“Google made more than 3,200 changes to its algorithms in 2018” reports Wall Street Journal. At this rate of juggling nobody knows what search results are relevant tomorrow morning let alone next month, this secretive sauce of numerological alchemy is closely guarded, lest Bing, Yahoo, Yandex and Baidu will implement the same routines.

While I have been keeping an eye on my industry search results for years as any online business should, what I currently see in page-1 results of the industry keyword search term “Fashion Photographers in Los Angeles” is more surprising than ever, more so than the Penguin and Panda Attacks.

So let’s take a closer look at the What, Who and Where of the major aggregator search results who have made it to page-1 and my ratings of One to Ten, 10 being best:

Giggster | This website is simply a catalog of overpriced (hourly! abandoned pool hall for $500/h) locations such as homes, offices, warehouses, for weddings, parties, meetings and film shoots, browsing through the site reveals an airbnb style business model where they broker an introduction between the host and the customers looking for a location

You tell me, how does a location booking website become the top Google search result for a heavily advertised and fashion industry suggested search term “Fashion Photographers in Los Angeles” ?? Introducing 14 emerging fashion photographers in Los Angeles… does Gigglster shoot fashion? Are they involved in the garment industry? The answer is Nope  | RATING 2

Peerspace | Exactly the same business model as Giggster but more mature and offering locations in 31 locations, again an hourly business model often with an 8 hour minimum plus cleanup, plus fees, plus…. They are introducing the 12 best fashion photographers in Los Angeles, Peerspace is to airbnb what Linkedin is to Facebook and their blog is more diverse and provides better information in the production sphere

So far twice blogs who has no authority in fashion photography and no expertise in ranking such photographers have ranked as top results of Google | RATING 5

Yelp | We all know Yelp and trust them as a resource of peer reviews, of the people, by the people and for the people…

So who at Yelp knows fashion photography or shoots fashion to judge and rank fashion photographers in Los Angeles?

And they have an i symbol on top of the page which displays this disclaimer: “Business owners paid for these ads. For more information visit…” I saw two such sponsored photographers followed by 10 “Organic” results followed by 17+ more pages

I got tired and stopped clicking

Yelp did not actually review any photographer, they simply have generated a Yelp results which is ranking at top of Google results?! Go figure | RATING 5

Upwork | This micro Job site with several metamorphosis through its existence has copied Yelp and is introducing its own very list of no less than 27 best freelance fashion photographers, now notice that these “freelance photographers” are not just any photographers but the ones signed up with Upwork, the top result photographer’s self proclaimed description mentions “I have over 5 years experience in event photography specializing in lifestyle and event photography” and not a word about fashion photography by the photographer herself, hmmm last time I looked event photography was at a Bar Mitzvah…

The second result is a $25/h “Video Editor Extraordinaire” yes again not a fashion photographer, and yes this list has made it to the top 5 of Googles organic results! | RATING 1

TheHHub | Finally we come across an organization who is photo centric and actually curates and manages photographers, while charging a percentage for introducing paid shoots to their 38K photographer members

The editor apparently missed the numbers and announces the list of 30 fashion photographers in Los Angeles while listing 25 profiles, so notice there was no editorial review, this is another Yelp style list of member profiles with the photographer’s description snippet plus a “Hire Creator” button, they are not giving you an organic unbiased list of the best but a seemingly random list of 25 fashion photographers in LA which is on their roster | RATING 8

LAMagazine | This is one of my favorite magazines of the 80’s which back then was a very good resource for everything LA…

Under “culturefiles” they write an article about a most daring fashion photographer in LA, so finally we have one editorial review of one photographer and this made it to the sixth spot on Google’s organic page results, because of the depth and longevity plus credibility of of LA Magazine, the reader will actually walk away convinced | RATING 7

Thumbtack | “Find local professionals for pretty much anything” this is their moto and its true! they find you a plumber and a bankruptcy lawyer within seconds, Thumbtack is a Yelp of sorts crossed with Angies List

Their generated list of “top 10 fashion photographers near Los Angeles” is exactly that, a list like Yelp which is generated for every major metropolitan area such as LA NY SF, and so on… you get the drift, no review, no editorial, just a list of their own members in no certain order | RATING 3

These 7 short reviews are just the tip of the search engine iceberg, when a user searches for “Fashion photo….”

And is given a suggested term of “Fashion Photographers in Los Angeles” the game is over, the majority will stop typing the actual intended search term and click on the suggested search term with results nowhere near what they would have found

As of year-end 2019 there were only two actual fashion photographers in page-1 results!