You’re sitting on a goldmine.
Believe it or not, a photography site is one of the easiest sites to build links to.
You see, a blog might have great tutorials, but those are hard to share and even harder to get links to.
On the other hand, beautiful photographs perform way better on social media and can’t be created by someone sitting at their computer. Basically, it’s a higher value asset, which makes it more effective for link building.
In this article, I’ve put together a list of seven link building tactics for photographers.
Here’s tactic #1.
Tip: Read until the end to get the three-step action plan.
1. Reverse image search
Reverse image search link building is the #1 most valuable backlink strategy for a photographer. The way it works is simple.
As a photographer, you’ve likely published a lot of original photographs on your website. You’re probably not a stranger to having your work copied either.
While watermarking your photos is a good way to ensure your name stays on them, there’s an even more beneficial way to get credit: a backlink.
You see, every site that uses a photograph of yours should be linking to you as the original source, but more often than not, that doesn’t happen.
That’s where Image Prospector comes in.
With Image Prospector, you can upload all of your photographs and reverse search them.
Reverse searching your photos will find every webpage they appear on. Image Prospector is powered by Google’s image search engine, so it’s capable of finding thousands of results per image.
Once you get back your results, you can visit the Prospects table to review the pages where your photos have been used.
Next, use the sorting tools to filter out any low-quality sites that likely won’t respond to an email. These are usually RSS feed scrapers without anyone actively managing them.
Once you’ve removed the low-quality sites, you’ll have a good list of sites to contact with your first outreach campaign.
Work your way through each site and email them requesting they add an attribution link to your site for using your image. You can copy one of the pre-written outreach scripts provided in your dashboard.
As you send your emails, move the sites into the Emailed category, and then into Got the link after they link to you.
If a site doesn’t respond right away, give them a week or two as it may be managed part-time by someone. If there still isn’t any response, you can move them into the No link category and consider a DMCA takedown request instead.
Image Prospector will re-search the web each month for any new sites that may have copied your images, so you can continuously repeat this process to build new backlinks every month.
It’s a simple tactic but will work great for you to build links as a photographer.
2. Add your images to Flickr
A good way to naturally attract backlinks is to upload your images to Flickr.
When you upload an image to Flickr, you can select a license. You can pick whatever license you want, but I recommend using the Attribution Creative Commons to maximize how much your photo gets shared and reused.
The most important part is that you select one of the “Attribution” licenses, which allows other people to use your image as long as they link to you.
This licensing shows up below the image on its page on the Flickr website:
People will find your image when searching through Flickr, and it’s also more likely to rank well in Google Images. As long as you choose one of the Creative Commons licenses, it will also show up when people search by that license in Google, which a lot of site owners do to avoid legal issues:
This will get you new backlinks on autopilot because sites will link to you as they use your photographs. Additionally, it will help boost your reverse search outreach campaigns because you’ll find more sites that omit the attribution.
You’ll be able to track who’s using your images and whether or not they are linking as long as the image is monitored in Image Prospector.
Furthermore, if anyone links to the image page on Flickr instead of your site, you can reach out and request they link to your site instead, which is part of the agreed-upon licensing on Flickr.
3. Optimize your images for SEO
As I just mentioned, a lot of bloggers will find your photographs by searching in Google. That’s why it’s so important to optimize your images for SEO. By optimizing your images, you’ll greatly increase the chances that they’re found.
The more people that use your images, the more backlinks opportunities you’ll get. They’ll either link on their own like they’re supposed to, or you’ll find them with Image Prospector and ask them to link.
And backlinks aside, getting your work seen by more people is only going to help your photography business, so this is a good idea in general for a photographer.
4. Add your photographs to Pinterest
Another way to get your photos seen and used by more people is to Pin them on Pinterest.
Pinterest is still an extremely popular site for sharing images, and it isn’t just restricted to recipes and fashion. You can promote photos of virtually anything on Pinterest these days.
One of the reasons why Pinterest is such a great place to share your photographs is that, unlike Instagram, it lets you include external links in every post.
