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John J Bloomfield

Are there any Keywording Services out there that you would recommend?

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I struggle to add enough keywords to get my images up to 'good visibility' I think mainly because I want to keep everything 'relevant' - I am aware there are people out there that you can pay to keyword for you and was wondering if you guys had positive experience of any service that does this?

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You are doing the right thing. A small number of relevant keywords will serve you better than trying to reach the deceptive "discoverability". We think Alamy has made a mistake with that measurement. Irrelevant keywords will harm you. My method for finding words I may not have thought of is to simply look at what other contributors have put on their images of the same subject. You won't want to copy but you may find some gems.

 

Paulette

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Agree with Paulette 100%. Do not even bother looking at the Discoverability Bar. Just add keywords to answer who what when where why how, then add any "emotional" keywords like happy, happiness...If you stuff in keywords with borderline relevance then you risk your photo irrelevantly appearing in searches and your ranking will suffer. We have discussions on the use of paid keywording services from time to time and the conclusion is always the same - that the paid services will give you lots of keywords of almost no relevance. I dislike keywording immensely, but we are still better off doing it ourselves. 

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As far as I know you are better off keywording (tagging) your images yourself. Others have tried these agencies and spend more time deleting inappropriate keywords than they would if they had done it themselves in the first place.

 

Allan

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm a confirmed fan of DIY keywording and captioning. It's time consuming, but at least you know it is being done properly. There may be some argument for contracting out keywording for  contributors where English is not their first language, but even then I would suggest they choose the service provider carefully to make sure they are getting good quality, relevant keywords - quality, not quantity. Alamy have their own list of recommended keywording companies, but having never used them I  can't recommend any particular one.

 

One benefit of doing your own keywording is just how magnificently educational it is, particularly if you are doing travel photography. I've learned more about the architecture and history of my own country in in the past ten years than I did in the preceeding fifty.

Edited by Joseph Clemson
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Posted (edited)

There is a balance between not enough keywords and too many irrelevant keywords. Not enough keywords and your images will never be found. Too many irrelevant keywords means your CTR will drop and so your images will never be found.

 

Having clicked on this image on your profile at random:

 

Houghton Dash Children's Road race at Houghton Feast Carnival Parade 2017Houghton Feast Carnival Parade 2017, Photos by John J Bloomfield. All Rights  - Stock Image

I see it has keywords:

 

2017
carnival parade
children race
children running
houghton dash
houghton feast
houghton le spring
runners
 
I might be tempted to add:
 
run
running
child
young
street
 
A tool I sometime use for help if I lack inspiration is https://microstockgroup.com/tools/keyword.php
But don't just take every keyword it takes without being happy that they are sensible and relevant. 
Edited by Matt Ashmore
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Do it yourself, best way.

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Thanks for the feedback guys.

I thought uploading my back catalogue that wasn't very important to me on a personal level might be a way to add a bit of extra passive revenue - but key-wording turns it in to something of potentially too much effort for not enough reward.

Although I doubt I'll know what reward there will be if any yet as I've only uploaded a couple of events that I cover ever year - I chose them as they are my most stolen images but they only really have any appeal in September each year. And if my local rag doesn't use Alamy they probably won't get picked up anyway I suspect as they mainly use shutterstock looking at the photo credits online, though shutterstock has no photos of this event.

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1 hour ago, Matt Ashmore said:

There is a balance between not enough keywords and too many irrelevant keywords. Not enough keywords and your images will never be found. Too many irrelevant keywords means your CTR will drop and so your images will never be found.

 

Having clicked on this image on your profile at random:

 

Houghton Dash Children's Road race at Houghton Feast Carnival Parade 2017Houghton Feast Carnival Parade 2017, Photos by John J Bloomfield. All Rights  - Stock Image

I see it has keywords:

 

2017
carnival parade
children race
children running
houghton dash
houghton feast
houghton le spring
runners
 
I might be tempted to add:
 
run
running
child
young
street
 
A tool I sometime use for help if I lack inspiration is https://microstockgroup.com/tools/keyword.php
But don't just take every keyword it takes without being happy that they are sensible and relevant. 


