Keyword Spamming - Why It's Not Such a Good Idea?

Do you remember this episode from your childhood? Your granny was the best cook. You loved her pancakes. On one beautiful Sunday she invited you over and told she will bake your favorite pancakes for you. You were looking forward to this wonderful morning with your granny, her tasty pancakes and strawberry jam.

Stack of pancakes with strawberry jam and walnuts. tasty dessert

When you got to the granny's place, she was standing by the oven and the room was filled with mouthwatering smell of your favorite dish. You went to play with granny's cat, waiting the invitation to come to the table.

"Sweaty, pancakes will be ready soon, but would you like to have porridge meanwhile?"

"No, thanks! I will take pancakes when they are ready!"

"Darling, I have some carrots here. Would you like to have one?"

"No, thank you!"

"Okay, what about swede, honey? I can peal one for you."

"No-no, I just want pancakes."

"Okay-okay, but I still made a really good sandwich for you, would you like to taste it?"

"No, granny, thanks!"

"But look how tasty it looks, just come and try it!"

"Granny, I love you! But I really don't want anything else but pancakes."

Sounds familiar, right?

How this story relates to keywords?

Angry frustrated office worker having problems with his laptop and connection, computer problems and troubleshooting concept

When you keyword your images, you are like inviting buyers to see your images of that topic. You might think: "Oh, 'isolated' is a very popular keyword, I just tag all of my images with it, although these are not isolated images. But clients might come and see all of my images, what they would never know to search. They are not isolated, but at least buyers will see what I have to offer, and maybe they will buy them, although they didn't want to shop for images other than isolated ones."

Is this a reasonable approach?

Think about kid, who got invited to eat pancakes, but got lots of offers to eat different food. He wasn’t happy, wasn’t he? Yes, he usually likes carrots and swede and sandwiches, but this time, he was looking for pancakes granny promised to bake him.

The similar thing is with buyers. They come to the stock site, and they look for particular image they need. They have limited time; they want to find the needed image fast. They put carefully selected keywords into search box, and they expect to find beautiful images what are relevant to their search. We might be tempted to show them our best shots form last model shoot what came out so well, or creative backgrounds what every designer might like, but when they are searching an image of a boy with a book, they want to see on search result pages only boys with a book.

Little boy and the magic book

So, what you can do, to make image buyers happy?

Keyword your images carefully. Use very detailed descriptions and only relevant keywords. Analyze every keyword: would a buyer be happy to find your image among search results when he uses this keyword, or would he expect to find totally different images. When he would expect something else, drop this keyword. You will keep your buyers happy when they get what they expect. And happy buyer will probably look up your portfolio when he has found fast a good image he can use.

  • Maigi
My name is Mailis Laos. I'm a photographer and digital artist from Estonia. I love photography and digital art. Traveling, hiking, folk music and deep late night discussions with friends are among other things I enjoy a lot. And you can mess my head with thought-provoking poetry. You can find me on Instagram: maigidesign; contact:

Your comment must be written in English.

We value all opinions and we will not censor or delete comments unless they come from fake accounts or contain spam, threats, false facts or vulgarity.


May 27, 2021

Some do it intentionally and some times it is system generated (like the key words of your previously uploaded picture get automatically transferred to the new one) It is up to us to weed them out and make sure that the keywords are appropriate.   


November 13, 2020

Wow,  good Article 


August 23, 2020

LOL! By one definition, I guess anyone over 18 is "mature". Most people looking for "mature" are looking for some grey hair.


August 11, 2020

Maddrew. I have a suggestion; why not just search for "elderly woman grandmother", as I just did and got 63,608 hits. I also looked up photo 50060788 and found what appears to be a 40+ year old woman who appears to fit the "mature" label.


August 09, 2020

Thank you so much for this article. I cannot tell you how much I'm put off by the sheer number of unrelated images that are being thrown at me by the search engine. Many of them are embedded with keywords that have nothing to do with their subject matter. For example, I can key in "mature adult woman" hoping to find a suitable image of an elderly woman / grandmother and can end up with images of women in their 30s thrown into the search. See example: It's very frustrating to see these useless hits flooding my search results when I'm on a deadline.


August 07, 2020

A great storyline to bring the concept home.  A pertinent topic for a blog as well - Well done!


August 03, 2020

haha that is a funny story! ;-)Spam will not get you a higher rank or exposure anywhere! On keywording images or even working on a site SEO etc.


August 02, 2020

Well said. I just  checked my portfolio for "isolated", and got only two hits; an isolated beach (only accessible by boat) and an empty shopping mall that reflects coronavirus lockdown isolation.