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Clemency Wright Consulting Ltd

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Posts posted by Clemency Wright Consulting Ltd

  1. 5 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

     

    Thank you Clemency, yes it is helpful to hear Alamy's view on this and in particular Alamy's replies to your specific questions. This Discoverability bar gets a pretty bad press on this forum, deservedly so in my opinion if it means that those new to Alamy feel compelled to throw irrelevant keywords in just to get it to turn green. It's good I suppose that it means you are encouraged to visit the optional tab as well and complete the information there. The very name is confusing because improving 'discoverability' in terms of turning the bar from orange to green may have the opposite affect on your ranking in certain circumstances.

     

    I'm interested that you say that libraries use Categories to filter content internally, perhaps they do use them after all despite what I was told and so have some way of searching by them. If they do then I think they might be a pretty blunt tool because I'm guessing a lot of people don't use them and for me I often find that there isn't a suitable one, even Alamy's own Categories are much more comprehensive:

     

    https://www.alamy.com/category.aspx

     

     I wish Alamy offered some guidance on how to use them. On the other hand you obviously use them all the time so you must have a pretty good handle on how best to apply them.

    Hi Harry - I know what you mean, we do sometimes help clients delete large numbers of tags that are detrimental to search rankings, and this can lead to an image turning from Green to Orange. I am not surprised photographers question this! But contrary to what you might think this does boost Click Through and sales. 

     

    The Categories on the Alamy customer site are curated and so there is not necessarily a link between those, and the Categories assigned to images in AIM.

     

    I have done a bit of digging around on the Forum and on various blogs.  Since it is still unclear if/how Categories are currently used, I will try to find out and will share any updates with photographers here on the Forum.

  2. 21 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

     

    Useful advice but I think you mean the Categories dropdown. There is no hard evidence that these are actually used in the search algorithm unless perhaps Alamy have told you otherwise?  Certainly there is no category search as such on the public facing site. People sensibly fill them in anyway as best they can just in case they might be used in the future.

     

    There was some discussion that perhaps they were used by Alamy picture researchers on their system internally but I was told that this wasn't the case by an Alamy rep. Are you able to shed any light on this perhaps?

    Sorry, yes, I meant Categories not Concepts!

     

    I did raise this with Alamy and asked specifically if:

    - adding Optional tags improves ‘discoverability’ but does not affect ranking
    - not adding Optional tags does not mean that the images will be ranked lower down in the results

    They tell me that the Discoverability Bar increases with the volume of searchable information you enter. As you enter more information the more ‘discoverable’ your image will become.
     
    As such, I'd aim to add tags, 10 Supertags and complete as much optional information as possible. It is not certain if the search ranking Alamy use behind the scenes favours Categories or not, or whether they use Categories to filter content internally. My feeling is there will be some benefit to assigning Categories as most libraries curate content internally for external campaigns via this method. We've found that assigning two Categories has minimal impact on keywording speed, since they can be bulk assigned. The fact we're applying Categories automatically increases Discoverability, if not ranking. I do hope that is helpful in some way.
     
     
     

     
  3. Glad to be of some help. Keywording draws on both the left and right side of the brain. One layer is objective - it is this, or it is that. It is either one thing, or another. These are truisms and non-negotiable. But there is also a subjective layer, as everyone sees an image differently. The skill is in balancing the objective and subjective so that, for the majority of customers, all keywords remain 'true'. Take for instance an image of a plastic bag in the ocean. The facts are keyworded first (plastic, plastic bag, carrier bag etc., water, ocean) but we know that customers search in many different ways so we try to cater for this through layering on other keywords such as 'pollution' and 'environmental issues'. With regard to improving the data you have, it is definitely worth checking for any keywords that could be deleted, either individually or by bulk across a set of similar images. Make every keyword count. My personal rule when keywording is to look at the image, look away, and then ask myself "what is this image telling me, what are the key elements?" Ironically, not looking at the image but remembering the image helps to distill its meaning! 

