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How to Name Images for SEO?

Although a lot has changed from back in the day when you could abuse image naming by using exact-match keywords as a quick hack/trick to improve your search engine visibility – image naming is still extremely important.

There is a whole range of benefits to including images in content – including:

  • Makes your articles easier to read (increasing time-on-page).
  • Makes content more engaging, therefore people are more likely to share
  • Can send you traffic from Google Image Search

But, without proper image optimization, efforts can often go to waste. So without further ado, let’s discuss image naming for SEO.

So, let’s look at how to do it the right way.

Google’s Image SEO Naming Advice

To begin with, it’s extremely helpful to know what Google themselves say about image SEO – which, they covered in their Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide:

Like many of the other parts of the page targeted for optimization, filenames are best when they’re short, but descriptive.

Meaning, as you’d expect – it’s advised not to use long filenames and stuffing keywords into image SEO metadata (as with other aspects of your content)

1 Relevant File Names

It is a good practice to keep your image file names relevant to your image. When it comes down to SEO, it is absolutely important to create descriptive file names.

Normally a file name would be like “IMG_948392.jpg” or something similar to this. File names like these do not help the search engines. You need to change the filename from it’s default name so that the search engines can understand your images and ultimately improve your SEO value.

For example, let’s take this simple delicious image of an ice-cream.

Strawberry Ice-Cream

The above image could potentially have been named “strawberry-ice-cream.jpg” depending on the context so that users, as well as search engines, can understand the purpose of images used in your content easily.

2 Do Not Stuff Keywords

This is one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to Image Naming. You need to keep in mind that image naming does not mean to have an opportunity to stuff in keywords in order to improve your rankings.

If you do so, it will not do any good for your SEO. For example: If I name the above image as “best-strawberry-ice-cream-with-essence-available.jpg” Google will only consider this image as spam.

Hence it is recommended to keep your image names short and contain only your main focus keyword.

3 Keep Your Image Names Short

We recommend you to keep your image names short and crisp. Try to keep your image names to 5 words or even lesser than 5.

Separate your image names with the help of hyphens. For example “strawberryicecream.jpg” will be difficult to understand for Google. Hence name it “strawberry-ice-cream.jpg” for better understanding.

4 Write SEO-friendly ALT Text

Alt Text is nothing but the text alternative to the images. Alt Text makes it easier for the search engines to understand the image. Make sure that the Alt text is relevant to the image. You can find ALT Text in the image settings.

Writing good Alt text also leverages your SEO value. Hence it is a good practice to write proper Alt text for your images.

Keep in mind these best practices the next time you are naming image files that you intend to use on publicly visible content on your website.

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