SEO Image File Name – Do Underscores (_) matter?

  • # December 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Please, which image file name is better for SEO:

    photographername_city_state_shortdescription.jpg
    or
    photographername_citystate_shortdescription.jpg

    Does putting underscores (_) between the city/state matter?

    Of course, in the ALT tag, we will list Name, City, State, Description.

    # December 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm

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    Use hyphens as your keyword separators not underscores for file types such as html, pdf’s, jpeg’s, etc..

    # December 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I may be wrong but I sincerely doubt that img src url’s matter at all. Your ALT tags on the other hand, those are important, not just for SEO but for accessibility too.

    # December 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

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    A good rule of thumb is never use underscores for anything, not urls, file names, etc.

    Obviously underscores are required in programming environments which I don’t know much about, but for everything else, always dashes (hyphens).

    As far as image names go, it does make a difference in the actual file name, pink-ponies.jpg (which is descriptive of the image) is far superior to something like 0000012532423000.jpg which provides no relevance.

    Reference: Matt Cutts – GoogleWebmasterHelp Video

    It is always the little things that add up that make a huge difference in SEO.

    # December 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm

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    I think it won’t matter what one you choose. Because of the alt tag it should be fine.

    # December 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I agree with @andy_unleash.

    # December 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm

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    Both attributes matter equally. image-descriptive-name.jpg and alt description. Image descriptive name for search purposes and SEO and alt for accessibility.

    # December 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Isn’t that what the title attribute is for?

    Edit: After doing some research, a descriptive file name is suggested…with hyphens.

    # December 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm

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    No. Title is used to describe structural elements of the page and alt for images is for people with disabilities (blindness) and gets displayed (read) before the image is rendered.

    # December 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm

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    After doing some research, a descriptive file name is suggested…with hyphens.

    That’s right.

    # December 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Underscores are seen by search engines generally as “word combiners”, and hyphens are seen as “word separators.” Scott was right, never use underscores for anything. You can make a sure bet that this issue reflects one of the many, over 200 factors that Google takes into account when evaluating your website. They’ve inadvertently stated this in the past, even Matt Cutts has stated plenty of times himself not to use underscores.

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