  4. I thought it might be helpful to share some feedback I had from Alamy about the Discoverability Bar. The "green bar" is actually a bit of a red herring!

     

    Relevant keywords trump keyword volume, every time. Weak keywords have a negative impact on your Click Through Rate and this in turn reduces visibility on the search page results. Weak keywords include anything that is not relevant or accurate.  

     

    The Discoverability Bar is merely an indication of how much information you have entered into the metadata fields in AIM (including Mandatory and Optional fields). By completing the Mandatory fields and (I'd advise) the Concepts drop-downs and Number of People tab in the Optional panel, then your images will be made discoverable for customers for the right reasons. 

     

    Better to reach fewer, but highly relevant customers, than more irrelevant ones. These will never click through, convert or buy if your keywording is misleading. 

    • Like 1
  5. Hi Joseph, I agree that peripheral keywords will impact negatively on your Alamy ranking as the search engine penalises weak keywording. Keywords need to be relevant and accurate. But apart from knowing what keywords are relevant and accurate, it helps to know how each search engine works, as they are all so different! I interviewed art buyers and picture researchers to find out how they search and the overall response was that they prefer to search using simple terms rather than limiting themselves with specific keywords.  However they also expressed frustration with the sheer volume of results a broad search returns. Experienced buyers may search broadly on Alamy, and then narrow down using concepts, but are unlikely to start with concepts. I would say that it pays to apply two layers of keywords a) objective keywords and 2) conceptual keywords as search behaviour is not a science. It's also a good way to future proof your assets because if you decide to distribute elsewhere down the line, your keywords will be comprehensive.

     

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  6. Some key tips for keywording animals and nature would be to capture all relevant and necessary visual details, specialist terms (such as latin name for species / classification), as well as concepts. What could the image mean to buyers who are not necessarily searching for that particular animal? An image buyer or brand manager may search for content to elicit an emotional response, so it's good to expand upon literal visual details to include concepts and set the context.

     

    A good approach is to add hierarchical keywords (such as "animal") technical, and compositional terms where relevant (such as "side view"). Conceptual terms are a great way to boost / broaden access. For instance a buyer looking to convey "fragility" may search using the keyword fragility, but they may not think to look for "butterfly". They may be more interested in the story than the content. So by adding both, you could potentially double your chances of coming up under relevant search requests.    

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  7. Hi Kevin - no, I am not a contributor / photographer. I worked with Alamy on a User Experience project last year, and they required me to create an account (which meant uploading some photos).  As some people have commented, I do provide keywording services I am recommended as an Alamy provider. However Alamy photographers are only part of my business; I work B2B with image libraries and corporate businesses to develop search methodology, so I hope the experience I have on the enterprise side of this business will be of benefit to some members of the Alamy community.

     

    Since you mentioned the second photo is representative of the type of content you produce it occurred to me, a helpful and "on-trend" term to add to this type of image is "real people". If you look back over your portfolio, you might find this applies to more images. If I can help further, feel free to contact me directly.

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  8. Hi Kevin. Your caption and keywords are to the point and not incorrect. There are a few other ways you could optimise search/access. Alamy Captions are read by the search engine, so if you had a building 'designed by' a named architect, or completed on a specific date, then you can add this info in Caption. It is often appropriate to add Caption terms as keywords, but in the case of 'designed by' this is more background info and I personally would not include in keywords. Some may disagree. As for general Search Engine Optimisation, the search engines index image titles (Captions) and image file names, so another good practise is to implement meaningful image refs and assign helpful natural language Captions. This will improve search/access on Alamy but also on search engines like Google and Safari.

     

    As for keywords, it's always good to think how different customers might search, but to avoid over-keywording. So for instance, I might add 'buying' and 'retail' to the market image as some people will focus on the activity / transaction and if you only add 'shopping' then that one customer searching on 'buying' may miss this relevant image. Apart from the activity, and the people, this image is a lovely example of fresh fruit and healthy eating food (so all of these terms can be applied). If a customer is searching specifically for 'apples' or 'grapes' then they would like to see this image, so you can also specify these as keywords. Again, it is about not over-keywording so I would avoid going into too much detail (don't keyword the plastic wrapper).

