How to optimize your images ALT and filenames for SEO ?

Images and SEO, some facts.

Image SEO is probably the easiest way to boost your traffic. It is often neglected by other SEO Specialists and E-Commerce websites, making it difficult to rank on competitive keywords. Here are some figures that should convince you image SEO is worth your time and money:

  • Daily pageviews of Google Images is greater than 1 billion! That tidbit comes from Benjamin Ling, Director of Search Products at Google.
  • More than 1/3 of all keywords now contain Google Images.
  • More than 50% of the time when images are in the Top 10 results, they are actually in the top 3 rank positions (Source SEO Clarity).

Filenames, ALT texts matter for your images SEO strategy.

In this article I will focus on HTML Tags that matter for images SEO and I will do my best to show you how to optimize them. However, keep in mind that they are several other ways to improve your images ranking in search engines.

What is an image filename ?

An image filename is the name of your image file –  you can either edit it manually on your computer or use our WordPress Plugin to do it automatically.

<img src=”imageSEO-Tool-Screenshot.png” >

In the html code above, the filename is “imageSEO-Tool-Screenshot.png”. Try to always keep arborescence short, logical and relevant.
A screenshot of the result generated by ImageSEO web application Plugin

How to name your images for SEO ?

Google tells us : “ filenames and alt text are best when they’re short, but descriptive. ” It’s more or less the key about everything in life, so be smart and efficient with your filenames.

Image names should be a combination of 1, 2 or 3 relevant keywords, but it should not be keyword stuffing at all. Let’s look at an example and use ImageSEO tools for this picture.

This is a beautiful picture and you want the world to know about it !

Rose-flower.jpg is an excellent filename. It’s short, it’s descriptive and it’s likely that if you use this picture, your page is about flower, so it is coherent with your global semantic.

This is a screenshot of our kick ass SEO web application !

What you can eventually do is to add an additional keyword to niche your image. In this situation you could have also named your picture “white-rose-flower.jpg.”

If your domain has low authority and you want to rank on competitive keywords, I advise to be more specific in your filenames, but not too specific. Avoid keywords stuffing !

White-Rose-Flower-In-A-Greeen-Garden-In-Paris.jpg would be too lengthy of a filename. Short but descriptive, remember?

ALT Tags, Alternative Texts or ALT description ?

SEO experts like to say that Alternative texts should not be called ALT Tags, but ALT Texts, ALT Attribute or ALT description.

Indeed, ALT Tag is misuse of language, but just keep in mind that all of the previously mentioned phrases refer to the same thing: alternative texts.

What is an Alternative Text use for ?


Alternative texts are displayed when your image cannot be rendered or when users mouse over images. This has also been created for people who cannot read the page, like people with visual disabilities. The primary use of ALT texts is to create accessibility of an image.

Google attaches a strong importance to Alternative Texts; these texts should be  in correlation with your filenames. They are however different because one should provide an alternative to the image , photography or illustration.

Note the W3C explanation regarding ALT texts:

“Note that it does not necessarily describe the visual characteristics of the image itself but must convey the same meaning as the image.”

How to write SEO friendly Alternative Texts ?

With our picture, “Rose-Flower” would be an acceptable text, but it wouldn’t be optimal. “A close up of a rose flower” would be better because it constitutes a relevant alternative to your picture. Something that people using screen readers will understand better.

For graphs, figures and charts, ALT should summarize the rend and they should be kept blank for decorative images.

What is the difference between images ALT Texts and Title Tags ?

Images title tags are used to provide additional information about images. They are irrelevant for SEO, but they can improve user experiences.Filenames must be short and relevant ;

  • Filenames must be short and relevant;
  • ALT’s must provide an alternative to an images;
  • Title Tags should be catchy, like newspaper titles;

What are figure and figcaption ?

Figurecaptation or Figure Captation element are a kind of legend that can describe your image. Figurecaptations always have a parent element named figure.


Figcaption is an essential asset for an image’s SEO strategy. They provide Google with information about your picture and are a useful complement to alternative texts.

Filenames, alt texts and figcaptions are the three tools which help search engines to understand your images. If you want to boost an image, you should not neglect the information you provide in any of them.

Figcaption is also useful if you have importance messages to convey. Studies say that users focus 60% more on figcaption texts than on the paragraph that surround it. Figcaption should therefore focus on your best sale arguments and include links or call for actions.

It’s time to growth your traffic

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