Deceitful Linking Practices Thru Images

Part of our job at Optidge is keeping up-to-date on the news and latest developments in the SEO and internet marketing world. So is Google’s trends analyst John Mueller, who was surprised to learn about a new type of deceitful behavior.

Mueller called on all SEOs for help after learning about a dishonest type of link building. It involves a person taking ownership of an image used in a story or article and demanding credit in the form of a backlink.

The approach was brought to light after internationally renowned SEO consultant Aleyda Solis tweeted that she’d received an email requesting credit for a photo she’d used.

“Today, when checking the @remotersnet email I see we had a message from someone saying we had used their image in an article and therefore we needed to link back to “credit” the image…

… the thing is: I’m sure we buy the images we use on the site. I’m the person buying them with @123rf -that I can highly recommend, btw-. I checked in the 123rf site and saw when I bought it, and who’s the author of the image: definitely not the person from the message…

…then I see that the “proof” the person requesting the link to credit the image is: “Here is a link to our article with this picture:”. I checked the URL and saw is just a random article where they “inserted” the image ????????‍♀️ Not a real a proof of ownership ???????? …

… So, these are people building links to their Website by “trying” to deceive, saying they are the owners of images others are using (they are clearly not). Thankfully, I know where our images come from and due to my Web/SEO experience I can see through the deceit attempt…”

Several people replied to Solis’ tweet saying they too had been victims of the same sort of dishonest tactic. The replies caught Mueller’s attention and he answered that he’d like to take a look at this practice to learn more about what’s going on.

What are backlinks?

For the uninitiated, a backlink is a link created when one website links to another. There are also known as: “inbound links” or “incoming links”. They are critical to SEO. The greater the number of QUALITY backlinks you have directed to your website, the more relevant you are in the results of search engines, such as Google.

Why are backlinks important?

This is definitely a case of quality over quantity. You can have thousands of links to your website, but if they’re of poor quality then it won’t help to increase the search visibility of your webpage.

For example, if you own an investment firm and you’ve got many backlinks from a gambling website, these links are completely irrelevant and therefore considered poor quality.  When search engines such as Google calculate the relevance of a site to a keyword, they consider the number of quality inbound links to that site. You should not be satisfied with simply getting inbound links; it’s the quality of the link that matters. The greater the relevance of the site, page and even piece of content that is linking back to your website, the better the quality of the backlink.

The Result

At this point there has been no decisive action taken by Google to try and correct this type of deceitful behavior.

If you’ve encountered this type of tactic yourself, please do not hesitate to share it with Mueller yourself.

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