     

    Conceptually, this image conveys to me the idea of quality, choice, selection, scrutiny - the woman seems to be contemplating whether or not to buy. So again, concepts add another helpful dimension to the search experience.

     

    The keywords applied and suggested for the Balinese gateway are, I think, very good. I find that with travel, the focus is usually on location and the type of travel, and this has been well covered. The standard keywords, 'travel destinations' and 'tourist destinations' could also be added as these are the type of keywords art buyers use on sites like Getty, so adding them could increase your chances of selling on Alamy if those buyers are shopping around. There are perhaps fewer concepts for travel images such as this one, however I recommend adding 'symmetry' and 'between' and also 'landmark' to help customers who are not necessarily searching on specific location terms alone.

     

    Hope this helps Kevin - keep an eye on your zooms and all the best!  

     

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  9. 3 minutes ago, imageplotter said:

    Am I the only one who feels that this is turning into an advertising thread for one provider's services? In the interest of competitive fairness (and because there are bound to be many other keywording providers not currently advertising here) perhaps this should be made clearer. I would especially question why a keywording services provider is registered as an alamy photographer with just 4 images which presumably she has submitted for the sole purpose of gaining access to alamy as a platform and forum to gain clients.  

    The Forum is not a place for advertising, it is place to share advice and guidance for the benefit of all. I have not advertised - I have been recommended by clients - which is not the same thing. Secondly, I was requested by Alamy's Head of Content to submit images. As previously mentioned, I consulted on the Alamy system and as such, I needed to be logged in as a 'Contributor', for which the account must contain images.

     

    I believe this Forum is an excellent resource, providing helpful advice (at no cost), for the benefit of the photography community.

     

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  10. It's very interesting to hear first-hand from photographers on this Forum about your experience with keywording. Matthew, it is great to hear that your 'zooms' are increasing since we started working with you.

     

    Having consulted with Alamy on the Image Manager (Nov 2017), I gained valuable insight into Discoverability and Ranking. The methodology we employ is designed to optimise zooms and sales for the Alamy platform. If a client is submitting to other libraries, then the methodology must be adapted. 

     

    Our new Alamy clients are invited to trial a small set of images initially. We monitor 'zooms' and sales over an agreed period (typically 6 months), before our client decides whether to invest further. Therefore not all of the images an Alamy client of ours has online are ones that we have keyworded.

     

    I'd be happy to expand further if there is something specific anyone would like to know more about. 

     

    Here's to a successful and profitable year ahead for all Alamy photographers! 

     

     

     

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  11. Hi Agus.

     

    As in the above comment, it's advisable to focus on the key elements of the image. Essentially, your aim is to make sure this image looks good in a keyword search for whatever the term is that you apply. Conversely, adding terms that are not relevant, or not strongly depicted, will weaken search results and cause your images to fall down in the Alamy ranks.

     

    Think about the essence of the image. It should be searchable under 'one person' and 'terraced field'. In terms of describing the person, we could also add 'real people'. You have also included some relevant topic (agriculture and farming) to help differentiate this image from all of the other pictures of people in fields.

     

    I agree that by removing irrelevant or weakly applied keywords you will further elevate your images in the search results. Question the relevance of each keyword. Can we really see 'clouds' here, or a 'hoe', and are they the main focus? What is the significance of 'door' for customers specifically searching for images of doors?

     

    For additional Keywording tips you might try looking at:

     

    http://www.alamy.com/contributor/help/captions-keywords-descriptions.asp

    http://imagery.gettyimages.com/getty_images_keyword_guide/usa/

    http://www.istockphoto.com/help/sell-stock/training-manuals/photography/title-description-keywords-keywords

    http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/improve-your-sales-with-keywording-1

     

    Hope this is helpful to you.

