Flickr Tagging

Flickr Tagging

Image by @Doug88888
Flickr Tagging – Top tips on the Best ways to Tag your Pictures to Maximise Views
Today, a blog on tagging through Flickr.

Tagging is an important part of getting your pictures seen and found. There are other sites that tell you why tagging is so important. Below, I’ve set out a few ways to super charge your tags.

75 is the magic number

Flickr allows seventy five tags per uploaded picture. Use them all and you will have a very powerful combination of words for any search engine to search for. Sounds obvious but very few users seem to max out their tags. Why not try it?

My picture tags tend to be found through a Flickr search, Google and Yahoo. These should be your main targets for speculative viewings.

Combine words in tags? pink pink yellow EXPLORE

Is it better to have a tag saying "pink flower" or separately pink and flower. The short answer, in my opinion, is use both methods for you keywords. Separating the words means if someone just searches for pink or flower, they may find your shot. This is much more likely than a combined search. If someone does do a combined search, you’ve covered that one off too. On top of this, when Google spiders your site it will find multiple occurrences of your key words, which is good news for your page ranking.

An excellent study on the science behind this can be found here.

Mega title

Google puts heavy emphasis on words in the title and so does Flickr when searching for keywords. Make sure you pick the words in the title wisely – what will most drive people to your picture.

The shot below regularly gets visits – months after I first posted it. Why?

Hairy balls

Its titled "Hairy Balls"!

Combined power of key words across your site

Even stronger – combine keywords in the title, description and tags. Provided you don’t over do it, featuring your key words in all of these locations will really increase their relevance. You could even go crazy and include the key words in notes on the picture and comments under the picture. Hey, go mad and make your Flickr name the key word!

A master of this is Kevin Dooley – check out his thoughts on the subject of tags.

Hot tags and related tags

Flicker gives you a great head-start in finding terms. Flickr’s popular tags page lists out hot tags in the last 24 hours and last seven days plus the all time most popular tags.

First, look at the hot tags. Do any immediately relate to your picture? For example, yesterday’s date is almost always a hot tag Feb4 is hot today, and Feb3, Feb2 and Feb1 were all popular this week. Why add? Because its listed as a hot tag, people will search for it – its a self fulfilling prophecy.

Still in the hot tags, you are also likely to see mysterious terms like hff, hpps and tigf. These are the terms the insiders in Flickr use to flag up ceratin types of post. If you are unsure of what they mean, do a bit of detective work. Click on the tag and search for the most interesting pictures with the tag. It will soon become apparent that, for example, hff stands for Happy Furry Friday – Flickr fans post animals on this day with this tag, the cuter the better! So join in. Take a picture of you pooch or moggy, upload and tag.

All time most popular tags gives you a simple list of the words people have used to describe their pictures. If you see any that relate to your picture, use them. Word of warning – because they are so popular, your picture will be competing against hundreds of other pictures. So don’t just rely on these – you need to be unique.

Flickr will also do your the favour of telling you related tags to yours, simply search for a tag and related tags will be thrown up. Searching for Green Goblin through popular tags gives you spiderman, marvel, toys, toy, marvelcomics, green, goblin, hulk, actionfigure, comics. Copy and paste as relevant.

Beware the Green Goblin

Give them what they want

Certain words are searched for more than others.

Google Zeitgeist may offer inspiration. The Hot Trends section lists the 100 hottest search trends on Google today. If people are searching on Google, they can find it on Flickr. If any of the terms in Hot Trends relate to your upload, add them.

For example, today – a top 3 hot trend is ‘World Nude Day’. Immediately, I thought that my photograph of Eve (below) needed world, nude, day added as tags.


You might find this article on the most popular search terms on Google last year will provide you with further food for thought.

Sourcing tags

Sometimes you have a mental blank – 75 tags is very tall order after all. The key is to do a tiny bit of research.

First stop, – type in a tag you can think of. The shot below might be described as a pile of green cars.

Traffic pile-up EXPLORED

After a trip to it becomes a heap, collection,accumulation, aggregate, aggregation, amassment, assemblage, assortment, bank, barrel, buildup, chunk, conglomeration, drift, gob, great deal, hill, hoard, hunk, jumble, lump, mass, mound, mountain, much, ocean, oodles*, pack, peck, pyramid, quantity, shock, stack, stockpile of emerald, apple, aquamarine, beryl, chartreuse, fir, forest, grass, jade, kelly, lime, malachite, moss, olive, pea, peacock, pine, sage, sap, sea, spinach, verdigris, vert, viridian, willow.

The great thing here is that you can copy the list and paste straight into your tags list. Instant vocabulary explosion!

Clearly, you might want to delete some of the less relevant terms but this is a great way of topping up to 75.

Once you’ve filled up here, next stops should be, Google and Yahoo – with each, search using a key word and then pick and choose any word that springs out to you.

Tag geography

I’m English. I think in English and tag in English. Flicker is global and its users global. Google Trends lists the nations that search most for the term Flickr as:

1. Malaysia
2. United Kingdom
3. Singapore
4. Italy
5. United States
6. Ireland
7. Canada
8. Spain
9. Taiwan
10. Philippines

So only five out of ten speak English as their first language. To turn yourself international, head over to Babel Fish on Yahoo or better, NiceTranslator, add your most relevant tags to your photos, pick English to Italian and to Pile, Green, Cars you can add automobili, verdi, mucchio.

Instantly, your multi-lingual and could be sipping an Expresso in Rome rather than snowed in in Stevenage. This is such an overlooked area of Flickr – its time for you to think more globally.

Niche tags

Some topics are very well represented on Flickr – sunsets, kittens and flowers are pretty well covered. One key to the longevity of your pictures is to make them niche and tag them. Search for obscure terms to see what images already exist – if there’s a gap – fill it.

One of my favourite searches if for the most interesting pictures on Flickr tagged with the word "Boring". Some great shots can be found here.

Warning: Hazards to Interestingness

There are some who believe that cetain tags damage your chance of interestingness. Words that are offensive or inappropriate may well be screened out or you risk being classified as an adult themed site. Common sense is required.

Its also rumoured that the Explore alogorithym will score you higher or lower depending on your tags. For example, if every person uses the tag Bokeh, Flickr may rate each Bokeh picture against each other to find the most interesting. Using unusual or interesting tags is your best weapon against this kind of competition if you’re focussed on getting explored.

Now you are armed – get tagging. Let me know any ideas you have for getting more of the best out of tagging.

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