While Shutterstock Staff has addressed this issue many times in the past in our newsletters, we cannot overstate the importance of keywording accurately and precisely, hence why we revisit the subject every few months. Think of this article as a brief refresher on the role of adding your keywords, a very powerful tool in your arsenal to sell the images you have worked so hard to create. You deserve to make money selling images, and keywords are the key (pun very much intended) to making this possible.
That said, please keep the following in mind:
DO NOT KEYWORD SPAM. We are conducting more audits, more frequently to ensure that subscribers do not need to wade through irrelevant results before finding the images they need.
We understand that you want the broadest reach possible, but including irrelevant or even semi-related words still constitutes spamming. A photo of a bee should not have the keyword “fly,” for example.
This is particularly true with locations. If you have a photo of the Toronto skyline, don‘t keyword “Pittsburgh.” The image description/title should also be accurate.
For example, if your image title is “Toronto Skyline” and you‘ve included the keywords Pittsburgh, New York, etc... This is unacceptable. If you do this, the following will happen:
• You will be audited.
• You will be warned.
The following could happen:
• Your images will be deleted.
• Your account will be closed.
Keyword spamming multiple locations or using the title field incorrectly not only hurts your sales, but your fellow submitters‘ sales as well. How is this possible? One frustrated customer searching for the "Toronto Skyline" will go to another source for imagery if they see false (inaccurate) search results.
Please, do not keyword spam. Given our recent popularity for offering editorial images, this is now more important than ever. Clients want accuracy, which brings us to the next point.
THINK ACCURACY. Say you have a photo of a German Shepherd pup. Dog, canine, and puppy are all fine as keywords. Even better are “German Shepherd” (as a phrase) and Alsatian. Not acceptable: poodle, wolf, cat.
BE THE BUYER. Pretend you are a customer looking for something specific. Make a long list of keywords that could pertain to your image. Then, edit. Narrow the list down, being careful to trim what you consider to be on the outer margins of relevance.
Simplicity is key. While many subscribers may use conceptual keywords such as nightmare, freedom, and economy, make sure your conceptual keywords are applicable – not random. If you have a photo of a man with his mouth wide open, then it‘s okay to keyword both “yawn” and “scream.” It is not okay to keyword “loud.”
Good keywords sell. Think of it as a hand-in-hand duty with your image creation. A postal worker who can collect mail but not deliver it would not be working for very long. Think of keywording with image creation in a similar manner and you will improve your selling power.