Linking Pictures to get free Traffic

For more than a year Google and Yahoo present their image search results with a splitted mind of a schizophrenic. If you find a beautiful image , Google sometimes associates the image to many different websites. The original websites that used the image first, are not presented as the original owners of the image.

All the traffic that webmasters generate from the image search results will go to the websites that linked to the image. This is a wrong practice of the search engines, so why do they do it ?

Search engines filter out websites that use offensive words or other kind of dirty content. If the original image owner used a wrong word in her text where the image was used first, then Google will favor another website that links to the image and has a lot more appealing text than the original website. Just because the linking website uses a more attractive text that is more appealing to the algorithm, Google and Yahoo will serve and associate a linking text to the picture that is hosted on a different website.

Generally all links are good and loves links very much. Even to an image, because it will benefit any website in the long term. Hot-linkers who link to an image and get all the traffic from the image search results, are mostly innocent, because they did not invent the game that Google allows to play so easy. Sometimes people just link to an image because they think it is more fun to watch than the text around it.

A lot of webmasters try to prevent hotlinking by renaming the images or preventing hotlinking by using a .htaccess file, but there are much better solutions to this problem.

Solutions for Hotlinking

An easy solution is to sign each picture with a name of the website or the owner of the image. A visible signature will benefit the website or the image owner in the long term, when people start to remember the name. A visible signature is also an old-fashioned way to make links as it was done centuries ago, before the Internet was available to hard working mothers.

Linking to the own pictures is also a good method to prevent hotlinkers from stealing your traffic. You can link from the text around the image or just from another website of you. Using good keywords and phrases will also boost the ranking of the picture in the image search results.

Smart women
use Java-Script that prevents hotlinkers from seeing the image URL, if they click on the image. Even smarter women use a pop-up window that opens when someone clicks on the image. The pop-up will say something like -- " If you like this image, you can link to the following URL ..." -- This method is working, but some people are annoyed, because they like to link to images directly.

Clever women
use different methods to prevent and manage hotlinking. A good way to manage hotlinking is to use hot-linking for yourself. To use this simple, but effective method you just need to link to the images that are similar to the picture that you are using on your own website. This method is also a service to the visitors, who like to see similar content.

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