Direct links to images/media files - worth anything?

mikeshinobi

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I'm sure we've all had people hotlink images on our sites before, but also found that on the bright side (?) there's also a link somewhere on the page (embedded in the image, usually) that links directly to the image file on your site.

So what do you think, do links to media files have any SEO value at all?

This page says that links to an image on a page won't help the page rank any better, but that's not really what I mean. I'm mostly thinking in terms of Magic SEO Link Juice Points - PR, DA/PA, DR/UR, or whatever metrics you like best.
 

Ryuzaki

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There's probably some sitewide metric that it helps, but as far as flowing page rank, there's nowhere for it to go.

One thing I can say FOR SURE is that you can still catch a penalty from people spamming your images. I've fixed a penalty like that before. So if you see that and it's spam and it's dofollow, definitely disavow it regardless if Google says they can handle it. I've dealt with proof of the contrary.
 
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There's probably some sitewide metric that it helps, but as far as flowing page rank, there's nowhere for it to go.

One thing I can say FOR SURE is that you can still catch a penalty from people spamming your images. I've fixed a penalty like that before. So if you see that and it's spam and it's dofollow, definitely disavow it regardless if Google says they can handle it. I've dealt with proof of the contrary.
Do you mean penalty with a message or just algo penalty which hampers rank.

I have an affiliate site with at least 100+ hotlinking websites'links as per ahrefs. Wondering if I should disavow those links on an urgent basis.
 
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Ryuzaki

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@zentrader99, Algorithmic penalty with no manual message. But it was very severe. It wasn't a partial penalty or anything like that, it straight up wiped the site out. Upon fixing it traffic came back just as "severely" too.
 
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I have no clue and can't say anything for sure. But if I had to think my way through this, I'd decide that images are content, and google wants to rank content and they do that largely through links and on-page signals, both of which images can have.

That leads me to think that if there's any sitewide factor that's not page rank flowing around, then these links probably help. 99% of links to images these days are spam. The last 1% is someone direct linking your image on a forum.