What Are Backlinks?

First question you’re asking is probably why are backlinks for photographers even important? Let me explain. Backlinks by definition are just incoming links. So when another website makes a hyperlink to your website, they’re creating a backlink for you. The best backlinks are the ones that come from large and/or popular websites that also fit your niche. A relevant link from say another photographer or other local business will usually trump a link from something unrelated like a bakery or plumber. The opposite holds true also, when you create a link on your website to someone else, you’re giving them a backlink.

Why Are Backlinks Important?

Backlinks are one of the largest contributors to your search rankings. Google treats it as a top-5 when it comes to it’s ranking factors. Gaining backlinks is easily one of the best ways you can increase your search ranking in the long-term. The more backlinks you have, preferably higher quality ones, the better chance you have at moving up the Google search results.

Over time and just creating great content will surely get you some free (and unexpected) backlinks over time but don’t count on these to get you to the top of the rankings. You’ll need to build them. This process is known as link-building. Makes sense, right? The easiest way to build your link profile is to network, build relationships, build connections, and then you build those backlinks.

How Many Backlinks Are Enough?

I wish I could say “build six backlinks and you’re #1″ but it really doesn’t work that way. The amount is dependent on many things. This includes how competitive your market is, how well your website is doing in other areas, and well, probably a hundred other factors. The best practice is to build as many high-quality, non-spammy backlinks as you can.

Quality is the key word here. I would absolutely rather have one solid backlink from Reddit, CNN, or any large website as opposed to 20 backlinks from low-quality and low-traffic local websites. Quality is always better than quantity.

Keep in mind, aiming too high is a fool’s errand. You’re probably not going to score that CNN link easily. There’s nothing wrong with starting with smaller websites and building up. All I’m saying is that when you have the choice, go for quality.

Backlinks for Photographers

How Do I Know If A Backlink Is Good Quality?

As I wrote above, not all backlinks are created equal. There’s many factors that makes one good or or bad. Some may have zero effect, and some may even have a negative effect on your website. Here’s a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting good quality backlinks from good quality websites.

Is the website trustworthy?
Search engines gives a lot more weight on a trusted and popular website like CNN, The Huffington Post, or Wikipedia. Of course these websites are a bit more difficult to get featured on, it’s a great link that’ll probably give you an almost immediate jump in the rankings just due to it’s huge impact on the internet.

Is the website relevant to my own?
Google is trying to send the right traffic to the right websites. So a photographer sending traffic to another photographer is basically telling Google yeah, this website is legit. So get websites that are relevant to your own website.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you should bug every photographer you know for a link. Instead, find businesses that are relevant or like-minded to your customer demographic. Where else is your customers shopping? Maybe a local trendy cupcake shop? Maybe a neat new thrift store that sells interesting clothing? If you’re an infant photographer, maybe your local children’s boutique? Just keep in mind it makes more sense to catch a link from something related to your business than something random like a plumber or Fortnite fan site.

Does the website have strong Page Authority, Domain Authority, or PageRank?
All of these things are basically the same. It’s a number that Google uses to factor into your website rank to list you. The number increases the better you do with your SEO. It’ll climb (or drop) over time. As long as you continue working (and play by the rules), it should never drop. All websites start at zero. It’s literally a race to the top. There is no way to cheat this. The key to going up is to just keep blogging, optimizing, and building backlinks. There’s plenty of ways to check this number but our favorite is Moz’s Open Site Explorer, and it’s free.

So, let’s look at an example comparison. Which website would you rather have a backlink from?

If you can’t answer for sure, that’s ok because two points from my above advice directly conflict with each other.

  1. VibrantLens is more relevant to your own website as a photographer but has low Domain Authority.

  2. CNN has an extremely high Domain Authority but isn’t really relevant to you at all.

So, who wins? Me? I’ll take that link from CNN all day long. Yes, backlinks for photographers should be from… well, photographers, or relevant businesses. But not as important as getting a freaking backlink from a website with a 95 Domain Authority website. CNN will also bring you a truckload of visitors, assuming they’re linking to you for a good reason.

