One of the tools of the SEO trade has apparently been axed by Flickr. It seems like every SEO conference I have attended since Flickr went live included recommendations that Flickr photo submissions be treated much like HTML pages. The title of the photo, description, tags and any links in the description text work just like a standard web page and can show up in the search engine results. Here’s how I described it in my post SEO 101 – Image Optimization:
Post images to Flickr. Open a Flickr account and put unique photos in your account. Basically, each photo you put up is its own web page with a title, description and tags. You can include a link back to your site and share the photos with other Flickr users and social sites.
I went further by giving a demonstration of how this could work for SEO in an article I wrote called The Importance of Diversity in SEO where a given search result page could dish out your web pages, YouTube videos and Flickr photos in the results, giving you multiple opportunities to rank.
Well, looks like that’s going away for those of us who have listened to this sage advice at the various search engine conferences over the years. Apparently Flickr has decided to crack down on the use of their accounts by businesses. I noticed that the Flickr images were not showing up on the Facebook Fan Page for FramesDirect.com, the company I do SEO work for and who I used in the example image above. I tried to log into Flickr and couldn’t so I contacted them and asked what happened to the account. Here’s the response:
Flickr account “framesdirect” was deleted by Flickr staff for violating our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines.
# Don’t use Flickr for commercial purposes.
Flickr is for personal use only. If we find you selling products, services, or yourself through your photostream, we will terminate your account.
Granted, their Terms of Service gives them the right to cancel any account they deem self promoting, but until now, apparently they have turned the other way.
So, if you are using Flickr to promote products, services or sell anything, including yourself, don’t be surprised to find your account gone in the not too distant future.
Flickr just wants “Polaroid moments.”
And, any SEO conference speakers who have been using Flickr as an SEO tactic for business rankings can pull that slide from their Powerpoint.
As I’ve said many times, no one likes change except a baby with a dirty diaper.