Help DeskPrivacy and Security › How do keywords work for search?

How do keywords work for search?

Updated: 06/21/2014

Keywords help search engines find your photos so your admirers get to the good stuff faassst!
If you added keywords in a program like iPhoto or Photoshop before adding the photos to SmugMug, we'll do our best to find and automatically apply them. Specifically, we look for keywords in the IPTC keywords field.

Please note that keywords added on SmugMug do not get embedded in the IPTC data.

We also look at the filenames of your images. If your filename is "Alvin_Birthday3.jpg," for example, we'll add the keywords "Alvin" and "Birthday" automatically. If your filename is the common format of "IMG_1234.jpg" or "DSC_1234.jpg," we'll ignore it. You can always enable or disable this feature in the Discovery tab of your Account Settings (under "Search").

Gotchas: Only you, as the account owner, will be able to search for any keywords from Unlisted (Anyone with the Link) or password-protected galleries. We only index the first 30 keywords for each photo. Keywords can take up to 24 hours to populate and be searchable.

Add Keywords One at a Time    

Click the Keyword or Pencil under the photo in SmugMug style or in the Lightbox to add keywords for a specific photo.


You can also click the wrench button , Open in Editor, and then Keywords.  


Type in your keyword or phrase and hit "Enter" on your keyboard to add it as a new keyword. Once you've finished entering keywords, click Save.  

Watch this quick tip from SmugMug President Baldy MacAskill to see the keyword tool in action:

The new keywords will show under the photo once you refresh the page.  

Add Keywords in Bulk    

Go to Organize. Click the gallery where you want to add keywords, then select all the photos you want to add keywords to.

Click the wrench buttonand then select Keywords.

If any of your selected photos already have keywords applied, they will show up in either the “On All Selected” box or the “On Some” box. Keywords in “On All Selected” are already applied to your selected photos. Keywords in “On Some” means some keywords exist on certain photos but not on others in your selection.

Click the “On All Selected” box to enter keywords for all your photos. Enter your keywords separated by semicolons. For phrases, you can separate them with semicolons or enclose the term in quotes.

You can also “Promote” a keyword from “Some” to “All” by clicking the plus sign next to the word.

You can also irreversibly “Remove All” keywords from your photos or only “Remove Numeric” keywords that sometimes appear as a result of camera filenames such as DSC_3025.jpg.

Click Save

Edit Keywords

You can edit any previously entered keyword by double-clicking the word you want to edit, or by selecting it and hitting "Enter." You can also select a keyword with a single click and then begin typing your changes. Each method will allow you to edit your keywords inline.


Once you finish editing the keyword, either hit "Enter" again to save the change or deselect the edited word by clicking outside the keyword box.

Want to back out of your edit without saving? Hit the "Esc" key to cancel your inline edits.