When I name my image files, I always use a descriptive file name such as red-mercedes-slk.jpg. I've always done this without thinking, but I wondered if it actually benefits my rankings in any way.

Would I be just as well off writing an uninformative file name like r-slk.jpg? I would still use alt text.

  • 2
    Similar to the best practice of giving your variables descriptive names, giving page elements descriptive names can help make your code clearer.
    – msanford
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 15:34

2 Answers 2


Yes. It's probably more so when alt text isn't present, just because Google seems to put a lot of emphasis on that.

Give your images detailed, informative filenames

The filename can give Google clues about the subject matter of the image. Try to make your filename a good description of the subject matter of the image. For example, my-new-black-kitten.jpg is a lot more informative than IMG00023.JPG. Descriptive filenames can also be useful to users: If we're unable to find suitable text in the page on which we found the image, we'll use the filename as the image's snippet in our search results.

Source: Google's Image Publishing Guidelines

Even if this didn't help with seo, though, it would help your users, because a detailed file name such as red-mercadese-slk.jpg will help them a lot more when trying to figure what the image is about than, for example, image.jpg.

  • Google also reads image meta data. Dont know if it affects search rank for image search, but doesnt hurt to put it there.
    – Frank
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 7:14
  • @Frank any source for this? Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 21:22

Descriptive, keyword relevant images names are always better than the alternative.

I maintain SEO on a site and if you search Google images for acid pump, four of the images that come up on the first page (above the fold) are from that site. If you do a web search it's the second organic result (37,400,000 results) and two of the images show up just a bit farther down the page where Google includes image results.

Not having descriptive image names is just a wasted opportunity and since SEO doesn't come to just one aspect of optimizing, but is rather a combination of all SEO efforts. Why would you not take the time to help yourself out?

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