I would like to have a collection of images that are rendered into the browser. If for example I had


[img1 ; img2 ; img3 ; img4 ; img 5;]


[cat1 ; cat2 ; cat3]


Assume image 1 belonged in both cat1 and cat2. Would it be better for SEO purposes to upload image1 with different alt tags? OR should I upload the same image twice using different URL's?

Note: I have folder pattern such as

  • /dir/cat1/
  • /dir/cat2/
  • /dir/cat3/

The image goes in the folder in which category it belongs. So if the image is best not duplicated, I will use the first choice.

  • This does not matter at all. Classic overthinking at work.
    – John Conde
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 11:24
  • I also agree with John. Make your site for users first. Do what is right for them and site performance as your primary focus. Google and Bing have moved to conversational search a long time ago. For Google, this was in 2008. Keywords while still very important, the effect of keyword placement in HTML is minimalized favoring conversational elements such as title tags, H1, tags, content, and so forth. There is still a factor for non-conversational elements, however, it is much less these days. In fact, too much keyword usage in non-conversational elements can quickly ruin SEO performance.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


If you are trying to get the images ranked in Google Image Search, then a single image used in multiple pages is a much better idea. How well an image ranks depends on the amount of PageRank that it has. It has more PageRank when it is used in multiple pages.

It is also better for your server bandwidth and usability to link images from multiple locations rather than copy the image. When a user visits two of your pages that contain the image, the image should come from the browser cache on the second page view. That page will load faster for the user and put less stress on your server because you did not copy the image.

  • I understand that the image being served from a single source is better, for the reasons you've mentioned. But, if google ranks it somewhat differently because it is the same image then how would that effect it. Perhaps I can try to expand abit ... We have 2 pages (page1, page2). Img1 is stored in cat1. page1 is about cat1 and page2 about cat2. Img1 deserves to be in both pages. Img1 in page1 has alt tag of alt1, and in page2 a tag of alt2. IF in google I search alt2 ... will that effect it being stored in cat1? Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 12:48
  • would it have been better to store it in cat1 and cat2 because the image warrants being stored in both and google will be more awarding to find it in cat2 because alt2 = cat2 = page2 = img1 ..... IF that made sense haha Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 12:49
  • The directory path of where the image is stored isn't going to have much impact on its ranking. If you put it in cat1 but use it in all three categories, that should be fine. Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 13:19
  • Stephen is right, however, having a single image (not copied will cache better) linked from several pages, then the page path MAY help to give clues as to the image subject. I am not sure that the effect would be large. In fact, it might be small. The page itself and the surrounding text, alt tag, and so forth are much stronger clues. Do what is right for your user FIRST. But I do not recommend having more than one copy of the image.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 15:58

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