get, but also because the site can be search for Creative Commons-licensed images. Be sure to set the proper license for each photo; I use Attribution Creative Commons.

Example Two – Tumblr

I am very new to Tumblr, only a few days, but the concept is the same; allow other websites to use my great photos in exchange for a one way link to my blog in the form of image credit. That’s only fair, right? So now every time someone reblogs or uses one of my images it should generate a one way back link, if the other site is playing fair, like

Final Tips

A couple other things before I turn it over to you. The better, more interesting and common the photo is the better luck you will have with your one way link building attempt. Use great photos and don’t forget to use descriptive titles, good descriptions and use the tags so people can find your work.

Another thing to consider is this will probably mean letting go of the leash and forgoing a watermark or other form of copyright protection. Let’s face it, we’re bloggers and it’s not like we are protecting national art work that’s going to feed our families. Another fact to consider is that people WILL take your photos and use them without linking back or they’ll add the nofollow tag. Personally, I don’t let that kind of thing wreck my day.

Also, it should go without saying but I’mย going to bring it up anyway. When I say original, I mean your photos and images that you own outright and own all rights to. Please don’t take other people’sย works or content as your own.

Your Thoughts?

Do you allow your images and photos to be used by others? Have you built one way backlinks in this manner? Do you think it’s better to keep photos protected than to use them as link building tools? I would love to hear your thoughts.

About Brian D. Hawkins

Blogging superhero by day and internet super villain by night. Blogger, future online millionaire and an all around great guy.


  1. Great article and tough questions… I personally allow other people to use my pictures, but if they use the ones that I sold to someone else and they don’t credit me then it’s the situation where you try your best to get at least some credit. I used this way of building backlinks. And you cant protect them completely, that’s the dark and bright side of the web at the same time.

  2. I never heard about creating backlink by photo. Thank you to give us such a nice post.

  3. Anonymous (Read Comment Policy) says

    I like how you approached the theme. I’m using for some time Flickr and Tumblr. You know the traffic on my blog increased. It’s a good idea.

  4. Nice idea, Brian! What I will do is to take a good shot, post it on my blog and then ask people to give me at least one link for every pic that they get from my blog. Sounds fair to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Brian, this is really a good and the easiest way to get the backlinks for the blogs. It is a good way to get paid for the hard work. Allow people to get our images and get backlinks in return is a fair deal in my view. I also liked the tips which you have posted, they are very easy and achievable. Using Flickr and Tumblr can prove beneficial for this. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. sai krishna says

    very nice explanation brian , i just received your weekly news letter ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Hi
    Nice article share.I am using flickr because sometimes need to do direct links of photos that generate easily.This article introduced me tumblr now.


  8. Absolutely James, there will always be certain images off the table. I don’t offer images I use for clients or personal photos. Some pics we’d just prefer to retain all copyright; nothing wrong with that.

  9. Give it a try Shadab and let us know how it goes.

  10. I used to do the same thing on my personal photo blog Pamela. Every photo made the exchange offer in the description. Thanks for sharing that.

  11. My pleasure Joey, that’s what we’re here for.

  12. Thanks Sai, and I appreciate you subscribing.

  13. Thanks Asma, I should have asked everyone to leave the links to their Flickr and Tumblr accounts. Feel free to come back and drop the links so we can check them out, at least Flickr and then Tumblr if you decide to setup an account there.

  14. This a great tip. I’ve been thinking on this lately as I often see traffic coming into my blog through image searches. But your tip about posting your photos for public use with an attribution through Flickr is a really great way to get a free backlink. Great example with the Boing Boing story as well.

  15. Murray Newlands says

    Usually I send images as attachments (like when I send you articles) but this makes a lot of sense: Sending people URL’s to my images within an a href tag with appropriate meta tags will make my images show up higher on Google image searches. Plus, it’ll give my site a higher PageRank, which is a good way to eyeball outbound links’ SEO value.

    What I’d really like to know is how this works for videos. I bet the increased load time from locally hosting videos hurts SEO, even if a lot of sites are remotely linking to your videos. It makes sense that Google would do that since it would encourage people to use Google’s YouTube service instead of hosting their videos locally, though as a side benefit this helps site acceleration services market themselves since they can host videos and help people’s SEO without all the drawbacks of using YouTube or Vimeo.

  16. Rob Thomson says

    I have heard of doing this with infographics and PDFs. At least with the PDFs you can put your link directly in it. We have a website where we post dozens of videos and photos. It had not even occurred to me to ask them to link back.

