SmugMug SEO and Google – An Epitaph

It looks like I have to accept failure in my quest to get my SmugMug gallery indexed by Google. My 600+ photos lie buried in a cold internet grave, never to feel the warm, bright rays of SEO daylight. It’s the end of a road that I started down a couple years ago, and described in a series of posts starting way back then.

Google Search Console now says Google is able to read the sitemap for my SmugMug gallery; the days of “couldn’t fetch” are over. It parses out 600+ URLS for my images and galleries. And it treats the whole thing like a dead raccoon. Here are the numbers:

Discovered-currently not indexed – Google sees these URLS but can’t decide what to do with them. This includes almost all my photos.

Duplicate, submitted URL not selected as canonical – makes no sense, but very possibly related to the issue I described in this post.

Crawled- currently not indexed – a few pages are actually rejected and will never be indexed.

Submitted and indexed – the handful of photo pages that Google actually decided to index, for unknown reasons.

And that’s exactly how it’s been for months, as this graph shows:

So there it sits. Do a search on “discovered-currently not indexed” and you’ll see claims that Google will get to those pages later, or there’s something wrong with them, or that they’re just not good enough in terms of content. But in my case there’s no difference between the pages that got indexed and the ones that didn’t. And months go by without anything changing.

The ashes are cold.

If you have thoughts or ideas on this issue, please leave a comment. If it includes a link to your own photo site, you get a nice SEO-boosting ‘dofollow’ backlink.

7 Replies to “SmugMug SEO and Google – An Epitaph”

  1. Sadly, I was an affiliate for SmugMug – but I signed up only because the affiliate manager and I had been long time friends. I was never impressed with their setup and shopping funnel. Therefore I never promoted their product. Your findings here are another good reason to pass them by.

  2. Bummed to come across this after using SM for the last decade or so. I recently started focusing on SEO for selling and not for “here’s the link galleries.”

    I’m curious as to what alternatives have you found?

    1. I really haven’t found an alternative. I’ve turned off “selling” on SM, which reduces my subscription cost. There are lots of PODs, and lots of ‘galleries’, and some that try to be both, and none that are what I’d call ideal.

      On SmugMug, at least my top-level ‘gallery’ pages do get indexed, so that’s something. For me, it’s probably less important that the individual photos get indexed. Just having people find my ‘subjects’ has value.

  3. Well, you’ve definitely saved me a heck of a lot of my own hassle trying to wrestle with the same exact problem. Hats off to you for all of the investigation and analysis.

    I have considered striking out on my own with a non-smugmug website, but I’ve already invested so much time into organizing and refining my smugmug that I’m hesitant to fully make the leap. Sunk cost and all that.

    1. Gabi, I hear you on the “sunk cost” issue. I suggest putting your efforts into the SmugMug “gallery” pages because they seem to be real pages that get indexed. The individual photo pages will never make the cut because they’re not permanent.

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