links in a chain

Using Flickr To Help Generate Backlinks

Gee Ranasinha Marketing 15 Comments

Pretty much every company is looking to increase their website’s search engine ranking on Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest, right? One way to help website ranking is through backlinks.

A ‘backlink’ is a link on another website that points to a page on your website. Search engines use backlinks (as well as a bunch of other criteria) in their determination of where your website is going to appear in results pages. Search engines see a bunch of links from various sources pointing to your site and deduce that your content has value. Broadly speaking, the more backlinks you have the more the search engines will love you – as long as you don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes.

(How? Well, there are a number of charlatans and snake-oil salesmen out there that – for a price – will put backlinks onto a bunch of websites for you. When Google et al find out what you’ve been doing (and they ALWAYS find out eventually) you can find your site ranking in a whole help of trouble. In extreme cases your site can even get banned.)

Recently, when using Google Analytics to check my website’s traffic, I’ve been seeing an increase in links to KEXINO from all sorts of websites. One growth area in my own backlink strategy has been in people taking images posted on the KEXINO Flickr stream to use on their own websites – and giving credit by putting a backlink in there. Just in the past few months, KEXINO images have been used in online slide presentations, blogs – and even tech news sites.

If you’re even mildly creative, photo sharing sites like Flickr can really help increase your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your images don’t have to be perfect – they just need to be the sort of pictures that website admins and bloggers are looking for. As with all things on the web, in order to get noticed you need to find your niche. Pick a topic, create as much visual content for it as you can. Promote your content using your social media channels, then sit back and wait for the backlinks.

A couple of tips:

  • Most backlinks will point back to your Flickr page, so make sure that you add your web page’s URL to the image description. You’d be surprised how many people click on the link.  I know I was.
  • Choose descriptions as if you were writing for search engines (which, in effect, you are). Use keywords that you think would be used if someone was looking for your image.
  • Post as many permutations of the image (composition, lighting, etc.) as you can, to give people as much choice as possible
  • Images don’t have to be photographs. For example, most of the images on the KEXINO Flickr account are 3D renders, created using Cinema 4D software.
  • When posting images to your Flickr account, make sure that you edit the default copyright declaration to one of the Creative Commons licenses. This gives third-parties rights to publish your image with certain caveats (go to creativecommons.org to find out more).
  • I’m not saying that Flickr is better than Picasa or any other photo sharing site. You may find using an alternative site gives you less competition for popular search terms.

Hopefully you’re about to enjoy a well-earned rest over the next few days. Instead of vegetating in front of the TV, why not go outside with your camera (or even a smartphone) and see what you can find?

Image Source – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (including a backlink, naturally!)

About the Author
Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha

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After founding a successful media production firm, Gee became worldwide director of marketing for a European software company. As well as CEO of KEXINO he's an author, lecturer, husband, and father; and one hell of a nice bloke. He lives in a world of his own in Strasbourg, France, tolerated by his wife and young son. Find out more about Gee at kexino.com/gee-ranasinha.



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Comments 15

  1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

    I must say I was surprised when I started seeing the company name show up in search results for content that I didn’t create. 

    When I clicked them, it was someone else using my images from flickr in there content with a credit like to my flicker page.

    Time to start paying more attention to flickr.

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    1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

      My pleasure. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      I really think Flickr’s worth the effort. Since writing this post I’ve had another 5-8 sites use my images, all with backlinks.

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    1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

      Creative Commons licensing is a great concept. However it seems that few people seem to bother to adhere to Creative Commons usage guidelines.

      I was fed-up with searching the web every few weeks for sites that were using my images, but either not giving correct attribution or (more commonly) not bothering with any attribution whatsoever. As far as I’m concerned, using a CC image without respecting the usage guidelines is basically the same as theft.

      As a result, I have changed my Flickr image copyright license to All Rights Reserved, mentioning that anyone who’d like to use my images needs to get in contact. Without exception, everyone who’s got in contact with me has been given permission, and understands why I’ve had to change my policy.

      It’s not an ideal solution, but I’m at a loss as how to do it any other way.

      1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

        Hi Gee

        Great article, thanks for the info. Just a quick question, you mention “searching the web every few weeks for sites that were using my images”. how would one go about doing this…seems like a daunting task.

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        If I’m not as advanced as you to check if anyone has used my images shall I just use CC?? I am in the process of trying to get a diverse link building profile because at present all my links pointing to my site are text links and I’m struggling get any others

        1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

          Sure, you can just ask for CC attribution, but without checking you are at the total mercy of the integrity of the user of your images to honor the attribution terms. In my experience maybe 60-70% of people who’ll use your images won’t give you a backlink.

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