    Thanks for the tip!

  17. Olawale Daniel says

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for sharing this one way backlinks technique with your blog readers, it is really useful….I will start uploading images and use this techniqiue

  18. Getting backlinks is a desire of every blogger! I think by using your tips, bloggers like me will be able to get the desired backlinks for my blog. I think this is an easy way to achieve this. Giving readers images which we post by clicking it our self and getting the backlinks for our blogs is profitable to both readers and for us also. And I agree with you, that Flickr and Tumblr would prove beneficial in achieving this. Thanks Brian, for coming with a great idea!

  19. Images for backlinks is something that I haven’t tried before. All I knew was placing the alt tags on the image. I don’t know If I will get huge backlinks with this method because when a user get images from the web, chances are he won’t give credit to the original owner.

  20. I’ve uploaded loads of photos on to Flickr myself and I always for get to add a link back to my blog in the description field, may be it’s time I went back and updated the pictures that are the most popular ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Idea is reall good. But most of the user will use it without providing any backlink. Better to share with small watermark.

  22. To this day I’ve never used flickr, I’m always using but I guess it works for me because I don’t have any of my own images.

  23. Could this be done with videos too? Not sure how you’d do it with services such as YouTube as webmasters use EMBED when sharing YouTube content via their website. Grateful for your ideas..

  24. Thanks Richard, I hope it helps.

  25. Good point Murray, I don’t see what would stop someone from asking for a link in the description on something like a YouTube video. We normally brand our videos internally, such as using an intro, but that doesn’t leave a backlink or clicks back to our site from others using the content. Adding a small attribution request couldn’t hurt. Most will never read or even ignore the request but if the video goes viral the backlinks could really add up.

  26. Infographics and PDFs are another great idea. Thanks Rob.

  27. Thanks Olawale, I’m glad to help.

  28. My pleasure Nicholas.

  29. That’s true Adeline, but the sites that do honor the requests are normally the larger, more legitimate, websites where the links might count more. I have found over the years of using this method that most websites have no problem giving credit if they know they should and know what to do. It’s just a matter of “educating” them.

  30. Hi Karen, don’t feel bad, I keep changing sites and need to keep updating URLs on images, videos, ebooks and even old article marketing sites. I think I’m going to keep this one for a while. Way too much work. ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW, thanks for all the CommentLuv sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. I completely understand where you’re coming from with the watermark Pradosh. Personally, I started removing the watermarks, for the most part, on images I want to share. I’ll just live with those that don’t give credit as long as they’re not hot-linking. The benefits of the one-way backlinks and click-throughs outweigh the less than 1% that will type in a URL from a watermark, in my opinion. Great point though.

  32. Hi Brian, it’s true, you wouldn’t want to ask for credit if it wasn’t 100% yours. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Hi Chelsea, scroll up a little and read the comment and reply from Murray Newlands. I would also add that we should always read each site’s terms of use agreements before requesting any links. I haven’t looked at YouTube’s TOS.

  34. selfishyayun says

    this is so great idea for get more backlink from flickr and tumblr, but if the kind of link is nofollow… that not problem for me because we can get more traffic from this site

    This can help me to increase my blog ranking for 1 or 2 month from now

  35. Good idea, i will use this trick to improve my pagerank.Now i am going to create the flickr account.

  36. Hi thanks for this article and really interesting point to know getting backlinks from images.And i think many of these major sites have a nofollow for their sites right ?
    And can you please post an article for a list of sites where i can add images to get backlinks

  37. I have a suggestion for this problem IF you are also posting your Youtube videos on your site. This solution takes a bit of work, but if a person picks up your special embed code from your site, it will have a link back to your site under the video.

    In fact I wrote about doing this in Feb. 2011 on the Internet Marketers Guild.

    We can either rewrite the post from the one I did on the forum to post here or we can just send people there to get the info.

  38. David Bennett says

    Hi Brian,
    A very useful and bookmark-able article.

    One thing, you have rel=”nofollow in your link code example – not what you want bearing in mind the sentence before about wanting a dofollow link ?

  39. Hi David, That’s generated automatically by Flickr but you are right, it looks confusing. I’ll fix that.

  40. Sure, The link on the hosted photo sites are no-follow but we’re asking for do-follow links from those that use the images.

  41. Hi Geetha, I just use those two but others are free to add more here in the comments.

    The no-follow tag on the image hosting site shouldn’t matter since we’re asking for do-follow links from those that use our content. A no-follow link is still worth having by the way.

