Importance Of Image Filenames & The Mistake You Must Avoid!

Importance Of Image Filenames & The Mistake You Must Avoid!

Updated on: 2 November 2022

Importance Of Image Filenames & The Mistake You Must Avoid!

In a recent Google podcast called “Search Off the Record”, Google’s John Mueller and Lizzi Sassman discussed the importance of including image filenames as well as the ONE SEO mistake that many make in regard to filenames.

Images connect users to your brand. That is, without a doubt.

If your website takes 3 seconds or longer to load, you are more likely to lose your user’s patience, resulting in an increase in bounce rate, which leads to a decrease in conversions. Optimising your images helps to improve not only the loading speed of your website but also improve useability and boost SEO ranking – read on to gain a better understanding of image filenames.

Importance of filenames

While Google does not mention if image filenames are essential for SEO ranking, they mention that Google does crawl through them to better understand what the image is all about. Hence, Google recommends that the image filenames be something related to what it represents. For example, impossible-marketing-team.jpg is better than using the file name IMG 02345.JPG.

Besides it being a sub-factor for Google to crawl through your content easier, it is also a good organisational practice that allows you to sort through your images. However you name your image filenames, these are all part of beneficial image optimisation practices for ranking well on SERPs, and it is something that many SEO services practise.

Google Images’ best practices

Image filenames are one of many ways Google take note of when crawling through your website. Adding more context surrounding your image ensures that your website and images are optimal for Google Images, which makes the discovery process easier. Here are some tips for healthy Google images practices:

  • Create a user-friendly experience by placing images close to relevant text and creating mobile-friendly sites.
  • Check your page title and description. Google Images automatically generates a title link and description to allow users to get a snippet of what the search result is about. Using good meta tags helps to provide relevant information to Google Images, which can significantly improve the displayed quality of generated information.
  • Adding structured data allows Google Images to display your images as rich results, which includes a prominent badge that provides users with key information about your website, potentially driving lead generation.
  • Optimise for speed and SafeSearch by applying key image optimisation techniques. Also, ensure that Google understands your website’s nature so that SafeSearch filters are applicable. SafeSearch is a Google setting that protects users from certain videos, images, or websites.
  • Utilising descriptive alt text helps improve accessibility for users who cannot view the images on the web pages. When using alt text, use keywords appropriately that connect back to the page’s content.

Google Images Crawling

In the podcast, John Mueller brought up a crucial technical element regarding how Google crawls through images, and it is something that you should note. Google does not tend to crawl through images as much due to the fact that they do not change often.

Hence, trying to optimise existing content by changing the filename of crawled and indexed images does not benefit much; in fact, it might lead to more problems if you make the mistake of not remembering to update the various sites where those images were applied. However, if you have done so correctly, you might want to consider letting Google re-crawl your website by submitting your site to the search engine.


Image filenames that are informative help Google understand what the image is all about. While you may think that updating your existing images’ filenames would be beneficial, more often than not, it does not affect SEO performance. Hence, focusing on alt text might be a better alternative solution.

This is by no means an urgent note to change your SEO marketing strategies but a point to note when optimising your webpage to its maximum potential. Only by ensuring good SEO practices will you ensure a well-mapped customer journey that will prove beneficial to your brand.