Mail without an address? Titles, tags and descriptions for Search Engine Optimization.
December 15, 2009
Tzedakah © 1999 Collection of The Jewish Museum, New York
Would you mail an envelope without an address? Would you invite a customer over to your studio and not even tell them the city? How about "Come over for lunch," but not give them an address!
Artists and craftspeople are doing this over and over! I see it all the time. They put their images on Facebook, Crafthaus, or Flickr and don't have a title, description, or keywords with their images. I have even found images for sale in online marketplace sites such as Etsy with grossly incomplete information. This is like mailing an envelope without a stamp.
Tzedakah © 1999
Recycled Tin Cans
Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Collection of The Jewish Museum, New York
The titles (for your art or craft,) full descriptions, and relevant tags for your images are how people find your work on the Internet. Inadequate information is like mailing an envelope without an address. No one will receive the letter because no one can figure out where it should go. Your images are not working as hard as they could without this information.
Every image should have a title, copyright symbol, and date, detailed description including materials, dimensions, and perhaps a little insight into the inspiration.
Tags are important too.
Your tags should reiterate the information in your title and description. The redundancy between your title, description, and tags are reinforcements for search engines to indicate credible information. This information is like the address on an envelope.
Password Flower Pin © 2012
Recycled tin cans
Harriete Estel Berman
Here is an example Flower Pin that I posted on Flickr, Facebook, and Etsy for different audiences. All sites allow a title for the image and a description. You can reuse this information over and over. You don't have to reinvent the information every time. Copy and paste, then make changes as necessary for each forum.
INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TITLES, DESCRIPTIONS, AND TAGS
TITLES are important to keep your inventory straight and for search engine optimization. Watch this 5-minute video for tips on Image File Names for Better Search Engine Optimization.
DESCRIPTIONS vary from site to site. Flickr will not allow overt selling statements. Etsy and Facebook will. I always include materials and dimensions (and frequently include a story about my inspiration) just for interest. Pinterest images will benefit tremendously from an interesting, and complete description of your work.
TAGS or KEYWORDS repeat the information in the title and description usually in one-word snippets separated by commas. Use as many tags as needed or allowed on the site. Use every tag you can think of for a particular situation. Think about any variation of words that a person might use to find your work in a search. Try all different possibilities.
Candyland Flower Brooch © 2012
Recycled tin cans,
Harriete Estel Berman
Here are a few tags on Etsy for this flower pin: jewelry, tin, tin cans, candy, candyland, peach, peppermint, candy canes, Harriete, Harriet, Berman, recycled, steel, eco, green.
PAY ATTENTION to how to add tags effectively. Some sites need quote marks around multiple word tags to keep the words together as one tag (e.g. "Harriete Estel Berman".)
Sometimes testing and experimenting are the only way to find out what works, but to habitually not include titles, descriptions, and tags is like making your work invisible on the Internet. Like an envelope without an address, no one can find your images in search without titles, descriptions, & tags.
Go back to every one of your photos posted on social networking sites and edit your photos as time allows.
Photos of your art or craft should be part of your online profile on every site. Don't just segregate this information to a "Fan page" or online marketing site. Your friends might be your first customers. They love seeing what you do!
P.S. Tags and descriptions on your website are handled a little bit differently than social networking and online marketing sites. Learn more about this in other posts.
In the meantime, send me your questions. I'd like to hear your perspectives and areas of interest.
This post was updated on January 5, 2022, to provide current links.