A MILDLY AMUSING SEO LESSON FROM FLICKR

Early Naturists

When I first got  a Flickr account back in 2007, I used the handle “Finepixtrip” as the account name and began to upload pictures. Later, with the Yahoo takeover of Flickr there were some account settings that needed changing. I can’t remember all the ins and outs of the procedure but I obviously messed it up and somehow or other I lost access to the account. “No matter,” I thought, “as it’s only been going a few months and there aren’t too many pictures yet, I’ll just open a new Flickr account from scratch,” which I did, using the slightly different “finepixtrix” as my monicker.

Yesterday I decided to check on the old account just to see what, if anything, was happening with it. I was looking through the photos and came across this pic of a display at Maropeng, the Cradle of Humankind centre about 30 kms outside of Johannesburg in the Kromdraai district.

When I looked at the stats for the picture I was gobsmacked to see that to date it’s had  7070 views! I thought: “Zowie! Has this old account been doing amazingly better than my “proper” Flickr account – the one I use regularly? How can that be, I haven’t added any pictures to it for over five years and I have absolutely no interaction with anyone with this account!?”

I quickly looked at the numbers for several other pictures but they weren’t nearly as impressive. The next most viewed picture, strangely enough also of Maropeng – but just an exterior view of the visitor’s centre – comes in at a measly 223 views. Most of the pictures have less than 50 views. So what gives? Why has this particular picture scored 7,000+  views?

Then it dawned on me. It’s the  title and caption. The title, “Early Naturists”, is ideally optimised for people who are searching for pictures of naturists, which, as we know, is another term for nudists. Some people are probably a bit shy when searching for nude pictures and don’t want to tell Google that that’s what they’re really after, so they use less “incriminating” words – like “naturists”.  And of course there are those who are genuinely curious about the naturist lifestyle and want to learn more about it, and probably some actual naturists who want to learn about the activities of like-minded people in other parts of the world. But none of this was going through my mind when I titled the picture.

Next, there’s the caption under the title. It contains the word “nudes” and “gorgeous bodies”, so that’s a cinch for the search engines! At the time I just thought it was a slightly humorous caption to go with these strange looking, imaginary creatures. I  haven’t done a search myself for these terms so I don’t know how high the picture ranks in the results pages, but I bet more than a few surfers are a tad disappointed after they click on the link and see the picture on Flickr, especially if they aren’t using the image search facility and just see the title and description in the results. Searches for “cradle of humankind”, “maropeng”, “kromdraai” and similar terms probably bring a trickle of visitors, too.

Despite the massive number (for any of my pictures, anyway) of views, the picture has only generated one comment, from someone who goes by the name of KJ49, who said: “dat’s crazy”.

By way of contrast, the most popular picture on my “proper” Flickr page has a mere 3,025 views as of today. It’s not a great shot but just for fun I did a bit of purposeful SEO on the title and caption of this picture a couple of years ago and it shows up quite high and often in the search results pages. But that’s another story.

You can see the old Finepixtrip Flickr page here.

My “proper” Flickr page is here.

© 2012. All images copyright Grahame Hall and may not be used without written permission of the copyright owner. Please respect the rights of others.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A MILDLY AMUSING SEO LESSON FROM FLICKR”

  1. Most amusing. 🙂

    Having bought Flickr, it’s a shame Yahoo appear to be letting it stagnate. It feels overdue for a revamp.

    As far as blogging goes, if you have something to say, say it. Just be aware that without frequent (fortnightly or better) postings, you can’t develop a readership. However, don’t let the pressure to post weigh on you. It has to be fun after all.

    Photography is definitely worthy of ongoing effort but again, it must be fun. So long as you enjoy it, the quality of what others produce is irrelevant. Don’t make comparisons.

    1. Thanks for the comment and encouragement, Gavin. Many people have been saying Flickr is due for a revamp, and I agree. However I still think it’s the best photo sharing sight out there (I have accounts at several places, although Flickr is the only one I pay for). Oddly enough the BJP posted this article today and maybe that’s what Flickr has been concentrating on for the past few months. I hope they carry out the necessary changes to the main site soon. I don’t believe the couple of cosmetic changes they introduced during 2012 have been nearly enough, and I think they’ve lost a lot of ground to Facebook, 500px, and Google+.

      I agree 100% with what you say about blogging being fun, but I also think, for me at least, there should be some sort of purpose. Perhaps what I’ve been feeling as I look through my posts is that my blog lacks direction, a focus, if you will. I’ve no intention of stopping photography. It’s something I really do enjoy and, quite frankly, I can hardly imagine a life without it.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post, it’s actually much closer to the kind of articles I intend posting in future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s