Metadata: The informational text that accompanies your image. It is how you identify your content. Metadata is also how your content is identified, searched for, and found by customers.
Q. How does metadata help me? A. Good metadata sells images. It is how your content is discovered during searches. By improving the visibility of your images, you will increase your potential to have your images downloaded. The value of your content will increase if your Titles, Descriptions, and Keywords accurately describe what is in each specific image.
Q. How does metadata help a customer? A. It is important that our customers get the best and most relevant results during their searches. Customers may simply stop searching if they see false or inaccurate (search) results. If a customer is searching for a skyline of Boston, and you have keyworded your New York skylines with 'Boston' (just because the cities are both on the East Coast), it will naturally cause some confusion. We always want our customers to have successful searches, and your metadata contributes greatly to that success.
Q. What if I just don't have time to fill out the metadata? A. Make the time! Entering metadata may be the final step in the image uploading process, but it is just as important as capturing the perfect shot or creating the perfect illustration. You always have the option to revisit and edit your metadata at any time, but providing accurate and relevant information when you first upload your images will increase your overall earning potential from day one.
A great time saver is to make your own Master Keyword List. Create a document with groups of keywords that are relevant to the type of imagery you usually create. Then, you have saved time by having the same, relevant metadata at hand! We will cover creating lists for keyword metadata in an upcoming Contributor's Corner Blog Post. You already gave your time and thought to creating images that mean something to you - good metadata will allow customers to find those images easily.
Q. What are some tips for creating metadata?Think Like A 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.
Literal then Figurative: Think literally first ("What is actually in the image?"). Then, think about your image figuratively ("What message or theme does my image convey, and what conceptual words can I use to describe it?").
Latin: Yes, Latin! If you're providing metadata for plants and animals, Latin words will help give those images an even better chance of being discovered (by scholastic publishing companies, for example). This is also shown in the lobster example, above.
Concepts: Include concepts specific to your image in your keyword list, and be sure to choose the appropriate conceptual Category, too.
Q. How can I make sure my metadata isn't considered Keyword Spamming? A. We are conducting more audits, more frequently to ensure that customers do not need to scroll 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. Keyword spamming multiple locations or using the title field incorrectly not only hurts your sales, but your fellow contributors‘ sales as well.
Q. What's the best way to create metadata for Editorial Photos? A. As more and more news organizations are turning to stock imagery for their visual aids, factual accuracy is vital. For this reason, a dateline caption format in the description field for images designated 'Editorial Use' is now mandatory. While this topic deserves a post of it's own, a quick tip is to Think like a photojournalist when writing your captions. Be factual and concise. Without a proper caption/description, all newsworthy editorial images will be returned to your Edit & Submit area.
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