Adobe Stock – prioritize your keywords

There was a post from Mat Hayward (Adobe Stock rep) on the Microstock Group forum reminding people that the first seven keywords are the most important in the search results on Adobe Stock. I’ve always found this a pain with Fotolia and most of my images there have alphabetic keywords. When Fotolia used to be a low earner, it perhaps didn’t matter much, but things are changing.

Alphabetic is not always best!

Alphabetic is not always best!

Being a person that doesn’t like extra work, I decided to test if this was true.

I searched for “Lincoln Memorial Dawn” in Adobe Stock and one of my alphabetic images came up in position 2. Replacing “dawn” with “sunrise” moved it back to position 4 presumably because sunrise is further down the list.

I thought that I wasn’t missing many sales as a result of that, but I did change the keywords to put “lincoln memorial statue washington sunrise” up at the beginning. In a short time, the changes took effect in their index and now my image in number 1 in the results. So, it looks like that the order really does have an impact. I tried it with a different image in a more competitive field, with “toddler girl laptop”. Here there are 2500 results and my image:

Young baby girl playing with laptop

Comes way down the second page of 100 results. I modified the keywords on this to put “toddler girl laptop computer pc” up front and it moved from being nowhere to be found to the middle of the first page. A second version that I couldn’t find moved to the top of the second page.

So it definitely seems to be worth moving some keywords on images you have forgotten  or which are not getting the views you expect. I did see that when you click on one image, the site shows you images from the same shoot, so it is possible that you only need to alter the keywords on one of them for the others to be seen, but that is up to you.

How do you do this – go to (sync your account with Fotolia if this is your first visit) and then look at your portfolio. When you click an image thumbnail, the details appear and you can use the small pencil to edit the keywords and move keywords to the top of the list. I tend to move about 5 or so. Then save. The changes seem to be picked up in about 4 hours or so. Of course, I have 5000 images to check and so I am doing this slowly – perhaps a page or two each time I have a bit of free time.

Time will tell if this translates to extra sales but I did have one sale this morning for an image that had only sold once before prior to me changing its keywords yesterday!


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Wonder if other sites have the same?

As far as I know, Fotolia is the only one and that was carried over into Adobe Stock. Anyone know any different?


Interesting that Adobe Stock uses keywords not in alphabetical order, but there is no way to get nonalphabetical keyword lists out of Adobe Lightroom. I *think* Adobe Bridge will build nonalphabetical keyword lists. I wonder if it will be worth the extra work with higher sales?


Hi George

I was with Julieanne Kost of Adobe over the weekend and asked her to put the request into the Lightroom Product team to be able to sort the keywords there! Not sure if/when that might occur, but that is the best option for me. There are other systems out there (Bridge?) that do allow it, but that would add another step to my process.

I’ve only been sorting the first 5… so maybe I should do 7. I find it a little annoying that Lightroom sorts them alphabetically and when you drag the images to the “Publish to Adobe” they are still alphabetical. I wish Adobe would talk to Adobe so we could do all this in Lightroom, once.

Adobe has been selling well so far. I’m impressed.

How interesting! But what a pain to update the words order…

It is funny that I have been doing this- prioritizing keywords- for about three months for all sites. And then my sales at Fotolia have become very rare lately. I used to have at least 4-5 downloads a week with a port of less than 400 images, now I have one when I am lucky.


Interesting – I’ll write some more about keywords later today if I get a chance

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