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I'll convert my WordPress filenames to a random string of text because people don't have to know what's the file actually called.

But what is better from SEO point of view? Is it better to have just a weird name like Turkey-Beach-Beautiful-Sea-18371x83176.jpg or to have an encrypted name like 9a31x7s18d18z.png?

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  • "my WordPress filenames" - by this you seem to mean the filenames of images that appear in the page content, not arbitrary "WordPress filenames"? This is quite different.
    – MrWhite
    Dec 30, 2016 at 14:26
  • The real question is "why do you care whether or not people know what the file is actually called?"
    – Steve
    Dec 30, 2016 at 23:22

3 Answers 3

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...because people don't have to know what's the file actually called.

If a user wants to save the odd image then it's certainly helpful to have a meaningful filename without the user having to recreate it. (But maybe you don't want to be that helpful to your users?)

Is it better to have just a weird name like Turkey-Beach-Beautiful-Sea-18371x83176.jpg or to have an encrypted name like 9a31x7s18d18z.png?

Well, an encrypted name is not going to have any SEO benefit, absolutely nothing. A name with real words (that hopefully describes the file/image) could have some SEO benefit and perhaps help with click-through rates if shown in the SERPs.

So, from an SEO perspective, you are going to avoid picking the option that you know will definitely bring zero SEO benefit.

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  • Aren't image title and alt attributes as important as filename (if not more important)? Dec 31, 2016 at 5:01
  • @RyanGriggs Yes, title and alt attributes are also important - for accessibility also. But the question is specifically asking about the filename.
    – MrWhite
    Dec 31, 2016 at 12:43
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If the filename means something semantically, it will be beneficial SEO wise.

If the filename matches the h1 content and/or title of your page, it will be even more beneficial.

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    Incorrect... in most cases matching headers, titles, urls and alt tags could be classed as over-optimisation which works in a negative manner. Filenames and ALT descriptions should be detailed information about the image itself, not the page or header title. Dec 30, 2016 at 22:21
  • @SimonHayter We had a question on that topic or something close just the other day... let me see... where the hell did we put it? Ah ha! Here it is. webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/102253/…
    – closetnoc
    Dec 31, 2016 at 4:31
  • You are right Mr. Hayter, I misused the term "matching". I meant matching as conveying the same semantic meaning.
    – pawndev
    Jan 4, 2017 at 11:58
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Identify those files that have the most potential to be useful for your SEO optimizations, files that you use to link onsite and files that may be linked from other sites; it does also not harm to gain visibility in Google image search and be it only as an indicator that you gain trust by the search engine.

Then try to find names that match the content or context and align the names with proper alt-Tag descriptions (maybe even more important). Whatever helps a crawler to gain knowledge about the file is helpful (microdata etc.). Readable names may get more links or trust or attention ("share-preparedness"/"share-worthy") by humans but I have no data to back that.

If you don't use semantical names then make good use of alt-tags or image sitemaps. The latter allows to add title and caption text.

See also page 19 of the (somewhat aged) Search Engine Optimization Guide from Google.

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