10 Flickr SEO tips

10 Flickr SEO Tips for Amazing Visibility


Photo sharing is huge in the online community. Standing out from the pack and generating traffic from search engines is important for maximum exposure, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is through Flickr.

But like other aspects of sharing content online, you need to understand Flickr SEO to get eyeballs on your photos.

Why Flickr?

Flickr is considered by many to be the premier online photo management site. Since it brings in so much daily traffic, this makes it attractive for businesses to tap into. In fact, Flickr gets roughly 74 million visits per month.

Flickr is driven by two core values:

  1. Users are seeking to make photos available to the people who matter to them most.
  2. Flickr strives to enable newer ways to organize users’ photos every day.

The basic idea behind photo-sharing sites is that you upload your images, name them, and then tag them. You do this so the photos have a better chance of being found in Flickr and search engines.

Flickr is still being treated extremely well by Google and if you’re bringing quality to the table, you can tap in tons of quality traffic. So if your website isn’t getting crawled enough or fast enough, sometimes it can take weeks for Google to realize you updated your website. That’s why Flickr is important and helpful to us webmasters, since it can rank high so quickly and easily it’s a great way to funnel traffic to your site for trending topics.

How to Use Flickr For Marketing (an Example)

Suppose you own a gift card business. You can take photos of all of your newest gift cards, especially ones that you think would do well when shared socially (e.g., a funny cat gift card). When filling out the information on Flickr for your uploads, you will want to use (if possible) a keyword with the gift card. So, for example, if the keyword was “funny gift card,” you would title the photo something like “Funny gift card of a cat dancing.”

In your tags you could and should be more direct with your keywords, like “funny gift cards” or “funny cat gift cards” or “hilarious gift cards.”

This helps you gain more exposure on Flickr by taking advantage of their own internal search engine and Google, and then this traffic can funnel down to your business’s website.

How to Set Up Your Flickr Account

If you’re not already using Flickr, you’ll need to set up an account to leverage this strategy. It’s free to join, and you just need to provide some basic information (name, age, and email address) before creating your password.

To use your Flickr account, you will need to understand a few terms:

  • Batch organize lets you work with multiple photos at once. This is useful if you have a group of pictures that are going into the same set with matching tags.
  • Sets are groupings of photos. A free Flickr account will allow you to create up to 3 sets. If you would like more sets, you will need to upgrade to a paid account.
  • Groups are groupings of users with similar interests. If you belong to a Flickr group, you can share photos with that group.
  • Mapping is sharing the location of where the photo was taken. This is completely optional.

Now that you know the basic terminology, you can upload photos to Flickr and organize them as you wish. Uploading can be done through the Flickr web site or through a number of Flickr desktop applications. Just click “Upload Photos” to get started.

Top 10 Flickr SEO Tips

Now that you understand the basics of Flickr, it’s time to to start maximizing your reach by leveraging Flickr SEO tactics.

1. Optimize your photos for maximum effectiveness

Tag each photo and upload a higher-quality image. This makes your images easier to find and easier to download in the size that the user may want.

2. Promote your Flickr profile wherever you can

Integrate your Flickr profile with other social networks – submit a photo to StumbleUpon, automatically post photos to Facebook, and tweet pictures regularly to your Twitter site. If you have a blog, integrate a Flickr slideshow. Add a link to your Flickr profile in your email signature. Promote it as much as possible.

3. Use your own images in your blog posts

Bloggers tend to go to Flickr to find high-quality images for their articles. If you are a blogger, try to use your own pictures in your posts. Link the photo to your Flickr profile so that, when someone clicks on the image in your blog post, they will be taken directly to your Flickr profile.

4. Get involved with Flickr groups

Being on Flickr is a social activity. Join groups relevant to your interests and your pictures, and share to them. Comment on the other pictures shared to the group. Get involved and engage other users.

