Two Simple Image SEO Tricks

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A few weeks ago, I sent an email all about how the latest Google updates have turned the world of SEO upside down (“SEO in a Post Penguin World”).

Penguin and Panda were the first waves of a sting operation, designed to both rid Google of spam… and to upgrade Google’s search capabilities to serve a more social and visual web.

Those are both good things, good for users and good for marketers. Why? Because Google is telling you what you need to do in order to boost your rankings. These aren’t hacks or shortcuts; instead they’re long term strategies designed to build you relevance in a new era in search engine history.

1. The Unique Image Tip

As you know, content freshness and originality are both baked into the Google algorithm now. And, yes, that applies to images in the same way it applies to text, which means that most of us are making a huge SEO mistake every single time we post

What do I mean? When most of us publish a post, we spend half an hour writing the content, and then we grab a stock image off the web and throw it up on our site. Bad idea.

Here’s what you should do instead:

  1. Find an image just like you normally would and save it to your desktop.
  2. Use an image editing tool like Picmonkey or Skitch to add filters, text, etc.
  3. Give the image a new, relevant name and save it.
  4. Upload that new, altered graphic as the featured image in your post.

BONUS TIP: You can also make your selected image full screen, take an Instagram photo of it with your phone, then save that image from you Instagram feed. Then, link back to your Instagram photo for the social media juice.

It only takes a few extra minutes, but this strategy will do two things for you. First, it will make your site look more interesting and unique (and users may be more likely to share your posts/photos). Second, you’ll be uploading unique content… which Google really likes.

2. Instagram Backlinks

The second photo SEO strategy my team has been using involves both unique, original photos and social media.

I’m sure you already have a Facebook and an Instagram account, right? Good. Because what you’re going to do is use Instagram to push original photos and backlinks out through your social networks. Here’s how:

  1. Take your photo, crop it, and add one of Instagram’s hipsterific filters. You can also save photos to your phone’s photo library via the Dropbox or Flickr mobile apps if you’d rather use a professionally doctored image.
  2. Add a photo description and include the URL you want to drive traffic to. Remember to use specific hashtags (like #DMcast) that will get your content to the hands of your target audience.
  3. Use the geotag feature to create a link to your site by imputing your site’s URL as if it were a location. As a business, what’s the benefit to checking in anyway? Drop your URL as a location and you’ll create a easy backlink that will carry forward throughout much of the social media universe.
  4. Last, share the image to your social sites and email list! This will generate valuable backlinks on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and even in e-mail.

TIP: Photos from your Instagram Web Profile photos can easily be pinned to Pinterest.

You see how this works? This is why we like to refer to Instagram as the “social media command center.” It’s a great way to easily boost your visual presence on the web, while also building valuable SEO.

Go share your thoughts on the state of SEO in 2013… Leave me a comment!

Talk soon,


About Josh Loposer

Josh is the managing editor of Digital Marketer, as well an aspiring novelist. Find out more about what Josh is working on on Facebook, Google, or on his website.
View all posts by Josh Loposer ➞


  • Gabor Hodos says:

    I love your tips. I tried both out, but I have a little questions. How do you share your image with your email list via Instagram?

    Thanks for your answer!

  • Scott Hughes says:

    With all the focus going to visualization with images and videos, do you suggest a “Pinterest” style theme for blogs? They are obviously visually appealing, was wondering if you have done any testing to see if whether the engagement level goes up as well?

  • Matt Morgan says:

    Hello Ryan, hows it going?

    They are great tips which can boost your long term traffic.

    A picture tells a thousand words, so using one for your personality or business will help, and people will remember you for that image.

    TIP: Use an image which stands out in some way to the rest, so you can stand out from the crowd, and Pinterest is a great way to expose yourself.

    Ryan, the image that sticks to me of you is that as the guy in a smart suit, and also the napkin method.

    Hope you are fine..

    Happy New Year,

    Matt Morgan

  • Neal Scriggins says:

    This was a great post! Some great advise here on some easy link-building. Anybody in the internet marketing. Industry should check this out.

  • Keith Holleyman says:

    Hi Ryan,
    Very useful information delivered in a concise way, what more can we ask of Ryan the seomeister.

  • Eiya Iwata says:

    Thank you for your article this time. I did not know Slkisch of Evernote and I have used it. It is very good for me to upload a photo after I have edited it as I like. Thanks again and have a nice day!

