Silly SEO Mistakes I Made – Images and Links

I thought it might be helpful and funny for others if I put together a mini series of SEO mistakes I made. Here the first post of my new SEO mistakes series: Image Links. If you use images in your blog posts and pages, chances are that you just upload them via the WordPress interface, perhaps give them a good caption and that’s it. If you are interested in improving your on page SEO when it comes to images, here some Do’s and Don’ts for you. If you are short in time, read at least the first paragraph, it really might lighten a light bulb, at least it did it for me as I discovered my own stupid mistake!

How not to do it!

Where is your image linking to? Ooops!
When you upload an image to use on your blog, the image gets automatically a link assigned, its upload url (an url that reads something like the following: http://yourdomain.com/wp-content/uploads/year/month/yourimage.jpg) and if somebody clicks the image, s/he get taken to a page that, big OOPS!, contains only – your image. Theme dependent they can also end up on a page with your image and your site bar(s), slightly better, but less from ideal. So, where is the problem? Hopefully your article acquires over time some authority / page rank and its link juice gets further distributed via your internal and external links. And that means if your image links to a page you don’t want to get a ranking for, that doesn’t target a specific keyword, this link juice is lost for your other pages / posts that do target a specific keyword. Have a look at the two images on the right side and click them: The first goes to the image and nothing else and the second goes to another interesting, or so I believe, post of mine.

How to do it better:

No link.
A bit like the old saying ‘If you can’t say something nice, say nothing!’ If you don’t have something worthwhile / relevant to link to, simply don’t link the image at all. This way you avoid leaking link juice and keep it on your actual post / page.

SEO Mistakes Illustration

An image that is linked to something relevant and has all its meta data filled out is worth a Smiley and is one more SEO mistake avoided.

Link to another post.
Instead of the boring ‘read also this great article of mine blablabla’ in your text, why not link your image to one of your posts that might complement your article?

Link to another site.
Or you could link it to another site, that you think your readers might find useful. Linking out to authority sites, from time to time, makes you also looking good in Google’s eyes 😉

Link to an affiliate offer.
Sneaky-sneaky, I know of one blog where images are quite frequently links to offers at Amazon. Or, you could use your image to link to an affiliate offer that you think might be useful to the reader. Up to you.

Other image related SEO mistakes:

Not using images at all.
I am often reluctant too lazy to use images, but fact is, that not only make a site look more ‘real’, can give additional information etc but can also carry your keyword in the alt-tag / description / caption. So using images, correctly, on your site can make your site more useful for both, human readers and search engine bots.

Being lazy and not filling out the meta data for each image.
Uh, oh, guilty again. But remember, search engine bots can’t ‘see’, therefor you have to tell them what the image is about. By filling out the form that pops up when you upload an image to your dashboard with the relevant, and keyword focused, information is important in order to make the most out of it SEO wise.

Not using the ‘featured image’ function.
That is actually a small one, but still, imagine you want to switch your blog one day to a Magazine style layout. If you already have your featured image chosen for each blog post, that will look so much better than just a random image from your post, or worse – none!

Hot linking images.
On one of my sites I used to use the Photodropper plugin which is great for busy lazy people like me. It searches Flickr images for pictures that are licensed for commercial use and inserts them into your blog. Problem is these images are hotlinked, they don’t show up as thumbnails for excerpts etc. Also if the image gets moved / deleted on Flickr, the link breaks and you end up with no image. So, take the time, find, or create, a great image, make sure you have the permission to use it and upload it to your own site.

Sources / Accreditation don’t need to be links.
We are so concerned about links that we often assume that everybody else is also after them, but actually most CC (Creative Commons) licenses, like for example those used on Wikipedia, only require that you attribute the author of an image correctly, and that can be done in plain text and doesn’t need to be a link.

Ok, like always, have I forgotten something or got something wrong when it comes to image related SEO mistakes? Any story / finding you want to share? Please leave it in a comment!

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4 comments to Silly SEO Mistakes I Made – Images and Links

  • Bizz

    What about just circling the link back around to the actual post that it is on? That would save link juice and also would provide a link back to the page if the image were picked up in a search query? That was my thought process, but I have no idea if any of that is true.

    I never really considered linking to another pertinent post, but I also rarely consider leaving the URL area of the post blank, or even just letting WordPress determine where they are going to send the visitor. Like you said, BIG OOPS…!

    • hospitalera

      Linking back to the blog post where the image was used in the first place is certainly an option when it comes to scrapers as the link would be pointing from them back to your own site. If the blog post is still on your own site, me thinks it wouldn’t do any good, but also not much harm. In that case I prefer to leave the image url blank. Hope that helps, SY

  • Dee Ann Rice

    I have not loaded many of my images using wordpress. On the ones that I did load that way I did notice that they were linked to a page with only the image on it.

    I really do not like that and was very frustrated to find that I could not get rid of the link.

    I finally went back to loading all of my images with a FTP program.

    Great information.

    Have a great week.

    Dee Ann Rice

    • hospitalera

      Ann, there is no need to use FTP for this, you can simply change the link either directly when you upload the image via the WP dashboard or later edit it by clicking it in the WYSIWYG editor. Or, if you are so inclined, you can go in the html view of the editor and change the code by hand. Using FTP is far too time consuming and a bit of overkill imo. Have a great day also, SY