SEO

10 Places to Find Free Images Online and Make Your Content More Linkable

Attracting visitors to your website is a balancing act. On one hand, you must have good information, since that is the core of your service. The text is also the most important part of your site’s content that traditional search engines read, and thus, keywords, headings, originality and links are so important.

On the other hand, few people are going to sit around and read pages and pages of nothing but text – you have to make the page visually appealing. That is where the importance of images arrive, especially in your link baiting efforts.

For example, I wrote a post last week about alternatives to blocking domain registration information, and one of the tips was to use your dog’s name in contact info.

 10 Places to Find Free Images Online and Make Your Content More Linkable

I added a cute photo of a puppy from Flickr and received lots of comments and links to the post, the image made the post stick out a bit, made it more personal, and it probably led to more interest than just the content of the story.

There are some differences in the types of images that are available online, like some images are free and others are rights protected. Understanding the differences, as well as ten of the most popular places to find free images online, allows you to make your website more attractive.

Making your page visually pleasing, as well as informative, will help to generate more notice of your site and incoming links, in turn generating traffic and increasing your page’s popularity with search engines.

  1. Public Domain images are free to use however you want. For instance, pictures taken when working for the U.S. government or any pictures that you can download from a government website are automatically public domain.
  2. Right Protected images are bought for a certain length of time for a certain project. These images are usually negotiated beforehand with the photographer, and for a fee, you will have exclusive rights to the image during the arranged time period. While good for big businesses, these are not very effective for website designs.
  3. Royalty free images are also purchased, but after the one time fee, you can use the image however you would like. However, other websites can also purchase the same image.

There are a variety of places that you can choose to download or hotlink to pictures. Online image banks are often the easiest, though you can also choose some search engines to help you find the perfect image that you are seeking.

  • Flickr.com allows you to share, store, search, and sort your photos. There are always plenty of images available for you to use. Flickr is free, though you will have to register if you want to upload and edit your own images. The photographers establish the terms, so read the permissions carefully. If you use someone else’s Flickr image, it’s always in good taste to link back to its source.
  • Bigfoto.com offers pictures from around the world, including America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Pacific. Each main category has subcategories, for instance “aviation,” which allows you to choose from pictures in a certain theme.
  • Fotogenika.net has photos for free download for personal, educational, and nonprofit use. However, you cannot use them commercially, sell them, or claim authorship. The site is well organized, and it includes categories such as architecture, animals, people, and textures.
  • FreeDigitalPhotos.net has over 2000 free images that you can use in commercial and noncommercial work. You are not allowed to sell, redistribute, or claim these images as your own. You can browse by category or search for exactly what you need.
  • FreePhotosBank.com allows users to have non-exclusive, non-transferable license to images. You can search for photos, see which photos are the most popular, and which ones have the highest ratings or the most downloads.
  • FreeMediaGoo.com has a large collection of images, audio, textures, and other visual mediums that you can use for free with some restrictions. You do not even have to credit the images. The site also features some amazing digital images if you are looking for something different.
  • MorgueFile.com offers stock photographs in high resolution digital. With over 55,000 images, divided into several categories, they are sure to have something you can use. The thumbnails are small, but your search results display quickly, and the photos are of top quality.
  • PhotoRogue.com offers a different concept. If you cannot find what you need, you can send a request. The service is free and uses volunteer photographers. If you like, you can also sign up for an RSS feed that will let you know when new images become available.
  • SXC.hu offers high quality images taken around the world by amateur photographers. If you have an interest in photography, you can even submit your own pictures. There are various searching options and over 100,000 images. The photographers establish the terms, so read the fine print, but most pictures can be reused immediately.
  • Picsearch.com is another option for those who are not sure exactly what they are seeking. Picseach is a search engine that crawls the web and indexes images. However, make sure that you see the site’s licensing terms or contact the copyright holder before you download pictures. You can edit your search by animation, color, or size to find exactly what you need.

With all of the available visual resources, you can easily utilize free, stimulating photos to keep your readers entertained.

The more eye candy you can include along with your thought provoking posts or linkbait, the more likely you will garner higher levels of interest, votes and links.

Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM 10 Places to Find Free Images Online and Make Your Content More Linkable
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM 10 Places to Find Free Images Online and Make Your Content More Linkable

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118 thoughts on “10 Places to Find Free Images Online and Make Your Content More Linkable

  1. Great list. Do you happen to know of any WordPress plugin that makes using the photos easier? I am imagining something that could search based on your tags from within WordPress and then you pick the photo to use from thumbnails. Just an idea. Any minute saved is money in the bank

  2. I have been finding Creative Commons images on Flickr that complement my articles. (If I don’t already have a good one.)
    Then, after I post the article I send an email to the owner telling them that I selected their photo and why. I always tell them that I gave them credit with a link to their photo page. I also tell them that if they don’t want the picture on my article that I’ll take it down.
    Now, they will go to your article and if they like it, they’ll probably tell a few friends to check it out.

