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Captions, Tags and Search Results

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Following my introductory post, and a couple of invitations to do so, these are my initial findings on this much-debated topic. I should stress I regard them as indicative rather than absolute - I don't think that tagging, or indeed potential customer searches can ever become an absolutely precise science. As has been said many times before, the best chance of an image being found (and hopefully sold) by a search is going to be achieved by using careful, accurate and relevant captions and tags.


I picked my photo of Winston Bridge as the search target because previous searches didn't find any of that specific subject on Alamy before mine was accepted. The caption is "Teesdale Landscape - Winston Bridge and the River Tees on a summer afternoon" (without the quotes), and my keywords include Winston and Bridge.


Link here


A search using those two words alone produced 554 matches (pleasingly mine is the first listed) which as might be expected included lots of pictures of bridges and individuals whose name includes Winston.


A search using "Winston Bridge" as the search phrase returned just 3 results. Mine first again, plus two historic pictures of Winston Churchill  being driven over a bridge. Both of these two old pictures include Winston and Bridge as consecutive words in their captions; one also includes them as a keyword phrase.


Finally, a search using "Winston Bridge" Spitfire listed just the one result - mine.


Now I wouldn't say that this is a typical result pattern, especially as it was a somewhat contrived test situation,  but it does show the difference between using a phrase in the search as compared to just a string of words. Perhaps more interestingly, until I checked just now, I hadn't actually included the two word phrase as a tag (I've since added it), so clearly results are being returned from the caption as well as the tags.


Before anybody asks why I think "spitfire" is a relevant tag for this image, have a look at the additional comments for it. We're approaching the 30th anniversary of that event which does make this bridge a bit special.


For those interested, the original footage is on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf3UtmHLKUU



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Very interesting.  Because of my low CTR, I believe I get my images seen much more with very specific search terms rather than a generalized search.  An example would be search terms of Florida beach does not result in any of my images appearing on page one or two.  However, searches using the two words, Destin beach, does show my images on page one.  


In all of my Florida beach images both the word Florida and beach are super tags.  Personally I think Alamy has done a pretty good job to make the searches as relevant as they can for their customers.  I'm sure they are constantly tweaking the algorithm to optimize the system.


On the Spitfire, I wonder how many takes that pilot got to do in the movie scene.  I would have loved to see that in person!!



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To the best of my knowlege, he just made the one pass and flew straight under. He was an extraordinarily talented pilot - the exception to the old saying about "old pilots and bold pilots" I reckon. There's other footage of him in action on youtube - have a look at the one where he just about took the head off a TV reporter!

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