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Author Topic: More or fewer keywords  (Read 1112 times)

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« on: May 13, 2020, 03:19 »
0
What is better, to have more or fewer keywords? Some microstock agencies suggest having fewer keywords, which helps in image discoverability. Or is it that only advantage for buyers? Is there anyone who uses only some keywords? ???


Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2020, 09:31 »
+4
What is better, to have more or fewer keywords? Some microstock agencies suggest having fewer keywords, which helps in image discoverability. Or is it that only advantage for buyers? Is there anyone who uses only some keywords? ???

Yes, more or fewer is best.  ;D

Here you go: Some people will swear that more is best, including using combined words to have more. Others will say "less is more" which is my view.

All the words that accurately and actually appear or describe the image, is the correct answer. For a simple subject, less words, for something with more variety and more complicated, more words.

The agencies that say better discoverability with only accurate words and anyplace else that ranks by words used for a sale, (means too many words and words that don't match will downgrade your image rank), means that buyers will have a better experience, which to me = better sales.

No one is going to buy a photo of a Watermelon when they were looking for an Apple. I see no useful purpose in more words, just because we can have more words, if the words aren't directly in or related to the image. Unrelated words can hurt your search rank.

So that's my answer. It's not how many, it's about if the words are true, accurate and represent the image, so when a buyer searches, they will find a better match.

« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2020, 10:24 »
+4
100% accurate keywords always works for me  :). more or less does not matter.

there are so many reaching out on a limb keywords in hopes to get a sale that it gets ridiculous.

think like a buyer when you keyword. a buyer relies on accuracy. if it's a merlot grape, don't keyword it as a shiraz grape, if it is a gibbon don't keyword it as a monkey as it is an ape, and apes are not monkey's, but they are both primates....

... do you see where this is going?




georgep7

« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2020, 13:54 »
0
Quote

... do you see where this is going?


Yup, straight to an English school!
For us not native speakers it is a puzzle to find accurate descriptions sometimes.
And even a good vocabulary does not ensure good grammar to title or describe efficiently.

« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2020, 14:04 »
0
I should be more specific. I don't know what search algorithms agencies use? If I select for the same image 10 keywords vs. 50 keywords with the same searching term "warning sign". Would the first image be preferred by the search algorithms over the second which has more keywords? :o

« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2020, 14:33 »
+1
What is better, to have more or fewer keywords? Some microstock agencies suggest having fewer keywords, which helps in image discoverability. Or is it that only advantage for buyers? Is there anyone who uses only some keywords? ???

We actually dont know how microstock search algorithms works. Each agency have its own alogrithm.

Maybe some agencies gives your images a better postion in search if the image uses less keywords. If not, then there is no reason to dont put as much keywords as possible.

« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2020, 14:52 »
+1
Quote

... do you see where this is going?


Yup, straight to an English school!
For us not native speakers it is a puzzle to find accurate descriptions sometimes.
And even a good vocabulary does not ensure good grammar to title or describe efficiently.

respectfully you don't need english school to know that a merlot grape is not a shiraz grape. that said, there are many native english speakers that spam with keywords this way in desperation to get a sale. i am a native english speaker and i simply do some research on what i shoot to find "accurate" keywords. i have seen keywords that are "jungle" and "forest" for the same image, and my all time favorite a tea plantation shot in malaysia with the keywords "china" "india" "sri lanka"... and that person was not a native english speaker, but surely that person knows a bit of geography?

just keep it factual and accurate and you should be fine.


georgep7

« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2020, 15:23 »
+1
I should be more specific. I don't know what search algorithms agencies use? If I select for the same image 10 keywords vs. 50 keywords with the same searching term "warning sign". Would the first image be preferred by the search algorithms over the second which has more keywords? :o

The one with more sales or views is on top I guess.

Quote
"jungle" and "forest" for the same image

Perhaps it was a scene of "Forest Gump"? Forest running in the jungle? :P
I understand @Clair Voyant, but sometimes even descriptive search for an unknown word or object becomes hard. But again, to be honest this is not very often.

« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2020, 16:52 »
+1
The more relevant keywords the better. Because you actually have no idea what words different customers use for searching. On iStock you can see which keywords are used most often to find each image by looking at the keywords order on their individual landing page. Clearly that website runs A/B testing on each keyword and see if it leads to click throughs.

SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2020, 21:05 »
+1
While I wouldn't keyword a merlot as a shiraz, I almost certainly would keyword a gibbon as a monkey. For the same 'think like a buyer' approach though... they may rely on accuracy, but they may not be all that accurate themselves. And they might just want a cute image/video of any kind of monkey-like animal... and if so, they're probably more likely to search for 'monkey', than they are 'primate'.

« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2020, 04:08 »
0
The more relevant keywords the better. Because you actually have no idea what words different customers use for searching. On iStock you can see which keywords are used most often to find each image by looking at the keywords order on their individual landing page. Clearly that website runs A/B testing on each keyword and see if it leads to click throughs.
Where do you see keywords order? Can you show me a screenshot?  I find Related Searches useful on Dreamstime. I can see that iStock has this option too.

« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2020, 07:35 »
0
I almost certainly would keyword a gibbon as a monkey. For the same 'think like a buyer' approach though... they may rely on accuracy,

And that is why I go out of my way to keyword with accuracy. I think my buyers deserve this. I am betting the farm on my buyers relying on accuracy. That's just the way I roll.

« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2020, 08:20 »
+1
The more relevant keywords the better. Because you actually have no idea what words different customers use for searching. On iStock you can see which keywords are used most often to find each image by looking at the keywords order on their individual landing page. Clearly that website runs A/B testing on each keyword and see if it leads to click throughs.
Where do you see keywords order? Can you show me a screenshot?  I find Related Searches useful on Dreamstime. I can see that iStock has this option too.

On iStock you need to click into the landing page for each image, then scroll to the bottom of the page to look at the keywords. If all the keywords are in alphabetical order, it means they haven't done enough tests to figure out which keywords are testing better for that image. Otherwise you will see the first few keywords that are clearly out of alphabetical order and the rest are in alphabetical order. The ones in front out of order are the ones that through testing, they have seen customers use those keywords to find that image.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2020, 08:58 »
0
Interesting - I just checked the iStock website with some of my images and there is a distinct difference in the order of keywords between popular images and ones that are rarely looked at. Thanks for the information - something new learned every day!

Steve

« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2020, 09:35 »
+1

Yup, straight to an English school!
For us not native speakers it is a puzzle to find accurate descriptions sometimes.
And even a good vocabulary does not ensure good grammar to title or describe efficiently.

For non-native speakers, I would recommend you find images very similar to yours and take note of the keywords they use. Also look at their titles and descriptions. That should help you narrow down the keywords you use.

HTH

« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2020, 09:58 »
+3
And that is why I go out of my way to keyword with accuracy. I think my buyers deserve this. I am betting the farm on my buyers relying on accuracy. That's just the way I roll.

The only problem with your noble quest is this:

"think like a buyer" and "100% accurate keywords" are not the same.

The gibbon scenario is a good example.

First of all, many languages do not have different words (at least that are in common use) for "monkey" and "ape", and their first thought when searching in English would likely be "monkey".

Furthermore, dare I assume that most native English speakers would classify a gibbon as a monkey when asked, and it would be a perfectly adequate search result when searching for the general term "monkey".

Now, putting "gorilla" or "chimpanzee" in there would be keyword spamming, but "monkey" would be smart keywording.

According to every single list of most used keywords by buyers, general terms are always used more. The buyers who are absolutely trying to avoid buying monkeys and only apes will already know exactly what they're looking for. They are, however, not the majority.

---

I would aim for 90% accuracy with the 10% consisting of INTELLIGENTLY chosen words that buyers would use to find what you're selling.

By the way, did you get the jungle/forest keyworders arrested? ;)
« Last Edit: May 14, 2020, 10:35 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2020, 10:21 »
0
Super valuable info. I've been submitting images to istockphoto since 2002 and have been trying to figure out the order of keywords ever since. It's been a mystery to me, though I had my theories.