  • Brian says:

    Thanks for the tips on editing tools like Picmonkey or Skitch. I already get a lot of traffic from images on a couple of sites ( Google indexed the images on those sites). Implementing your instagram/pinerest tips should boost traffic even more

  • Marcus says:

    What do you mean when you say, “take an Instagram photo of it with your phone, then save that image from you Instagram feed. Then, link back to your Instagram photo for the social media juice.”?

    I understand taking an instagram photo with your phone, but are you then saying to link your image on your post to your instagram photo url?

    That is what I did at my post here:

    I’m a little lost, I also can’t seem to find the geotag feature, and I added my site url to the instagram image description, but it doesn’t seem like it is clickable anywhere (, or is adding an url to the instagram description just for social media sharing purposes?

    Anyone have any insight I’d greatly appreciate it, maybe a simple video that walk through all of the steps completely, that’d be sweet.

  • Carl Duncker says:

    Peter, if your keywords throw backs Places map you’d be right to focus on getting your local business to the top spot. However, Places and SERPS aren’t mutually exclusive. You need your local business website to be correctly optimised to help push you Places ranking up. I’ve written a free guide you can pick up here:

    Carl Duncker

  • Karen Anne says:

    Hi Ryan,
    How could you apply this to an e-commerce site such as mine. Where there currently are pictures of products?

    We have tried to utilise product pictures in our google ads but keep getting them declined as ‘non family content’ which for us was the image of alcohol.

    How can I make this work for my site/business.

    Karen Anne

    • Josh Loposer says:

      Hi Karen, because you are using unique product images on your site (those were take by a photographer for you, I assume) trick #1 is not going to be as useful as trick #2. Take picture of your product in a unique patio setting, or a NYE party for example, then post it to your Facebook, Twitter, etc. In the Geotag field, enter your website URL instead of your city/country. Hope that helps!

  • Kelly Falardeau says:

    What are your thoughts on the whole Instagram issue where Instagram now owns every photo and can use them to sell and make money? I haven’t been using Instagram, but have been using Pinterest instead.

  • Michele says:

    People are now leaving Instagram by the thousands because of all the ‘advertising’ that’s clogging up our feeds. It’s no wonder e-marketers are considered the cockroaches of the www.

  • Shirley says:

    Because you mentioned Instagram to use, what is your thought on the privacy issues (changes) that were highly publicized last week concerning Instagram? I for one, do not wish to have Instagram sell and/or use my personal photos. Are you thinking they won’t follow through with this?

    Good ideas though!

  • DrGeorge says:

    Great tips, THANKS! I read David Perkins comment and was thinking the same thing. That is, I wonder if anyone would make a short video explaining these tips – especially the second one. Many thanks.

  • Scott Hughes says:

    Wow, 2 really powerful techniques I will be implementing them immediately, thanks.

  • Vanissa says:

    Your statement… “I?m sure you already have a Facebook and an Instagram account, right? ” …makes the assumption that everyone is an owner of an iPod, iPad or iPhone or an android device.

    You can’t have an account with Instagram without having one of the above devices.

  • Austin Helsel says:

    This is really good and practical information. A great example of what we all need to do. Give value!! Thx much!!!

  • Wayne says:

    I’m too dreary to read fine print this morning.
    Please call me A.S.A.P.?

    Thank you (would prefer to chat amicably with a live person…
    no B.S. please..


  • David Perkins says:

    Ryan, you’re always full of great tips but sometimes you take off on a subject assuming all your readers are well versed in what you’re talking about. Please provide those of us who don’t even know what Instagram is…a link to some “basics” so we can take advantage of what you mentioned. At this moment, I have NO clue what you’re talking about. What kind of filters are you adding to these images? What do they do?


    • Josh Loposer says:

      Hi David, Instagram is an up-and-coming photo-sharing network. It allows you to take photos with your phone and add “filters” to make your photos more artistic. Facebook purchased Instagram for $1B in June. It’s definitely something to check out if you use an iPhone or Android smartphone!

  • Peter Fry says:

    Hi Ryan,
    Can I get your advise on SEO for business please.
    For local business listings, is SEO dead, a thing of the past?
    When one does a Google search for local business or service the results that display now are Google Place listings so what I am asking is should local businesses be optimising their GPL’s and not their websites? Do everything to get the GPL 100% right with a lot of regular 5 star reviews so that listing stands out ? Forget optimising their websites but ensure when one clicks on it at the GPL the sales page contains a sales video that one sees first that personalises the experience