There is nothing worse than irrelevant keywords in a stock image search. They produce inaccurate image results and ultimately put buyers off.

However, there are lots of people who believe that the more keywords you use, the more chance your images will show up in search results, and with some stock agencies allowing fifty keywords, that gives you a lot of scope to get your image seen.

But what use are views if your image never sells? Surely it's best to show buyers images which accurately reflect their search results?

An image of a garden with a rose bush tucked discreetly away in a far corner should not be displayed to someone searching for a rose petal should it? But that's what can happen if both buyer and contributor use the word 'rose'. When this occurs, other more suitable images can be pushed further down the results list, images which are a much better match and could result in a sale.

Early in my stock career I tried to add fifty relevant keywords to my stock photos, and to be honest, I really struggled. I ended up including very dubious words which had little relevance to the actual content of the image. In 2017 I decided to just use a handful of keywords for each image, and do you know what? It's had no negative impact on sales whatsoever. In fact I've seen a very slight increase in sales and uploading my images takes far less time.

So, when I created Five Thumbs, I decided to only allow photographers and illustrators five descriptive keywords, and buyers only five search keywords. That may seem too few to some people, but take a look at the picture above, now try describing it in just five words. You'll be surprised how difficult it actually is. But if you get those words perfect, and a buyer searches for the same words, then your image will certainly fulfill their brief.