Search engines, and Google in particular through its Universal Search initiative, are making great strides towards delivering multi-media search engine results. Images, audio, and video links are being sprinkled into certain types of searches. The tough part about this desire is that it can be hard for a search spider to determine the actual content or intent or a photo or video. But, that’s where you come in.

Actively using images as part of your overall optimization strategy can pay dividends.

The first step is to make certain that you use the ALT attribute in your web site HTML. Further adding descriptive captions in the text around a your photos is another standard practice.

FlickrTo take this thought up a notch, however, you should consider creating images pages on social media sites and optimizing those pages as well.

The first place to go in my opinion is – Flickr, owned by Yahoo, is one of several photo sharing sites. Other popular ones include Picasa, owned by Google and Photobucket. These sites allow you to create accounts and they upload your photos for sharing publicly or with friends.

All of these services have created sets of tools that allow you to tag and describe your photos. Most people use these as a way to sort, categorize and find their photos, but marketers can use these tools to perhaps create some interesting search juice.

Flickr, for example, allows you to create a separate page for each photo. This page has meta tags you choose – title, description and keyword tags as well as H1 title, and keyword anchor text backlinks. You can view an example page here featuring my Ultimate Marketing System product. This is not simply a ploy to point out my products, the point is to show you how this tactic creates a well opitimized page and photo on a highly indexed web site, pointing to my product. This page will get indexed and may rank highly on its own. (Right click and view the source code on this page and have a look at the meta tags data)

This is a potentially potent way to create some nicely optimized backlinks to your site and generate page views of your products, events, announcements, people, and activities. Once you know how to navigate around Flickr it’s pretty easy to create lots of these pages. Don’t forget to take advantage of the geo tagging that allows you to create local content.

    Here’s your recipe for success with this idea

  • Upload lots of decently composed images
  • Create strong, keyword rich, unique titles for each photo
  • Tag each photo with your most important keywords
  • Write good descriptions and add a link to your site with keyword anchor text
  • Make sure the photos are publicly viewable – it’s a check box option
  • Submit the photo pages to other social sites such as delicious

It’s great if you have riveting images with tons of viral potential, but this works wonders for any well taken image.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Rem

    Excellent articles, John. Consider that something like this could also help traffic to sites that have an interest in photos:

    The simplicity of this is that people are searching for photos on those sites and if they own a site, they’re not making any money with their searches.

    I enjoyed reading your article! Keep up the good work!

  • Flickr don’t allow you to use their services for commercial purposes, and I would imagine that doing this would be classed as commercial use — I’d be very wary of doing this myself!

    Incase your wondering, take a look here

    Unless I’m missing something, I don’t think this would work!

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  • Lars

    FYI, Flickr gets up in arms if you make your Flickr photos too promotional in nature, and if you link back to your site on too high of a percentage of your total photos.

    I was using Flickr to host photos of customers using my products, as well as some product photos, with links back to those product pages on my site.

    Flickr got mad and emailed me and made me remove all of the links I had in the descriptions that went back to the product pages.

    I didn’t think it was over the top promotional at all, but they did.

    I still think Flickr is great, and we put a lot of high resolution product shots up there so that members of the media can download them directly from Flickr and we don’t have to email them huge files.

    But I don’t consider it a search optimization thing based on my experience, and I think they really discourage that kind of use.

    I think all of your tips for using Flickr are dead on, except for the keyword anchor text link back thing, which they might zap you for if you do it with more than just a small, small percentage of your photos.

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  • More, links hosted by Flickr are marked with the attribute rel=”nofollow” instructing spiders not to index the destination website. While you may gain in visitor visibility, don’t expect your pagerank to benefit from it.

  • I truly believe that the only concerns one should have with images is the loading time for those visitors that are still using dial up.

  • @Lars
    i also use flickr for backlink at each image but never got a complain.

  • On one of my websites, I’m using a subdirectory to collect articles, but it could be used to hold photos. Google sees a subdirectory as another website, but your visitor sees it as a branch of your website.

  • images are also significant for black optimization (so called doors). Search engines do not welcome them, or fighting them, so its your prime task to make the door unique. So, the images must be unique and there is a soft that cuts the same pucture into quite different pieces on the same template

  • Its unfortunate though that one can use the ALT tag rather dubiously, using irrelevant keywords merely to get undeserved positive attention

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  • John
    A nicely written article, thanks for putting this together and explaining how Flickr could be used for SEO.
    Only yesterday I wrote a similar article on how companies can maximine their assets; however this is not just images but also video and other media assets:

    regards and keep up the good work

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  • Excellent article John. I also wrote a guide a while back about how to use Flickr for SEO that expands on some ideas here. If anyone wants to check it our here it is:

    Keep the good posts coming, John.

  • Hi John

    I linked to this post in my article on Flickr Marketin. I’d love it if you’d send all your readers over to check it out!

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  • Hi John, thanks for this article. I see that it was written almost a year ago and so maybe not so relevant anymore. I went to your flickr account to see examples, but I notice that none of your photos have a link in the description and neither does your profile page.

    Did you remove these after the game changed?

    An update would be appreciated 😉

  • action_movie_series

    Very nice. What if we put keywords in the alt tag of the image.

  • action_movie_series

    Very nice. What if we put keywords in the alt tag of the image.