Does Image File Name Matter For SEO?

March 11, 2024

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Short Answer: Yes, the image file name matters for SEO. Google’s documentation recommends using short and descriptive file names and avoiding generic file names such as “IMG0045.jpg”.

Every single pixel matters for SEO. Especially in cases where competition is above the roof, small bits like image file names can make a real-life difference.

Continue reading this blog to find out why file names are important to Google and how to name an image properly to have an unfair advantage over your competitors.

Understanding the Importance of Image File Names for SEO

The Impact on Search Engine Optimisation

Image file names are more than just a way to organise your media. They serve as a critical element in your site’s SEO strategy. Descriptive filenames that include long-tail keywords can significantly improve your visibility on Google Image Search.

When you name an image, think of it as a concise title that tells search engines and users what the image is about, without even seeing it. For instance, naming an image “sunrise-at-bondi-beach.jpg” rather than a generic “photo1.jpg,” provides search engines with specific context, which can enhance your search engine rankings.

Integrating Alt Text and Attributes

Alt text, or alternative text, is another crucial element that works hand in hand with your image file name. It provides a textual description of the image for screen readers used by the visually impaired and acts as a placeholder when the image fails to load. This not only aids in accessibility but also boosts SEO as it gives search engines more information to interpret. Alt attributes should be treated as an opportunity to integrate keywords naturally and improve the overall user experience without resorting to keyword stuffing.

Best Practices for Optimising Image Files

Choosing the Right Keywords

When it comes to optimising your images for SEO, selecting the right keywords is essential. Use relevant, long-tail keywords that accurately describe the image and match the user’s search intent. However, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing in both your file names and alt text. This practice can harm your SEO as it’s frowned upon by search engines.

Structuring File Names Properly

Always use descriptive, keyword-rich file names for your images. Separate words with hyphens rather than underscores, as search engines like Google treat hyphens as space. This small distinction allows “blue-sky.jpg” to be indexed for both “blue” and “sky,” whereas “blue_sky.jpg” is viewed as a single word.

Enhancing Accessibility and User Experience

Beyond SEO, the way you name and describe your images impacts the user experience. For users relying on screen readers, descriptive file names and alt text provide a clearer understanding of what’s on your page. This inclusivity not only improves accessibility but can also contribute to a positive overall user experience, encouraging longer site visits and engagement.

Real-Life Example of Effective Image SEO

Consider an Australian e-commerce site that sells surf gear. By naming their product images with specific details like “longboard-surfboard-6-feet.jpg” and providing matching alt text, they saw an increase in traffic from Google Image Search and improved their page rankings.

A little tip to help you with image optimisation

Try reverse engineering the “image optimisation process” and put yourself in the shoes of someone searching for this image. The image you searched for the keyword “XYZ” found this image and thought that this is the best image out of billions of other images on the internet. What do you think the keyword “XYZ”  would be?

How would you name the image given below?

Working with Australian Internet Advertising

If you’re ready to take your website to the next level with optimized image SEO, Australian Internet Advertising is here to help. Our expert team can guide you through optimizing your images for SEO, ensuring your website not only meets SEO standards but also offers an outstanding user experience for every visitor, regardless of their device. To start optimizing your website with us, contact Australian Internet Advertising online or call us at 1300 304 640.

By paying attention to these details, you ensure that both your audience and search engines find your images not just appealing but also relevant, which in turn helps to drive more traffic to your site.

Billy P.

About The Author

William Polson founded Australian Internet Advertising in 2013 and has over 12 years of experience immersed in Digital Marketing.

With an in-depth level of digital marketing knowledge, William has been sort after by and worked for, many large national brands including Subaru, Blooms The Chemist, and Nova 96.9.

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