I want to talk about hotlinking images today. Some people do not know about this very basic no-no. I hear bloggers griping all the time, but nobody is educating the bloggers that they are actually doing wrong. You can’t get mad at someone that doesn’t know better.
Hotlinking (also known as leeching, piggy-backing, direct linking, offsite image grabs) is the use of a linked object, often an image, from one site into a web page belonging to a second site. Basically, you write a post, and need an image; you find the image on another blog. Instead of getting permission to use that image and saving that image to your computer then uploading it to your hosting, you use the link of the image. This is hotlinking. This is unacceptable.
First make sure you always have permission to use an image. Second always upload that image to your image hosting. Hotlinking can slow your blog down. A slow blog equals bad SEO. Google will not set your blog high for search engine queries.
Now a very important second part is if you have a self-hosted blog. If you pay for your own hosting and have enough disc space available, you should be hosting your own images. You should not need to use Photobucket to host your images. So all those buttons down your sidebar, you should be uploading them to your server and self-hosting them. After all, you are already paying for hosting.
Don’t be embarrassed if you have hotlinked before. Do your best to correct the ones you have done and to do it the right way going forward.