I really appreciate you making that effort on my behalf - I also now wonder why I didn't tag 'atheltics' 'Road race' 'Sport'

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Agree with what everyone here has told you - from the fact that "discoverability" is just asking for keyword spamming and IMHO should be removed, or at least should only take into account whether you've added 10 "supertags," that the keyword tool can help you discover relevant words you may have missed, but do not be tempted to chose 50 if your image doesn't warrant it, and especially Joseph's comment that you learn so much from keywording. I'm an info junkie and love researching my images. Some days I wish I'd majored in botany but I've gotten quite the education about the natural world, travel far away and close to home, and all kinds of interesting facts. 

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I'd say that if one's pictures are interesting, then finding descriptives won't be a problem and paying others to insert them is only going to reduce what little profits there are left in this industry. 

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Hi there, if stuck I use www.mykeyworder.com  you can pick and choose the keywords relevant to your picture.

 

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Posted (edited)

For my key-wording  I use  the Synonyms drop down tool in Microsoft Word document. Firstly,  I list all relevant keywords that I can think of which I enter into a word document.  To increase the list of keywords and still keeping them relevant, right clicking on a word brings up additional options under the Synonym tab.  There are also  links there to the Thesaurus which can provide more possibilities.  If still stuck, I'll do a search in Wikipedia for the subject, amazing the otherwise missed useful keywords that can be found there.  However, best to use the "grey matter" in the first instance for as many key-words as you can before looking for alternatives as explained.

Edited by Aggers

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I hope Alamy can come out to answer this question or make any necessary adjustment.

For keywords i usually try to fill it up to 50, now reading what your had input, i realised having 50 keywords can result in spamming. I also discoverd some images that appeared on first page first image has less than 10 keywords. 

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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. 

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32 minutes ago, Clemency Wright Consulting Ltd said:

the Concepts drop-downs

 

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?

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12 hours ago, Clemency Wright Consulting Ltd said:

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. 

 

This is really great information. I will probably go through my keywords and delete anything that might be extraneous or weak. I definitely fear negatively impacting my click through rate. Especially just starting out.

 

Thanks again for sharing it. Cheers!

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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! 

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On 19/03/2019 at 17:45, Matt Ashmore said:

There is a balance between not enough keywords and too many irrelevant keywords. Not enough keywords and your images will never be found. Too many irrelevant keywords means your CTR will drop and so your images will never be found.

 

Having clicked on this image on your profile at random:

 

Houghton Dash Children's Road race at Houghton Feast Carnival Parade 2017Houghton Feast Carnival Parade 2017, Photos by John J Bloomfield. All Rights  - Stock Image

I see it has keywords:

 

2017
carnival parade
children race
children running
houghton dash
houghton feast
houghton le spring
runners
 
I might be tempted to add:
 
run
running
child
young
street
 
A tool I sometime use for help if I lack inspiration is https://microstockgroup.com/tools/keyword.php
But don't just take every keyword it takes without being happy that they are sensible and relevant. 

 

If it was mine, I'd add:

children

youth

kids

fitness

activity

health

race/racing

competition

enthusiasm

dash/dashing

speed

sprint

fast

numbers

community

town

 

etc.

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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.
 
 
 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Clemency Wright Consulting Ltd said:

I do hope that is helpful in some way.

 

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.

Edited by Harry Harrison

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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.

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19 minutes ago, Clemency Wright Consulting Ltd said:

The Categories on the Alamy customer site are curated

 

Yes, in fact they are a strange mix of pure curated (say less than 1000 images) and customised searches and sort orders, but I do find that some of the extra categories they offer would be useful in the current dropdown. It will be good to hear what you discover.

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