  3. So are images in Flickr that are tagged “public” OK to use as long as a link back is given, even if it’s on a commercial Web site?

  4. I search by ones that are Creative Commons licensed. Then I make sure that I take ones that are licensed for reuse.
    If anyone ever objects, I will sincerely apologize and take it down immediately.

  5. Just because a photo ends up on one of those sites doesn’t mean you have the right to use it. People have been known to upload others’ pictures, then the people who download them get into trouble. I saw something on the consumerist about that

  6. Does anyone know of sites for illustrations? I am developing a product that will contain illustrations that mirror hallmark scenes or greeting cards.

  7. I just wanted to say thanks for this list…i’ve been searching for the right pictures for my site and found some good ones for my blogging community site on morguefile. I’ve used sxc before, but the terms and conditions and rights can be kind of confusing at times. You have a new reader because I am bookmarking this site! Thanks Again, Chelle

  8. I use the Photodropper plugin on my site, which is powered by WordPress. They have a nice plugin, and it’s dead simple to add a photo to your post. It only searches Creative Commons-licensed pics on Flickr, and gives attribution where appropriate.

    I don’t think Yotophoto is around anymore. Their DNS doesn’t load anything.

    Another nice site is picapp.com. I’ve had good success with sxc.hu and iStockphoto.

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  13. http://www.mio-img.com (launched few days ago)

    All the photos on this web site can be freely used for both your private and commercial projects, but may not be resold, sublicensed, rented, transferred or otherwise made available for use.

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  14. So Far Only flickr work best for me ,less then a day ,Google notify my new link and add that up “to support my link popularity and after while I try Flickr I dont think could change other place to get a link back

  15. I recommend this great site:
    http://www.public-domain-image.com
    Public domain images, royalty free stock photos. for your: “Photo/Image Sources for Presentation or Instruction”
    All photos on this site are top quality high resolution public domain images.
    They are explicitly placed in the public domain. Use them freely for personal and commercial use.
    Largest image archive, several thousand photos in high resolution, nicely organized hierarchically in folders, easy to browse, and all are public domain images 100% free for download.

  16. I recommend this great site:
    http://www.public-domain-image.com
    Public domain images, royalty free stock photos.
    All photos on this site are top quality high resolution public domain images.
    They are explicitly placed in the public domain. Use them freely for personal and commercial use.
    Largest image archive, several thousand photos in high resolution, nicely organized hierarchically in folders, easy to browse, and all are public domain images 100% free for download.

  17. [[http://www.public-domain-image.com|Public Domain Images]] Several thousand copyright friendly images nicely organized in categories, free for any personal and/or commercial use, credit or back link is not required.

  18. You can also used Google Images’ advanced search options to look for photos by use rights. I’ve found some good pictures this way and flickr and other sites are indexed.

  19. As an alternative, instead of these 10 options, you could spend a couple of dollars and license the images from sites like iStockphoto, and support photographers in the process instead of using their hard work for free.

  20. You should acknowledge that photographers are trying to make a buck and you will find literally millions of professional, fully licensed photos at iStockphoto should you not find what you are looking for amongst the amateur photos and limited selections that the above has to offer.

  21. Thank you so much for giving all of these options. I am a beginning blogger trying hard to make my page visually appealing. These websites will make the job so much easier.

  22. I use the Photodropper plugin on my site, which is powered by WordPress. They have a nice plugin, and it's dead simple to add a photo to your post. It only searches Creative Commons-licensed pics on Flickr, and gives attribution where appropriate.

  23. I search by ones that are Creative Commons licensed. Then I make sure that I take ones that are licensed for reuse.
    If anyone ever objects, I will sincerely apologize and take it down immediately.

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  25. We’d be happy, if you included Pixabay.com in your awesome list of image resources :)

    I’m co-founder of this outstanding public domain image resource and community – and despite my comment kind of looks like spam, it’s really worth a look ;-)

  26. Hi Loren,

    I’m co-founder of Pixabay, which is a huge repository for outstanding public domain images. We put ozr focus on quality and there are already about 60.000 copyright-free photos and vector graphics available. We’d be thrilled if you could include Pixabay in your article!

    Digital cheers

  27. Hey, thanks for posting this article! I’ve been investigating how to create a commercial to market my novel on youtube and now I have tons of image resources for my projects.

    Cheers!

    Jack Morgan

  28. How can we find such photos on google images? Photos that we can use without copyright infringement. I have to use photos on my website but I am afraid I could be using copywrighted images.
    Please help.