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Author Topic: Keywording Secrets From the Source - Dreamstime  (Read 28178 times)

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« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2010, 10:04 »
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Tyler, good job!

Although it's common sense what Carmen is saying it's very good to hear this straight from a DT employee.

Very valuable info, especially the one she wasn't sure if she can say it  ;D


« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2010, 11:14 »
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Yeah, I actually Canadian but have lived in Norway for the last 6 years. 

Oh yeah, is it nice there? Toronto with it's heat and humidity and noise is getting to me...

Well, you won't be bothered by heat, noise or humidity. ;)

« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2010, 11:35 »
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Ah, lovely!
Both of you :)
Great info, thanks for posting !
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 11:40 by Eireann »

« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2010, 05:33 »
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I was very interested in hearing what Dreamstime said about keywording. Though I realize she was talking more about the technical matters of keywording on Dreamstime website (how the length of title and description affect in image visibility) I would have hoped her to say more about proper keywording, as selling microstock, or selling any photography, is all about good high quality images AND of proper keywording.

I am in business of selling microstock photography from multiple microstock agencies to users, both corporate users and private persons. I have long past in selling imagery, and have also carefully researched how and what the users are looking for, what keywords they are using, and why they are using them. I am in love with the imagery, but I must say I am extremely disappointed in the quality of the keywording of Microstock imagery. And so are the serious users, too.

The microstock agencies have in common much better websites than the so called traditional agencies. MS also has great new functions available for users and photographers. The imagery is nowadays getting better and better. So in sense of making good money, only heaven could be the limit - but the problem is the keywording - it is now almost the one and only reason why some many corporate users (advertising agencies, book publishers, magazine publishers) stay away from microstock. And finally the big money is in their hands, they are those who regulary need images. Especially the book publishers buy thousands and thousands of images every year.

Why is the keywording so bad. There are many reasons, and I wanted to list some samples:

1. Keyword spamming. There are photographers who seem to put almost all words they can find from some dictionary. 90 % of those words have nothing to do with what is essential with the image content. The users hate this. All those who are professionally involved in shooting and selling microstock should put pressure on these photographers, and to microstock sellers, so that we could get these guys out of the business

2. Discussion about the amount of keywords. It just is not possible to put any minimum or maximum keyword amount. If some technology is punishing the photographer because of the amount of keywords, that is just stupid. The amount of keywords totally depends on the image content. There must be enough keywords, but only keywords that are essential.

3. What one should have in keywords. Only what is essential, and everything that is essential. One can use, and should use, also descriptive keywords, but only essential ones.

4. The image title should be correct and short, "Smiling businesswoman in office". The description can be a bit longer, but not too long. Please keep in your mind that mostly also title and description are used in search engines, so everything you have in title and description have effect on search result - so be careful not to  use any words that might show the image in wrong search result

5. Language. Usually the keywords must be in english. One should always make sure the used keyword is correct in english; it is not enough just to take the word from dictionary, but it is important to know/learn/understand the context, too. And one should never just "invent" new english words.

I want to share the following samples with you:

- words "honey, baby, babe, *, pussycat" in images showing ordinary women and girls (housewife, businesswoman, schoolgirl, teenager etc) - these are not only humiliating women nowadays, but also create totally wrong search results. When there is some editorial user wanting to find nice baby image to illustrate the baby/maternity magazine, this user really hates to see all those images showing adult women, or teenagers, etc. And really, women are representing around 80 % of professional image buyers, we should not make them angry by saying they are babies or pussycats....

- food. Some cow on field, or fish in lake, is not yet food. They are animals. We can have "beef cattle" in keywords, but not food. One should either not write keyword "kitchen" in every image showing fish, fruit, vegetable, meal etc - kitchen should be used only if the room kitchen is visible, or it is an image of kitchen sink, kitchen utensils etc

- berry and fruit. Apple is fruit, but it is not berry. Bilberry is berry but not fruit. There is difference, let's not mix these and make users mad. It is possible to make juice and jam from apple, but if the image is not showing juice or jam but only some apples, one should not put "jam" and/or "juice" in the keywords.

- Santa Claus. Most of the Xmas images seem to contain keyword "Santa Claus" though the image is not showing Santa Claus. If there is some child or woman or just father of some family wearing "santa hat", pls. do not put there "Santa Claus", as that word should be used only for that old man giving preasants once a year.

- in common: please do not list everything Xmas contains in all images: if there is an image showing Xmas tree, please do not put there "Santa Claus, Christmas preasant, baby, family, gift, jesus, baby jesus" etc if those things are not visible in the image. And though Jesus was born on Xmas, do not put that keyword in the images, unless the image really shows some Jesus statue or Jesus painting.

