I was wondering if there is a recommended way to name your files, especially images? I know that hyphens are more recommended due to Googles SEO. Does this mean that images should also be: "named-like-this.jpg"?


Here are some requested sources to confirm my statements above:


  • 2
    "I know that hyphens are more recommended due to Googles SEO". How do you know this? Please include a reference. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 2:14
  • And, if you know that hyphens are recommended for SEO purposes, why would you think underscores might be better? Just because others use underscores, doesn't necessarily mean they are correct. Can you please cover that in your question? Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


You'll want to use hyphens instead of underscores. While underscores have been prolific decades ago, today they are interpreted differently by search engines.

Hyphens are word separators. cute-puppies would be interpreted as cute puppies, which allows more opportunity to be returned for searches related to puppies.

Underscores are word joiners. cute_puppies would be interpreted as cutepuppies, which will only be returned if someone is searching for that specific word.

  • 3
    Is there any evidence for this? I am extremely skeptical that the programmers for any major search engine failed to take this into account. Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 6:02
  • Thank you for the confirmation. I expected that this would be the case, however I thought I would confirm it with someone over on here.
    – Elias Wick
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 10:49
  • @WarrenHalderman there have been posts in the late 2000s about this like Matt Cutt's Blog. Currently, Google recommends using Hypens instead of Underscores in their Keep URLs Simple reference. It's also difficult for users to see underscores in hyperlinks (due to the underline), and using hyphens are easier to see since they are vertical aligned middle. These are both for user experience, and Google has heavily stated UX is important, so it makes sense that they should be used.
    – Rob T
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 15:49
  • @RobT Apologies, I should have been more specific. Is there any evidence that Google treats cute_puppies as cutepuppies? My experience is that the difference between hyphens and underscores in image names when it comes to SEO is either zero, or effectively zero. Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 4:34
  • Someone at Google may recommend it, but that doesn't mean it'll make any difference. I tend to see that as more of a personal recommendation, since they give no reasoning for it (Matt Cutts may have, but that blog article is exceptionally old). Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 4:44

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