Doc

Has Alamy changed its search algorithm (again!)?

Recommended Posts

I have noticed that my zooms/CTR seem to have taken a bit of a knock again in the past month or so. Views have been holding up reasonably so I wondered whether the best images are not showing high up in searches.

 

In a search of "Bury St Edmunds" (Relevant search), I have a total of 80 images. 60 of those are very relevant and have Bury St Edmunds in the supertags and the caption. 20 are non-specific and have Bury St Edmunds as a tag or only in the caption. 

 

Yet in the Alamy search, I have 5 images on p1, three  of which are images that do NOT have Bury St Edmunds as a supertag. Indeed in the first 8 of my images showing up in the search, 6 are in the group of 20 images which do not have the supertag. This results in non-specific images (a close up of a stall at the Xmas market, children on a roundabout motion blur etc.) showing high up in searches to the detriment of better images for the search parameter.

 

Has anyone else noticed this?

 

Kumar (the Doc one)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The First 10 I see are by:

 

Ian Dagnall

Joana Kruse 

Photo Central 

Kumar Sriskandan 

Michael Brooks 

geogphotos

Quentin Bargate 

Steve Speller 

Keith mindham 

Neil McAllister 

 

All are clearly of Bury.

 

I notice that image are no longer identified as RM/RF until you rollover.

Edited by geogphotos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

I notice that image are no longer identified as RM/RF until you rollover.

Still show as RM/RF on my screen - perhaps a browser issue?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the main screen of Bury St Edmunds in Firefox.

buryst.jpg

And with mouse hovered over my shot...

buryst2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to play the BHZ game and still have my BHZ image on Alamy.

 

It used to be somewhere on page 1 but has suddenly dropped to page 7.:angry:

 

Could be something in what you say Kumar.

 

Allan

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My views have taken a tumble too in the last month or so.. but I had put it down to Christmas personally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The point I am trying to make is not that there has been a change in BHZ, but that images with the search term either in the caption only, or in the caption and ORDINARY tags, are appearing well above images with the search term as a SUPERTAG and also in the caption, resulting in less relevant images appearing higher in searches resulting in reduction of CTR and zoom numbers, and subsequently of sales - no good for the photographer or indeed Alamy and the purchasers!

 

Kumar (the Doc one)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Doc said:

The point I am trying to make is not that there has been a change in BHZ, but that images with the search term either in the caption only, or in the caption and ORDINARY tags, are appearing well above images with the search term as a SUPERTAG and also in the caption, resulting in less relevant images appearing higher in searches resulting in reduction of CTR and zoom numbers, and subsequently of sales - no good for the photographer or indeed Alamy and the purchasers!

 

Kumar (the Doc one)

 

My CTR has been regularly around 0.39 over the Christmas/NY period with views around 660 mark.

 

Today my views are still around 660 mark bur CTR has jumped to 3.50.

 

Whatever the change is it seems to benefit me and maybe others. A lot of my zoomed images do not have "Supertags".

 

Allan

 

 

Edited by Allan Bell
added comment

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Gnaa, gimme a break. I've just spent so many hours over the Christmas break trying to improve/set those bloody supertags on a whole load of images and work through a lot of older images to get them more aligned with the new AIM.  

Do I understand this correctly, that if the algorithm suddenly favours images without supertags, it would also, sort of by default, favour a. older images that have been in the catalogue for ages  and where contributors haven't made changes to keywords for a while, and b. images by large libraries/mass contributors who do not bother supertagging in the first place? That wouldn't seem particularly fair...so perhaps it's just a temporary thing? (please?)

Edited by imageplotter
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, imageplotter said:

Gnaa, gimme a break. I've just spent so many hours over the Christmas break trying to improve/set those bloody supertags on a whole load of images and work through a lot of older images to get them more aligned with the new AIM.  

Do I understand this correctly, that if the algorith suddenly favours images without supertags, it would also, sort of by default, favour a. older images that have been in the catalogue for ages  and where contributors haven't made changes to keywords for a while, and b. images by large libraries/mass contributors who do not bother supertagging in the first place? That wouldn't seem particularly fair...so perhaps it's just a temporary thing? (please?)

 

Bazinga!

As in "have we been fooled again?"

Edited by vpics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to drag this thread back off topic again, doesn't the visibility of RF/RM depend on whether you have large thumbnails or small?  I prefer the small thumbnails and see RF/RM and the Alamy Ref under each one as in TeeCee's illustration.  If I switch to large thumbnails I have to roll over as in geogphoto's illustration. I thought it had always been like that (I'm using Firefox).

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Here is the metadata for my highest placed image in the Bury St Edmunds search. It is one of those converted from Esskeys/MainKeys and has not been touched since.

 

6th out of 5,206 images

 

I0000yjXAJbVOQqA.jpg

Edited by geogphotos
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

Here is the metadata for my highest placed image in the Bury St Edmunds search. It is one of those converted from Esskeys/MainKeys and has not been touched since.

 

6th out of 5,206 images

 

I0000yjXAJbVOQqA.jpg

 

Matches 3 supertags, 4 tags and the caption... looks like you have all bases covered there! :D

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Matt Ashmore said:

 

Matches 3 supertags, 4 tags and the caption... looks like you have all bases covered there! :D

 

 

But 'Bury St Edmunds' is not a Supertag.

