How to Keyword Your Images and Video for Pond5

Stock House Thursday:

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Following up last week’s analysis of I will now take an in depth look at how handles keywords.

These aren’t really “reviews,” in that they will have no thumbs up or down at the end.  This is not intended to be a recommendation or otherwise about any of the stock houses I will analyze.  Most of the elements I’m looking at don’t necessarily have an objective right or wrong answer. The only thing that really matters is that the photographer know the correct way to keyword for the individual stock house.

If you haven’t read my introductory post for this series, on the various ways stock houses differ in their keyword standards, you probably should read 10 Ways that Stock Houses can be different in their Keywording Standards first.

I hope to provide an in depth look at how stock houses deal with keywords, and how their search engine works in order to give their contributors a complete set of requirements so that they can keyword their images get maximum exposure at the site.

For those of you with some gumption, you should read the complete introduction and methods behind these analyses: Image Keywording for Stock Houses: The Methodology.

On to the Results:


  • Result:  Mixed results. Pond5 returned the same results for each set of searches for regular plurals, however they returned different results for all irregular plurals
  • Prognosis:  You do not need to include the plural form of regular plurals, but you do need the plural form of all irregular plurals, such as children, men, knives, geese and mice.


  • Result:  Pond5 returned different results for all synonym searches.
  • Prognosis:  You do need to include all appropriate synonyms for your keywords.

Variant Spellings:  

  • Result:  Pond5 returned different  results for every set of keyword searches.
  • Prognosis:  You do need to include all appropriate variant spellings for your keywords.

Verb Forms: 

  • Result:  Pond5 returned the same results for each set of keyword searches for all regular verbs, however they returned different results for all irregular verbs.
  • Prognosis:  You do not need to include all forms of regular verbs, however, you do need to include all irregular forms of verbs, such as stood, slept, ran, etc.

Other Forms of the Word:

  • Result: Mixed results.  Pond5 returned the same results for some searches, such as frustrating & frustration, amazing & amazement, but different results for happy & happiness, joy & joyful, and anger & angry.
  • Prognosis:  You should probably include all non-verb forms of any keyword.


  • Result: Search for the variations of wooden chair returned the same  results.
  • Prognosis: You do not need to include phrases, as their search doesn’t recognize keyword phrases as opposed to combinations of individual words
  • Note: Apparently Pond5 used to break all keywords into individual words, meaning there are no keyword phrases such as “wooden chair” only wooden and chair. But they have recently allowed contributors to include keyword phrases, such as sore throat or wooden chair.  Hopefully their search will change soon to accommodate this change.

Words in a Keyword Phrase:

  • Result: Pond5 returned greater results for all words found inside phrases.
  • Prognosis: You do need to include all keywords as individual words as well as in phrases.


  • Result: Pond5 appears to ignore all prepositions in search, waiting in line is exactly the same as waiting line. As I couldn’t find any prepositions in any image’s keywords, I believe they delete all prepositions upon importing your keywords
  • Prognosis: It appears that it does not matter if you include prepositions in your keywords.


  • Result: Pond5 appears to ignore periods at the end of a word in searches, but not in the middle.
  • Prognosis: You do not need to include periods at the end of a word or abbreviation, such as Mt. or St., however, you do need both forms of Washington DC and Washington D.C.


  • Result: Pond5 appears to delete hyphens and treat them as a space during search.
  • Prognosis: You do not need to include the hyphenated versions of  any of your keywords.


  • Result: Pond5 appears to ignore apostrophes in searches.
  • Prognosis: You do not need to include any apostrophes in your keywords, such as baker’s dozen.


  • Result: Pond5 ignores capitalization when searching.
  • Prognosis: No need to worry about capitalization.


  • Result:  Pond5 returned different results for all sets of words and their common abbreviations
  • Prognosis:  You do need to include all common abbreviations for your keywords.

Individual Letters:

  • Result:  Pond5 returned it’s entire library for every individual letter search.
  • Prognosis:  It appears that Pond5 is unable to search for individual letters.


  • Result:  Pond5 returned the successful results for all my numeral searches
  • Prognosis:  If appropriate, you do need to include numerals as keywords, as they will be found.

Alphabetization of Keywords:

  • Prognosis:  Pond5 puts all your keywords into alphabetical order.

Keyword Weight:

  • Result:  There was no indication that images were returned based on the number of keywords, or the order of keywords
  • Prognosis:  No weighting based on number of keywords, or keyword order.

Number of Keywords Allowed:

  • Pond5 appears to have a limit of 50 keywords

Disambiguation of Homographs:

  • Prognosis:  Pond5 does not help their searchers disambiguate homographs. In other words, if you search for trunk, they will return images of car trunks, tree trunks, and elephant trunks.

Faceted Search: 

  • Pond5 has no faceted searches, such as format, category and file type, etc.
  • Prognosis: Therefore, it is very important that you do need to keyword all words found that are in these faceted searches, such as; horizontal format, vertical, black and white image, vector, color illustration.


While they do have a pretty active forum with the Pond5 folks offering up advice and help, Pond5 does not have much in the way of advice for keywording or searching.

In fact the only advice I could find was in their FAQs.

“Do You Have Any Tips for Searching?

When looking for something specific, try using every synonymous search term you can think of. Everyone keywords their footage differently and so one person’s “big snake” is another person’s “anaconda” is another person’s “Eunectes murinus””

Not exactly helpful.


Previous Stock House analyses:



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