What Do Images, Flickr and SEO Have In Common?

Flickr LogoHi,

What do images, Flickr and SEO have in common?  More than you would think.  By now you’re probably well aware why exactly you should be adding images to your blog posts — especially if you are new and are looking at gaining a large base of readers.

Visit my flickr photostream – http://www.flickr.com/photos/25687320@N05/ - not much happening there right now, but as I continue to add images to my posts, the stream will start to flesh out.

Here is something cool – http://www.flickr.com/photos/25687320@N05/2417349177/ - when you click on the link make note of the comment and the link to OIBO.ORG.  Although flickr sets all links to NOFOLLOW — the link being there is still beneficial.  Remember the NOFOLLOW does not stop the SE’s from indexing the site – it only prevents them from passing any pagerank to sites that are being linked to.  Not a big deal.

Adding images to your posts, and then using descriptive tags for the image is beneficial in several ways.  First off, if someone is looking for an image of say credit cards and keys in the term “credit card” into Google, what do they see if they do an image search?

Credit Card Image Search SEO Flickr

They get back only 6,000,000 images versus 273,000,000 indexed results.  How hard do you think it is to get into the TOP 10 for credit card when there are 273,000,000 other results there?  It won’t be easy unless you employ some, say, questionable tactics.

But it might be easier to get into 6,000,000 results for the term credit card.

You get a double-whammy when adding images.  Not only does your post get indexed, but the images ALSO get indexed.

When using Flickr for SEO, there are some simple steps needed to optimize your images (you can read the full post at http://www.naturalsearchblog.com/archives/2006/09/24/using-flickr-for-image-search-optimization/):

  • When you upload your photos, ALWAYS add tags. The “tags” or keywords that you associate with your photo will make it findable to users when they are searching, and lend keyword weight to the photo’s page. Enter as many tags that accurately should be keywords associated with your photo as possible. Note! When entering multi-word tags you must put them within quotation marks. Ex: “pickup truck”
  • This should be obvious, but have your photos publicly viewable — not just restricted to viewing by your friends and family.
  • Create a descriptive title for the image. This adds yet more keyword weight to the photo’s page within Flickr.
  • Enter a description under the photo, or write something about the picture.
  • Sometimes, add a note or two directly onto the photo, particularly humorous ones. Flickr allows you to select a rectangular area, and associate some text with it that will appear as tooltips when users mouse over it. Adding a humorous note or two may encourage users to participate on your photo’s page.
  • If the photo is location specific, go into Flickr’s tools and geotag the picture. To do this, go into the Flickr set tools, and locate the location on the Yahoo! Map, then drag the picture onto the map to pinpoint its location. (see my posting about Flickr’s new geotagging)
  • Create thematic Sets for your photos, and add each pic to the set(s) appropriate for it. This provides yet more contextual clues to search engines about the content of the photo’s page, and it will allow a user arriving at the page a way to easily look at other similar pix you’ve taken.
  • Browse through Flickr’s Groups for groups that are dedicated to pix that would be related to your photo. Sometimes it helps to search for photos using keywords you used in your tags, and then see what Groups other’s photos are members of. Join those groups, and then add your photos apropos to the group’s theme. The more links to your photo page, the more important your photo will be considered, so add it to a number of groups. Ideally, add it to groups which have a lot of members — the number of members indicates the popularity and traffic of the group.
  • Link each of your Flickr photo pages to your website, or to related pages on your website. You can add hyperlinks into the Description field below the photo. Use link text that has a call to action, or which tells the user what to expect if they click on the link. Ex: “We sell this product at our website.”, “This view from tables at our Restaurant.”, “This room is available at our Bed & Breakfast“. It’s best to link to specific pages of related content as a richer indicator for pagerank transfer.
  • Link to your Flickr photo pages from your website. You could use text links back to Flickr, but even better, post the Flickr photos directly on your site’s pages, using the HTML code Flickr provides under the “All Sizes” tool. The HTML code they provide hyperlinks the photo back to it’s Flickr page. Why is this important? It provides a bit more link weight to the photo’s page, and allows users of your site to go through and browse your other related photos easily.
  • Finally, post as many optimized pix as possible. This is mostly a game of many small fractions adding up to large, cumulative results. The many pages of pix, linking back to your site will help build your overall PageRank. The more pages you have, the more likely it is that other Flickr users will find your content, and link to your content. It also expands your chances of having a lucky picture or two find its way onto a viral popularity wave which spurs many users to send links of your pic to their friends, or a reporter might find that one of your pix is ideal for their news story.

Here are a few more resources on flickr and SEO (search engine optimization):

Here is a YouTube video showing you how to optimize your flickr account for search engine optimization purposes:

If you know of other, more recent resources please do share them with others here.

Robert Benjamin


About Rob 'n Mo

I'm a man of mystery. I like anonymity, but on the WWW there is not much of it...
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