 

Maybe Doc needs to look at a more straightforward search term to test out his theory? All too complicated :wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

But 'Bury St Edmunds' is not a Supertag.

 

Maybe Doc needs to look at a more straightforward search term to test out his theory? All too complicated :wacko:

 

Not as a single phrase.. no... but you have "Bury", "St" and "Edmunds" all as supertags which would all match... and for what it's worth with regards to proximity of tags, they appear next to each other in the right order!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Matt Ashmore said:

..with regards to proximity of tags, they appear next to each other in the right order!

Which is what Alamy tell us is important. They no lie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, Matt Ashmore said:

 

Not as a single phrase.. no... but you have "Bury", "St" and "Edmunds" all as supertags which would all match... and for what it's worth with regards to proximity of tags, they appear next to each other in the right order!

 

That's why I think Doc needs to look at a more straightforward search term : "bury, st, edmunds" might be the same as 'Bury St Edmunds" or not. It might be stronger. Who knows?

Edited by geogphotos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, imageplotter said:

Gnaa, gimme a break. I've just spent so many hours over the Christmas break trying to improve/set those bloody supertags on a whole load of images and work through a lot of older images to get them more aligned with the new AIM.  

Do I understand this correctly, that if the algorithm suddenly favours images without supertags, it would also, sort of by default, favour a. older images that have been in the catalogue for ages  and where contributors haven't made changes to keywords for a while, and b. images by large libraries/mass contributors who do not bother supertagging in the first place? That wouldn't seem particularly fair...so perhaps it's just a temporary thing? (please?)

 

First off nobody is certain yet that anything has changed. Secondly, anything that you have done to improve your metadata will have a positive effect. The worst that could happen is that the positive effect is not as great as it would have been.

 

I made this point way back when the change was being discussed and not surprisingly it went down like a bucket of sick. Namely, that providing the means for 'small contributors' ( please excuse the expression) to actively improve their own search positions might not actually have the overall result of improving buyer search experience. And ultimately that is what Alamy wants to achieve so as to maximise sales.

 

Maybe we should think of it like one of those mixing studios with all sorts of sliders for the record producer to move back and forth to try and get the sweet spot.

Edited by geogphotos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps it's just the "diversity algorithm" (whatever that is) stirring the pot?

 

Updating metadata -- e.g. creating supertags -- still seems like a good long-term investment to me.

 

I might draw the line at super duper supertags, though. B)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alamy may well be tinkering with their algorithm.   Sort of like BIOS updates - they happen but who knows what they do.

I don't think rank (as judged by BHZ) has changed at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Matt Ashmore said:

 

Not as a single phrase.. no... but you have "Bury", "St" and "Edmunds" all as supertags which would all match... and for what it's worth with regards to proximity of tags, they appear next to each other in the right order!

Agreed Matt, all my tests of the search engine lead me to believe that "Bury St Edmunds" as one supertag  has exactly the same effect as "Bury" "St" "Edmunds" as three supertags in the correct order (ie transferred over from the essential keywords in the previous system.

 

My point is this. I have 80 images for Bury St edmunds. 60 of them have Bury St Edmunds in the caption AND as a supertag

 

In the first 2 pages of a search on Bury St Edmunds I have 10 images (so not a rank/BHZ problem). Great, you would think, BUT

 

Only 4 of them have Bury St Edmunds in the supertags. Six do not, and one of them does not even have bury St Edmunds in the tags - only in the caption !!

 

and these 6 images at least are appearing higher in the search than the other 50 images I have of Bury St Edmunds I have which are supertagged and captioned as such.

 

So why is this, Alamy? I am following the rules that you have given us, but you are not.

 

Kumar (the Doc one)

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

First off nobody is certain yet that anything has changed. Secondly, anything that you have done to improve your metadata will have a positive effect. The worst that could happen is that the positive effect is not as great as it would have been.

 

I made this point way back when the change was being discussed and not surprisingly it went down like a bucket of sick. Namely, that providing the means for 'small contributors' ( please excuse the expression) to actively improve their own search positions might not actually have the overall result of improving buyer search experience. And ultimately that is what Alamy wants to achieve so as to maximise sales.

 

Maybe we should think of it like one of those mixing studios with all sorts of sliders for the record producer to move back and forth to try and get the sweet spot.

 

geophotos, I appreciate the comment, but spending many, many hours for potentially absolutely nothing, when alamy encourage the use of and change to supertags and phrases, is kind of a big deal for me. It either has an effect to use them, or it doesn't. I don't see the 'not as great as it would have been' option there. If supertags are do not make any difference (and you are right that we don't know this for sure, yet), then 'the positive effect is not as great as it would have been' isn't quite accurate. Rather, 'you've spent those hours choosing and clicking supertags when you could have earned money doing something else'. Photography is my job. Stock is a minuscule part of it in terms of revenue, and if I do spend time on alamy images, rather than on paying client work, then it ain't great if that time generates zero outcome.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Doc said:

The point I am trying to make is not that there has been a change in BHZ, but that images with the search term either in the caption only, or in the caption and ORDINARY tags, are appearing well above images with the search term as a SUPERTAG

 

 

 

This is not new. Others, including myself, have reported similar findings over the last few months.

 

For example: http://discussion.alamy.com/topic/8009-supertags/

 

 

Alan

Edited by Inchiquin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now