    Clemency

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  12. It helps to approach this on an image by image basis. If the image clearly shows the location, then this should appear in Caption and Essential keywords. If the image is focusing on something else, other than the location, but the location is helping set the scene (maybe as a backdrop) then it's good to have location as a Main keyword but perhaps not necessarily in Caption. Another consideration is that if location is in some way pertinent to the activity or context of the image, such lions in the Savannah. In this case, perhaps the lion is the main focus and not much of the scene is depicted but for people looking for animals (or specifically lions) in the Savannah, then its good to be able to verify location. Often picture buyers need to know location as it may have been specified by their end client in the brief. In some cases, not adding location can mean that your image will simply be ignored. As a general rule, if the location is very insignificant and in no way adds value to the search results, then we'd not include it as a keyword. 

  13. Hi Graham, we use PhaseOne Media Pro for some keywording projects. It's particularly good for bulk adding keyword sets to similar images (such as travel locations). Typically, it's then necessary to go through and keyword image by image. This works well though because it enables you to focus on specific keywords to differentiate your images and help them be found and sold. We don't use Media Pro for Alamy keywording since we tend to work direct in the Portal, but you can always export an Excel from Media Pro and I believe Member Services will append the data to your portfolio.

  14.  

    Thanks for the mention Paulstw. There are many reasons why clients outsource keywording to us. For Alamy photographers, we find it's largely due to the technicalities of the process and rather 'unique' methodology. We have a lot of experience working with photogrpahers who want to maximise their investment, by offering guidance on the most commercially viable images within their collection, and ensuring greater visibility to these. Depending on whether your work is mainly editorial or creative, there needs to be a conversation about your target market and the language and search habits of your key buyers, in order to define the best keyworidng strategy. We also manage a number of outsurcing projects for global stock agencies processing thousands of assets (video and stills) a month. We're always happy to have a chat, establish your aims/objectives, and discuss how keywording can help you achieve improved sales. If you'd like more info then by all means please visit http://www.clemency.co.uk or email clemency@clemency.co.uk

    Jesus H Christ! You claim that 'clients outsource key wording to us' ................. Why would they do that when there are numerous spelling mistakes in your comment! You must be joking.

     

    There are three spelling errors in my post, not numerous ones. I'm surprised at your inappropriate and disproportionate response ManWay. We feel the Forum is here to offer help and support, clearly you have another agenda, which is a shame.

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  15. Thanks for the mention Paulstw. There are many reasons why clients outsource keywording to us. For Alamy photographers, we find it's largely due to the technicalities of the process and rather 'unique' methodology. We have a lot of experience working with photogrpahers who want to maximise their investment, by offering guidance on the most commercially viable images within their collection, and ensuring greater visibility to these. Depending on whether your work is mainly editorial or creative, there needs to be a conversation about your target market and the language and search habits of your key buyers, in order to define the best keyworidng strategy. We also manage a number of outsurcing projects for global stock agencies processing thousands of assets (video and stills) a month. We're always happy to have a chat, establish your aims/objectives, and discuss how keywording can help you achieve improved sales. If you'd like more info then by all means please visit http://www.clemency.co.uk or email clemency@clemency.co.uk

  16. A Forum section dedicated to keywording would be extremely beneficial for photographers, image buyers, keywording professionals (like ourselves) and of course for Alamy. We'd certainly welcome the opportunity to share some of our top tips and ideas from our experience working with Alamy photographers, stock libraries and on-line retailers concerning best practise. Ultimately, the only way customers can find and buy images on-line is through keyword search. Even small/specialist libraries rely on keywords in-house to retrieve relevant content within a digital collection. With a reliance on photographers uploading and keywording their own images, it would make sense for Alamy to improve the keywording process within the Portal, as well as invite keywording experts to share resources with photographers via the Forum. We're always interested to hear from photographers about their keywording experiences on Alamy, and find ways to improve search and sales of their work as a direct result of improved keyword application.  

