Flickr is NOT useless for SEO

Written on February 27, 2008 – 1:42 pm | by bigoak |

Many were enraged last week when Flickr added nofollow tags to comments and picture captions. Why people would be enraged is beyond me because even my dead pet octopus could have predicted that Flickr’s sad fate was rapidly approaching. And the more that SEO’s kept blogging about how great Flickr was as an SEO tool, the faster the digits on the time bomb moved.

So the days of parsing links onto high PageRank Flickr pages are over. Or are they? No. Let’s examine why in list form. Let’s examine how you can use the remaining scraps of link juice from Flickr in your SEO campaigns.

1.) Flickr has not added nofollow to discussion boards. For those of you who liked to scout out high PageRank pages and just drop your link as a comment to the photo, which could be accomplished easily if you owned a link-laundering website, you can still do this in the Flickr group discussion boards. Flickr has not yet added nofollow tags to those, and given the preponderance of discussions that revolve around people sharing photos, you can just as easily drop relevant external links in the discussion and reap link juice benefits.

2.) Flickr has not added nofollow to personal profile pages. If you have a personal profile page, you can place targeted anchor text on it, point links at it, and receive full SEO benefit as it gains PageRank.

3.) Flickr has not added nofollow to group pages. If you own a Flickr group, you can still put as many links as you wish on the main group page without fear of them being turned into nofollow.

Many Flickr personal profile and group pages gain toolbar PR just by having the link spread around in-house, so it’s not that hard to make those pages accumulate PR. Google seems to be very generous in that regard. There’s a lot of PR to be passed around through Flickr apparently.

So, the glory days of Flickr SEO may be over (unless Yahoo does the improbable and flips the switch back), but Rome didn’t burn to rubble in a day, so we might as well make the most of Flickr before it completely collapses.

  1. 25 Responses to “Flickr is NOT useless for SEO”

  2. By Referate on Feb 28, 2008 | Reply

    That was the logical thing to do when you consider the spam was on that site. I am pretty sure they will add no follow everywhere.
    Who’s next to add nofollow? :D

  3. By luukmuu on Feb 29, 2008 | Reply

    A very useful tip for Flickr. Thhank you for sharing. And I have subscribed to your blog….cheers

  4. By RennyBA on Mar 2, 2008 | Reply

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and knowledge. I’ve used Flickr for a long time and often wondered about this.
    I also make a link in the description of my pictures to the referring post and that gives a bit of traffic to my blog too.

    Since new here: Hello from Norway – wishing you a lovely Sunday and a great week ahead.

    Btw: I’ve voted for you at Bloggers Choice Awards.

  5. By Kamal on Mar 9, 2008 | Reply

    Ah..thanks for sharing. I didn’t know that those group pages are do-follow. But honestly it doesn’t matter to me ..that much.

    This whole PR game is over long time back.

  6. By Avocat on Mar 11, 2008 | Reply

    #SeoAustralia: I am not sure what you mean with PR doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe you are missing the picture here.
    Those links are not about PR as you understand Google Page Rank..are about a trusted link from a very trusted site, passing some if not a lot of “link juice”, where you can use your desired anchor text. That is a great link for everyone.

  7. By Jonathan Praklis on Mar 20, 2008 | Reply

    I just attended Search Engine Strategies 2008 in NYC and this was mentioned. I just checked out Flickr account (, however, and cannot see nofollow used in any of the link tags. Am I missing something? Was this rescinded?

  8. By Jonathan Praklis on Mar 20, 2008 | Reply

    Okay, so a photo detail page (i.e.: does contain the nofollow attribute for external links, but it doesn’t on the photo index page. So, wouldn’t this mean you can still get some page rank value if your photo index pages gained some PR? Maybe not all is lost?

  9. By Shell Harris on Mar 21, 2008 | Reply

    Jonathan, – I was at the SES New York conference too. I think you are referring to the comments by Jen Laycock. I still think Flickr provides link popularity in some cases and now I believe even more that posting your own images will help with Universal Search and Image search in all the search engines.

    What was your impression of the conference?

  10. By Mark on Mar 24, 2008 | Reply

    Like any other free resource abused, Flickr will lose its value very soon. It is just a normal situation and Flickr makes no exception from this rule.

  11. By Will on Mar 28, 2008 | Reply

    @Jonathan: I just checked the cached text version of the photo index page you mentioned and the links aren’t showing up.

  12. By jonathon on May 20, 2008 | Reply

    Nice post man i just signed up to flickr to!

  13. By Palcom Web on Jun 12, 2008 | Reply

    It is said Meta tags are important but how keywords are used is much more important. Keywords are a very important part of site optimization. They can be used in different ways. They can be included in the title, descriptions, text, alt text, images, folders can be named, titles of articles, anchor text while linking to other blogs etc. Keywords are still very important as they help us to identify what the entire website is all about. They should be properly scattered in the text keeping in mind the text to keyword ratio, keyword prominence, density, relativeness and position. Optimize pages with single or two or three keywords they will yield greater results.

  14. By Belajar on Jul 6, 2008 | Reply

    Thanks for the great tips. I do not know this trick can be use when flickr take out dofollow attribute in their website. Now, with your tips, i can include HTML code in flickr to include do follow attribute for the flickr personal page. 5 stars for the tips.

  15. By Enlarge Media on Aug 27, 2008 | Reply

    That`s really cool. thanks for the info… Page ranks are getting more important , do follow takes the attention right…

  16. By Shailesh Ghimire on Sep 15, 2008 | Reply

    I see that this is an older post (from this year), has there been any updates on this issue from Flickr. You mention that forums and groups may be going to “no follow”, where would I be able to find the latest information on this?

  17. By Gambling Guru on Sep 17, 2008 | Reply


    Also bear in mind that RSS feeds off your Flickr profile contain the links used in image descriptions.

    These are not nofollowed – and could indirectly still pass on some link juice.


  18. By Suchmaschinenoptimierung on Oct 16, 2008 | Reply

    Thanks for your interesting article. Now we’ll gonna sign up at flickr too…

  19. By Joel McLaughlin on Nov 7, 2008 | Reply

    Great points! There are so many major sites that can be used to help in our SEO efforts.

  20. By Jamey on Mar 16, 2009 | Reply

    Have been holding off on Flickr but heading there now to give it a go. Looking for the final push to get us to PR6…

  21. By Menexis Merchant on Mar 30, 2009 | Reply

    Flickr is a good seo tool. there are so many great site for seo now on the web

  22. By Heron on May 16, 2009 | Reply

    I have hundred thousands of images on my hard drive as I am a wedding photographer. I however have been procrastinating on registering for a flickr account. Even when my friend was gloating about selling an image on there, still couldn’t push me to register an account.

  23. By Andrew Mooers on Jun 9, 2009 | Reply

    Flickr is nice to have in the corner of the website visitor to slowly “feed” the local flavor of the area, the local community and people and places. Events like canoe races, graduations, soap box derby races, local parades and fairs help show what the area is like.

  24. By Joseph Dunphy on Jun 14, 2009 | Reply

    “Flickr has not added nofollow to discussion boards … to personal profile pages … to group pages. If you own a Flickr group, you can still put as many links as you wish on the main group page without fear of them being turned into nofollow.”

    You spoke too soon. Flickr has since added nofollow to links on all three of these.

  25. By Will on Jun 16, 2009 | Reply

    @Joseph Dunphy, since this post is over a year old, I’m not surprised. Flickr can add no-follow tags until they’re blue in the face (and apparently have), but as long as Flickr images show up in Google image search, the site will continue to have some SEO/SMO benefit.

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