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It's a given that a better name for a picture is "cat_eating_mouse.jpg" than "Aou7aIw=2.jpg". On my website I'm going to have thousands of pictures. It's not a big of a problem to name them manually, but to come up with a unique name. Say, I have 2 pictures with the same content, the both can be name "cat_eating_mouse.jpg"

How can I make them unique so that's it's still good for SEO? Should I just add a number in the end -- "cat_eating_mouse2.jpg", "cat_eating_mouse3.jpg" ... "cat_eating_mouse155.jpg"?

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That is pretty much what people - including me - do. Take a descriptive name but eventually there will be a conflict since many times people have photos of the subject in slightly different poses.

One way to go further is to make the name more descriptive some metadata to it such as the time or the photographer's name like: cat_eating_mouse_by_joe.jpg or cat_eating_mouse_20171202.jpg. I do often see the random number prefixing it, either directly or as a path, so you can name of the file the same but one is in directory 065467 and the other in 165432.

  • Use hyphen better: cat-eating-mouse-by-joe.jpg and then add underscore for code cat-eating-mouse-by-joe_20171204_002_small.jpg – Massimiliano Rubino Dec 4 '17 at 10:03
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    @MassimilianoRubino Use hyphen better: -- why? do you have a proof? – Rakori Dec 4 '17 at 10:58
  • Here they suggest use hypens for URL (images in website are connected by URL): support.google.com/webmasters/answer/76329?hl=en so then use the _ to separate your code from keywords, also more tidy to read for you, your developer and so the machine that will read your URL... – Massimiliano Rubino Dec 5 '17 at 8:24
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You can follow Google Image Publishing Guideline First. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/114016?hl=en&vid=0-1401327443069-1512401881759

You can make them unique by using a dash (-) instead of underscore (_) "cat-eating-mouse2.jpg" and "cat-eating-mouse3.jpg" that good from SEO perspective.

Keep in mind what would be useful for someone who has vision issues and needs a screenreader.

Remember that SEO also gives value to Image Alt Text.

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