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John Morrison

Keyword Kaos

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Just did an Alamy search, and this was the last picture on the last page. I don't want to embarrass another Alamy contributor, so the photographer will remain nameless. But I'd just like to share this splendid list of keywords for what is a humdrum pic of a patch of water and a tree...

 

water, reflections, lake, river, britain, reflection, europe, peaceful, fountain, blue, nature, european, reflect, vertical, sun, england, national, art, trees, district, chinese, ripples, park, gb, strange, derwent, graphic, kingdom, cumbria, canal, shimmering, garden, atmospheric, splash, china, holiday, zhou, english, large, landscape, sea, artistic, nobody, shadow, surreal, refract, atmosphere, blueish, playful, mirror, united, british, europa, travel, leven, rings, calmness, sunlight, greenish, calm, colorful, beauty, pool, abstract, panama, night, dynasty, forest, coast, africa, mountain, zheng, sunshine, hydrology, cool, estuary, promenade, mood, image, tiled, dawn, yuan, outdoors, big, lichteffekt, montagen, advertising, bells, life, composing, evening, italy, ghent, uk, eu, autumnal, boat, works, wilderness, red, pattern, sunset, background, frau, scenery, sopra, body, frost, lichteffekte, autumn, fallen, dark, card

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Just did an Alamy search, and this was the last picture on the last page. I don't want to embarrass another Alamy contributor, so the photographer will remain nameless. But I'd just like to share this splendid list of keywords for what is a humdrum pic of a patch of water and a tree...

 

water, reflections, lake, river, britain, reflection, europe, peaceful, fountain, blue, nature, european, reflect, vertical, sun, england, national, art, trees, district, chinese, ripples, park, gb, strange, derwent, graphic, kingdom, cumbria, canal, shimmering, garden, atmospheric, splash, china, holiday, zhou, english, large, landscape, sea, artistic, nobody, shadow, surreal, refract, atmosphere, blueish, playful, mirror, united, british, europa, travel, leven, rings, calmness, sunlight, greenish, calm, colorful, beauty, pool, abstract, panama, night, dynasty, forest, coast, africa, mountain, zheng, sunshine, hydrology, cool, estuary, promenade, mood, image, tiled, dawn, yuan, outdoors, big, lichteffekt, montagen, advertising, bells, life, composing, evening, italy, ghent, uk, eu, autumnal, boat, works, wilderness, red, pattern, sunset, background, frau, scenery, sopra, body, frost, lichteffekte, autumn, fallen, dark, card

OMG Could this be the work of a keywording service?

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OMG Could this be the work of a keywording service?

 

 

Or a random word generator...

 

England, China, Panama, Africa, Italy... Always good to keep your options open... :unsure:

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OMG Could this be the work of a keywording service?

 

 

Or a random word generator...

 

England, China, Panama, Africa, Italy... Always good to keep your options open... :unsure:

 

OTOH there's always a chance that someone might be looking for a shot of a "moody frau in a surreal bluish forest in Ghent."

Edited by John Mitchell
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I've been struggling with my own key-wording. I have begun keywording very tightly trying to minimize showing in searches that my images have no place or very little relevance.  Is this a good method to use? I look over the stats and keep trying to adjust. Seems this is an art in itself.

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I've been struggling with my own key-wording. I have begun keywording very tightly trying to minimize showing in searches that my images have no place or very little relevance.  Is this a good method to use? I look over the stats and keep trying to adjust. Seems this is an art in itself.

 

Yes, that's exactly the method to use.

 

It's worth looking at measures every day to alter keywords where an image has come up with no relevance.

 

John.

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I've been struggling with my own key-wording. I have begun keywording very tightly trying to minimize showing in searches that my images have no place or very little relevance.  Is this a good method to use? I look over the stats and keep trying to adjust. Seems this is an art in itself.

 

I've  taken the same approach over the last year with a view to improving my CTR. I can't say it's had a dramatic effect as I still hover around the Alamy average but I still think it's the best approach.

 

The strategy isn't helped when my images are returned in a search where the  relevant keywords aren't even in my keyword list. I had a picture of 'EDL supporters in Bolton town centre' show up yesterday for 'Group walking in the park'. The picture does not have the keywords 'group', 'walking' or 'park'. The only place 'Park' turns up is a single word in the 600 word caption referring to the place the demonstrators had met earlier.

 

What should really worry us all as contributors is that the searcher only looked at 360 images and zoomed none of them before giving up - and if the rest were  anything like mine that's not surprising! Surely in 45 million stock images there are more than 360 which have a better fit to the term  'Group walking in the park'  than my EDL protestors, and surely a search engine should be capable of finding them and excluding the obviously non-relevant.

 

This is not the first time I've seen my images returned in searches purely on the strength of a word in the caption. it seems Keyword Chaos does not apply only to spammed keywords lists.