So appreciate your comment! Thanks.


AnS

« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2020, 10:35 »
+1
Non-native English speaker here, but regarding the jungle / forest misuse I can see some sense in it.  :D A jungle is pretty similar to a rainforest, which can be also called a tropical forest.
I kind of agree with the 90% accuracy and 10% probable useful keywords.

Another thing which I didn't see being mentioned here is that on Adobestock for example the maximum keywords you can insert is 50, however it's advisable to use maximum only 49, other way the keywords won't get weighted separately (the first few being more important) but every single one of them gets the fraction of the "total sum" equally.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2020, 10:37 by AnS »

« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2020, 13:06 »
0
And that is why I go out of my way to keyword with accuracy. I think my buyers deserve this. I am betting the farm on my buyers relying on accuracy. That's just the way I roll.

The only problem with your noble quest is this:

"think like a buyer" and "100% accurate keywords" are not the same.

The gibbon scenario is a good example.

First of all, many languages do not have different words (at least that are in common use) for "monkey" and "ape", and their first thought when searching in English would likely be "monkey".

Furthermore, dare I assume that most native English speakers would classify a gibbon as a monkey when asked, and it would be a perfectly adequate search result when searching for the general term "monkey".

Now, putting "gorilla" or "chimpanzee" in there would be keyword spamming, but "monkey" would be smart keywording.

According to every single list of most used keywords by buyers, general terms are always used more. The buyers who are absolutely trying to avoid buying monkeys and only apes will already know exactly what they're looking for. They are, however, not the majority.

---

I would aim for 90% accuracy with the 10% consisting of INTELLIGENTLY chosen words that buyers would use to find what you're selling.

By the way, did you get the jungle/forest keyworders arrested? ;)

Where I come from Bubba you are either pregnant or your are not. Never are you 90% pregnant.

Noble I am not, but if I can use accuracy in my keywords with my end user in mind then I do so, I don't willfully try to sneak one in just cause it might make a sale. You obviously would.



 



« Last Edit: May 14, 2020, 13:09 by Clair Voyant »

SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2020, 22:16 »
+3
Yeah, you're completely missing the point! It's not about using cat in an image of a dog... it's about considering that somebody might search for 'big fluffy clouds in the sky' rather than 'altocumulus clouds in the troposphere'.

...and the title of this post is a good example as well. While 'fewer' is accurate as we're talking about quantifiable numbers, a lot of people would have titled it 'more or less keywords'.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2020, 22:29 by SpaceStockFootage »

« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2020, 00:21 »
0
Yeah, you're completely missing the point! It's not about using cat in an image of a dog... it's about considering that somebody might search for 'big fluffy clouds in the sky' rather than 'altocumulus clouds in the troposphere'.

...and the title of this post is a good example as well. While 'fewer' is accurate as we're talking about quantifiable numbers, a lot of people would have titled it 'more or less keywords'.

you are correct, your cloud reference would be applicable or shall we say display accuracy presuming they are actually altocumulus clouds. presuming the buyer does not really know anything about clouds and you have a keyword stratocumulus then I guess that works for you too. not me.

and fewer does not translate to accurate, more can too, depending on subject matter more can be better, provided they are accurate.

i have been a full time photojournalist for well over 30 years with many feature articles in some fairly respected magazines to my credit and my captions, descriptions, and keywords are the lifeline of my job. i simply could not run my business by operating at 90% accuracy.

let's shut this one down.


SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2020, 03:26 »
+2
and fewer does not translate to accurate, more can too, depending on subject matter more can be better, provided they are accurate.

Once again you've completely missed the point of what I was saying, which is a perfect demonstration of what I am saying! More cannot also be accurate when you are referring to something being less than something else... or fewer than something else. I was not talking about whether somebody should use more or fewer keywords... or more or less keywords, as the case may be. I was referring to the word usage of 'fewer' over 'less' in the context of the sentence/title. Fewer is accurate... if less was used, then that would have been inaccurate (but close enough and accurate enough for somebody to know what you mean in most cases). However, not everybody knows that, so if you have an image tagged as fewer and people are searching for less... you're missing out on views.

Now I'm perfectly aware that my original comment on the subject may not have been 100% clear, or could have been worded differently, but that's the entire point of my argument... you can be as accurate as you want, but the people searching for your content might not be. To err is human, and while I'm not suggesting anyone adopt spammy techniques like misspelling of keywords to catch people who might make typos, or tagging a horse as bear... I'd definitely recommend including slang, common misconceptions, acceptable usage etc etc. That's why you'd tag a tomato as a fruit and a vegetable... peanuts as a nut and a legume etc etc.

But still... you stick to your keywords of 'canines with spheroidal abdomens exhibiting intermittent azure pigmentation of the epidermis' and I'll stick to my keywords of 'dogs with egg-shaped bellies and light blue patchy skin' (while also including yours).

...i simply could not run my business by operating at 90% accuracy.

What are you operating at currently?

 

50%

« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2020, 03:35 »
+1
You should use as many keywords as possible it is better if the keywords are accurate but everything that makes your images more visible to buyers does help and keywords do this task. If keyword spamming wouldn't work nobody would do it. But unfortunately it does help.
I would love to see the agencies limit the keywords to something like 20 or so but as long as they allow 50 you should use 50.

« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2020, 03:56 »
+3
I almost certainly would keyword a gibbon as a monkey. For the same 'think like a buyer' approach though... they may rely on accuracy,

And that is why I go out of my way to keyword with accuracy. I think my buyers deserve this. I am betting the farm on my buyers relying on accuracy. That's just the way I roll.

In my language we have words for both "monkey" and "ape", but in every zoo you can find gorillas in monkey pavilion and the Planet of Apes movie is here known as "Planet of Monkeys". People know that it is zoologically incorrect, but it is the habit. So even educated person - just not zoologist, can use monkey when searching for ape. Not mention that non-native English speaker can know only the word monkey, because it is more common .

50%

« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2020, 04:08 »
+1
People here forgot that not only contributors are non-English speakers buyers are often too if the site is translated to their language then the translation is not accurate at all! If it's not translated to their language then their search is more visual. Therefore if you have an image of a gibbon and you don't use the keyword monkey you will certainly loose sales!

50%

« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2020, 04:28 »
+1


No one is going to buy a photo of a Watermelon when they were looking for an Apple.
This is not true look up at Dreamstime you can see for which keyword search of the buyer the image got actually downloaded. You will see many strange downloads for searched keywords even for keywords that are not in your picture at all. In the end it's all about to make your picture visible to the buyer!

« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2020, 04:36 »
+2
People here forgot that not only contributors are non-English speakers buyers are often too if the site is translated to their language then the translation is not accurate at all! If it's not translated to their language then their search is more visual. Therefore if you have an image of a gibbon and you don't use the keyword monkey you will certainly loose sales!

Actually looking at some gorilla image (without keyword monkey) on Shutterstock and changing in to my native language - the English "ape" is translated as "monkey".

And there are no search results when looking for "ape" in my native language.

Overall the translation is bad, resulting in some very strange and completly absurd keywords.

So please be accurate in this chaos. Your competitors thank you for that in advance  ;D
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 05:14 by cosus »


« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2020, 08:06 »
0
Another thing which I didn't see being mentioned here is that on Adobestock for example the maximum keywords you can insert is 50, however it's advisable to use maximum only 49, other way the keywords won't get weighted separately (the first few being more important) but every single one of them gets the fraction of the "total sum" equally.
Only 49 keywords. ??? How do you know that? Can I read these instructions somewhere?

« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2020, 10:44 »
+2
Another thing which I didn't see being mentioned here is that on Adobestock for example the maximum keywords you can insert is 50, however it's advisable to use maximum only 49, other way the keywords won't get weighted separately (the first few being more important) but every single one of them gets the fraction of the "total sum" equally.
Only 49 keywords. ??? How do you know that? Can I read these instructions somewhere?

Adobe people mentioned is in their webcast last year. I don't think it is written down anywhere.


 

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