Make my website completely private

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If you dream of a secret retreat for your family, SmugMug's privacy settings are perfect for you.

You can fill your site with photos, captions, and keywords without anyone knowing except the people you tell. When they arrive, they can explore your galleries as if it were open to the public. They'll have to remember the address, though, because they can't look it up on Google.

When you register for SmugMug, we assume you want to be discovered. If you want your own secret island, read on.

Will Google find me?

Search engines become popular by discovering web pages and making them easy to find. Unless you tell them not to, they'll find your SmugMug pages, too.

Many SmugMug subscribers also want their photos to be discovered from SmugMug pages, like global search. If you don't, you can set privacy options to keep all your photos private.

Two places for settings.

Like many SmugMug features, you can set Site Visibility options for your entire site, then fine-tune for any gallery. In your SmugMug Account Settings, you'll find Site Visibility settings in the Discovery tab, under Search.

Every gallery on your site will automatically use the settings from your Account Settings. However, if you want a certain gallery to be kept out of searches (even though the rest of your site is searchable), you can do this in your gallery settings. Just toggle the options to No.

Hello, world!

In your Account Settings, you have three options for Google Search Visibility:

  • Yes: This is the default option and perfect for people who seek fame. Google will find you and help others find your photos.
  • Homepage only: This allows Google to see your SmugMug homepage only, so your family and friends can find you. It will index the words you see when you're logged out, such as the text in your profile. Google won't go into galleries, however, and index such things as photos and captions.
  • No: This is the no-trespassing sign for Google. It lets you build a secret island.

SmugMug search visibility.

SmugMug has many pages, such as our general homepage. It has a search box at the top that, by default, allows people to search for you and your photos. To stay out of SmugMug searching and browsing (like popular photos, maps, and keywords), tweak your SmugMug Search Visibility setting in your Account Settings:

  • Yes - discover me: The default option, perfect for people who seek fame.
  • Find me by name only: This is the "don't thwart your grandma" option. She can still search for your name on any SmugMug page to find you, but your photos won't show up in searches and won't land on our popular photos page.
  • No - make me an island: Other SmugMug pages will pretend they don't know you. But on your SmugMug pages, visitors will be able to use the search box, keywords, etc., to find your photos (like they can in option two, above).
  • No - total lockdown: You'll be invisible on other SmugMug pages besides your own, and your visitors won't be able to use keywords or searches on your SmugMug pages (but you'll be able to when logged in).

Gotcha: Some features, such as the homepage slideshow, won't work if the site is set with Visibility settings switched to other than Yes.

I want to bury treasure on my private island.

If you want to limit visitor access to certain galleries on your SmugMug site, you can:

Personal search.

You, as the site owner, can search all your photos anytime while logged in. Visitors to your SmugMug site can't search Unlisted (Anyone with the Link) or password-protected galleries, nor will they find any private galleries or folders. 

FYI: Changes to your Site Visibility settings can take weeks to take effect because Google, Yahoo, and other search engines need to re-index your site. Changes to your SmugMug Search Visibility settings can take hours to take effect if you have lots of photos.

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