May 21, 2009, 12:00 AM

Why photo-sharing is now part of the search marketing picture

Sharing photos on Flicker and naming them to attract search engine spiders can broaden marketers’ reach online, iProspect says.

With search results today returning images and videos in addition to text, search marketers now should be using sites like Flickr to extend their reach, according to search marketing firm iProspect. The keywords used to identify and describe an image file, and the links that point to a site from bloggers and others wanting to post and credit images they find on Flickr, can help boost search engine rankings, says Maya Champaneri, iProspect search marketing specialist.

Champaneri advises marketers who want to participate in Flickr to join groups within the online photo-sharing social community that are relevant to their brand, or create such groups themselves. For example, a retailer of hair care products could join a group interested in hair styles and upload photos of models using the merchant’s products to create a finished hairstyle. Or the retailer could simply upload product shots, keeping in mind that photos showing the actual application of a product bring more benefit from a marketing standpoint, Champaneri says.

Marketers choose the photos they want to share and then upload them to the Flickr account they’ve created. Since the search engines use the file names that marketers associate with the photos to find the photos and determine their relevancy, it’s critical for marketers to select file names with an eye toward what will drive search traffic to an e-commerce site.

Champaneri suggests marketers consider what the image conveys, what terms searchers use that would lead them to the image, and the popularity of keywords that could be associated with a photo. To name the file, she advises, they should then pick a phrase containing a primary keyword and one or two secondary keywords. She notes that because people now tend to use phrases when they search online, it’s better for file names to include a phrase containing two or three keywords rather than a single word.

“By developing strategies that are multi-faceted in their approach-and incorporating image-sharing sites like Flickr-marketers can broaden their reach, and gain brand exposure, traffic and higher rankings,” she adds

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