Tags are used to describe your icons. They are essential for the system to work since the search algorithm is based on finding icons that have tags matching the search query. You should describe all of your icons with as relevant tags as possible.
Number of tags
It's tempting to add a lot of tags to make sure the icons are showing up on many different search terms. However, to avoid spamming, we give icons with too many tags a penalty. You should try to keep the number of tags between 4 and 7. Keep in mind that if you add more than 7 tags the icon will get a lower rank.
Sometimes, it's better to rank a little lower to show up on more high-value searches (more specific). For example, it could be that many business-related icons will have more than 4 tags to be distinguished from others. However, most of your icons should ideally have 3-4 tags.
How about 1-2 tags? 1-2 tags is generally too few. However, 1-2 tags can be okay in circumstances where that one word is the most logical. For instance, for an avatar icon of Gandhi, just having the tag "gandhi" would be fine because 99% of people looking for an icon of Gandhi would just type that.
Filenames will be used for suggested tags and will be divided by space “ “, hyphen “-” and underscore “_”. All generic tags such as numbers, icon, vector etc. will be marked with orange and users might have to remove them. The filenames can thus be used for auto-tagging icons.
Tricks for auto-tagging
If you have a large amount of icons to upload to your Iconfinder seller page and want to avoid tagging every icon individually, there is a way you can do this faster.
It is possible to “auto-tag” icons using the names of the files. For example, if you have an icon of a dog that is a Labrador Retriever you can name the file something like “dog-labrador-retriever-pet.svg” and the tags “dog”, “labrador”, “retriever”, and “pet” will automatically be added by the Iconfinder upload script.
You will still have to name the files though, but you can include this into your work routine. One way to do this is by renaming the artboards in Illustrator the way you want the files to be named. Illustrator has an option to use the artboards to save the files.
In case you have a very large amount of icons that require tagging, Iconfinder can do the tagging for you as a paid service. If you would like to hire us for the tagging, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bad tags
When tagging icons, you should avoid what we call non-descriptive tags. All non-descriptive tags will be flagged and coloured orange. These are tags that do not directly describe the motif of the icons. In other words, do not use tags that do not describe what the icon represents.
Avoid the black list of generic tags
Unless your icon actually represents one of these term, you should avoid these non-descriptive tags:
Be aware of filename-based tags
Iconfinder will automatically try to extract tags from your filenames. But if the filenames include bad tags like numbers or style tags, you should remove these before submitting the icons.
No typosquatting allowed
Don’t include misspellings of words such as “facebok”. Our search algorithm handles misspellings. Also make sure you spell-check tags before submitting them.
Tags should only be pluralized when there are multiple instances of an object in an icon
If you submit a user icon you should not include both the tags “user” and “users”. If the icon shows a single person use “user”, if it shows multiple persons use “users”.
This could be tagged with "user", but should not include "users":
This should be tagged with "users", but not "user":
Tags for icons can be divided into different categories. Each category represents different types of searches.
The guide to descriptive tags
These are the different tags you should use to describe your icons.
Nouns are by far the most common search term for icons. Noun tags must concretely represent the motif of the icon.
Quite often an icon can represent multiple nouns, which are equally important to different customers.
User, Man, Person
In general tags are in singular form but, in some cases, the plural form of a tag is the most descriptive.
Some icons represent an action rather than a thing. Dancing, Walking, Talking and Flying are all verbs that can be represented by icons.
Searches for verbs in imperative mood are used a lot in software interface design. Action related icons are often used to describe what happens when users click buttons.
Abstract Nouns (phenomenons)
Some icons represent a phenomenon. Phenomenons are technically nouns, but represent mostly abstract nouns. Abstract nouns can also be concepts where the understanding of the motif relies of cultural understanding or contextual interpretation.
Abstract icons can include
Some concepts share their descriptive tags with others, making for mixed results. Yet, in high level relevance, all tags are equal. Stop, as an example, can both be used to control a media player as well as a prohibiting a person from entering a room.
Logos and trademarks
Some of the most popular searches are for company names, specifically social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. It is alright to use trademarked names such as "Facebook" or "Dribbble" as tags, but the icons need to be offered for free, for legal reasons.