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I seriously believe checking and adjusting keywords daily is unnecessary and ultimately has little if any effect when you consider the number of images in the pool. Joseph's experience above isn't ever going to be affected in the slightest even by checking and adjusting keywords two or three times a day . . .

 

However, buyers really do need a kick in the proverbial, followed by some education (although how to achieve it is another huge problem), to all our benefit . . . if they had in Joseph's case searched for "group walking in the park"  (ie, used quotation marks) they would have found . . . 4 images! Every one relevant, exactly.

 

The long-ago promised refinements to the search function would help of course . . .

 

dd

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Educating buyers on how to use the search engine well is a good aim, but unlikely to happen any time soon.

 

However, the search engine is under Alamy's direct control and it should be possible for it to have the 'intelligence' not to return a picture where the searched for words are not in any section of the keyword list and where there are many better matches elsewhere in the collection - for goodness sake, there are 2.5 million images returned on the  search 'park' and over a quarter of a million returned on 'Park UK'. Why on earth pick on mine where park only appears in the caption?  :wacko:

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The strategy isn't helped when my images are returned in a search where the  relevant keywords aren't even in my keyword list. I had a picture of 'EDL supporters in Bolton town centre' show up yesterday for 'Group walking in the park'. The picture does not have the keywords 'group', 'walking' or 'park'. The only place 'Park' turns up is a single word in the 600 word caption referring to the place the demonstrators had met earlier.

 

Sorry, but this seems perfectly reasonable to me. The caption is searchable, and the words group, walking and park appear in it. The caption should describe what's in the picture and nothing more. If there's no park in the picture it shouldn't be in the caption. The Description field is where ancillary information should be put, and that isn't searchable.

 

Alan

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The strategy isn't helped when my images are returned in a search where the  relevant keywords aren't even in my keyword list. I had a picture of 'EDL supporters in Bolton town centre' show up yesterday for 'Group walking in the park'. The picture does not have the keywords 'group', 'walking' or 'park'. The only place 'Park' turns up is a single word in the 600 word caption referring to the place the demonstrators had met earlier.

 

Sorry, but this seems perfectly reasonable to me. The caption is searchable, and the words group, walking and park appear in it. The caption should describe what's in the picture and nothing more. If there's no park in the picture it shouldn't be in the caption. The Description field is where ancillary information should be put, and that isn't searchable.

 

Alan

 

 

The caption is as it is because the image was submitted through the Alamy Live News route and the references to the park etc are there to set the context of the story as a news item. In both news and non-news stock pictures it sometimes is necessary to describe things which aren't literally in the picture in order to fully understand the image. I don't put such words in the keyword section because they are part of the context, not the image itself, but I do want potential buyers to know the story behind the image so the description is fuller.

 

If the search engine is giving priority to words in the caption because of their proximity to each other, over and above the words actually chosen by the photographer to keyword the image for search purposes, then I would argue the search engine is deficient, especially when there are so many other more meaningful matches in the library.

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The strategy isn't helped when my images are returned in a search where the  relevant keywords aren't even in my keyword list. I had a picture of 'EDL supporters in Bolton town centre' show up yesterday for 'Group walking in the park'. The picture does not have the keywords 'group', 'walking' or 'park'. The only place 'Park' turns up is a single word in the 600 word caption referring to the place the demonstrators had met earlier.

 

Sorry, but this seems perfectly reasonable to me. The caption is searchable, and the words group, walking and park appear in it. The caption should describe what's in the picture and nothing more. If there's no park in the picture it shouldn't be in the caption. The Description field is where ancillary information should be put, and that isn't searchable.

 

Alan

 

 

The caption is as it is because the image was submitted through the Alamy Live News route and the references to the park etc are there to set the context of the story as a news item. In both news and non-news stock pictures it sometimes is necessary to describe things which aren't literally in the picture in order to fully understand the image. I don't put such words in the keyword section because they are part of the context, not the image itself, but I do want potential buyers to know the story behind the image so the description is fuller.

 

If the search engine is giving priority to words in the caption because of their proximity to each other, over and above the words actually chosen by the photographer to keyword the image for search purposes, then I would argue the search engine is deficient, especially when there are so many other more meaningful matches in the library.

 

It is true that many images come up in searches because of words that appear only in the caption, and which are there purely because they should be in order to caption the photo correctly, but are not in the keywords; happens to me on a daily basis.

There needs to be a way to give the keywords more priority than the caption.

 

Phil

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If the search engine is giving priority to words in the caption because of their proximity to each other, over and above the words actually chosen by the photographer to keyword the image for search purposes, then I would argue the search engine is deficient.

 

 

But it isn't giving priority to the caption. The caption is a lower priority than all the keywords. If you want to include words that should not be searched at all then use the Description field. That's what it's there for.

