SEO can be a very confusing game. It’s too easy to get caught up in all the complexity; it’s too easy to become fearful regarding the many different mood changes that Google apparently develops within short periods of time. It’s too tempting to think of SEO as basically a hostile and foreign territory that nobody can really last a long time in.
The good news is that none of this is true. If you stick to the basics, SEO is a solid game. If you produce content that Google is looking for, and you engage in high value outreach that develops real relationships between credible and trusted online properties, you are setting yourself up for a long-term game. SEO is never a sprint; it is always a marathon. This means that it is only for people who are in it to go all the way.
It’s not for people who are just in it for quick traffic; it’s not for people who are just looking for short-term results. You can play the blackhat game of churn and burn. This means building websites, spamming the hell out of them using Google, and getting banned, then repeating the process again and again. That’s the guerilla way of getting traffic from Google. Unfortunately, it can get very tiring. Even if you use software, it can get old very quickly.
It’s better to play the game the way Google wants you to play the game, which is to focus on quality. This is why I’m offering this particular technique for SEO link building. Image reclamation is a very powerful way of getting high-quality backlinks for SEO and it’s completely whitehat. There’s no manipulation involved; there’s no trickery; there’s no fraud. However, not everybody is sold on it. I’m going to explain below why it is well worth your time.
What is Image Reclamation?
To establish the basics first, image reclamation is all about finding your images online and contacting the people who are improperly using your copyrighted image to let them know that you will allow them to continue using your image, in exchange for them linking to you.
This is a very reasonable trade off. Most bloggers and website owners would have no problem agreeing to such a deal. Everybody wins. They get to use niche-specific images, and you get a backlink from, in all likelihood, a very niche-specific website. Of course, you need to be the original owner of the image (this won’t work for stock photos) and tends to lend itself to those more ‘creative’ niches most predominantly food/drink, fashion and art.
Step-By-Step Guide to Image Reclamation
This is a short step-by-step breakdown on image reclamation. First, you have to use Tineye to find websites that use your image. You only need to put your graphic into Tineye, and it would automatically search for websites that use that graphic.
Next, you contact the owner of the blog or website that is improperly using your image content without permission, and present them with proof or claim of ownership.
Then, ask them for a simple URL or a branding link to your website. It’s a bad idea to ask for keyword backlink these days so avoid that. You’ll come across as a spammer, and chances are, you probably will encounter more resistance. To make things go as smoothly as possible, you should just stick to asking for a simple URL or branded link to your website. Under no circumstances should you resort to threats. Nothing kills negotiations faster than telling people that they are stealing from you, and you are going to threaten them with legal action unless they link back to you. Instead of link reclamation, the whole exercise disintegrated into extortion. Few people will stand up for that.
You have to keep mind that you should always focus on return on effort. The large majority of these websites that are using your website graphics have very low page rank or domain authority. In other words, they are not worth getting backlinks from. It’s a better use of your time to filter all these websites first so you can get a short list of sites that are worth reaching out to. You should filter them based on their domain authority and page rank, so you can get maximum return on effort.
Finally, always use customized emails. You are not going to get much result if you send out a canned or cookie cutter message.
The process to get links through image reclamation is pretty straightforward. Interestingly enough, very few SEOs use this very powerful link-building technique. This is too bad, because they are basically leaving money on the table. If you’re still unconvinced regarding whether link reclamation is worth your time, here are five reasons why you should do it:
Reason Number One: Niche Images are Very Hard to Find
If you have a website that focuses on very niche-specific images, there are going to be a lot of people interested in you. You have to understand that regardless of which niche you are focusing on, there are already people ahead of you. There are already people targeting your niche. They need images. They need highly-targeted and specific images. This is why your images would be very tempting to them. This is why they have all the incentive in the world to want to use your very niche-specific images. Many of these website owners don’t have the resources or the time to come up with their own highly-specific images.
Reason Number Two: Sub Niche or Niche Players are Most Interested in your Images
One of the best reasons why you should look into link reclamation for SEO purposes is that most of the people who are very attracted to your images are people are smack dab in the middle of your niche. These are highly-specific websites. These people have the incentive to use your images and they focus on your niche. There is a lot of self selection and targeting here. In other words, your link sources come to you, instead of the other way around.
Reason Number Three: People are Often Clueless about Intellectual Property Loss
Another main driver why there tends to be quite a number of image users in any niche is that people are quite clueless regarding intellectual property loss. They think that stealing is defined as tangible items. For example, if you steal a cup of Starbuck’s coffee, that’s stealing. They don’t understand that stealing a digital song or a banner is just as bad in the eyes of the law. This ignorance increases the likelihood that quite a number of people are either using your specific images, or want to use your specific images.
Reason Number Four: People Often Respond Well to Friendly Intellectual Property Reminders
As long as you conduct yourself in a non-threatening way and your email doesn’t come off as an extortion attempt, chances are you will get a good reception. If you are gentle and non-threatening, people are more than happy to comply. Webmasters, especially the ones based in the United States, North America, or Western Europe, are more than happy to stay on the good side of the law.
If your demands are not oppressive and you conduct yourself in a friendly way, they would be more than happy to link to you.
Reason Number Five: Blog Sites are Hungry for Specific Graphics
The more specific your graphics are, the higher the likelihood that niche-specific blogs would be interested in you. You have to remember that blogs produce a lot of posts. They often don’t have the budget to produce specialty images with every post.
This increases the likelihood that they would use Google Images or some sort of online tool to find highly-specific images in their niche. This puts you in their radar, and you gain one more potential backlink source. The extreme need of these targeted blogs for your graphics works in your favor. This ensures that you have a wide “market” of potential link sources.