Google's "Licensable" icon on Backlight 4 sites

I expected to see the “Licensable” badge show up in Google searches for my images after it had indexed the new site (I switched to Backlight about a year ago) but it didn’t.

I read a bit more about what was necessary as I thought that all the embedded metadata in my originals should have been sufficient. IPTC has a good article explaining the details (Google has support documents too, but theirs are like wading through treacle, IMO).

What I realized is that all my metadata except for one field is stripped out of the watermarked image that’s in the galleries. I know the metadata is read by the upload process (and I’ve now displayed some fields to include helpful information), but Google can only see it if the metadata is in the JPEG displayed on the site.

In general, I’d want all my metadata to be preserved in all versions of my images.

Is there a reason the metadata was stripped from the watermarked versions? I realize I’d have to upload everything again unless you permit reprocessing of master images without re-uploading, but is there a setting I should have had when I built the site?

If it’s just a missing feature, can this be put into the wish list for a future version?

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Hi @joannsnover, image resizing in Backlight works by creating bitmaps from JPEGs, resizing the bitmaps and exporting them as JPEGs. This process causes generated files to lose all metadata.
We don’t have any plans on preserving all of the metadata in images, but do have an option of writing specific IPTC fields to the generated files (and no option of doing so for EXIF or XMP data).

Our writing of IPTC data is currently limited to the Copyright field. Looking at the article, I can look to add the Creator and Credit Line fields as well.

Would you be able to email me a sample image with the correct metadata so that I can make sure that I’m fetching and writing out the correct values? My email address is ttgben at somethingchanged dot com.

I sent you email with one of the full size images from the master directory.

It is apparently essential to have the copyright info URL field - that’s the “on” switch for Google. In addition to the creator, credit line and copyright notice.


That’s a nice article you shared. It states as well that there are two options available to get the batch, embedded metadata and structured metadata in HTML. The later is supported by Backlight 4. Did you enable this in the Pangolin Album template in the advanced section?

I had forgotten about the album settings, but I just went to check them.

Structured data is turned on for my albums and there is a URL for license information entered. Not sure what else is needed to turn the “Licensable” icon on in a Google search, but it’s not enabled for images for my own site.

It is always something that I wanted to try, but never got around to it.

I found following link with requirements etc:

There is a test for the structured data and it shows that the Backlight generated code for one of your images is correct

Under Image Licenses, the test tool shows the structured data for your image.

Maybe Google doesn’t like that you don’t point to a page for licensing/sales but just to your site’s root. But that’s just speculation on my part. But as far as I can tell, Backlight provides the structured data requested by Google.

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Not sure that it will make a difference, but I changed the backlight setting to point to the text of a standard license in the Album design settings.

As far as the “how to license” part of things, there is text on my home page about offering images for license. Individual images in the galleries have a cart icon, so the mechanics of purchase are image specific not site wide.

Here is what I get (only for the URL you get for an image-specifc link. Google can’t handle the gallery item page URL) from the analysis tool.

The second report is from one of my images on a stock site (one which shows the licensable badge in a Google image search.

I obviously can’t set up a different URL for each image in the acquireLicensePage field given the current Backlight 4 setup

In the meantime I did add the structured image data to my site as well. Let’s see how long it takes Google to pick it up.

I got a bit of a success! One image shows the badge:

With the details and links as I set them:

That’s really cool! At the same time, I find the same image using different search terms and it shows without the badge! Many other images don’t show the badge either. This might be due that Google hasn’t completely indexed the updated site yet. It is a bit confusing.

One side note: I’m not using the Backlight feature to create structured data but use phplugins. This way, the buy link goes to the single-page view of the image. Otherwise everything is the same.

That’s excellent!

No change this morning in mine - all still without a badge (at least the ones I checked).

Yesterday I submitted a sitemap to Google’s search console. The sitemap links to the single-page view, which I think will be the right way to handle that - so that gallery position doesn’t upset links.

Are your plugins free or paid? Do you mind sharing what they were - not sure I want to go that route, but it’d be good to know

@Daniel, that looks like good progress. Are you using LR to publish photos with master renditions disabled?
@joannsnover, am I correct that you are uploading photos through the Backlight admin page?

The former approach will maintain the metadata (unless you’ve configured the LR publisher to strip metadata).

I have made progress in adding the fields to Backlight-generated renditions. All but one are IPTC fields which Backlight can already handle . Web Statement of Rights is an XMP field, which I have added support for.

@Daniel, can you provide the link to one of your successful photos?