 

Alan

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If the search engine is giving priority to words in the caption because of their proximity to each other, over and above the words actually chosen by the photographer to keyword the image for search purposes, then I would argue the search engine is deficient.

 

 

But it isn't giving priority to the caption. The caption is a lower priority than all the keywords. If you want to include words that should not be searched at all then use the Description field. That's what it's there for.

 

Alan

 

Unfortunately proper captioning involves using words which have to be there to properly caption(as opposed to description) the photo, and if they are not in the keywords boxes then they should not be coming up in searches with a higher position in the search than photos which do have the words in the keyword boxes, and this is the problem… :wacko:  If the words in caption area brought up photos at the end of a search then I could understand it.

 

Phil

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If the search engine is giving priority to words in the caption because of their proximity to each other, over and above the words actually chosen by the photographer to keyword the image for search purposes, then I would argue the search engine is deficient.

 

 

But it isn't giving priority to the caption. The caption is a lower priority than all the keywords. If you want to include words that should not be searched at all then use the Description field. That's what it's there for.

 

Alan

 

 

I didn't say it was giving priority to the caption. I said it was giving priority to words in the caption because of their proximity to each other. This seems to have led the search to increase the ranking of this image inappropriately in this case. 

 

But light is dawning, I now see, at least in part, where the problem is arising here. Images submitted through the Live News route automatically use the image's IPTC Title and Description fields. Alamy imports the IPTC description field into its own caption field (extending it from the usual 128 to 600 characters in the process), rather than putting it in their description field. It is up to the photographer to fill in the Alamy description field manually once the image is on the database.

 

Therefore, in cases such as this, the caption remains in its extended form for ever, unless the contributor remembers to edit the caption field once the current news value of the image has reduced. In this particular image the caption has information in it which I would normally only put in the unsearched description, as you suggest. Thank you for highlighting that Alan, I will watch for that problem in future Live News submissions.

 

However, I do still find it odd that an image with three very common words, scattered around a six hundred character caption only, should show up at all in a search where there are many, many alternative images with the same words correctly placed in their keyword fields. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been researched since 1955, you would think by now a search engine could analyse the words 'group walking in the park UK' and realise that what is needed is  a UK park with people walking in it and automatically exclude anything which doesn't have that in the keywords.

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However, I do still find it odd that an image with three very common words, scattered around a six hundred character caption only, should show up at all in a search where there are many, many alternative images with the same words correctly placed in their keyword fields. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been researched since 1955, you would think by now a search engine could analyse the words 'group walking in the park UK' and realise that what is needed is  a UK park with people walking in it and automatically exclude anything which doesn't have that in the keywords.

 

 

I still think you're slightly missing the point. All the fields except the description are searchable. The caption is simply a lower priority. To achieve what you want would require the caption to be not searchable at all, which is a totally separate issue. The search engine can't be expected to know that words in one searchable field are to be included and words in another searchable field are to be ignored completely. No amount of AI could do that. It assumes, quite rightly, that if you've put a word in a searchable field then you want it to be searchable. However, if it's in a lower priority field it will search first for images where it's a higher priority. But that won't prevent the lower priority images from appearing somewhere in the search.

 

Alan

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However, I do still find it odd that an image with three very common words, scattered around a six hundred character caption only, should show up at all in a search where there are many, many alternative images with the same words correctly placed in their keyword fields. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been researched since 1955, you would think by now a search engine could analyse the words 'group walking in the park UK' and realise that what is needed is  a UK park with people walking in it and automatically exclude anything which doesn't have that in the keywords.

 

 

I still think you're slightly missing the point. All the fields except the description are searchable. The caption is simply a lower priority. To achieve what you want would require the caption to be not searchable at all, which is a totally separate issue. The search engine can't be expected to know that words in one searchable field are to be included and words in another searchable field are to be ignored completely. No amount of AI could do that. It assumes, quite rightly, that if you've put a word in a searchable field then you want it to be searchable. However, if it's in a lower priority field it will search first for images where it's a higher priority. But that won't prevent the lower priority images from appearing somewhere in the search.

 

Alan

 

So if the caption is a lower priority than keyword fields why are words in the caption bringing up images ahead of other images with the word in the keyword field? 

This what puzzles me. And, it is not just with images uploaded via news and their extended captions that it happens. I see my images coming up like this daily. Up till now I've just ignored it as it's happening across the board to all contributors , but reading this thread has made me realise that it is something which could be driving buyers away due to the spurious results being thrown up.

Not good :angry:

 

Phil

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However, I do still find it odd that an image with three very common words, scattered around a six hundred character caption only, should show up at all in a search where there are many, many alternative images with the same words correctly placed in their keyword fields. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been researched since 1955, you would think by now a search engine could analyse the words 'group walking in the park UK' and realise that what is needed is  a UK park with people walking in it and automatically exclude anything which doesn't have that in the keywords.