5. Add a Creative Commons License to your photos

As stated before, bloggers like to use Flickr photos in their posts. By adding a Creative Commons License to your photos, any blogger can use your photos in their posts as long as they give you the credit for the image. This is a great way to generate traffic and allow bloggers to have a high-quality image for their article.

6. Use your Flickr stats to analyze sources of traffic

Flickr’s analytics are only available to Pro users, but just as Google Analytics can help you optimize your blog posts for the main sources of your traffic, you can do the same with your images and Flickr’s stats.

7. Invest in a Pro account

Not only do you get access to those statistics, but a Pro account also allows you to upload more pictures, remove ads, and have more organization options.

8. Use your description for keywords

Decide which keywords you want to target and then include these keywords in your description. Wisely-chosen keywords will generate traffic.

9. Create new titles for your photos

Uniquely name each photo instead of letting your camera’s default file name serve as the photo name. Including the keyword in the title is even better. A photo titled “Stop Sign at The Intersection” will work much better than “DC000105”.

10. Change your file names

In the same vein as changing the titles of the photos, changing the file name will help the indexing of your photo. Search engines also consider file names, so use your keywords in your file names, using a hyphen in between words (“keyword-rich-file-name-here.jpg”).

My Favorite ADVANCED Flickr SEO Strategy

Beyond the basic SEO tips above, I’m going to share my favorite way to squeeze even more juice from your Flickr photos. You can index your Flickr account quickly with what we could call a “mini social signal network.”

What You Need:

You need to create two accounts for this small social signals network, a Pinterest account and a Tumblr account. We use these sites because when you blog a picture it allows you to show where the source of the image which means you can link to your Flickr.

  • Pinterest – Who hasn’t heard of Pinterest by now? Pinterest exploded on to the social media scene and quickly gained notoriety for giving websites huge amounts of referral traffic. Pinterest is usually known as the murderer of Flickr but from our research Flickr is currently still treated better by Google in terms of ranking compared to Pinterest.
  • Tumblr – Tumblr has been around longer than Pinterest, but never hit the huge levels of referral traffic that Pinterest is famous for. Tumblr should not be overlooked though, and a lot of big companies take advantage of Tumblr’s awesome referral traffic and how easy it is to set up (The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Search Engine Land, etc.). With Tumblr’s built in content drip system, you can plan months of content ahead of time to post automatically. That’s probably my favorite feature of Tumblr.

What You Are Doing:

What you’re doing is actually pretty simple. You’re taking the photo, tag, or set URL from your Flickr profile and posting it to Tumblr and Pinterest’s photo section. This is creating a social signal to your Flickr photos. If you’re smart, you’ll expand this to all your content marketing and try to find even more sites like Pinterest or Tumblr to post these photos. Social signals like the one we made from the steps above took the place of pinging in the Internet Marketing realm, and they will most likely keep getting strong and stronger in Google’s algorithm. While many sites like WordPress still utilize pinging in their posts, I do not believe it actually does much to helping your content get indexed.

Why Social Signals are Doing Great While Pinging Suffers

I was originally going to save this segment for another blog post, but it is so relevant to ranking a Flickr profile that it can’t be left out. The same people that are still pinging their backlinks are the ones who think keyword stuffing META keywords is a valid SEO practice.

Some of the newbies might be asking, “What’s pinging?” Pinging used to be a common practice utilized by (most of the time) black hat link-builders. To put it simply, pinging is like saying to Google crawlers “Hey, this is new/updated!” While its purpose was to alert Google of your site’s new content, it was soon taken over by black hats and they were pinging their low quality backlinks. Since this whole system of pinging backlinks or new content on your site was so abused by undesirable sites, it appears that Google has completely stopped paying attention to them or gives them very little value over other factors. Using social signals (e.g., re-tweets on Twitter or shares on Facebook), on the other hand, appears to offer similar results to what pinging used to provide and it’s much harder to abuse compared to pinging.

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