Would changing the filename of an image, not the alt attribute nor the image itself (so it would be exactly the same but just a name change) have any effect on :

a. Website SEO Ranking ?

b. The individual images SEO Ranking ?

Although I guess if point (B) would be true it would have an effect on point (A) although potentially small.

This is the sort of change I would be thinking of making :

<img src="2554.jpg" alt="Red ford truck">

changed to

<img src="6842.jpg" alt="Red ford truck">

  • 1
    Unless you are trying to rank for numbers the effect is meaningless. Don't worry about the small stuff like this.
    – John Conde
    Mar 21, 2015 at 17:47
  • 2
    If you change the name of the image and that image is already indexed in (Google) Image Search then unless you redirect the old to the new then you are obviously going to miss any possible SEO benefit that image would have previously brought?!
    – MrWhite
    Mar 21, 2015 at 18:14
  • Mega-Dittos. There is no real rank advantage for an image name outside of any terms within the name being indexed (including the file name itself) and a wee bit of weight it brings. It is tiny folks. It does have a measurable effect on image search, but nothing of much measure in content search.
    – closetnoc
    Mar 21, 2015 at 23:17

2 Answers 2


Yes, the file name matters, it affects SEO, and it will rank you. We have a top image bar preview thing position in a very huge search query simply because of the file name. There is no alt on it, and the Google image search preview lists no text. The image we used is a stock photo, so there are thousands of sites that also use it, but G prefers ours. It only sees the file name. The page the image is found on doesn't even rank in the first 30 something pages. Some tips for naming media assets:

  • Use dashes only, no spaces or underscores, including in the folder structure. If you do need spaces, make sure the asset gen src replaces them with %20 in source code.

  • Name them just like you would a page title. Good keyword hierarchy, no spam, and string them together logically.

  • You can add your domain or company as a file extension before the real one to further sneak in some hits. Something like my-image-is-king.mydomain.jpg

  • Don't make the file name too long. Obey the 160 chars or less similar to a meta description limit.

  • Don't waste characters with stop words. So instead of typing "and" for example, just don't put anything.

  • Don't try to spam image meta data either. Fill in the relevant stuff, but it's optional and not needed. Abusing it will hurt you more than help (just like normal SEO).

So once it ranks up, Google search console will show you as "position #1" on the query. This may be confusing but remember they count the image search preview bar thing as rank positions. Disclaimer, your impressions may be off the charts, but your CTR for that position 1 will potentially be very low. This is because they can check it out without leaving Google. If there is nothing of value, they probably won't click the "view on page".


Are you talking about web search or image search?

In web search it will have no effect on the ranking of the page.

In image search i believe that it will (until it gets re-indexed). Update EXIF and increase resolution into if you want it to rank better.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.