Flickr SEO: 6 Tips for getting on Flickr’s Explore Page

How to get on explore page on flickr
Flickr's Explore Page – a How-to

One question I frequently get from Flickr photographers is how to get on the coveted “Explore” page more often.  Flickr is an extremely popular photo-sharing website that allows photographers to socially connect with other users and view their photos.  Every day, the “Explore” page is updated with the most popular photos on Flickr based on how many people view the photo, comment on the photo, or mark it as a “fave.”  Photographers always want to get on the Explore page so their photos will be recognized by more people.

Most photographers have noticed that one photographer's photo may appear on the Explore page even if it has fewer views, faves, or comments than another photographer's photo from the same.  This can be frustrating and leads photographers to ask what the secret is.  I've spent a good bit of time researching the issue and testing out a few theories.

This post is a conglomeration of all the factors that I have personally seen to affect the “interestingness” ranking, articles by Flickr employees, and factors which have been released through Flickr's 2006 patent application for the Interestingness formula.  After the factors that impact your Interestingness, I'll give some tips on the subject.

Factors that influence the “Interestingness” rating

  • Date the photo was added
  • Comments
  • Views
  • Faves
  • Notes
  • Number of groups (More groups brings down the rating)
  • Number of contacts had by the photographer
  • Amount of metadata made available concerning the photo (tags, description, geolocation)

Ten Tips for Increasing Your Chances of Getting on Explore

Flickr Tip #1: If you really want to get on Explore, you have the best shot of making it on a Saturday.  Curiously, Saturday is the slowest day for Flickr, so you have less competition.

Flickr Tip #2: Be social!  People will only comment and fave your photos if you do the same for them.  If you read the post two weeks ago from Algo, who took the most popular photo ever on Flickr, then you'll remember that part of his success was due to the fact that he spent a lot of time commenting and faving the work of other photographers.

Flickr Tip #3: Don't add your photo into too many groups.  Go through your groups and decide which ones give you the best return on investment.  Which groups produce views and comments, and which ones don't?  Adding your photo into an excessive number of groups will hurt your interestingness score.

Flickr Tip #4: Post your photo early in the morning.  Remember that explore includes the most interesting photos on the site during one calendar day.  Common sense says that the longer you have your line in the water, the more fish you'll catch.

Flickr Tip #5: Take eye-catching photos.  For more tips on this, check out the post from 4 days ago entitled “A Step-by-Step Guide to Creative Photography.” Sometimes I see absolutely stunning photography on Flickr which never gets noticed by other photographers.  I think one reason for this is that your photo has to look creative or unique from a thumbnail size.  Photos that are not colorful, or photos with fine detail that can only be noticed when enlarged will not get as many views because it won't prompt people to click on the thumbnail if it looks dull from that size.  Let's be honest, just because your photo appears on the explore page doesn't mean that it's a great photo.

Flickr Tip #6: One thing I often do that usually works is to put a tiny little note at the top left of my own photo that says something like, “Come on… you know you want to fave this photo.”  It reminds people to fave when they see it and I've gotten a lot of faves when I've done it.

Personal Note: If you've checked my Flickr photostream lately, you know that I rarely update it.  I'm mostly wrapped up in paying photography gigs lately, so I don't have much time to be social on Flickr.  Personally, I really don't care how popular my photos are.  I really use it as a way to share photos from photowalks to my local group of photographers.  However, I used to be active on Flickr and I admit that I used to LOVE seeing how many comments and faves I could get.  It's just a fun thing and a lot of people want to know how to get on Explore.  That's why I wrote this article.

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52 thoughts on “Flickr SEO: 6 Tips for getting on Flickr’s Explore Page”

    1. i’m going to give some of these tips a try. my photography pleases me and I EXPLORE it first, i give it FAVORITES, the rest is gravy. I have to be happy with it first, so i don’t care about page views and comments anymore. for a while, i turned comments off because i just wanted to share, but people didn’t like that, so i’ve opened the comments back up again, even if i don’t always have time to reply to say thanks. i use flickr for sharing, not validation.

