Dear Flickr Users,
I know we’ve had our ups and downs, our good times and bad times; but overall, I really feel like we’ve grown closer over these past four months.
I have to commend those of you that release your photos to Creative Commons and let them be used for commercial use. You’ve made finding pictures for the QLP blog easy, and added spice to our blocks of text. Clipart is great and all, but there are only so many pictures of dynamic people giving a thumbs up sign that I can take.
But lately, you’ve let me down.
There’s a significant handful of you that are ruining the good name of Flickr users for me. And how are you doing it? You’re padding your photo tags and descriptions. And I don’t like it.
Earlier this week, I was on a mission to find a gorgeous picture of the Blois Chateau. As usual, I went into advanced search and set my filters to only search for Creative Commons images labeled for commercial use. I made my keywords “Blois chateau” and clicked on search.
While the first handful of results was actually the right castle, things started going south fast. I started seeing pictures titled “Chateau d’Ussé.” For those of you that don’t obsess over French geography like I do, let me tell you this: The Blois Chateau resides over 65 miles away from the Ussé Chateau. Over an hour and a half of driving. So what in the sweet name of blogging is this flipping picture doing with a “Blois” tag?
Stop padding your tags and keywords. Stop it.
I understand that in the cutthroat world of SEO, we all need to make our blog posts and pictures rich in keywords, but you should not be putting unrelated keywords in the tag or photo description just to make your pictures pop up all over the place. When I am searching for a specific type of picture, but I am instead met with other pictures, I want to bash in skulls. Just ask the rest of the QLP Blog Squad: they heard me muttering curses under my breath for an entire afternoon.
The point of keywords is that people like me search for them because, shockingly, we want results tailored to only those keywords. If I want a picture of a dog, I don’t want cats showing up in my results; if I’m looking for pictures of the Alps, don’t offer me a picture of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
By all means, please add every single synonym of “castle” and list things like “pretty windows.” If that’s legitimately in the picture, then highlight it! There are users guilty of not tagging their pictures enough. That’s also a shame because there could be great pictures out there that I’m just not seeing. Don’t you guys want to be featured on blogs?
There is a correct balance of optimized keywords and relevancy. Not only does padding your tags annoy browsers like me, but it upsets the almighty Panda. So let’s keep everyone happy and just be sensible with our tags and photo descriptions, shall we?
All my love,
P.S. For respect to the majority of the Flickr community, I didn’t even touch on this copied-from-Wikipedia-and-Imdb hot mess.
Have you ever had problems sorting through photos on Flickr? If you use Flickr, do you tag your photos too much, too little, or just right?