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3 Reasons Why Image Names Are Crucial for Website Search Engine Optimization

Illustration of plate of cookies image with incorrect file name“A picture is worth a thousand words”. That may be, but within Google’s search engine a picture only needs as few as four words to translate into thousands of clicks and potentially sales dollars for a business.  

For example: Say you own a bakery in Madison and you make the best chocolate chip cookies. You’re updating your online store with a picture of fresh-from-the-oven creations, which you just snapped with your smartphone. The phone automatically labels the image “IMG1823.jpg”, because that’s the generic file name phones use. How many customers are searching for “IMG 1823” when they’re seeking a local bakery for chocolate chip cookies? Zero. 

Instead, you should rename the image, “best-chocolate-chip-cookie-bakery-name.jpg” before uploading it to your website. The result? Your bakery ranks higher in the search results, a customer finds you, clicks on your website, and orders three dozen cookies for an upcoming family event. 

Below are three reasons why and how image names should – and can – work for your business: 

Improve SEO

Google’s not a human being; it doesn’t “see” images. Everything uploaded online is searchable, but that doesn’t make it easy to find. While there are over 200 other factors for ranking on Google, incorporating only 1-2 keywords in a descriptive file name for the photo helps the search engine to scan the cornucopia of computer code it must in order to generate relevant page results. Bonus tip: Skip unnecessary words like “pic”, “image”, “photo”, “picture of” in the file name.

Increased Website Traffic = Increased Sales Potential

If you’re looking for organic traffic, a higher ranking on Google results is the ticket. Nearly 40% of Google search-engine results pages show images. Set yourself apart from the competition by taking the time now to thoroughly review your website design and appropriately rename your images. Doing this will be like finding the best fishing spot. Sure, you may have awesome bait on your fishing line, but your chances of setting the hook only comes from first actually having a school of prospects to “fish”! 

Enhance Customer Experience

Details matter. Consider that some individuals use screen readers to explore websites. How helpful would that be, for example, to a visually impaired person when hovering over the picture and hearing, “IMG 1823”, as they review a listing for chocolate chip cookies? A descriptive image name can trigger their buying senses. Also, using your own images rather than “canned” stock photos and appropriately naming them builds credibility with your consumer, which inherently builds trust and, once again, sets you apart from the competition. 

Optimize your images. Plain and simple. This simple, yet incredibly effective technique, within your website design will reap dividends as you pursue higher rankings in Google’s search results.