Posted May 28, 2008 2:00 pm by with 30 comments

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By Julie Gallaher

Like many bloggers, I dream of a day when I can leave my 9-5 job and make a great living on the internet. My travel recommendation site, Things You Should Do, will reach the milestone of 500,000 unique visitors during the next few weeks. I’ve experimented with lots of different methods to grow my traffic and recently discovered Flickr as a power tool.

My strategy of using Flickr groups to build community and create stickiness is paying good dividends. I’ve only just begun, and I’m receiving about 100 visitors per day from Flickr with an incredibly low bounce rate of 12.14% and an average time on site of over 4 minutes.


I joined Flickr a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t reaching any audience. I knew there must be a way to reach travel lovers, but how?

I was inspired to learn how to master using Flickr by Matt McGee’s series at Small Business SEM on How to Market on Flickr. His suggestions are common sense SEO practices, but we all know how uncommon common sense is.
• Page Rank Follows from Profile and Group pages so link to those pages
• Geo-tagged photos can end up in Yahoo Local News
• Use the correct Creative Commons license to build inbound links
• Link to your profile page and photo-stream from your blog or website

Shawn Duffy at S Duffy Photography has tips about making your best visual impression
• Upload your photos in the correct order
• Give great titles, descriptions & tags
• Be selective: upload your best photos, not all of them
• Protect your photos from cyber theft
• Participate in groups

David Erickson at eMarketing
reports on Flickr stats
• Become a Pro Member for access to stats reports
• Stats are available on individual photos and your photo-stream
• Create and promote an RSS Feed of your photos
• Create Viral Marketing based on your existing online presence

John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing uses images for SEO
• Use keyword rich titles and descriptions
• Get your photos indexed by using alt descriptions
• Use meta tags for search engine visibility
• Develop and Emotional Connection with your customers

Jeremiah Owyang formerly at Jeremiah the Prophet
and now blogging at the Web Strategist stresses community building
• Offline Events generate online traffic
• Tagging to build community
• Embrace bloggers
• Create interactive product demos


At Things You Should Do, I feature hundreds of travel destinations – outdoor adventures, fabulous restaurants, great golf, quirky festivals, romantic hotels and more. On this Flickr project, I started with a dozen of those destinations and created Flickr groups, like this one for the Paradise Cove Cafe in Malibu. I searched online for photos of those destinations and asked flickr members to join my group. In three weeks, I had 500 photos submitted and had 50 people join the groups. Members are contacting me with additional photos they’d like to submit and are enthusiastic about participation.

I used Flickriver, a third party app, to display the photo pool on my website. Flickriver refreshes the pool so different photos are highlighted and redirects viewers back to the members photo-stream. Group members are seeing visits from my site on their traffic logs.

Each Flickr Group links back to the specific destination featured. Over time, this will raise the post in the SERPs.

I’m promoting the RSS feeds onsite and through group communiques.

Branded widgets will be available for member use on their websites and blogs.

By the 4th of July, I’ll have created Flickr groups for another 25 destinations and engaged with hundreds more Flickr users. Why don’t you do the same?

This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 3rd Annual SEM Scholarship contest.