Use this image-based social network to boost search rankings, drive traffic to your website and more.

By Lisa Barone

Below are just a few ways that small-business owners can market their businesses with the help of Flickr.

1. Earn Additional Rankings for Targeted Terms

Sometimes when the front door is locked, it’s an opportunity to use the less-crowded side door, the one everyone else has been neglecting. If you’ve been having difficulty ranking for specific search terms using traditional on-page SEO and link-building efforts, you may want to start experimenting with image optimization and pick up additional rankings.

By taking photos of things related to your corner of the world and then being diligent about optimizing associated titles, descriptions, photo sets and tags, you can help your image to appear in the Google Search results for the associated terms. This can help that image to rank above a traditional big brand search result or increase the amount of SERP space your brand takes up.

2. Drive Traffic to Your Website

When you’re taking time to optimize your photo for Flickr, don’t forget to place a link to your website in the description. Sure, Flickr “nofollows” the links, which means no juice will pass from Flickr over to your site, but some of Flickr’s 30 million-plus users may click and head over to your site to see if there are additional images, or to learn more about what you do. Google may not be interested in your site link, but Flickr users are. Don’t leave them without a path to your site.

3. Build Photo Testimonials

What’s a better testimonial for your website than a smiling customer using your product, a fan wearing your company’s T-shirt, or a picture of what someone was able to construct with your tool? I’d argue there isn’t one. Encourage your customers to upload photos of themselves using your product and to tag your company so that others can find the photos. Do a search for your business on the image site and find people who have already uploaded photos of your products. E-mail them to say thank you (members with a PRO account can send unlimited e-mails), and ask if you can put that photo on your testimonials or Caught in the Act page, with a link back to their image.

4. Find Content for Your Site

Stock photography sites can be a great place to find content; however, they’re getting increasingly expensive. Instead of spending your time constantly filling up on credits, why not use Flickr’s Creative Commons search to find images for content and linkbait pieces instead? By using Flickr’s Advanced Search options, small-business owners can browse through photos that have been OK’d for commercial use. Depending on your topic, you may find hundreds of photos to choose from. If you want to use this as a networking tool, you can then reach out to the owner of the photo you want to use, let them know you put it on your site, and encourage them to show it off. Now you get a free photo, plus some free promotion when that person tells all their friends that you deemed his/her photo cool enough to put on your website.

Lisa Barone is co-founder and chief branding officer at Outspoken Media, Inc., an Internet marketing company that specializes in providing clients with online reputation management, social media services and other Internet services. You can find Lisa blogging daily at or you can catch her on Twitter at
Reprinted with permission from Small Business Trends, a comprehensive online publication for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit