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I have a number of images of the Boxing day floods in Hebden Bridge.  The River Calder flooded all along the valley.  As a consequence various flood defence measures took place, one of which was the dredging of Hebden Beck, one of the tributaries of the River Calder.  Someone searched for the River Calder, and all my images of Hebden Beck being dredged, and various others showing the beck and the town, showed up in their search.  Not one of the images has the word 'Calder' or 'River Calder' as a tag.  They all have 'river' as a tag, and they all have 'Calder Valley' as a tag.  Im assuming that the search engine saw 'river' and 'Calder Valley' and put the two together.  Why does this happen?  Surely the whole point of being able to tag with a phrase is to isolate the words in those phrases so they aren't combined with other words to give false views, wasting the customers time and adversely affecting  my clickthrough rate or view stats or whatever it is?  Any thing I can do to prevent this?

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You're right with your assumption that the system picked out those words from your phrases. I completely agree that words within phrases shouldn't carry any weight in a search, as like you say, that defeats the purpose of using phrases. Those words PROBABLY have less relevance as those words on their own (I don't know that for a fact) but I'd rather it didn't happen at all MOST the time. It can be useful, but mostly it isn't.

 

I've asked Alamy about this and it's also in their documentation, so it's intentional that it works this way, but personally I don't get it. Maybe it helps those who don't spend much time tagging, but it harms those of us who put a lot of time into doing a good job.

 

There's nothing you can do about it I'm afraid, at least that I'm aware of, other than be extra careful with tags and which ones you make supertags, to try and limit how much this happens.

 

Geoff.

Edited by GS-Images

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39 minutes ago, GS-Images said:

You're right with your assumption that the system picked out those words from your phrases. I completely agree that words within phrases shouldn't carry any weight in a search, as like you say, that defeats the purpose of using phrases. Those words PROBABLY have less relevance as those words on their own (I don't know that for a fact) but I'd rather it didn't happen at all MOST the time. It can be useful, but mostly it isn't.

 

I've asked Alamy about this and it's also in their documentation, so it's intentional that it works this way, but personally I don't get it. Maybe it helps those who don't spend much time tagging, but it harms those of us who put a lot of time into doing a good job.

 

There's nothing you can do about it I'm afraid, at least that I'm aware of, other than be extra careful with tags and which ones you make supertags, to try and limit how much this happens.

 

Geoff.

 

My keywording is very rudimentary and i rarely get views which are not applicable maintaining a ratio of 1 zoom to every 300 views and a sales rate of 1 for every 3 zooms.

 

Regen

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Cheers Geoff.  It does seem to make the use of phrases a waste of time.  And like I say, its not just us contributors who are affected, but also the paying customers who,are faced with hundreds of superfluous images.  This surely isn't a good advertisement for Alamy, and you would think they would want to provide a very targeted service.  The whole system is predicated on accurate search and returns, otherwise what's the point?   I wonder how Alamy stacks up against other stock agencies search efficacy?

 

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16 minutes ago, regen said:

 

My keywording is very rudimentary and i rarely get views which are not applicable maintaining a ratio of 1 zoom to every 300 views and a sales rate of 1 for every 3 zooms.

 

Regen

I've tried to be very  comprehensive with my keywording, maybe thats where I'm going wrong... Although I just did some quick calculations and my zoom/sales/views ratios are similar to yours. (Thanks for sharing that - its a useful way to work out the stats. Wonder what other peoples ratios are like?)    But it sounds like I'm spending way longer keyboarding, so my hourly rate is probably a lot less than yours!  

Edited by Graham Hardy
typo

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Ok - its getting a  little ridiculous - I uploaded some images of the River Dordogne, tagged with words such as morning, mist, river, France, French, countryside, early morning, dawn,  etc etc.  Someone searched for Dawn French....

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In my tags there are 21 words in between dawn and French - so proximity doesn't seem to count for much.

Edited by Graham Hardy
typo

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This is a subject which gets debated every 6 months or so on the forum. The keywording/search isn't prefect but it has improved considerably form what it was when they introduced the new Alamy Image Manager

 

Personally, I'd continue to use phrases where they make sense as you never know when Alamy might make changes to the search engine to make phrases more important or discount words in phrases form other search results unless the words in the phrase are also added as tags in their own rights.

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41 minutes ago, Graham Hardy said:

Ok - its getting a  little ridiculous - I uploaded some images of the River Dordogne, tagged with words such as morning, mist, river, France, French, countryside, early morning, dawn,  etc etc.  Someone searched for Dawn French....

 

I'm not sure that this can be helped if both terms are tags.

 

How could it be avoided since it is possible that somebody might want a picture of a 'French dawn' , 'dawn mist', 'river dawn' etc

 

This reminds me of a story about some EU conference when a French MEP was going on about we should take notice e of the wise people of Normandy, and the Brits cracked up at the translation of how we should take notice of 'Norman Wisdom' .:D

Edited by geogphotos
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55 minutes ago, Graham Hardy said:

I've tried to be very  comprehensive with my keywording, maybe thats where I'm going wrong... Although I just did some quick calculations and my zoom/sales/views ratios are similar to yours. (Thanks for sharing that - its a useful way to work out the stats. Wonder what other peoples ratios are like?)    But it sounds like I'm spending way longer keyboarding, so my hourly rate is probably a lot less than yours!  

 

Hi Graham,

 

My mental arithmetic was not to good the views to zoos ratio is nearer to 1 zoom per 100 views and 3 zoos per sale.

 

Regen

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1 hour ago, Graham Hardy said:

Ok - its getting a  little ridiculous - I uploaded some images of the River Dordogne, tagged with words such as morning, mist, river, France, French, countryside, early morning, dawn,  etc etc.  Someone searched for Dawn French....

 

An experienced searcher would probably put quotation marks around "Dawn French" and they would not get those inappropriate results. Not sure how many searchers actually do that..... They don't know they should? ...They are lazy about it?

 

Paulette

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Hi All

 

I have images of Clun and Aston on Clun so far I can't find a way to separate them in searches (please feel free to chip in)

Also doesn't help that there are incorrectly titled and tagged images in the search.

 

 

Jon

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4 hours ago, Matt Ashmore said:

This is a subject which gets debated every 6 months or so on the forum. The keywording/search isn't prefect but it has improved considerably form what it was when they introduced the new Alamy Image Manager

 

Personally, I'd continue to use phrases where they make sense as you never know when Alamy might make changes to the search engine to make phrases more important or discount words in phrases form other search results unless the words in the phrase are also added as tags in their own rights.

Sorry Matt - I searched for tags and misinterpret before I posted but didn't get any results.

 

I'll continue to tag with phrases, cos it makes sense to me, but the whims and vagaries of the search algorithm make the tagging procedure, which is tedious enough, into a bit of a lottery.  I don't get many views, and when I do its so disappointing to see them appearing where they shouldn't, and then on other occasions I get one view for an image that I know I have many many more with exactly the same tag.  And as I understand it the more views you get without getting zooms affects your ranking?

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3 hours ago, NYCat said:

 

An experienced searcher would probably put quotation marks around "Dawn French" and they would not get those inappropriate results. Not sure how many searchers actually do that..... They don't know they should? ...They are lazy about it?

 

Paulette

 

I'm guessing they don't really care, the search without quotes came up with lots of images of Dawn French, intermingled with other images, but its easy enough to scroll by them and eyeball Dawn French images.   Oh well nothing we can do about it I guess.  

4 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

I'm not sure that this can be helped if both terms are tags.

 

How could it be avoided since it is possible that somebody might want a picture of a 'French dawn' , 'dawn mist', 'river dawn' etc

 

This reminds me of a story about some EU conference when a French MEP was going on about we should take notice e of the wise people of Normandy, and the Brits cracked up at the translation of how we should take notice of 'Norman Wisdom' .:D

 

 

Thats maybe so with individual tags, but why would a phrased be combined with a one word tag, as in my original post.  There doesn't seem any good reason for this to happen.

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10 minutes ago, Graham Hardy said:

 

I'm guessing they don't really care, the search without quotes came up with lots of images of Dawn French, intermingled with other images, but its easy enough to scroll by them and eyeball Dawn French images.   Oh well nothing we can do about it I guess.  

 

 

Thats maybe so with individual tags, but why would a phrased be combined with a one word tag, as in my original post.  There doesn't seem any good reason for this to happen.

 

 

I was referring to your french dawn = Dawn French results.

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In the past it didn't seem to matter what order the search words were in, you would get the same results in a slightly different order.  Now if I use french dawn without quotes I get completely different results from dawn french. Quotation marks only seem to reduce the number of images returned in the search.  I think the search engine is seeing the quotation marks as just another character.  I also tried dawn France and got the most images returned.  It seems like an improvement in that less relevant images are excluded or pushed to the back of the results.  If I were searching for images I wouldn't give up after one try, I would modify my search words to get different results.  If you are using quotation marks you would also want to have the same words without quotation marks.  Of course that could change as Alamy modifies the search engine.  You may want to do some tests looking for your images that you know you have used quotation marks in the keywords with quotation marks and without to see if your images show up.  I don't use quotation marks so I can't test it.

 

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2 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

I was referring to your french dawn = Dawn French results.

Understood :)

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32 minutes ago, Johnnie5 said:

In the past it didn't seem to matter what order the search words were in, you would get the same results in a slightly different order.  Now if I use french dawn without quotes I get completely different results from dawn french. Quotation marks only seem to reduce the number of images returned in the search.  I think the search engine is seeing the quotation marks as just another character.  I also tried dawn France and got the most images returned.  It seems like an improvement in that less relevant images are excluded or pushed to the back of the results.  If I were searching for images I wouldn't give up after one try, I would modify my search words to get different results.  If you are using quotation marks you would also want to have the same words without quotation marks.  Of course that could change as Alamy modifies the search engine.  You may want to do some tests looking for your images that you know you have used quotation marks in the keywords with quotation marks and without to see if your images show up.  I don't use quotation marks so I can't test it.

 

 

Keywording with quotations isn't relevant anymore in the new Alamy Image Manager,  words/phrases are separated by using commas.  Well it is what it is, and there doesn't seem to be any way around it.  All words are read by the search engine, regardless of whether they are in a phrase.  All words can be combined in any order, regardless of proximity.  They all carry the same weight, regardless of super tags.    This may not be what the science says or intends, but that seems to be my experience, which of course is neither objective nor unique.  As Matt Ashmore said its a subject that comes up every 6 months or so.  But if a search can be targeted by using quotation marks, then why don't phrased tags work in the opposite direction?  Just saying...

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The keywording topic is a really big concern for me and I guess for all of us.  A while back I fell for that mass e-mail that Alamy sent out regarding optimizing your images.  Being rather new here, (I know I have been a contributor since 2008 but have not really done much until this year), I fell for it and added a bunch of new "keywords" to "optimize" my images. But then I started to read some of these threads about the subject and feel that effort was actually counterproductive and may actually have hurt my image relevance during searches.

 

I would think for a stock site like Alamy, mostly editorial content, simpler, more to the point keywording would be more appropriate, ala @regen's point.  I know Alamy said to use actual phrases we thought the client would use to search for our images but if the search engine uses all the words in that phrase separately, which apparently it does, irrelevant images will always be appearing.  That is detrimental to the client and contributor.

 

I am now thinking perhaps fewer but more relevant keywords should be used.  But I have to admit that I truly don't understand how all of this works.  I don't understand why certain images of mine show up in searches when other more relevant images with the same super tags don't etc, etc.

 

Perhaps the new CEO can work this out.  :-)  

 

Rick

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8 hours ago, Rick Lewis said:

The keywording topic is a really big concern for me and I guess for all of us.  A while back I fell for that mass e-mail that Alamy sent out regarding optimizing your images.  Being rather new here, (I know I have been a contributor since 2008 but have not really done much until this year), I fell for it and added a bunch of new "keywords" to "optimize" my images. But then I started to read some of these threads about the subject and feel that effort was actually counterproductive and may actually have hurt my image relevance during searches.

 

I would think for a stock site like Alamy, mostly editorial content, simpler, more to the point keywording would be more appropriate, ala @regen's point.  I know Alamy said to use actual phrases we thought the client would use to search for our images but if the search engine uses all the words in that phrase separately, which apparently it does, irrelevant images will always be appearing.  That is detrimental to the client and contributor.

 

I am now thinking perhaps fewer but more relevant keywords should be used.  But I have to admit that I truly don't understand how all of this works.  I don't understand why certain images of mine show up in searches when other more relevant images with the same super tags don't etc, etc.

 

Perhaps the new CEO can work this out.  :-)  

 

Rick

 

Exactly.

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We have to assume that keywords extracted from tags have lower priority. (Otherwise as several have said - what was the point of tags?)

 

It's not just Alamy - even Google (the Gods of search?) will happily give me results that no way fit what I quite specifically searched for but rather "you included [some word] in your search and lots of people want to see this irrelevant rubbish with that word". It seems to me to be a sad commentary on how dumb most searching probably is - and I suspect that even applies to some picture researchers?

 

But slightly more seriously - there seems to be a "throw anything that might be relevant at them - it can't hurt" kind of mentality - but surely that's not really true ???

 

Try Facebook for really irrelevant stuff pushing down the stuff you want - I can't bear it - but it seems "the majority" go for it.

 

John Crellin

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I may be wrong, but I don't get too hot under the collar when searches pick up an image or series of images unintentionally.

 

You need views to make sales and not all sales have been zoomed. We don't know the secrets of the rating algorithm, but I suspect that sales count more heavily than zooms. My CTR is pretty consistently appalling, but it doesn't appear to affect my income. Not that I am advocating misleading or inaccurate keywording, which would be counter productive,  but I'm coming to the view that more is better than less, which runs contrary to the conventional wisdom here.

 

To that end I'm more than happy that the search tool will pick alternative expressions from single keywords within a phrase, because I won't be able to cover all of the possible combinations that buyers may choose.

 

There are thousands, maybe millions, of imported agency images within the database, and I doubt if the companies concerned will be revising their keywording to suit the latest means of interpretation. It would be perverse to upset these major contributors by imposing strict rules on the interpretation of keywords.

Edited by Bryan

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Absolutely - and remember the positive - we do hope that by identifying a combination of words that really fits the picture (a tag!) we will get good placement when it counts!

 

My CTR goes up and down - so do sales - with no correlation I can see!

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