Tutorial - Naming Images and SEO

Posted by Richard Rudy on 28 November 2014 | Comments

You probably don’t pay much attention to the Filenames of your images. You take the picture (or get it from your photographer) and upload it your website.

However, if you’re not renaming them or at least setting the alt tag or title you’re not only missing an easy SEO opportunity but also hurting your SEO.

The following image shows two real estate websites both working in the same market. The data is taken using Google’s Webmaster Tools, specifically the Content Keywords section which show what Google thinks the important keywords are on your site. The blurred entries are the brand identifiable keywords.


Pay specific attention to the top ten keywords. The site on the right shows hdr and img in the top three. Basically keywords taken from the image file names.

Most CMSs (included Wordpress) use will use the filename for the title or alt properties when embedding the image on your page. That means if you use your photograher’s or camera’s default file name it will be something like img + number.

The site on the left renames all their images so you don’t see those generic image filenames as important keywords. The site on the right uses their photographer’s default images. As a result google thinks img and hdr are important keywords on the site, the second and third most important keywords on the site.

How do we fix this?

One easy way is to rename your images before you upload them to your site. Best practice is to replace the spaces with a hyphen. In fact, Photoshop does this automatically when using the Save for the Web feature.


The other option is set the Alt tags after you’ve uploaded your image.


In the “Add Media” dialog box you can update the Title and Alt tag in the right sidebar before you insert an image.

wordpress add media

Or in the Attachment Details dialog in the Media tab.

wodpress media page


Our real estate platform is based on SilverStripe, after uploading an image using Add Media dialog, click the Edit Dropdown and Update the “Alternative Text (alt)” field.

Silverstripe Media

Wrapping It Up or The Importance of Being Earnest

When dealing with images on your site make sure update either the filename or the alt tag in the CMS to somethign relavent to both the image and your site as a whole. This will go a long way to help establish you site in your relative keyword space. It shoudl also stop google from thinking your site is just another HDR phote blog (no that there's anyting wrong with that).

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