There's a apocryphal story that you can be waiting forever for a London bus, probably while it's raining, and just as you've given up and started walking home, two or three will turn up at once. Well at the end of a very enjoyable evening at Richmond and Twickenham Photographic Society, someone asked me about Lightroom keywords and Alamy's requirements. It's a good question, somewhat off the beaten track, but I had come across the problem before. But then this morning my publisher forwarded an email asking exactly the same thing:

The problem I have is that when I assign keywords to my image files, Lightroom rearranges them from the priority order I put them in, to alphabetical order, which is useless. Alamy stock library wants the keywords in order of relevance otherwise images will not get noticed however good they are. ie. flower, yellow, daisy, chain. In alphabetical order your image would come up in a search for “chain daisy” which could be a very different image to a daisy flower - if you see what I mean!

I'd be pleased if anyone corrects me, but as far as I know there is no decent answer. Lightroom will write the keywords into the export file in alphabetical order, and there's no built-in way to change this. With a plug-in, I think it would be possible to use a custom field to record keywords in order of relevance, and then write them to the files upon export. Even then, it won't be as slick as other export plug-ins because I hear Alamy don't accept FTP, and I suspect that partly explains why no-one has come up with a solution. But you never know - one may turn up.

Update - thanks Nic for pointing out Jim Keir's Alamy plug-in.