In an age of so much technical progress, somehow our privacy is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. At Photobucket, we want you to be happy, and to be confident that nobody is snooping through your private photos.
Occasionally, we receive comments from users who are vetting their own persona in anticipation of job interviews, school applications, and other such things where one’s reputation needs to be cinched up and professional. Some of these people are surprised to learn that their Photobucket account is readily searchable through Google or other search engines!
We all like to have fun, and sometimes that fun can look a bit ridiculous, so I’m here to help you keep that under wraps.
Would rather keep this private.
So you’ve Googled your name and found some photos that you want out of there, like yesterday. Well, assuming you have your log in credentials, let’s take that correct first step.
1 – Sign in, set your albums to private, & scramble
You can set all your albums to private at once. That was easy! Alternatively, if you just have an album or two that you’d like to set as private, check out this article.
As an additional step to securing all of your photos, you can scramble your image links as well. This will instantly, and irreversibly, scramble the link code for all of your images. This means that any image previously linked outside of Photobucket (forums, blogs, the whole shebang) will be broken, so be wary.
What you just did:
- Stopped Google from crawling any images located under a private album
- All scrambled images linked out, whether on forums, blogs, or Google search, are now dead – clicking on the image will no longer take the person to your account
2 – Remove your public information from the user settings
Were you aware that you can share your public information under your user settings? It’s a great way to link to your personal/professional blog or portfolio, etc. However, if you’re using Photobucket just for your own, private use, you probably don’t want anyone tracking down your Photobucket.
No worries. Easy fix.
Since you already signed in, head to your user settings. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see this box:
Any information listed in this box is being crawled by search engines, meaning that this information is searchable. To keep your name and Photobucket from showing up on search engines, delete all the information in this box, and then click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the page. Easy peasy.
3 – Test it out
Once you’re done tidying things up on your Photobucket account, let’s put it to the test and make sure your account is completely private! After giving it some time, maybe 30 minutes or so, try running through these steps:
- Log out of your Photobucket account
- Clear your cache and cookies (important!)
- Search for your name + Photobucket in Google – are there less results? There should be!
- If you still see some of your images or links to your Photobucket account, try clicking the link/image – your account should no longer be accessible to the public and the link should be broken
Now, for those pesky thumbnail images that are still hanging around…
4 – Remove your thumbnails and links from Google search
Sometimes, even after taking the above steps, users still see their thumbnail images/links on Google! This is because they are cached by Google, so they may continue to show up for a while, even after making your images private and removing your public information.
That being said, there is a way to speed up the process! Click here to read an article on Google support forums that explains how to put in a request for immediate removal of your thumbnail images and/or links.
5 – Congrats!
You’ve done it! You’ve successfully removed your Photobucket presence off of public search, you sneaky sneakerson.