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Part 2: Maximize Your Website SEO With Image File Names

June 12, 2018 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby, Writing tagged as , ,

Main Header for Blog Post by Denise M. Colby on Maximizing SEO with Image File Name

Part 2: How to Maximize Your SEO with your Image File Names

In this post, I’m covering another element of metadata for your images, Image File Names, and how they too can increase your SEO.  In case you missed Part 1, I spoke specifically about Alt Text and how it increases the SEO on your website. It is the number one way to quickly add SEO.  Click What Is Alt Text? for that post. 

Please Note: There are several posts out there that touches on all the terms I’m talking about.  I’m focusing on giving guidance on what/how to use these features to increase your SEO.

Image File Names

Attachment Title:

Before you upload a photo into your website, rename it. One short keyword is best.  This keyword gets indexed by the search engines, thus adding to your SEO.

Note: Yes, there is a place to change the title in your media files.  However, I found it doesn’t change the file name attached to your media, it only helps in indexing it within your media folder.  It will not appear anywhere else. 

I’ve made this mistake myself when I’ve uploaded screen shots or graphics made from WordSwag from my phone with basic plain numbers that make them difficult to differentiate what they are without opening them.  Not to mention there are no references to my brand or post that would help someone find more information about the photo.

To give an example, I did a test on my own website. And even though WordPress allowed me to change my title after I uploaded it, I found the file name used when uploading is the one that carries forward with the image. 

My example:

Image of File Names by Denise Colby for Blog Post How to Maximize SEO with Image File NamesI took an image and made two files.  One I did not rename –  IMG_3829 copy.jpg when I uploaded it and one I renamed BEFORE I uploaded it – Psalm136.jpg.  

Even though I changed the Title to Psalm 136 after I uploaded the image, IMG_3829 copy.jpg is what is indexed/attached to the file. 

If you go to my post Why The M? and right click to save either file you will see what the file name will be when you download it. 


So why is your Image File Name important?


Think through what you want the image to do for you.


Why did I choose to name the above file Psalm136.jpg?

That’s the bible verse I have on the meme I created.  If someone is looking up that verse, ideally I would like my photo to appear in the search, Image File Name Search for Psalm 136 by Denise M. Colby, maximize SEO with Image File Namesand because I have my website on the bottom right, it’s just one more way for someone to find me. (My focus on this post is SEO on websites, social media is a completely different topic and one I hope to touch on in later posts.)

Keep in mind, and I’m not doing this one consistently well yet, one word file names work best.  I’ve also read to use all lowercase and only letters and numerical numbers. 

Also remember, once the file is uploaded, the file name is public, so nicknames and funny references only you would understand might not be what you want attached to the file out on the internet.


Use Both Image File Names and Alt Text to Increase Your SEO

I did a search on my author name, Denise M. Colby and this is what I found under images.Example of SEO Search for Denise M. Colby Blog Post on Attachment Title for Image File Names

The far right one was just in the post a month ago and because I uploaded set Image File Names and added Alt Text, it didn’t take long to get indexed and show in a Search Engine Results Page.

Another note: I’m noticing my earlier posts don’t show up as I do not have any alt text in the photos, so I will need to go back and update them at a later date. As I stated in the Part 1 post – you have to delete the photo and add back in the updated version with the Alt Text in it. Changing it in the media files alone will not work.

Let’s continue on with this example;

If I were to click on the image I see a description like this:

Using Image File Names to Maximize your SEO with your website Images example by Denise M. Colby

As you can see, the alt text I used appears below my name and the website this image is from.  Interestingly, If I were to right-click on this image here, the image name only says download.jpg. But if I were to click on it and go to the actual post, then download the file, here is what comes up:

Using Image File Names to Maximize your SEO on your website by Denise M. Colby

This is the file name that I had used when I uploaded the image.  If someone is downloading your book cover image, you would want it to have a file name that references your book. More importantly, you would want that image to appear in a search engines results page when someone types in your name or the name of your book. Create your Image File Name before you upload and put your author name and book name in the Alt Text and your image should appear when anyone searches under either one.

File Extensions

Since the file extension is part of your Image File Name, I wanted to cover the two common types – .png or .jpg.

Use .jpg with photographs.  It actually compacts the file size better than a .png and since photographs have an abundance of color in them, .jpg is the better choice.

Use .png when using designs, images with text in them, infographics or logos.  PNG files handle large areas of color better and the lines are crisper even when someone zooms in.  Just the file size can get large if you save a photo this way.

File Size

My website won’t allow file sizes larger than 2MB, but if yours does, keep in mind that the larger the file size, the longer it will take for your photos to load on someones computer or mobile phone and in our digital world, load time matters.

There is a thing called Site Speed and Page Speed (also called Load Time).  Google uses that information in their algorithm to rank pages.  Hence, why file size is important.

What to do next?

  • Any new content make sure to create purposeful Image File Names and Alt Text.
  • Update past photos in previous posts. 

I have read that one of the best things you can do is go back and update your current files to add SEO substance immediately to your website.  Search Engines look at ALL the pages, so pay attention to your existing content even before you create new content.

I hope that this information has been helpful.  Let me know if you would like more of these in the future.  I’m enjoying testing different theories and creating examples. You can’t see it, but I’m testing another theory out within this post as well. And, if you go to my Why The M? post on my website, I touch on another SEO feature I recently learned about.  






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