Excellent metadata (titles and keywords) helps customers discover your content. We have developed guidelines to help you create the best titles and keywords, and to help you understand how to use metadata that is compliant with our policies.
Titles and keywords have different purposes and require different approaches. Your titles and keywords should adhere to the guidelines outlined below. Remember that the overuse of repeated words or phrases is considered spam in both the keywords and the titles. Intentional disregard of any of Shutterstock’s metadata policies can result in account termination.
Great titles are unique and detailed. They read like a sentence or phrase and not like a list of words. Think of your title as a news headline and try to answer the main questions of: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Be descriptive and use words that capture the emotion or mood of the image.
Great keywords are detailed and precise. They relate directly to what is in the image or clip, either by describing what it shows, or what it might represent. The keywords for each of your images or clips should be precisely tailored to that individual work.
Here are a couple of image examples along with examples of good titles and keywords, as well as examples of unacceptable titles and keywords.
YES: Seamless pattern of a Shiba Inu dog with blue, red and pink floral background elements
NEVER: Shiba Inu dog, flowers, Shiba Inu dog, flowers, Shiba Inu dog, flowers, Shiba Inu dog, flowers, Shiba Inu dog, flowers (Repeated words and phrases - spam)
NEVER: Dog Pattern (Too general - great titles are detailed)
NEVER: Pattern. Background. Dogs. Flowers. (This is a list of keywords. Titles should resemble sentences.)
YES: illustration, graphic, color, wallpaper, textile, background, vector, creative, design, decorative, art, pattern, modern, yellow, dog, shiba inu, gold, flower, blue, natural, seamless, floral
NEVER: Shiba Inu dog, flowers, Husky, dog, dogs, dogging, dogged, doggy, dog standing, dog sitting, dog walking, smiling dog, golden dog, (Overuse of repeated words - spam)
NEVER: dog, flowers, German Shepherd, cats, people, garden, woman, doctor (Contains irrelevant terms - spam)
YES Close-up of Oatmeal raisin cranberry chocolate cookies on a plate with warm fall colors in soft-focus in the background.
NEVER Cookies (Too general - great titles are detailed)
NEVER Chocolate cookie. Cranberry Cookie. Warm cookie. Oatmeal cookie. (Overuse of repeated words - spam)
NEVER Cookie. Cookies. Tasty treat. Snack. Baked goods. (This is a list of keywords. Titles should resemble sentences.)
YES autumn, baked, bakery, brown, chip, chocolate, close, closeup, cookie, copy, cranberry, delicious, depth, dessert, edible, fall, field, food, fresh, gourmet, homemade, horizontal, oat, oatmeal, orange, plate, shallow, snack, sweet, tasty, treat, unhealthy, warm, raisin
NEVER cookie, cookies, chocolate cookie, baked cookie, tasty cookie, oatmeal cookie, cranberry cookie, brown cookie, snack cookie, sweet cookie (Overuse of repeated words - spam)
NEVER cookie, chocolate, business, pattern, icon, man, professional (Contains irrelevant terms - spam)
Additional Guidelines for Editorial and Vintage Content
Certain content types have specialized title requirements.
Documentary & Illustrative Editorial:
Editorial Illustrations & Vectors:
Maximize Your Visibility: Keyword & Title Best Practices
How is Title Spamming Defined?
How is Keyword Spamming Defined?