- foetus; there are thousands of images listing keyword "foetus" though the image shows only "pregnant woman". Yes, the foetus is inside her stomach, but we can not see it in the image, so we can not put it in keywords/title/description.

- be careful with ages and terms for them: kids between 0-2 years (max) are babies, 2+-4 are toddlers, 4+-5 are small children, 6+ are preschoolers, 12-19 years-old are teenages etc. Middle-age starts at 40+, seniors are 60+

- when there is a batch of images from same shooting and one is using some keyword template; be sure to delete the wrong keywords so that word "woman" goes only into those images that really show woman and word "man" only into those that  really show "man" and words "man and woman" go only tot hose that really show both of them

This list could be continued for ever, but I believe the samples give a small hint of the problemacy that now exists in keywording. I really think we all should give more value to what we are doing, and start doing it even better. In that way no-one can beat us.

Microbius

« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2010, 06:34 »
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I think a lot of the problems come from the way that micro started out. The sites were in such a rush to grow their collections they didn't have a handle on keywords at the outset and these things are quite hard to sort retrospectively. The ideal for the buyers would be the agency doing all the keywording from the outset with the contributor able to then appeal for more keywords to be added (for example if the image was too specialist for the keyworders to keyword accurately) Just imagine how much cleaner the search results would be!


« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2010, 08:40 »
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Keywording makes everyone crazy, contributors too...

When you are new to this business, you are making lots of mistakes which mostly can't be corrected later. (At DT you can.)

When using double words (English has many!) like "Santa Claus", "Prairie dog", "mute swan". The agencies split it up in two words and sometimes even set the words alphabetically and remove the capitals. Also very nice when using scientific names. "Cygnus olor"= "Mute swan" becomes: cygnus, mute, olor, swan. In scientific names the first word has always a capital, the second has not. Nice results, huh?  ;D
A Prairie dog becomes a dog. No way to avoid that when the main subject in the image is a prairie dog.
Then the search of buyers. When searching for a baby animal or a human baby, you have to use that in your search. When stockagencies let come up lots of human baby images when the search is "baby animal", then it seems to me that you have to blame the search engine. At least they ought not to be found at the first pages of the searchresults.

It would be nice if buyers would think also about the other side of things. Contributors are demanded to do this and to avoid that by stockagencies as well as buyers and when they indeed do all the hard work over and  over again, they get at last paid 25 or 50 cent for an XL image. How many buyers would even think about it to work for about one dollar an hour or sometimes less? But that's where every contributor has to start with these days.
When sending emails with an explanation of what happens to the keywording and asking if it is not possible to hold double words together in keywords, you will get no answer, or a friendly: yes, we see the problem, we are working on it. But nothing happens. Perhaps searchengines can not be made that good and we have to live with it...

All the differences between agencies makes it not easier either. Singular and plural for example. SS removes one of the two when using: child and children.
But buyers get not the same results when using the singular or the plural form. When submitting you have to change all this by hand (other agencies accept both forms together) and again to get 25 cent paid for it. At least when starting in the business. What would a buyer do himself when he had to choose to redo his work for such a low amount of dollars or move on and try to do  better in the future? Another problem is that contributors are not sure what happens to their images when re-keywording them. When I have an image that sells well, I don't dare to change anything! And when you are a newby, you don't know what to expect from your images. You only learn by time and experience...

Of course you are right that keyword spamming makes a mess of the searchresults and everyone should try to avoid doing this. But people will always make mistakes and the more people (and the more images), the more mistakes are coming up.

They say that keyword spamming do not pay off, but why will people do it then? When it hurts your business in the end, it's not a good idea to even start with doing this! I think that most of this happens by accident and that there is only a small group that do this structurally (and I think they also get mostly quickly a warning from the agencies)

« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2010, 10:19 »
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I was very interested in hearing what Dreamstime said about keywording.
Great post that sums it all up! (+ a heart).
One of the problems in proper keywording is that many current microstock photographers are not native English speakers, and they use some of the keywording scavenging tools online, not really understanding what all those words actually mean.

As for DT, you have the chance to report keyword spam very easily by flagging the image. According to Achilles (DT CEO) this really works. I don't like to flag under my contributor account (out of fear for retaliation) but you can bet I do it a lot via my buyer's account!

The search engine of DT is pretty well known, but the problem is most independents upload to several micro sites and all are a bit different, especially how the title and description are handled. So you will have to make a compromise in your meta as a contributor.

I just had a look at my latest DT sales of this month, and they were all bought by the keyword  N/A. That means by a visual search starting from categories, random browsing, Google images, or "similars" in other's portfolio.
Keywords alone might not be the whole story.

« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2010, 10:25 »
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Ah, lovely!
Both of you :) Great info, thanks for posting !
Leaf did a great job squeezing out that part of info out of Tangie in the last 5 secs. Looking at the cutting in those last 5 sec, there must have been going on some pushing in the background.  ;)

« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2010, 11:58 »
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Ah, lovely!
Both of you :) Great info, thanks for posting !
Leaf did a great job squeezing out that part of info out of Tangie in the last 5 secs. Looking at the cutting in those last 5 sec, there must have been going on some pushing in the background.  ;)

haha.. no, no pushing - she just wasn't sure she was allowed to share those stats so she OK'ed it with Serban first who was standing out of the scene.

« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2010, 16:25 »
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she OK'ed it with Serban first who was standing out of the scene.
Oh, how mundane. The boss was watching. I liked my hoax better  ;)

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2010, 18:24 »
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Good point of view Penquin. I personally don't use a lot of keywords and never really have. A problem I run into...take for instance an apple.....keywords apple, fruit, food, red, round....what else is there? I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you have an isolated image and it only contains one item....how are you suppose to put in 7 keywords if there are only 5? The sites won't accept it unless it has at least 7. Now is when you got to start pulling some irrelevant keywords out of the air. Same thing with descriptions....sometimes a simple description isn't enough. That's when I get frustrated.

« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2010, 19:35 »
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A problem I run into...take for instance an apple.....keywords apple, fruit, food, red, round....
Did you ever see square apples?  ;)
OK, let's give it a try.
apple, fruit, food, red, reddish, shiny, apples, fruity, isolated, cutout, silo, nobody, one, alone, tasty, glossy, tasteful, juicy, droplets, fresh, produce, cool, agriculture, agricultural, fruits, succulent, Newton, gravity, falling, Eve, Eden, dieting, diet, low-calories, slimming, target, Wilhelm, Tell, white, background, health, healthy, nature if you're Russian add sexy, beautiful  if you're on 123RF add laptop, Parthenon, Florida, California, IT, sunset, waterfall, tourism, travel, resort, tropical, beach, fashion.

Include potential non-use in the description: don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me.  :P
« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 19:38 by FD-regular »

« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2010, 23:12 »
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Thanks Penguin - excellent summary of some of the issues.

« Reply #39 on: September 03, 2010, 02:51 »
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Good point of view Penquin. I personally don't use a lot of keywords and never really have. A problem I run into...take for instance an apple.....keywords apple, fruit, food, red, round....what else is there? I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you have an isolated image and it only contains one item....how are you suppose to put in 7 keywords if there are only 5? The sites won't accept it unless it has at least 7. Now is when you got to start pulling some irrelevant keywords out of the air. Same thing with descriptions....sometimes a simple description isn't enough. That's when I get frustrated.

Good point. That is exactly why I said it is not possible to state any minimum or maximum amount of keywords. That just is something I can not understand. OK, minimum perhaps should be some keywords as there seem to be a lot of imagery with no keywords at all, only the title or description.

But it would be so much more important to have the correct and only correct words, no matter if they are in title, description, or in keywords. If you are uploading the imagery into agency which gives top priority to title or description, put them there, and if keywords are obligatory, put the same words there, too.

The title and description are important because of internet search engines, but they only make it more important to have correct words in them, too.

« Reply #40 on: September 03, 2010, 02:59 »
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A problem I run into...take for instance an apple.....keywords apple, fruit, food, red, round....
Did you ever see square apples?  ;)
OK, let's give it a try.
apple, fruit, food, red, reddish, shiny, apples, fruity, isolated, cutout, silo, nobody, one, alone, tasty, glossy, tasteful, juicy, droplets, fresh, produce, cool, agriculture, agricultural, fruits, succulent, Newton, gravity, falling, Eve, Eden, dieting, diet, low-calories, slimming, target, Wilhelm, Tell, white, background, health, healthy, nature if you're Russian add sexy, beautiful  if you're on 123RF add laptop, Parthenon, Florida, California, IT, sunset, waterfall, tourism, travel, resort, tropical, beach, fashion.

Include potential non-use in the description: don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me.  :P

Thanks for the excellent sample of the keywording mess that exists. When I see keywording like this I can not help thinking anything else but the person who made it must be totally mad, and that is exactly what the users are thinking. And I find it difficult to understand why this person took all that time to create those totally wrong keywords, even with some automatic keywording system that takes time, uff.

Sorry to say that. But I am writing here only because I am trying topush the work you guys create to users, I am proud of the imagery, I am proud of my work, and would love to see the users to be proud of us, too - but in this current way it is very difficult. Believe me, I hear the comments daily, by phone, by email.

« Reply #41 on: September 03, 2010, 10:17 »
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I'm sorry but I am really struggling to give these 'keywording secrets' any real  credibility. The evidence of actual search results pretty much disproves that the numbers of keywords have any significant impact at all.

