Photo networks such as Flickr and Picasa are wildly popular among Internet users, and as you already know, it’s important to be where your customers are. That has never been more evident than today, with the rise of social media use among marketers emphasizing that point.
But how can you leverage these photo networks to add value to your company? According to Lee Odden, CEO of Spring Park, Minn.-based digital marketing and public relations services provider TopRank Online Marketing, there are two angles marketers can take. One is optimizing image assets to achieve high rankings in search engines, and the other involves targeting consumers in networks like Flickr and Picasa and moving them closer to taking action—and also enhancing your search rankings due to having images on those sites.
Search Engine Rankings
The first step, says Odden, is to take inventory of what image assets you have available, part of what TopRank calls digital asset optimization. “Digital asset optimization is the notion of looking at the way search acts, the search experience, and what search engines are delivering to users,” explains Odden. “… Sometimes an image or video or a news item or a book or a blog or whatever is identified as one of the top 10 best answers.” This is a huge opportunity from a marketing standpoint, he says, as long as you know all the available options you have for images. For instance, you can take screen shots of important pieces of a video, whether it is already on the Web or not, and use those images as additional assets, which enhances your search engine optimization.
Once you’ve taken inventory of your image assets, it’s vital to optimize them properly. That means tagging the images with the appropriate keywords that both search engines and consumers target, and providing the appropriate links back to your site or landing page, so consumers get closer to taking action (i.e., purchase). Odden suggests categorizing all your image assets as well, whether on your own site or on photo networks, to make it easy for search engines discover them. “Pay attention to categorization and also the keywords used in those categories, keywords used in file names, keywords used in the links on the image index that actually points to the image file,” he says. “If there are annotations to the link someone would click on or the bot would follow, that could be helpful as well in helping the search engine understand this image is very relevant to, say, bottled water or a telephone, and therefore rank it better.”