This link itself isn’t a high-quality backlink. It’s marked as “nofollow” so it doesn’t send any SEO value. However, pinning your photos can lead to backlinks in other ways.
I might be sounding like a broken record at this point, but if someone finds your photograph on Pinterest with a link to the source, there’s a chance they republish your image elsewhere online and include the link to your site. And of course, you can find them with Image Prospector just in case they don’t include that link.
Another reason to share your photos on Pinterest is that you can gain followers. Over time, you’ll get more people to see the photos you post, which will be great for growing your brand and attracting new clients in addition to getting backlinks.
5. Post your photos on Reddit
Reddit can be really hit or miss, but it’s another good place to share your photographs.
Here’s a massive list of subreddits where you can post your images:
In addition to posting in subreddits made for sharing photographs, you can also find niche-specific subreddits.
For example, if you do any nature photography, there are a lot of subreddits like the somewhat obvious r/nature subreddit where you could share your images.
Again, getting your photographs seen by more people is only going to lead to more opportunities for you even if it is at times hard to measure.
6. Offer your photographs to other sites
So far, most of these link building tactics have involved sharing your images so that they get used around the web by other sites. This tactic is different.
You can get proactive and offer your photographs to sites that might like them. For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer, you might reach out to wedding planners and offer them your images if they link back to you or recommend your services.
Look for sites that are currently using stock photos or missing photographs in places where they could use them.
7. Answer questions on HARO
So far, every link building tactic has been about promoting your photographs. This tactic is more about promoting yourself.
HARO is a free service that connects journalists (and bloggers) with sources. You’ll sign up as a source and reply to requests with quotes the writers can use. If they use your quote in their article, they’ll also include a link to your website.
After you create your account, you’ll select your area(s) of expertise.
Once you choose your niches, you’ll get three emails a day (morning, afternoon, evening) with source requests from journalists.
The emails look something like this:
If there’s any request you think you could answer effectively, you can submit a quote for the journalist to use. If the journalist uses your quote, they’ll include a link to your website in the article.
The only downside of this tactic is that it’s essentially spec work. Just because you sent a quote doesn’t guarantee it gets used. In my experience, I get a link from about every three requests I reply to.
If you want to try this tactic out, I highly recommend reading my tutorial on building links with HARO. It will help you avoid the beginner mistakes that lead to wasted time on quotes that don’t get published.
Here’s your action plan
Now that you know all seven of the link building tactics, let’s put them together into one cohesive plan.
Phase I – reverse image search link building
Phase I will give you a backlink foundation. You can do this just once to get started.
- Collect all the photographs you’ve shared online (your website & social media)
- Upload all of these images to Image Prospector
- Run your first outreach campaign to get links from sites that copied your images
- Signup for HARO
That should give you a nice one-time boost and create a backlink foundation for your site. You’ll also start receiving HARO requests which you can answer whenever possible.
Phase II – boost your “reverse search” links
In Phase II, you’ll optimize the images on your site and upload them to Flickr so that more people will find them and copy them, leading to additional backlinks.
- Optimize the images on your site
- Add all of your images to Flickr
Phase III – promote new photos
Now that you have your foundation in place, you can use the following tactics every time you publish a new photo online:
- Upload to Image Prospector
- Add to Flickr
- Share on Pinterest
- Share on Reddit
- Offer to relevant sites
If you want more backlinks and marketing opportunities, all you have to do is publish a new photo and run it through these steps. You can repeat this process once a week or many times per day. The most important thing is that you treat each photo like a valuable marketing asset and give it a chance to get re-shared around the web.
In addition to this, you can run a new email outreach campaign in Image Prospector once per month when your images are re-scanned.
Easy backlinks for your photography site
You may have come into this thinking it would be hard to build backlinks, but as a photographer, you’ve got a lot more to work with than most sites.
The majority of sites don’t have original images of any kind, and the fact that you have so many is a major boon for link building.
If you want to try building links with reverse image search, you can get started with Image Prospector for free:
The first 10 images are free and will be re-searched every month on autopilot, so you can find additional backlink opportunities again and again.
If you have any questions or feedback about this link building strategy for photographers, post in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!