Image Search Engine Optimisation is often overlooked as an SEO tactic. I have gathered a list of the most frequently asked questions to help you get your images noticed in search engines, and help your pages rank better. 

What is Image Search Engine Optimisation?

Image SEO is a set of optimisations you can carry out on your images to help them appear in search engines. Search engines cannot yet understand what an image contains so you need to tell it by using image SEO.

How should I name my image files?

Image files need to be named with a description of the image. e.g wedding-cake-on-blue-tablecloth.jpg, do not use the standard file name eg. ABC_12345.jpg which has no meaning. 

Should I use underscores or hyphens in my filename?

Hyphens are best according to Google but it doesn’t matter too much if you use underscores. 

Should I use stop words in my image files?

Stop words are those really small words like ‘a’, ‘in’, ‘on’. 

Sometimes we can take them out of a sentence and the sentence will still read fine. You can take them out to make your sentence shorter which is good for user experience. No one wants to read an essay for a file name. However, it still needs to read well. My advice is remove them where you can but only if you can still understand the description.

Can I have spaces in my image file name?

Sometimes spaces can be interpreted by computers as the symbol ‘%20’. This causes a problem when you want to link to the file and you have to add the %20 by hand in your link. You can make a mistake and end up with broken links. Avoid spaces and make your life easier.

For WordPress users, if you upload a filename with spaces, WordPress will automatically fill the spaces in with hyphens.

Should I put a keyword in my image file name?

Yes, put your keyword in your file name. Don’t keyword stuff though, still keep your filename descriptive and readable.

I have multiple images on my page, how should I name them?

This is a great test to see how interesting your content is! 

Each image should be described in the file name as I have already mentioned. If you are struggling with this because you think each image is very similar then you should ask yourself, are your images repetitive to your reader. No one wants to see 20 images of the same mountain at different angles!

Is there a maximum and minimum length for filenames?

There is no official min and max but just bear in mind that the longer your filename, the more Google could think it is keyword stuffed. A simple, easy to read description is what you are after. To be on the safe side don’t repeat words or use multiple variations.

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