Hi @Ben, indeed, good progress! And it is really great to see that Google is able to properly index Backlight galleries!

Yes, I’m using Lr Publisher. This image was posted before the ‘master rendition’ option was available.

Here is the link to the image:
And the google search link. You see the badge when you click on the image tab.

If you look at the image, you’ll see that it hardly contains any metadata. So the success comes really from the image scheme support embedded in the single-page.

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Thanks, @Daniel.

Looking at the Metadata fields. Your photo has the Creator (your name) in the following fields:
Exif.Image.Artist / Iptc.Application2.Byline / Xmp.dc.creator
and the Copyright in these fields:
Exif.Image.Copyright / Iptc.Application2.Copyright / Xmp.dc.rights

My latest code for the Backlight Publisher adds Creator in Iptc.Application2.Byline
I will look to add it to Xmp.dc.creator as well, but not to Exif.Image.Artist

Copyright is set in Iptc.Application2.Copyright. I’ll look to add it to Xmp.dc.rights but not to Exif.Image.Copyright

Additionally, Backlight is setting the Xmp.xmpRights.WebStatement (Web Statement of Rights, a URL pointing to your image licensing, if you have this set in LR’s Copyright Info URL and presumably the equivalent fields in other applications) and the Iptc.Application2.Credit (Credit Line) field.

Looking at the IPTC docs, the fields already added should be sufficient. Adding Xmp.dc.creator and Xmp.dc.rights may not be necessary but can’t do any harm.

@Daniel, is this the information that you are adding with PHPlugins?

	<script type="application/ld+json">
			"@context": "",
			"@type": "ImageObject",
			"contentUrl": "",
			"caption": "Golden Gate Bridge with Setting Sun - ",
			"height": 638,
			"width": 960,
			"representativeOfPage": true,
			"author": "Daniel Leu",
			"copyrightHolder": "Daniel Leu",
			"license": "",
			"acquireLicensePage": "",
			"thumbnailUrl": ""


If so, do you think this is necessary for the Licensing details to be picked up by Google?

@Ben, yes, I am using Backlight to upload, not Lightroom.

I have Lightroom, but I switched to Capture One to process RAW files a few years ago, so although I could feed finished work into a Lightroom Catalog, that’s an extra step I’d like to avoid if I can.

I add all metadata in Photoshop. Partly 'cause that’s where I started, and partly because Lightroom alphabetizes keywords. A couple of the agencies treat keyword order as an indication of priority, so alphabetical order has to be fixed. Adobe knows about this issue, but it’s been a long time, so I’m not expecting them to fix this.

Long answer - sorry!

Hi @joannsnover, a long but helpful answer!

With Backlight’s Publisher, we’re supporting non-LR workflows, so endeavor to remove LR as a requirement for full functionality.

I’ve long given up on filing bug reports with Adobe. It must be a decade since I raised why double-clicking a Publish services Album brings up the Edit dialogue, but double-clicking an Album set does nothing.

Hi @Ben, yes, this is what I added with PHPlugins. The only difference to the default implementation is the acquireLicensePage link that points to the the single-page URL instead of a static shared page. I did this to make it as easy as possible for one to acquire an image.

But I don’t think that this makes the difference in being able to have the badge added.

I’ve arrived late to this particular party, but am finding the conversation very interesting.

While Ben is sorting out the metadata, here’s another question:

Would it be helpful to have the ability to add some templated copy to the single-image pages, beneath the image specific data? Presumably, this could be used to display licensing information. If yes, would this be most helpful as an option in the album template (in which case, all albums using the template would display the same message), or would this be better as an option when creating the album (in which case, individual albums could have separate messages)?

The approach we taken so far has been that you should create a licensing page on your site, and then we allow you to put that URL into the template’s structured data.

We could also break down the structured data into some user-controlled fields in the template, if that would be useful. For example, we currently set author and copyrightHolder to be the company name in Backlight’s settings. We could provide fields for these if folks want that.

I’m guessing that people’s preferences may vary with the types of sites they’re building. In my case, where I’m offering one of two licenses for almost all the site content, it’s the buyer’s intended uses, not the images, that determine which license, and all I offer is Royalty Free licenses.

So I’m fine with site-wide licenses.

In general, allowing use of metadata tokens when setting up anything in templates or specific pages seems like a good idea. When you added more places tokens could be used in Backlight 4, I could put the image dimensions to the image pages, which was great.

How hard would it be to make token use available in any user-modifiable field? That has the side benefit of leaving the what-goes-where decisions up to the site owner, versus Backlight.