Backlinks Page Rank Moz And Vibrant Lens
Backlinks Page Rank Moz And CNN

How Do I Know How Many Backlinks I Currently Have?

I used Open Site Explorer above because it’s the quickest way to check things and as a big bonus, it’s absolutely free (up to 10 site searches per week). If you want to go even deeper you can try paid services like Ahrefs and SEMRush.

Backlinks Page Rank Kathy Rogers Photographer

As you can see from the above screenshot, this website has a pretty good outlook considering it’s a local photographer. You (most likely) will never reach the levels of CNN and other huge websites just because the nature of your business. You’re a local photographer, there’s no way you’re going to reach those levels. What you should focus on is your competitors. If you’re beating them on Domain Authority and backlinks, you’re most likely beating them in keyword rankings.

Did you see that hint I dropped in that last paragraph? Yep! Don’t just look up your own website, look up your competitors. You can learn what they’re doing right… and wrong and use that data to conquer them.

How To Utilize Your Most Passionate Business Advocates To Build Your Backlink Profile

What is an influencer? No, it’s not just some big-assed Kardashian on social media. I mean, if you do know one of them, utilize the hell out of that person but most of us don’t have that luxery. Let’s think smaller. Anyone who constantly sings your praises and suggests you is one of your influencers. Maybe they don’t have the reach of a celebrity but even if they reach a few hundred people per scream, it adds up.

How do you utilize your biggest fans? Easy.

  • Feature them on your website. This is something we do all the time. It really is a win for everyone. You get a real live person screaming your praises, they get recognition for being awesome, and you get all the traffic and love they bring.

  • Offer them free (or heavily discounted) product and/or services in return for an honest review on it. While I don’t personally work for free (just due to the nature of my business), I can tell you that a customer screaming your praises will lead to more business than your own ads will ever bring.

  • When you create new content, simply ask them to share it with their friends and family. Got a new blog post, use your network of influencers to spread the word. How does this help you create backlinks? Easy. All those social media links help and Google will see the traffic increase to those pages and give you a rank jump accordingly.

Follow Vs Nofollow Backlinks

At a fundamental level, Google uses it’s gang of little crawl bots to scour the internet by going website-to-website via links found on those websites. Links by default are followed and SEO juice follows those links. These links are known as do-follow or just follow links. 

You can request Google not pass along that link juice by giving the link a no-follow attribute. No-follow links (as far as we know) do not pass anything beyond a *hint* to Google as noted by Google in 2019

How do you know which to choose when linking to other websites? We personally default everything to follow unless we have a reason not to do so. 

Want to get more technical and learn even more, here’s a technical look into nofollow links via Ahrefs.

How To Get Easy Backlinks For Photographers

Local news media are generally amazing sources for powerful backlinks. Due to the nature of how media sites are treated on Google, they usually have a pretty high domain and/or page rank. Maybe hold a local community event, do some charity work, or just look through previous stories to come up with ideas and opportunities to get yourself featured.

Guest blogging on other sites can also bring some great backlinks. Reach out to other businesses in your industry or related industries and ask them if they’d be open to a blog trade or just you writing for them. If provides them fresh content while also benefitting you. 

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a great little service in which you can sign up for a free account and get notified daily when writers or content creators need quotes, ideas, or photographs for stories they’re working on. If they use your content, they’ll also provide you a link back to your website. We’ve gained many backlinks from reporters who wrote for websites with 80 out of 100 domain authority. It took literally 2 minutes of our time, each. 

Another idea is contributing or guest starring on a Youtube channel or Podcast. These creators are always looking for new (and interesting) guests. Not only will get raise your own profile but you’ll get backlinks from these websites and possible even big websites like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. 

