If you have custom illustrations or infographics on your site, others may embed them in their content. They’ll usually link back to the image source when doing this, but not always. Sometimes they’ll link to the image file itself.
This isn’t ideal from an SEO perspective because any “authority” from that link doesn’t go anywhere useful. It would likely be better if the link pointed to the source page instead of the image file.
For example, here’s an image from our guide to long-tail keywords embedded in one of Mention’s blog posts:
Example of a backlink pointing to an image file
You can see above that the “source” link points directly to the image file, not the blog post. So it would probably be worth reaching out to the post author and asking them to swap out the link.
But how do you find these issues in the first place?
Here’s how to do it in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer:
Enter your domain
Go to the Backlinks report
Search for .jpg or .png in the Target URL
Image file backlinks via Ahrefs' Site Explorer
If you spot any links that you’d like to “upgrade,” reach out to the author or site owner.
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1. Fix dead pages with backlinks
Backlinks to dead pages are effectively wasted. They’re not helping the page rank because it no longer exists, and they’re probably not helping other pages rank much either.
For that reason, it makes sense to check for dead pages with backlinks and fix them periodically.
Here’s how to find them:
Crawl your site with Ahrefs’ Site Audit
Go to the Internal pages report
Click the “404 page” error (if it’s there)
Add a referring domains column to the report and sort from high to low