Google Images, privacy, searches and googlebot update questions

tfboytfboy Major grinsBerkshire, UKPosts: 74Registered Users Big grins

For some time, I've been using private / unlisted galleries to host photos of friends, etc. Having them private means people can't browse / navigate through my SM website to find them.
However, I've fallen foul to the default setting of having the images web searchable. So when people's names are tagged, if you type their names into Google search, all my photos appear, with of course the ability to then find the key of the gallery and view all the photos in that gallery.

I've now deleted that gallery entirely - I can always re-upload from a backup and ensure the right options are ticked.

But it does bring up a few questions:

  1. I guess the answer is "piece of string", but how long do the googlebots need to update their listing so the results no longer appear? Right now, even though I've deleted the gallery and photos, they still pop up in the search results with smaller, Google-cached versions. Clicking on the link to view the source will give a 404 now they've been deleted but they still appear.
  2. I haven't checked yet, but if a gallery is private but Smugmug searchable, will tags of photos in private galleries still appear?
  3. Is photo visibility / searchability any different whether galleries are private or password-protected? Would a password-protected gallery still show results searching for photos with tags even if you've not got the password to that gallery?

Depending on the answer of the latter two questions, I'll have a few more questions :smile:

Comments

  • tfboytfboy Major grins Berkshire, UKPosts: 74Registered Users Big grins

    Actually, a bigger concern right now with the privacy settings.
    I have a category called Parties on my site.
    From my site's home page, you can see a thumbail of a kid smiling with an adult and other kid out of focus in the background:

    That photo is from a gallery that is password protected, has web and SM searchable turned off.

    Why is that particular thumbnail being chosen ?

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,665Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    Private photos should never appear anywhere except for you, as the logged-in owner. Search bots would never be able to see them since they will never be logged in as you.

    We usually update the “Sitemap” within 24-48 hours, which tells Google and other search bots which photos they should index and which not to. Though Google can then choose how quickly they respond to those requests.

    Password protected photos may have a gallery or folder’s “Feature Image” appear, though anyone attempting to view those photos will have to enter the password to actually see the photo. Folders auto-select their Feature Image from one of the galleries photos beneath it - though you can always change the Feature Image by viewing the Folder Settings.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • tfboytfboy Major grins Berkshire, UKPosts: 74Registered Users Big grins

    @leftquark said:
    Private photos should never appear anywhere except for you, as the logged-in owner. Search bots would never be able to see them since they will never be logged in as you.

    We usually update the “Sitemap” within 24-48 hours, which tells Google and other search bots which photos they should index and which not to. Though Google can then choose how quickly they respond to those requests.

    Password protected photos may have a gallery or folder’s “Feature Image” appear, though anyone attempting to view those photos will have to enter the password to actually see the photo. Folders auto-select their Feature Image from one of the galleries photos beneath it - though you can always change the Feature Image by viewing the Folder Settings.

    Thanks.
    But private photos (if by private you mean in an unlisted gallery) are indexed by Google ! :neutral:

    My hope and expectation is that any keywords typed in a search only appear for public galleries. If you're within an unlisted gallery, then it would be nice if a search would show photos but just within the scope of that gallery. The same keywords used in photos in another unlisted gallery should NOT be visible.

  • tfboytfboy Major grins Berkshire, UKPosts: 74Registered Users Big grins

    As an example: in google, search for "Magali Nouaille". Under the images tab, you'll see a load of photos from two galleries, a Nathalie's Birthday and a Maxim at the Island.
    Both of those galleries are unlisted.
    What am I missing ?!

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,665Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    There are 3 visibility options: Public, Unlisted and Private. Private galleries are only visible to you as the logged in owner. Unlisted galleries are typically not considered "private" (with a little "p") since anyone with a link can view them.

    I wouldn't expect Unlisted photos to be visible by Google as they don't have the URL and the special random "key" to view the photos. Did you link to those photos somewhere else that perhaps Google picked up? I'll do some additional investigation.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,665Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    @tfboy said:
    As an example: in google, search for "Magali Nouaille". Under the images tab, you'll see a load of photos from two galleries, a Nathalie's Birthday and a Maxim at the Island.
    Both of those galleries are unlisted.
    What am I missing ?!

    Were those galleries ever Public at one point? Google has indexed the url to the images before they were made unlisted. If a visitor tries to click on the photo, they're taken to a "404 not found" page since the special Unlisted part of the URL is not included by google (since you're logged in, you'll see the photos). You can see this by logging out of SM or using an Incognito or Private browser window.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • tfboytfboy Major grins Berkshire, UKPosts: 74Registered Users Big grins
    edited July 22, 2019

    I don't remember the gallery ever being public. But even if it was initially, it's been in an unlisted status for years. So how come it's still being shown?

    I've just tried in a private browsing window, did a search, and I get the root link including the special characters of the unlisted gallery, so I really think we have a big problem here! URL shown botton left is on mouse over on the "visit" link (mouse "hand" pointer not captured in screengrab).

  • tfboytfboy Major grins Berkshire, UKPosts: 74Registered Users Big grins

    Hmm bizzarely, the "secret" URL appears to have changed from i-tMzg3gz shown above to something else so I now get a 404 error.

  • tfboytfboy Major grins Berkshire, UKPosts: 74Registered Users Big grins

    Sorry, Aaron, just picked up on your "random key" comment. So the alphanumeric part changes randomly?

    A more generic question, and what I really want to understand, is: is there a way of tagging people but in a secure way so only they can find the results when searching on my website?

    If password-protecting a gallery stores a cookie once authenticated, maybe this works? I'm just trying to figure out if there's a way people can find tagged photos within "access-limited" galleries, regardless of how access is limited (unlisted, password, other mechanism).

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,665Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    @tfboy said:
    Sorry, Aaron, just picked up on your "random key" comment. So the alphanumeric part changes randomly?

    To keep some security items secure, we do some random key changing. But in this case it's a different topic: there's 2 forms of special keys: gallery (or "album") and image keys. What you're seeing in that screenshot is the non-secret image key. Unlisted galleries require the gallery key, which Google doesn't have there. Google has cache'd the thumbnail image and we tell them not to keep it when the gallery becomes unlisted but they don't always respond to that. Since Google doesn't have the key, visitors will 404 at that page. Let me know if you're seeing differently (though I think you said it was 404'ing when you refreshed?)

    @tfboy said:
    A more generic question, and what I really want to understand, is: is there a way of tagging people but in a secure way so only they can find the results when searching on my website?

    If password-protecting a gallery stores a cookie once authenticated, maybe this works? I'm just trying to figure out if there's a way people can find tagged photos within "access-limited" galleries, regardless of how access is limited (unlisted, password, other mechanism).

    Let me put together a more detailed response when I'm not running between meetings so I can help here. I want to make sure I respond properly!

    If a visitor has accessed a passworded gallery, and then does a keyword search (from anywhere on the site), they would see the passworded photos in the search results.
    If they are within the passworded gallery itself, they would not see the keywords underneath the photos or in the "keywords" section in Lightbox, however.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
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