  42. If i have a great photo to share, i will definitely share it. As i can
    see it is a win-win situattion.

  43. Astro Gremlin says

    Very interesting, Brian. I recently began using Flickr photos using a plugin called Photodropper, which goes to Flickr straight from WordPress, lets you search, find a relevant photo, and lets you drop it right into a post, including a credit link. The only downside: Facebook doesn’t seem to like the embedded URL back to Flickr. I like the idea of sharing photos with Flickr instead of just taking them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Hi Brian….The post is really interesting and this is definitely an good deal …and its really nice that backlink are generated by this kind of way …great post ..:)

  45. Groshan Fabiola says

    I think that if images are given to the users, then getting backlinks in return for our blogs is no harm. I have never tried this any time but I think it is a good way to get the backlinks. I even think this way readers will also have no issues. Getting credit for our work is every human nature and even we bloggers are human. This is a good way in which I think readers can get a way to appreciate our work.

  46. Hi Astro, it’s been a while. I’ll have to check Photodropper out. I wonder if it only searches for Creative Commons photos? Many images on Flickr are copy-written (All Rights Reserved).

  47. Thank you Linda, great use of the Keyword Luv. I don’t know why more people don’t use that.

  48. Human nature indeed Groshan, understanding human nature could possible be the key everyone is looking for.

  49. I agreed, is unprohibited to taking someone’s work as our own. I actually believed there is no such free thing happened, whether you’re going to say it, most people doesn’t concerned about the issue until they get punish.

  50. Asad Umrani says


    Nice way to express.Anyhow I learned about this when I was still new to SEO from a black hat SEO blog. This is no black hat technique if used wisely but if your intention is to spam Yahoo Answers with your link youรขย€ย™re a spammer and you will intentionally get into the Google sandbox.

    Keep sharing.

  51. I also agree with you awesome article.

  52. I have no problem others using my photos. I just usually get surprised someone decided to use what I created for their own. I am just glad they think my photo is appropriate to be used for any of their work.

  53. Flicker is the best For this kind of link building technique. Its always good to make available your images for others with your link. Nice idea.

  54. James Harrison says

    It is a good idea to get backlinks from the readers who get images from our blogs. I think this is a good way to get credit for our hard work. Using Tumblr and Flickr for this purpose is also a great idea. Giving unusual photos to readers is a must to achieve this purpose I think. If they are not getting something different then they are not going to give links in return. Thanks Brian! Great idea!

  55. In my part, I always gave credit to the owner of the image i am using.

  56. A very good concept you have explained for promoting the website through the photos, will imply this mate.

  57. Need to try because still struggling to get a traffic for my web. Backlinks are very important. Thanks

  58. Cafe Amaliun Indah says

    Nice, so picture can make or build my backlink nice share….

  59. That was a great post, I never thought to use photos for link’s, I just wonder how often people actually hold up their end. If you have any other backlink building tips, I’d love to hear’em. I don’t know how people end up with thousands of links.

  60. Jeevan Jacob John says

    Hey Brian,

    Awesome tips here ๐Ÿ™‚

    Never thought we could do that. I guess I could use them, when I start taking photos (I don’t play with photographs that much, but from all the articles I read online, it can be a great source of link backs and revenue :D).

    Thanks for the post!

  61. I’m sorry Sheryl, I missed your comment. Absolutely, feel free to link to anything like that whenever you want. I actually remember the thread. If you have the link handy just do a quick edit or send me the link and I’ll get it posted. Thanks.

  62. It is easy Nicholas, we still need to be sure the images are in demand, searchable and even promoted.

  63. What are you talking about Asad? You didn’t bother reading a single word beyond the title, do you? Wow

  64. It is a nice compliment Brian, as long as you are voluntarily giving the content. Otherwise it’s stealing and it’s hard to feel good about that.

  65. I agree James, it’s the image that’s going to make the difference.

  66. The same here Herbert, I also made certain the image is in the public domain or Creative Commons. We should never take an image without permission, credit or no credit.

  67. Well stick around Adrian, traffic is a big topic around here. Don’t forget to subscribe.

  68. Thanks Jeevan, great guest blogging by the way. I appreciate the way you handle the board on your posts. You are a real pro ๐Ÿ™‚

  69. I have been using images in my blog but never tried as like you said this an great method to have an backlink thanks for sharing it

  70. Saikrishna says

    I suggest its better to use a small watermark( in the corner ) on the image so that it can be easily seen by the visitor. Well when it comes to backlink linking is also important point.

