Shutterstock Keyword Trends
Shutterstock has just announced a new tool for microstock photographers (and illustrators and videographers of course). A tool that could potentially help us know what styles of imagery to create and when to create it.
The tool can be found in the Shutterstock Darkroom.
How it Works
The tool works by comparing the search column of up to 5 keyword terms or phrases. If you type in the keywords [woman] [women] [lady] and [female] you can see how these words compare to each other and how they perform over time. In this example you can see that the keyword woman receives a much larger search volume that the other keywords and seasonal variation isn’t extreme. It appears there is a spike around Valentines days and one in October for some reason which could just be due to low data before January 2011. Shutterstock has mentioned that the data before January 2011 is based on a sample of searches instead of ALL the search data so unusual spikes may occur, especially for low volume keywords.
On the left side of the graph, Shutterstock has displayed each users’ most searched for keywords as well as the most searched for keywords on the site, giving some suggestions of fun keyword searches to play around with.
In order to protect some of their information, actual search volume numbers aren’t displayed on the graph. The scale of the graph will dynamically adjust to the search terms entered. Enter two crummy terms and the graph will hit the top just the same as two hot searches. The tool is meant as a comparison tool – month compared to month or keyword compared to keyword.
You are also able to search for multiple keywords at the same time. A search for [healthy food] will return results for searches that contained both healthy and food and not just the phrase “healthy food”.
Shutterstock has expressed that their main intention with this tool is to give users an accurate picture of seasonal trends in search volume. With this information a user can shoot and upload at the correct times of the year. Looking at the example of [Mother] [Father] [Easter] [Halloween] [Valentine] it’s pretty clear you should have your Halloween images online by the beginning of August. Valentines shots should be uploaded in December, Mother’s day shots by February, Father’s day by February and Easter shots should be uploaded early January. I’ll leave the crazy Christmas spike as a surprise for you to discover yourself
Another fun use is seeing trending subjects due to general cultural popularity. Certain things are simply loosing popularity over time while others are gaining in popularity. Doing a search for [smartphone] returns a pretty obvious climb in popularity over the last year.
Suggestions for Improvement
I’ve mentioned this to Shutterstock already, but I would like to see a list of trending topics. It would be great to see which search terms have the greatest change in search volume within the last two years, year, month, week etc. Otherwise I feel this is a really great tool and it is great to see Shutterstock is giving tools to the microstock artists helping them create relevant material. Two thumbs up! Is there any improvements you would like to see?