I replaced my ten year old photo site last August and am still contending with redirects and inbound links to the old images. I originally went live with just page to page redirects in place and quickly realized that the thousands up thousands of links to my images were crucial to my business. I ended up redirecting the old image urls to the new image urls through various layers of redirect code.
My old website used an odd system of creating urls for each image uploaded from the page's name and stripping the .jpg. So I ended up with thousands of image urls like: mysite.com/d/page-title/. In other words, the urls resembled pages and not typical image files.
Now, seeing how Google has managed to basically screw image site owners over and over through various redesign tricks in the last few years, I am finding ranking well in Google Images a lot less important to my business these days. I recently started redirecting those links to the pages containing those images, and not to their respective images directly. The result was that my traffic almost doubled in a matter of days, although a lot of those links were from old hotlinked image files on my sites and are perhaps not the best quality links. I am wondering if this could strategy could possible come back to bite me as A) bounce rate rises on my site B) number of spammy links into pages skyrockets, or C) links get removed as the new page redirect breaks the images on whatever page they were hotlinked from.
I left a certain subset with the old image to image redirects in place before making the huge investment in time to change all of them. Any educated guesses on whether this might help boost my pages at the expense of image traffic, and might be better or worse for my overall traffic in the long run?