  71. I love Flickr, its a great resource both for getting the images for our blog and to share the images with others. I always use creative commons images, a good way to generate one side backlinks.

  72. Awesome idea. I think people will be more than willing to offer a link in exchange of a photo. Worth trying.

  73. I always make all my images freely available for download on my flickr account but I never ask for a link back, as I dont think my photos are great though I may try it on a couple of my travel collections and see what happens. So Brian, do you always ask for a link back or it depends on the quality of the photo collection? thanks for sharing this tactic with the community

  74. Kimberly Gauthier says

    I don’t mind people using my images as long as they provide credit and a back link. I appreciate the people who take the time to contact me and ask. I’m not a professional photographer and don’t worry too much about watermarks, but I do like what you shared about putting a permission with the code to make it easier for people in the Flickr settings.Thanks.

  75. Astro Gremlin says

    Hi Brian, PhotoDropper seems to be programmed to grab only the Creative Commons ones. The search interface is a little kludgey, but it works. The article below, “Wienermobile Secrets,” used the work of a whole bunch of different photographers and gave them all credit. I used a Wikipedia image at the top of the article so it would post to Facebook.

  76. Thanks for sharing this really unique and useful ways to drive traffic.
    Learned something new via this post.
    I think that Flickr is quite effective in driving traffic from images.
    Good share. ๐Ÿ™‚

  77. I Sai, I used to include watermarks but have stopped using them and even began removing them from older photos. The reason is, I’d rather have the links and people are more likely to use our images, I think, without the branding. I’m not suggesting anyone else do that, I’m just going to go without it and see where it takes me. THat’s a great point though.

  78. I use the creative commons option too Sanjeev, on all of the images I own and can share. Personal family photos I add the copywrite to of course.

  79. Let us know how it goes Sagar ๐Ÿ™‚

  80. I always ask David, if they’re good enough for someone to use on their site then they’re good enough to link back. I’m not a professional photographer so I don’t get too picky on my own photos. With that said, we should be a little selective in what we upload; I wouldn’t show a picture with my finger blocking the corner of the pic, for example. Also, too many bad photos will just send image seekers off of the page before they find any worthwhile images to use. Not too many people are going to scroll over hundreds of bad images to find the right one.

  81. My pleasure Kuldeep ,glad to help.

  82. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what we might not know is that a picture can also be worth a thousand links. I think this information is really helpful for me itself. Thanks for sharing it.

  83. I was thinking of doing this myself after seeing people doing it with the photos I’ve been grabbing from I’m one of those bloggers who respects the back link request. Then I started thinking I should use a similar strategy. Then I googled the idea and found your post.

    So, now I’m thinking of hiring a photographer to shoot 100 images or so on topics related to my niche (credit cards, piggy banks, money, investing charts, etc). Then I’ll upload the pics and do the description thing you talked about. But also make sure the “exif data” is edited such that it reminds the blogger/site to link back when they are uploading the pic in their post editor. Meaning, the image meta data will pre-populate with my request for the link. Here’s an example of the exif data:

    Did you consider taking that extra step?

    Anyway, thanks for this post.

  84. Astro Gremlin says

    Philip, you may be onto something. Wondered if the plugin SmushIt strips out any of the EXIF data? I vaguely remember that the size reduction is gained by removing some data. SmushIt automatically works on all photos in my WP Media Library.

  85. Wow…never thought about protecting my photos, really. Now that you mention it, I think it’s advisable! Never really tried Tumblr or Flicker, though I’ve heard of them. That’s a really good idea to include a photo credit.

  86. This might work but only when the image gets popular. I have never tried this and I do not think that most of the bloggers gives image credit.

  87. Thanks for this excellent one way image linkbuilding method. Sure i will use this method for my blog.

  88. I had been blogging for over 2 years and I only knew about this few months ago. This method really work especially if your pictures are interesting enough for others to share.

  89. Well that’s a great idea Brain. i also received backlinks through sharing photo’s on my blog. If we continue to share something useful than it brings to us credits in the form of backlinks from top sources.

  90. Very interesting, i was searching a smart way to make some backlink and have access to other photo stock without paying a fortune in right…i got many interesting picture other people can use and give me some freelink and publicity …..

    any wordpress plugin to have a little private photostock where people can exchange a link for copy of the photo or give a bit a money for can be great!

  91. What a great idea! I never thought of backlink building with images. I’m going to have to give this a try. I’ll be sure to leave a follow-up comment after a month or two and let you know how it goes. :o)

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