I ran across this blog posted in the DT group on Facebook and thought it was worth reposting here. There seem to be frequent questions about how the keywords, title, description, and search function all work together and this article answers some of those questions. It's part of a series the author did evaluating the same aspect of a number of different microstock agencies.
Thanks for posting that link Anne -interesting reading. I certainly didn't realise I should be including Plurals in keywords (dog, dogs etc). It would be helpful to know if DT agree with his conclusions. Regards, David.
Quoted Message: Thanks for posting that link Anne -interesting reading. I certainly didn`t realise I should be including Plurals in keywords (dog, dogs etc). It would be helpful to know if DT agree with his conclusions. Regards, David.
You would only still use dog and dogs if there where more than one dog in the picture, if there was only one dog in the picture then you should not use the plural as this IMHO would be bad keywording.
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From what I recall reading on the boards when the subject of plurals has come up in the past, DT endorses the common sense approach of only using plurals when it reflects what's actually in the image. In other words, if you only have a single dog in a photo, only put "dog" and not "dogs" in the keywords. The only problem with that approach, IMO, is that buyers aren't always using common sense or specificity when they're searching for images, especially when it comes to the use of plurals in their search terms.
Thanks so much for the link to this article! It answered many questions I often ponder when doing my keywording. Keywording is such an important part of maximizing your visibility and I'm still learning all the best practices. Thanks again for taking the time to post that link :-)
With regard to whether to use the plural form of nouns when only one is included in the image, I know for a fact that I would have lost several sales if I had not included the plural forms.
For example, I have a handful of images of a certain African American male in my portfolio. For one of those, which happens to be my most downloaded to date, two of the 11 downloads had "n/a" under "keywords searched for." Two used singular nouns: "male portrait serious" and "african american male student university." One did not use either singular or plural: "ethnic school and young." And SIX out of the NINE that included "keywords searched for" used plurals: "adults serious," "men portraits," african american attractive males," black males," and two "men serious."
Furthermore, on the same day that "black males" were downloaded, two other images with "black handsome males" were also bought (192699710 and 19180053). At the time, the other images of this model did not have the plural "males" (and were not purchased on that day).
So, my thinking is that even though buyers might want a certain type of single man, male, or adult, they may be thinking along the lines of "I want to look at images of men, males, or adults." So I include both singular and plural.
As at least some of you know, some sites consider the inclusion of both singular and plural forms redundant because their search engines with search for both whether the singular or plural form is searched for. Apparently DT does not do this.
The fact that some people will download your single person image using the plural has no relevancy, other that sometimes spam works. Because we consider spam the presence of a plural in the title when the subject is singular.
Our policy is to avoid plurals if the image is of a single person, at least in title and description. There are too many images and you should compete fairly for a place in the "singles" area, not in the groups. Most often, people looking for the plural want to see the plural.
I also have had many sales from keywords like "abandoned factories," "restaurants," "hospitals," "american cities" etc when the image was only one of the aforementioned places. However I never include the plural in the title or the description unless there are actually more than one.
I feel I understand what the buyer is thinking: They want to see several images of restaurants or hospitals or whatever it is they are searching, so they search using the plural. I don't believe in most cases they want to see a collage of such places in a single image, though I guess that's occasionally the case.
Quoted Message: The fact that some people will download your single person image using the plural has no relevancy, other that sometimes spam works. Because we consider spam the presence of a plural in the title when the subject is singular.Our policy is to avoid plurals if the image is of a single person, at least in title and description. There are too many images and you should compete fairly for a place in the singles area, not in the groups. Most often, people looking for the plural want to see the plural.
Jody here, it's my blog you referenced here. I'm glad you've all found it helpful.
I would just like to respond to Dreamstime's response here.
Having years of experience with many stock houses and image libraries, I feel it is important to use all plurals, because, as a few anecdotes here have pointed out, searchers often search for plurals when they would be happy with a single.
On a more meta level, "other that sometimes spam works" is fundamentally not true for the stock world. If you have an image of a mountain landscape and keyword it "charlie sheen" or "bare breasts" who will probably get a lot more impressions, but unquestionably ZERO sales.
This is spam, and it spam like this creates a poor search experience for the buyers, which is bad for the stock house and the contributors as well.
While I do agree 100% with Achilles that you should be very accurate in your title and description.
However, I am quite confident (and searchers will keep proving me right) that making a sale by having "men" when the image only has one man in it, proves that "men" is not spam, but in fact a good keyword.
Dreamstime is one of the few stockhouses that believes that inappropriate plurals is spam, and will always be fighting what everyone (both searchers and contributors) have learned at other stock houses.
I can understand how it seems that the plural form should only be used when there are more than one of the subject. However, searchers just don't work this way.
Yesterday I was looking for an image of men talking. Well more than half the images showed only one man. This is spam, and it makes it very difficult to find what I want. The fact that spam sometimes works does not make it right.
Among other things this is unfair to those who have the images I am looking for. Why should they have to compete with hundreds of images I should not be seeing?
Maybe those of us who are tired of this should start putting the worst offenders into "Exclude Contributor" when doing a search. I bet I could cut my useless image numbers greatly by blocking a couple dozen who are really bad at this.
As to this "Dreamstime is one of the few stockhouses that believes that inappropriate plurals is spam" that is the reason I am here - because they seem to think the customer is more importnat than the supplier. I left a stock house that let contributors get by with junk like this because it was such a huge waste of my time.