Google Indexing: My Balloon Loses Air

In a series of posts starting here, I’ve related my efforts to get Google to index my SmugMug photo gallery. It’s time for another update: basically, Google seems to have just pulled that cord that lets the hot air out of my balloon. I’m going down.

In my last post, I was somewhat optimistic, with 348 indexed pages, and an upward trend. Here’s what’s happened since:

I peaked at 357 and it’s been downhill since; right now I’m at 277. But what’s really been happening? It’s hard to know. I’d already realized that my SmugMug gallery was showing Google multiple URLs for the same image, and Google wasn’t impressed. So some of the decline may have been from weeding those out, and that’s probably ok. But looking at the Coverage breakout by sitemap, I see that apparently 259 of my current 277 indexed pages are from the blog site, meaning that after all this effort I have 22 gallery pages indexed – fewer than I started with a year-and-a-half ago.

I’d like to verify this number by looking at coverage from the gallery sitemap, but Google is once again telling me it can’t read it, which makes no sense. This might in fact be part of the problem, because the queue of images awaiting crawling took a huge hit recently:

It seems about 500 URLs in that queue were dumped overnight. Were they actually crawled, and rejected? Here are the numbers for “crawled, not currently indexed” -Google’s dumpster – and while they’ve gone up, they don’t begin to account for the 500:

The pile of supposed “duplicates” also increased recently, maybe that accounts for 100 of the lost 500 – at most:

So what’s going on? I have no real idea. Maybe Google recently re-crawled my SmugMug sitemap, got confused or threw an error, the result being that all those URLs are back in limbo. I’ve resubmitted the sitemap manually and will watch to see if it ever gets properly read again. But this is tedious; there’s nothing wrong with that map that I can see.

At this point, optimism is gone – it just seems like SmugMug doesn’t feed Google anything it can properly digest, and there’s no way to get a significant number of individual photos indexed. At least my dozen or so ‘gallery pages’ within my SmugMug site continue to be indexed, so people can still find my photos by searching for those topics. And a handful of individual photos have been indexed. But that’s it, out of about 700 photos.

This is going nowhere, and I’m wondering if another gallery site might do something for me that SmugMug can’t. But what I really think is that Google just doesn’t index much on a site that looks like a gallery. I have yet to hear from anyone having success at this endeavor,

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