 

 

I still think you're slightly missing the point. All the fields except the description are searchable. The caption is simply a lower priority. To achieve what you want would require the caption to be not searchable at all, which is a totally separate issue. The search engine can't be expected to know that words in one searchable field are to be included and words in another searchable field are to be ignored completely. No amount of AI could do that. It assumes, quite rightly, that if you've put a word in a searchable field then you want it to be searchable. However, if it's in a lower priority field it will search first for images where it's a higher priority. But that won't prevent the lower priority images from appearing somewhere in the search.

 

Alan

 

 

Not so much missing the point, Alan, as having a differing opinion. I think that with what AI is capable of today in many fields of IT technology, correctly searching and prioritising words in two database fields ought to be a piece of cake.  :)

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So if the caption is a lower priority than keyword fields why are words in the caption bringing up images ahead of other images with the word in the keyword field? 

 

Diversity algorithm?

 

Steve

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So if the caption is a lower priority than keyword fields why are words in the caption bringing up images ahead of other images with the word in the keyword field? 

 

Diversity algorithm?

 

Steve

 

Maybe… Still I think it should be looked into and see if there is a better way.

As Joseph said "I think that with what AI is capable of today in many fields of IT technology, correctly searching and prioritising words in two database fields ought to be a piece of cake." (My bold!)

 

Phil

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Maybe your images are appearing before those with better keywords in the essentials etc., is because you have a better CTR?

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Not so much missing the point, Alan, as having a differing opinion. I think that with what AI is capable of today in many fields of IT technology, correctly searching and prioritising words in two database fields ought to be a piece of cake.  :)

 

 

But the Alamy search engine does prioritise correctly, and as for searching, I don't see how any AI in the world can tell that you want some searchable words to be included and others not.

 

Alan

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However, I do still find it odd that an image with three very common words, scattered around a six hundred character caption only, should show up at all in a search where there are many, many alternative images with the same words correctly placed in their keyword fields. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been researched since 1955, you would think by now a search engine could analyse the words 'group walking in the park UK' and realise that what is needed is  a UK park with people walking in it and automatically exclude anything which doesn't have that in the keywords.

 

 

I still think you're slightly missing the point. All the fields except the description are searchable. The caption is simply a lower priority. To achieve what you want would require the caption to be not searchable at all, which is a totally separate issue. The search engine can't be expected to know that words in one searchable field are to be included and words in another searchable field are to be ignored completely. No amount of AI could do that. It assumes, quite rightly, that if you've put a word in a searchable field then you want it to be searchable. However, if it's in a lower priority field it will search first for images where it's a higher priority. But that won't prevent the lower priority images from appearing somewhere in the search.

 

Alan

 

So if the caption is a lower priority than keyword fields why are words in the caption bringing up images ahead of other images with the word in the keyword field? 

 

It works perfectly for me. I just did a search on my own collection for a word that occurs in the keywords of 34 images and only in the caption of three others. Those three came bottom of the list.

 

Alan

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However, I do still find it odd that an image with three very common words, scattered around a six hundred character caption only, should show up at all in a search where there are many, many alternative images with the same words correctly placed in their keyword fields. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been researched since 1955, you would think by now a search engine could analyse the words 'group walking in the park UK' and realise that what is needed is  a UK park with people walking in it and automatically exclude anything which doesn't have that in the keywords.

 

 

I still think you're slightly missing the point. All the fields except the description are searchable. The caption is simply a lower priority. To achieve what you want would require the caption to be not searchable at all, which is a totally separate issue. The search engine can't be expected to know that words in one searchable field are to be included and words in another searchable field are to be ignored completely. No amount of AI could do that. It assumes, quite rightly, that if you've put a word in a searchable field then you want it to be searchable. However, if it's in a lower priority field it will search first for images where it's a higher priority. But that won't prevent the lower priority images from appearing somewhere in the search.

 

Alan

 

So if the caption is a lower priority than keyword fields why are words in the caption bringing up images ahead of other images with the word in the keyword field? 

 

It works perfectly for me. I just did a search on my own collection for a word that occurs in the keywords of 34 images and only in the caption of three others. Those three came bottom of the list.

 

Alan

 

How did it compare to other contributors images with the word in the keywords?

 

Phil

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When I submit stuff via the news feed I go back to the images a few days later - when it's no longer news - and alter the data accordingly. If necessary I put all the background information into the description field, or more usually delete it altogether if it has no meaning to the image as stock.

 

If you do a search here for any tennis player you will find dozens of pictures of other players, because at the time the photo was taken they were in a match against the player you are searching for, and mentioned in the caption. 

For a hot news photo that is important information. As a stock image of the player pictured it is largely irrelevant, but might be of use in the description, as background.

 

The fact is the caption is searchable, whatever you think about that, and if you don't want erroneous search results, hide the unwanted information in the description field. 

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