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I’ve been using Flickr! personally for the past few years in order to share my artwork through groups, individuals, and the handy RSS feed included in the basic Flickr! account membership. Although I am a member on many other Social Media sites aimed towards artists of different sorts, including deviantART, Myspace (music), and ETSY (although more of an eBay for crafts), Flickr! has thus far been the best catalyst for self-promotion of my work.

The beauty of a Flickr! account is that each photograph is basically treated by search engines as a separate web page, the main difference being the extension used. In the spirit of the structure of an search-engine-readable page, each image submitted to Flickr! contains a name and a description (which may contain links), much like a web page contains a header, title and body, which may include links. The reason for this special treatment is to make Flickr! submissions search-able in both image and web searches, as a means to encourage online sharing of photos.

Thus far, I personally have gotten a lot of attention and a bit of publicity by using Flickr! as a sort of gallery for my artwork. Likewise, many businesses have found Flickr! to be an invaluable means for Social media Optimization, or SMO. Unfortunately, as of recently, Flickr! has been cracking down and doing some searching of their own – for strictly business accounts using Flickr! for SEO.

Although only time will tell where the hard-working staff at Flickr! will draw the line between personal and business accounts, here are a few things to consider if you don’t want to find your Flickr! account deleted:

  • Interact with the Community. Normally, I would say that it is better not to draw attention to an optimization based account or profile on any of these sites, since it may draw attention to the fact that you are not a personal user – however, in this particular case, it seems to me that a complete lack of interaction (via messages, comments, etc) would be a red flag to the ‘cleaning crew’ and may more likely result in account deletion than sticking out like a sore thumb (as long as that sore thumb appears to look like a natural human kindly interacting with other members).
  • Use Links Sparingly. This may seem obvious, but when you split up 80 links between 80 photos, you may not immediately realize how many there are in total. While I personally do not get a lot of traffic to my personal blog through Flickr!, many businesses use it for that purpose. Be conscious of how many links you are throwing to the same URL – you should only place a few links here and there, and make sure the surrounding text is relevant but not ‘selling’ anything.
  • Post More Pictures. This does not mean you should post a ton of pointless pictures, but if you were only uploading pictures of products and linking each one to a product page on an eCommerce site, this would draw attention to the ‘misuse’ of the account, and blatant violation of Flickr! user policy. The key is to post pictures of many different things, all somehow relevant, but not all blatant image adverts. The more you mix it up, the more natural and ‘random’ it will appear to both human and bot browsers of your photostream.

These are a few things that I personally will be trying out to avoid getting my account deleted, but I would think that businesses would have to exercise more caution than personal users.

For more information on effective Social Media and Search Engine Optimization services, please consult an Internet Marketing Firm like Reciprocal Consulting.

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