Flickr, the photo sharing website has been around for some time now but with the introduction of Flickr Badges and the advanced API; search engine specialists and web enthusiasts like ourselves are just coming to terms with its true potential. Why would we be content with just putting our photos on a website and sharing them with friends when we can reach world wide audiences and have our photos indexed in Google?
So after playing around with Flickr for well over a year now, we have come up with some great ways to help you optimise your Flickr accounts. The first thing you need to consider is the structure and theme of your account. Think of the keywords you would like to appear for and how you can break down your account into subsets. The subsets being individual or sets of related photo albums. So for example one of our clients, Undiscovered Alps, offers Multi Activity Holidays in the French Alps and has a subset called Snow Shoeing In the Alps. This subset then contains two albums which are based in different regions. This not only makes it easier for users to navigate but also makes the account highly targeted.
COLLECTION OR SUBSET DESCRIPTIONS
For each collection or subset you can also insert a description. This is very important as it is a perfect opportunity to include some keyword rich text. So for example in the Snow Shoeing In the Alps example you would want to include the words alps and snow shoeing. You may also want to include some links in the description that point through to your website. This is an ideal opportunity to drive traffic to your website which is of course one of the main objectives.
WRITING PHOTOGRAPH TITLES
Once you have worked your way through setting up your account structure and inserting descriptions, you will want to look at how you upload your individual photographs. Uploading photos is relatively straight forward but there are numerous ways to improve your chances of getting noticed. So typically we would start by looking at the titles. You may notice that most photos on Flickr are location based. So when writing your titles be sure to include specific locations or a particular brand, event or product name. Naming your photo’s me00012 or DSC000232 is going to make it incredibly difficult for people to find and gives no insight into what your photo is about. When writing titles keep them short, to the point and make sure you include your chosen keywords.
WRITING PHOTOGRAPH DESCRIPTIONS
After writing a great eye catching title, you will want to produce a photo description. Again this is another opportunity to include those all important keywords and links. It should be noted that you use highly specific anchor text for the links, however links on Flickr are ‘no followed’. This means search engines will not use them to gauge link popularity. We would recommend that you have around 3 or 4 lines for each description.
ADDING TAGS TO YOUR PHOTOS
The last thing you should look at when uploading photos is the tags. You may have noticed that most social media sites are using tags and this is because it allows people to find things by a specific keyword. With this in mind you should add tags that relate to your individual photos. So again location tags are useful and also the activity or event they are carrying out. Toronto and Mike maybe too vague so you might want to use something like Toronto and Mountain Biking. Think about what words your users would use.
GEO TAGGING AND ACCOUNT LEVEL CHANGES
There are also a couple of things you can do at account level. So you will definitely want to ensure that you have checked the ‘make photos publicly viewable’ option. This ensures that everyone can view your photos. Another really nifty feature which I picked up on recently is geo targeting. As mentioned before much of Flickr is based on location so being able to add your pictures to a map can be really useful. Setting it up is really easy and can make a real difference in your campaign targeting.
ENGAGING WITH THE COMMUNITY
Finally we recommend that you engage with the Flickr community. Find groups that have similar interests and post comments on their message boards. Be careful not to put blatant advertising messages on there. Have a look at what people are saying and join in with their conversations. The information gained from this engagement can really help in developing your own site further. You can find out what’s hot in the area and what people really want.
Flickr is undoubtedly a great tool and will work better in some areas rather than others. If you do decide you are going to use Flickr to help promote your business you should set out a clear plan about what you want to achieve. So you will need to ask questions of what you want to achieve and what do you offer to users?