Do Image File Names Matter for SEO?

oil painting of william shakespeare

William Shakespeare didn’t know much about SEO, but he did know how to make his writing memorable.

“A photo by any other name will help your SEO,” said William Shakespeare. Or at least, he would have said it had he not been busy writing about roses (and living in the 1500s). 

Photo file names is an oft-forgotten aspect of SEO (search engine optimization). Too often, leaving the default straight-from-the-camera file name is the easy route to take. After all, it’s the photo people are looking at, not the image name, right?

When you use a digital image you’ve taken, it often comes with a default name like “IMG_81103.” While that name might help your camera digitally order the images chronologically, it’s not a very memorable name.

You won’t see file name “IMG_81103” on your computer desktop and have it bring back fond memories. On the other hand “Swimming Pool with Seth and Rachel” could help you recall sunny summer days. At the very least, you’ll assume a swimming pool is in the photo.

The same principle applies when you’re naming files for your website. Changing the default name will help search engines better understand the image.

Avoid the default image name

The more search engines understand your site, the better it helps your SEO. 

college ruled spiral bound notebook

If you want to make your image file name matter, avoid the letters and number comb.

Imagine you run a site selling stationery. You could label this photo “paper” or “notebook.”

But as a stationery shop, you might sell dozens of different notebooks. Labeling each photo “notebook-1,” “notebook-2,” etc. is OK, but doesn’t really maximize your photo’s SEO potential.

Instead, if the image was named “college-ruled-spiral-notebook” search engines would have a better understanding of the image.

Use Image Names as a Way to Help Search Engines Better Understand Your Site

The best way to customize your image name is to keep it short and include keywords in your description. 

Taking the time to appropriately name your image files is a way for the photo to pay double dividends. 

Images already are vitally important to how users interact with your site. Research has shown people are 80% more likely to read content that includes an image. They’re also 64% more likely to remember what they read afterward. 

You want people to remember your company and you want search engines to understand your site. Spending time on your image file names is an easy way to maximize your site’s SEO potential. 

At Team WTI, we’re experts in SEO and can help improve your site’s visibility. Contact us today for more information.

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