Art of the Tag

"Yellow Flower"

“Yellow Flower”

I have several online shops featuring my artwork and designs. Last week, I was going through one of them and tweaking things here and there when I made a shocking discovery.

My tags were terrible! This particular website had been up for two years (with very little traffic), and I had learned from other, previous sites, that if you want people to see your stuff, it is imperative to tag/keyword your items, posts, website, etc. Previously, I had never bothered to tag things because all I knew about a “tag” was that it traditionally hung from pillows and clothing. So a year went by and I learned to tag, but not how to tag.

For a photo of a yellow flower, I had tags/keywords like “yellow”, “flower”, “August”, and “summer”. While not “bad” per se, these tags were way too generic. My items were getting lost in the wild jungle that is the internet. I also had not added enough tags out of sheer laziness and hatred of tagging.

No wonder I wasn’t getting any traffic! SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is partly the art of tagging things in such a way that Google (or some other search engine) can find and present your items to the person searching for certain “key” terms. Better tags for my photo would have been “yellow flower”, “summer flower”, and “macro photography”.

There is an art to tagging, which I have not yet mastered. You don’t want to spam your items by adding a bunch of tags that don’t apply in an attempt to drive traffic to it. You do that, and Google will ignore you. You do want to bust out a Thesaurus to help you identify different terms a person might call your item. For example, some of my photographed flowers have over twenty common names! And yes, I learned to try to find each name and use them all.

After an entire day and night of redoing the tags on just 32 photos (I did research this time on what tags to use for the kinds of items I had), the payoff was almost immediate. In just a few days’ time, my traffic increased noticeably.

Now I just need to tag 200-300 more photos. What I wouldn’t give for an assistant!

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