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I am a hobbyist who is building a website to showcase a wedding photographer's portfolio. On the portfolio site, e.g www.example.com/portfolio, all the individual wedding galleries are listed and linked to. It serves as a hub to reach several (20+) individual image galleries. The website is rather new and does not have many external links pointing to it, so I assume it has rather low domain authority.

The problem I am facing is that google did crawl all pages, but decided to not index most of them. After having done some research, I am quite convinced that thin content and potentially also automatically generated code are at fault.

The many images (between 50 and 500) that are being uploaded for each individual gallery all have the same title and alt tag. E.g. the images are called wedding-[location]-[number].jpg, and the alt text would just be "wedding [location]". Consequently, in the HTML code the same lines are repeated for each image. While I understand that this is less than ideal, I lack the resources to add more descriptive alt tags to each image in the short term.

The goal is to be found on google if someone searches for "wedding [location]" or "wedding photographer [location]". I do not have a strong preference whether people then land on the individual gallery page or on the more general portfolio page.

Would it be feasible to use the portfolio site, e.g www.example.com/portfolio, as the canonical page in all individual gallery sites? That way, I would need google to only index one of my sites. It would also alleviate my worries about thin content on each individual gallery page. I could then also put a reasonable amount of textual content on www.example.com/portfolio by moving text from the individual galleries to the overview site.

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  • You are right that thin content, lack of text content, a new site, and few external links contribute to Google decision that your content isn't worth indexing. See Why aren't search engines indexing my content? Auto generated code shouldn't be an issue. Google doesn't care about how the page is coded, only about the contents. Auto-generated text could be a problem, but almost all big sites use HTML code templates without SEO problems. Feb 16, 2022 at 15:07
  • @StephenOstermiller Thank you very much for your comment and the edit to my question. All text is hand typed and genuine. Great to know that auto generate code is not an issue here.
    – S. G.
    Feb 16, 2022 at 15:21

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Answering my own question. Yes, in my case it is feasible to use the portfolio site as the canonical page in all individual gallery sites.

I first attempted getting individual pages indexed, but failed. So I set the canonical url of each individual gallery to the portfolio/overview site, and I also added some short descriptions there. Now either the portfolio/overview or the individual site (not sure why) is often on the first page of search results when searching wedding [location].

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