  1. Thanks for tips, particularly agree with the one about being social, networks generate views. I’d just like to add …
    #7 Get Your Flickr Photos Published on Blogs!
    Plenty of people have blogs now, and many of them lack attractive content, so you can propose to them to add your Flickr stream to their blog … it’s quite easy to do via a blog widget.

  2. Me and my girlfriend are receiving married for the conclusion with the calendar year, so this was just the knowledge we essential, thank you extremely much

  3. James Thornbrook

    I’m not sure I agree with all of this. I made NO.1 because I did my best.
    My heart and soul went into that work. Good luck everyone.

  4. Well, let’s give it a try… I really need to improve my overall presence, these tips seems like a great place to start. Thanks for the advice.

  5. HI, does number of contact cont against you? eg if you have added 3000 or more do you have to get more faves/comment proportionaltely before getting noticed? does removign un productive contacts increase that ratio of active users and make explore easier to attain in your opinion? 🙂


  6. You’re kidding, right? I can understand some of these tips but #5 and #6?

    #5 – you’re basically saying to whore yourself out and change your photography to appeal to the masses; or to shape your work with Explore in mind. What does that mean, anyway? A quick view on explore basically tells you the answer: HDR crap, sunsets, colorful macros…the lowest common denominator type of crap.

    #6 – is just pure begging. Not only are you advocating whoring out your work, you’re advocating getting on your knees and begging for faves and comments.

    Tips 1-4 work with your photography, and they are good tips for people desperate to get on Explore. But 5 and 6 are just plain horrible.

    Explore should not be the goal if that means your work looks like typical explore work.

    Bighugelabs tells me I have 27 photos in explore’s top 500 and 72 “dropped.” I’ve never shot with Explore in mind and never will.

    1. True enough. What’s the point if you don’t enjoy doing it. Time is probably the most important ingredient for these cookies.

  7. i used to be obsessed with cracking the formula until i finally landed a couple on explore about 1 week apart. now i could really care less. The first few top ranked photos are usually impressive compositions like a magical landscape or nature shots. from there the “quality” IMO really tapers off and it becomes clear what Explore is really all about. Stupid picture of a cat, iphone photo of a car, picture of a bird, nature macro, abstract macro, overcooked HDR of a motorcycle, flower, an unoriginal shot of the Eiffel Tower, another stupid cat, landscape, another flower macro



    you’ll also see the same faces that have their pics on explore over and over and over. it gets really old. it doesn’t even matter what they take a friggin’ picture of. a half eaten poptart. 99+ faves and 12,492 views. WOW!!!! SO GOOD!!!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!! GREAT WORK!!! THAT’S THE BEST PHOTO OF A POP TART ANYONE HAS EVER TAKEN!!!!

    get that outta here

  8. While it’s true, I’m my own worst critic, it does become frustrating to post on photo sites only to be ignored. I cannot fathom why so many boring nudes, flowers and bugs get the attention they do. But when I favorite or like something, it doesn’t matter what the subject is, only how it was seen. Not the camera, but the eye of the photographer.

    I follow others whose work I like, a few follow me. I just wish there was a way to get some sort of critical comment or response to my work. Old, certainly. Web savvy, no. (if I ever figure out how to do a photo website, you’ll know!) I just like to put up work that interests me. And, in the end, that’s all that counts I suppose.

  9. If you want the secret to getting on Flickr’s explore page, you should talk with the people who take pictures of (1) Legos, (2) Anime dolls and (3) Macro flowers. There are just an absurd number of Lego photos on explore each day. They aren’t even clever or artistic, they’re just friggin’ Legos. I once saw a photo on Explore of a bag of Lego pieces on a guy’s kitchen table. It had about 8,000 views and hundreds of likes. Seriously…a…bag…of…Legos…

  10. Miguel González

    One thing I’ve noticed in Flickr is many photographers add an álbum called “Explore”, then add there the potos they want to appear into Flickr Explore. I don’t know if this is a “sine qua non” condition to get your potos into Flickr explore. Would love anyone could inform us about that.

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