The Practical Keyworder - Keywording and Community

The Practical Keyworder - Keywording and Community

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As has been pointed out in a number of articles - Dreamstime is much more than just a place where people buy and sell pictures. It is a true community supported by forums, a comments area, blogs and other tools that help users support one another. When cataloging images, contributors need to keep in mind that while the goal of good keywording is to do good for the individual photographer (i.e. maximize sales), an equally important goal is to do good for Dreamstime as a community.

With traditional stock collections and agencies there has always an inherent conflict of sorts between photographers and agencies when it comes to cataloging and keywording. The photographer keywords in a way that s/he thinks will maximize individual sales. While agencies has traditionally employed catalogers whose goal is to maximize relevancy and result for customers.

With the growth of microstock, and with Dreamstime in particular with its strong community structure, the two functions are not separated. Because of this, contributors need to learn to integrate community and individual goals in order for everyone, including themselves as individual contributors, to enjoy success.

This isn't just altruism - or do-gooding. When a site's search engine returns more relevant results and gets a reputation for customer satisfaction, it can drive customers to the site, and thus, to YOUR individual images. So what can contributors do when they keyword to help themselves by helping the community? A few things:

1. Learn how the search engine works - REALLY. Some people are under the impression that the more words the better, no matter how relevant the terms - THEY ARE WRONG. When people use overly general keywords or use irrelevant spam it dilutes searches for everybody - including the person using them. Spam is not only bad - it does not work!

2. Be mindful of the way this particular search engine does things - it splits multi-word terms for example (see Babies and Baby Tomatoes), it does not support relevancy (so don't include minor qualities of the image).

3. Keyword in a thorough and complete way so that more relevant results appear and the full range of our wonderful collection is shown - use focused concept words ( Concepts: One thing leads to another...), use checklists for consistency ( A Checklist Manifesto), keep in mind who your users are and keyword for them ( The Mind of the User ).

I'm sure that there are many more things that I forgot to mention. But my underlying point is - when you help the community - you are are helping yourself and your own sales as well....

Good luck!

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May 21, 2010


I think you touch on a very important subject here, I also read your previous article the Checklist Manifesto.
My trouble is that I am not a designer and I never met or spoken to one. I have no idea what they are looking for in a picture so I have trouble properly key-wording to emphasize the important qualities of the photo. I am trying to describe objectively the content (I am an engineer) but it probably leads to many non relevant info. I would have never thought about including "copy" as for copy-space to photo keywords.
Thanks for the article.

May 21, 2010


Thanks for the article! Very useful!

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