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  17. Quite new to the Forum, but hoping to shed some light on keywording-related issues. We work with a number of Alamy photographers (amongst stock libraries and archives) to improve search results, and as such, we're extremely interested in Alamy's search technology and strategy. It's been confirmed that, as Alan says, "double quotes" make no difference to the way the search engine works, neither does using [square brackets]. Alamy say this is unlikely to be implemented, as they are focusing on other areas of the site. Proximity is the main way to improve search results, i.e. the search engine will prioritise an image with relevant keywords placed in order. So adding 'blue car dog' means that a search on 'blue car will return images with blue cars first (so blue dogs, blue clothes, blue whatever will take lower priority).

     

    Alamy claim that "the other additional syntax annotation options are not live as not enough contributors have used them to make it worthwhile releasing". I'd be curious to know what proportion of photographers Alamy would deem significant enough to warrant implementing these? From experience, we know photographers (and keywording professionals) have used "" and [] based on the Alamy Annotation Guidelines on their site, but as we now know these are inactive, we feel it is worth taking the opportunity to clarify this whenever possible to avoid unnecessary work. 

     

    Finally, Alamy comment that they cannot give a realistic timeframe of when (or even if) they’ll implement the search annotations they currently advertise on their site, as they are "concentrating development time to other areas of [their] search engine and other parts of the site."

     

    I hope this is of some use. Do let me know if you'd like more background.

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  18.  

    - keyword database that supports the automation of plurals and synonyms for improved efficiency and consistency

    - hierarchical keyword structure to optimise search results (eg if London is added then England, English, UK, United Kingdom, Britain, Great Britain, GB, British Isles, Europe, European are automatically applied)

    - an interface that allows users to bulk add keywords to relevant images

     

    Alamy - are there any changes planned to Alamy Search Ranking technology? If not, and keywords continue to be entered according to relevancy (Essential, Main or Comprehensive), then this remains largely a manual process. A more efficient workflow would be to introduce radio buttons so that once the majority of general keywords have been applied within the batch, via a bulk adding function, the user could then go in and individually assign Essential/Main/Comprehensive on an image-by-image basis. This, to me, would deliver greater efficiency for contributors and keywording providers, as well as improved search results for Alamy customers.

     

    The first and second are available for those of us who use PhotoMechanic and I think LR, PS and other software also support controlled and structured vocabularies with synonyms etc. I used this approach for a while but it all too easily encourages keyword stuffing rather than carefully considered keywording. I am in the process of stripping my strcutured keywords right back to basics to create a much tighter vocabulary tailored to my photography.

     

    Martin, it seems the real issue here is not so much whether you can configure LR, PS or PhotoMechanic to approximate an efficient keywording process, but rather, how should Alamy update their keywording interface to achieve better results? With the responsibility on photographers to keyword their own content, it would make sense to integrate a professionally created keyword database within the Portal. This would afford built-in control over hierarchical keyword application. With regard to spamming, keywording remains largely manual, which is not to say it cannot use technology to achieve efficiency. But ultimately, it's far better to use a controlled vocabulary alongside professional training and guidance, than an automated system that has limited ability to 'read' an image. I would relish the opportunity to discuss options with Alamy around keywording, however unfortunately, it would appear that search is not a key area for development right now. Perhaps Alamy could comment on this?

  19. - keyword database that supports the automation of plurals and synonyms for improved efficiency and consistency

    - hierarchical keyword structure to optimise search results (eg if London is added then England, English, UK, United Kingdom, Britain, Great Britain, GB, British Isles, Europe, European are automatically applied)

    - an interface that allows users to bulk add keywords to relevant images

     

    Alamy - are there any changes planned to Alamy Search Ranking technology? If not, and keywords continue to be entered according to relevancy (Essential, Main or Comprehensive), then this remains largely a manual process. A more efficient workflow would be to introduce radio buttons so that once the majority of general keywords have been applied within the batch, via a bulk adding function, the user could then go in and individually assign Essential/Main/Comprehensive on an image-by-image basis. This, to me, would deliver greater efficiency for contributors and keywording providers, as well as improved search results for Alamy customers.

     

     

     

     

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