Utilizing Two Bright Lights To Gain Backlinks

Two Bright Lights - Logo

One of the best ways to gain backlinks for photographers is to get published by photography publications and genre-specific websites. Two Bright Lights is a photo submission platform in which you can post your galleries and they’re automatically submitted to these publishers. For example, you just completed a stylized wedding shoot. You can now submit wedding photos for publication on two lights publishing and if chosen, they’ll appear on their respected publications. You’ll get a do-follow link to your website, and that’s a new backlink! Easy, right?

Frequently Asked Questions About Backlinks For Photographers

Can I create my own backlinks?

If you have other websites, you can certainly link to each other. For example, here at SEOtographer we also have HOSTographer and PROFITographer and we link to each other on every website creating a backlinks for each. Otherwise you can’t really create them, but instead you’ll be obtaining them from others.

Do backlinks still work in 2022?

Yes, of course. As I said elsewhere in this guide, backlinks for photographers is one of the pillars of any good photography website. Backlinks in general are one of the most important ranking factor on any website. Google treats backlinks as a sign of trust between websites. That won’t be changing any time soon.

You mentioned SEO for Photographers, where can I learn more about that?

If you came here via Google search, SEOtographer is a small-but-mighty company that is here to help photographers with their SEO no matter if they want to learn it themselves, or hire us to do it for them. You can find more information on our homepage. That page will direct you to where you need to go no matter which way way to you want conquer your SEO.

Random Tips, Tricks, And Warnings About Backlinks

  • Backlinks will not get you a shred of business if your own website sucks. Sure, you’ll get more traffic but if your viewers don’t like what they see, they won’t spend the money to buy whatever you’re selling.

  • Getting backlinks on your most popular pages and posts will be the most beneficial. I’d rather have a backlink point to my homepage as opposed to some random photo session I blogged about 3 years ago.

  • Don’t over-do it. Getting a few hundred backlinks per week will throw up an insane amount of red flags with the Google bots.

  • Don’t buy backlinks. Any service that promises you backlinks for no-work and a payment will lead to minimal gains and more likely, big penalties. Or worse, it’s rare, but you may even catch a forever-ban from Google. They really hate it when you try to manipulate your search rankings so yeah, don’t do that.

  • Always ask your vendors, partners, local businesses, and maybe even customers for a link to your website from there’s. It’s mutually beneficial to both of you. If they don’t understand, just send them to this page.

  • Always always always link (and notify) any vendors that you mention in your blog or pages. Why? Chances are they’ll either share and/or link to you in return. Everyone loves seeing their name/product on other websites. It’s basically peer validation for them!

  • Do not use any type of automated plugins or apps to get free backlinks. For the same reason you don’t buy them, you’re not getting quality.

  • As with all business interactions, don’t just beg, but provide value. Which sounds better? “I’d love to offer your readers a 20% off coupon to my upcoming kitten boudoir workshop!” or “So hey, can you link to my website because it would totally help me make more money and help my SEO!” Yeah. provide value.


We hope you found this guide on backlinks for photographers useful. We also hope you can use this as a way to increase your own backlink portfolio. Backlinks is one of the pillars of building a great website and where most website’s struggle. Business owners assume they can just create a great website and people will flock to it but that’s not the case. The good news is, since most websites ignore it, anything you do in regards to backlinks will push you over most of your direct competition.

Backlinks isn’t it though, I said it was on pillar, So where should you go next? Our guide on Image Optimization and ALT Tags is a great place to start. It’s another pillar and absolutely mandatory for photographers who want to be at the top so don’t sleep on it.

Finally, if you’re not already, you can become a client of SEOtographer and let us handle all the hard work. We generally have openings available and if we don’t, we can put you in queue. We have proven results with a work ethic to match. We use only white hat methods to take your website up the rankings so you’re getting the clients, not your competition. If your website is new or hasn’t had SEO optimization you can start here, or if you’re looking for monthly service you can start here.

Sources For This Article
June Bug Weddings
Answer The Public