I'll tell you why. I do a lot of food subjects. If a food subject proves popular generally (not specifically at DT) then I'll probably re-shoot it a few months later, often many times over. I'll re-shoot it because I think I can improve on the previous version and/or I want to shoot it with different ingredients or accompaniments. As a result I have many shoots of the same subject uploaded at various times over the last 4-5 years.

Strange thing is on DT when I do a search on one of my pet subjects (often from the keywords used by a customer) then almost all of my images tend to be grouped fairly closely together on one or two pages. The 'normal' criteria that dictates an individual image's position within the default sort-order, namely sales, views and age, seem to have little or no effect at DT. My images will all be largely together whether they are old or new or have lots of sales or none at all. Ok, we all know that the title words are hugely significant and an individual contributor will tend to title image series similarly (and will probably have a similar number of keywords too) __ but the 'grouping' of a contributor's images seem to take it way beyond that.

It seems to me that the most significant issue, after the title keywords, that dictates an image's position in the default sort order, is actually the contributor themselves. How it works or indeed why I have no idea but that is how it appears to me.

There is of course a quick way to determine whether the number of keywords affects sort order position. Just go to a series of your own images and delete a few less relevant keywords on some of them __ then leave it a few days or weeks and check if they've climbed up the order in comparison to the unedited images.

« Reply #42 on: September 03, 2010, 14:30 »
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It seems to me that the most significant issue, after the title keywords, that dictates an image's position in the default sort order, is actually the contributor themselves. How it works or indeed why I have no idea but that is how it appears to me.
images.

well that is not so far from the truth either.  Serban mentioned that having a good download / image ratio also helps in the rankings but I have yet to put that video up.  So deleting old non selling images will improve your images search ranking.

« Reply #43 on: September 03, 2010, 17:40 »
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well that is not so far from the truth either.  Serban mentioned that having a good download / image ratio also helps in the rankings but I have yet to put that video up.  So deleting old non selling images will improve your images search ranking.
That's another secret. Put the vid up soon!

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #44 on: September 03, 2010, 18:53 »
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It seems to me that the most significant issue, after the title keywords, that dictates an image's position in the default sort order, is actually the contributor themselves. How it works or indeed why I have no idea but that is how it appears to me.
images.

well that is not so far from the truth either.  Serban mentioned that having a good download / image ratio also helps in the rankings but I have yet to put that video up.  So deleting old non selling images will improve your images search ranking.

Now everyone is going to be rushing to delete their port of non selling images.. :D :D No really that is a good thing to do. I started awhile back doing that at dreamstime but got side tracked having to do something else so never got it done. What is really amazing is when you look at those musty old antique images, you wonder how they even got on there and looking at it you realize why it never sold and are a little embarrassed having it sitting inside your port.

« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2010, 19:14 »
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well that is not so far from the truth either.  Serban mentioned that having a good download / image ratio also helps in the rankings but I have yet to put that video up.  So deleting old non selling images will improve your images search ranking.
That's another secret. Put the vid up soon!
Yeah, I'll be looking forward to that!

lisafx

« Reply #46 on: September 04, 2010, 12:08 »
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A problem I run into...take for instance an apple.....keywords apple, fruit, food, red, round....
Did you ever see square apples?  ;)
OK, let's give it a try.
apple, fruit, food, red, reddish, shiny, apples, fruity, isolated, cutout, silo, nobody, one, alone, tasty, glossy, tasteful, juicy, droplets, fresh, produce, cool, agriculture, agricultural, fruits, succulent, Newton, gravity, falling, Eve, Eden, dieting, diet, low-calories, slimming, target, Wilhelm, Tell, white, background, health, healthy, nature if you're Russian add sexy, beautiful  if you're on 123RF add laptop, Parthenon, Florida, California, IT, sunset, waterfall, tourism, travel, resort, tropical, beach, fashion.

Include potential non-use in the description: don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me.  :P

ROFL!  Great illustration of how we get keyword Spam ;D

Donna, if you really need to fatten out the isolated apple to 7 keywords without spamming you can add "isolated"and "white background".

lisafx

« Reply #47 on: September 04, 2010, 12:12 »
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Serban mentioned that having a good download / image ratio also helps in the rankings but I have yet to put that video up.  So deleting old non selling images will improve your images search ranking.

Very good info.  It's also been mentioned that your acceptance ratio plays a part in image placement. 

1601880

« Reply #48 on: September 14, 2010, 22:45 »
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That was a good interview with helpful information. I subscribed to your youtube channel, simplefoto
Look forward to more videos by you.
Thanks for coming out of your cave.
:)


 

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