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How to Improve Sales Using Photo Keywords in WordPress

A grand library, filled with books.

When it comes to browsing a stock image website, user experience is key. Effective navigation is vitally important, and it’s imperative that users have a clear and easy way of searching for images. If they struggle at any point in the process, they are likely to go elsewhere, resulting in the loss of a sale and potential repeat business.

Fortunately, our Sell Media plugin enables you to easily implement one of the key navigational features of any worthy stock image website. Image keywords are imported at the upload stage, and are then accessible and navigable in three key ways on the front end: via individual archive pages, tag clouds, and even site-wide search.

In this post, we’ll look at how to add keywords to your images, before discussing where they will appear in WordPress – but first, let’s look at what keywords are, and the role they play on your website.

What Are Keywords and Why Are They Important?

In the context we’re exploring, keywords are one or two word descriptions of your image that give visitors a very brief overview of its content. In the example below from Getty Images, you can see the image itself on the left, the purchasing information on the right, and the image’s keywords displayed as a tag cloud in the center:

An example of Getty's keyword cloud.

Keywords are vital to both administrators and end users for broadly the same reason: navigation. Both groups need to be able to search for and find the images they’re seeking, whether that’s via the front or back end. And while administrators may work around the lack of functionality, it’s unreasonable to expect potential buyers to view and assess every image available. After a round or two of getting nowhere, they’ll likely head to a rival – potentially lost forever.

Going back to our Getty example, clicking on one of the keywords in the center opens up a whole new search, enabling users to continue searching the site, and keeping them from heading elsewhere:

Getty's keyword search page.

In short, keywords are integral to user experience, and must be chosen correctly to help narrow down a search query.

There are various tools to help you choose the right keywords. Arcurs’ Keywording Tool helps you select keywords based on similar images, and this tool from Getty gives some insight into why selecting the right keywords is important for user searches.

Once you’ve chosen your keywords, you’ll need to add them to your images. Let’s go through that process now!

Adding Keywords to Your Images

There are a myriad of different tools available for adding keywords to your images, with plenty of free online options. However, we’re guessing that you already have an image editor such as Photoshop installed on your computer. If so, head to File > File Info in the toolbar. Here, you can add your keywords under the Description tab, before clicking Ok.

You can also add keywords to your images from within WordPress itself, by heading to an individual product’s edit page, and entering them into the Keywords meta box. Here, you can also choose keywords based on those most used within your library, which could come in useful for quick grouping of related images:

The Sell Media Keywords meta box.

Now, once you have created keywords for your image, we need to enable potential customers to find them!

Making Your Keywords Appear in WordPress

Keywords can be set to display on each image’s individual page. Just navigate to Sell Media > Settings > General within your WordPress dashboard, and check the Keywords box:

The Sell Media settings checkboxes for displaying keywords.

Keywords will now appear, as if by magic:

The image details screen.

Users can now click on an existing image’s keyword to show the relevant archive page:

The Keyword Archive page.

You’ll likely want to provide search functionality for keywords, too. Fortunately, we’ve provided search functionality specific to Sell Media uploads. To display a search box, simply add the [sell_media_searchform] shortcode to any page:

The Sell Media search bar.

Finally, Sell Media offers a widget to display all of your most popular keywords within a tag cloud on your sidebar:

The Sell Media Keyword widget.


Stock image sites offer a huge selection of content, but without a suitable method of categorizing and finding them, users will have no choice but to go elsewhere for their media – and that means your competitors will gain both an immediate sale and potential repeat business.

Our Sell Media plugin makes it easy to integrate keywords into WordPress, and with a little additional work on your part, you can provide your visitors with a powerful navigation tool to find exactly what they need.

Let’s recap the steps you need to take:

  1. Choose suitable keywords for your images.
  2. Add keywords using your favorite image editor, or within WordPress after upload.
  3. Enable Sell Media keyword navigation and search functionality across your site.

Do you have any tips on keyword selection you’d like to share? Share with us in the comments section below!

Image credit: izoca.

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