Redirecting image links

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I have an old domain sitting around that I want to put to use finally. It's pretty strong in Ahrefs metrics, but a lot of the backlinks are going to image files on the server. It's not a viable option to keep the images for several reasons and I definitely wouldn't want to just 404 them, as they make up a substantial part of the backlink profile.

The only option I see here is to 301 all 404s to the homepage (or somehow filter only 404s with a .jpg ending and redirect just them). I saw people successfully do this for expired domains that have a backlink profile spread over lots of content, so instead of recreating the content they just redirected all 404s.

Does anyone had success doing this with image links? Anyone want to take a guess how Google will handle it? Any input is appreciated.

Additional questions, what's the worth of an image link?
 

Ryuzaki

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Google knows the "301 redirect all 404's to homepage" trick and is one of the ways they spot lazy PBNs and kill the juice. Doing it just for images might be okay though.

Have you confirmed these image links aren't just trash image scrapers? I get dozens of these a day to my sites. It's people scraping images around the net and posting them on their own automated sites to get Google Image rankings to then get Adsense clicks. Google absolutely knows about this but haven't done anything about it yet (like they let people use the Adsense blocks with right pointing arrows to pretend it was pagination forever).

I'd make sure they're legit image links and not a bunch of trash. I disavow that stuff every month. If it's what I described above, I wouldn't 301 them.
 
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Google knows the "301 redirect all 404's to homepage" trick and is one of the ways they spot lazy PBNs and kill the juice. Doing it just for images might be okay though.
I still see people pulling it off successfully tho. Maybe it's just something they put out their to scare off blackhats. Do you think they are looking for huge amounts of redirects or for the actual code that redirects all 404s? Would it make sense to redirect them individually?

I'd make sure they're legit image links and not a bunch of trash. I disavow that stuff every month. If it's what I described above, I wouldn't 301 them.
Yes those are actually decent links that would give lots of juice if it were text links. Guess I'll find out if it's the same for image links.
 

Ryuzaki

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Do you think they are looking for huge amounts of redirects or for the actual code that redirects all 404s? Would it make sense to redirect them individually?
Neither. It's not about how you implemented the redirects or doing them one at a time. They wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's about bulk redirecting everything to the homepage. The problem is that you now have a bunch of links on the web that once led to a specific page with specific meaning but now redirect to a general page with a general meaning. It's a bad user experience, and it also happens to be how lazy SEO's get the work done because they're trying to operate at scale by taking shortcuts.

But yeah, with images it's probably a different story altogether and safer if I had to guess. I wouldn't redirect all 404's though. In the future you'll want things to 404. Even if you bulk redirected all of these images to the homepage I think you'll need to do them one-by-one, because otherwise you're stuck doing all 404's or you're stuck doing all images, both of which aren't suitable.
 
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Yes those are actually decent links that would give lots of juice if it were text links. Guess I'll find out if it's the same for image links.
Just to be clear, these are actually <a href> links to images and not just <img src> 404s for images that have been hotlinked by other sites?
(I guess I'm just trying to think of scenarios where people would link to an image on another server rather than simply hotlink it or steal it!)
 
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Even if you bulk redirected all of these images to the homepage I think you'll need to do them one-by-one, because otherwise you're stuck doing all 404's or you're stuck doing all images, both of which aren't suitable.
Any way just to redirect 404s with a .jpg ending? Since I'll build on Wordpress, any 404s will end up on the custom 404 page which could trigger code that checks the URL and 301s to homepage if the URL ends with ".jpg". Does that make sense somehow? I used to just install a plugin for that, so no idea really.

Just to be clear, these are actually <a href> links to images and not just <img src> 404s for images that have been hotlinked by other sites?
Sorry, I wasn't clear there. Yes, fortunately those are <a href> links, not hotlinks.