The power of the tag – making your words count

Digital Findability

139 Tree, The Myndset Digital Marketing and Brand Strategy

A beautiful tree? A thousand branches, each representing a tag in the cloud?

There is a well known expression that an image speaks a thousand words.  The only thing is, according to Google and the other search engines, an image without text is not findable.  Thus, an image needs to be accompanied with words.  Given the popularity of Instagram, and the increasing focus of images on Facebook, Twitter, etc., there is an increasing noise in the image space.  The findability of an image [or video] is managed by a host of factors including the platform, the URL, the freshness, social +1 (or virality) and, of course, the word tags.  To the extent the image — and the associated words — are relevant to the search request, the image has the best shot at being found.

New sense of organization

The irony is that the same is true of our own personal collection of images.  We all probabaly recognize labels such as: 2012-12-07 13.08.33.jpg, V009999.jpg or Img0001.jpg.  The technology is certainly improving (i.e. Apple’s face recognition), but until cameras are able to identify the people and objects automatically along with the geolocalization and time stamp, our own digital images will continue to suffer from massive disorganization.  Moreover, because of the “freedom” of taking digital photos, we tend to take many photos on multiple devices, each with different nomenclatures and different files.  We all need to develop the discipline to tag, categorize and organize our own personal digital media — much less within companies.  {Click to tweet if you agree} I would even go so far as to say that this new discipline needs to appear in school curriculum — at the very least in Computer classes.  In companies, those assets are distributed around the office, on different computers, at the agencies (current and past), and yet, they represent content, that could be vital for creating a powerful content-based marketing strategy.

An image needs a thousand words

love letter, image words, The Myndset Digital Marketing and Brand StrategyI think a thousand words might be an exaggeration, but increasingly, we need to develop a reflex to go back in and cull our images, organize and tag them.  Secondly, when posting our images or video on the various sites (social or other), digital marketers need to pay particular attention to the tags, with an eye to how the potential finder will search for it.  Tagging is a rather ignored part of the marketer’s skill set, but with the ever increasing attention given to images and videos, it may well be strategic.

Do you have any good insights on how to do this effectively and efficiently?  What is the right number of tags in your mind?  Your thoughts welcome, as always!

  • frankbrunson

    Do you mean the name of image file, the alt title, or word tags? Unless it is a private network, I find word tags useless on the Internet to locate anything, unless the object is extremely specific and a detailed tag just happens to be as specific. On my computer it seems like descriptive file names are most useful. Looking at the first picture on the page, "139 Tree" – something like that, does that just increase clutter or does everything need labeled?

    • Minter Dial

      Hi Frank, sorry to be so slow to reply. I mean the meta tags and alt titles, etc. In other words, that which is searchable by Google. The other word tags to which you are refering are going to be more useful in terms of organization and searchability on the resident desktop I suspect. I believe we agree on that!

      Fair point about the 139 Tree…[my own image]! I would argue that's more clutter to the extent the "139 tree" is meaningless to the outside world. For myself, as it happens, It is a tree outside our flat #139! If I were looking for more pick-up of that image, I should have a more specific and relevant name (ie in the URL), for example of the tree type (not sure!) as well as its location.

      Thanks for coming by.

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