Having people discover your images through Shutterstock is great, but potential customers often start their search in a search engine rather than on our site. This is why maximizing the potential for discovery of your work via SEO (search engine optimization) is so important.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your images have the best potential for being found via Google or other search engines, increasing the chances for more downloads and revenue.

SEO key points

Search engines can’t “see” an image, so you need to tell them what’s in it. Search engines rely on descriptions and keywords to understand the subject matter of an image, which means this text needs to be highly descriptive. By including accurate information and relevant keywords, search engines will do a better job of identifying all the search queries your image should rank for.

How to do SEO right on Shutterstock

1. Select the most relevant categories for your image.

2. Draft a unique and detailed description of the image. Think: who, what, when, where, and why.

3. Add relevant and detailed keywords. Use these to describe the visual content, as well as theme, moods, feelings, and related concepts. If you need help, try using our keyword suggestion tool.

4. If you take the time to do this properly, the description and keyword for each image you upload will be totally unique from the rest of the images in the batch.

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Rays of traffic lights on Gran via street, main shopping street in Madrid at night. Spain, Europe. Black and white photo. Image by Matej Kastelic.

Keywords: spain, madrid, street, art, old, classic, europe, view, landmark, night, light, tour, building, famous, ancient, square, historical, headlight, national, travel, statue, urban, culture, traffic, symbol, history, evening, dusk, gran via, tourist, metropolis, church, bus, place, center, architecture, city, panorama, moving, outdoors, illumination, tourism, scene, car, monument, construction, plaza, nightlife, landscape, cityscape

5. Create detailed sets of your best imagery in the Catalog Manager. You can use the catalog manager to organize sets of images in your collection by unique subject matter. (Eg. Fly Fishing in the Catskills; Animal Vectors; Floral Still Lifes). This will help improve the SEO results for related search terms.

6. Promote your work for all the world to see. Link to your portfolio, sets, and images from your personal website and in your favorite creative forums, and share it via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other social networks you use.

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An illustrated diagram showing the order of planets in our solar system. Image by Aaron Rutten.

Keywords: planets, system, solar, diagram, space, earth, saturn, sun, uranus, jupiter, star, graphic, astrology, illustration, design, science, mars, venus, painting, neptune, art, mercury

How to use the duplication tools in the Content Editor

Images from the same shoot or creative session are bound to be similar, so their descriptions and keywords should also be similar — but not identical.

When using the duplication tools, select all images and enter the common elements in the description and keywords. Next, select only images that are more similar to each other and add additional description details and keywords to match.

Keep individually refining the descriptions and keywords until each image has a detailed and unique description and some keywords that separate it from the others.

For more information on this topic, check out these other posts:

Learn to Help Customers Find Your Content in Our ‘ShutterTalk Live’ Workshop

The Secret to Optimizing Your Shutterstock Content

How to Master the Art and Science of Keywording your Images

Do you have more questions or tips about SEO and Shutterstock? Let us know in the comments!

Top image: Panoramic aerial view of Gran Via, main shopping street in Madrid, capital of Spain, Europe by Matej Kastelic