Recently I was on a popular web development site and came across a blog post called Quick Tips To Enhance your SEO in Squarespace, and Tip #5 was: Rename Your Photos When You Upload.
Myth: Renaming your photos helps with SEO
Before Google was King of search, SEO was about spamming your website with your keywords as much as possible, tricks like this worked well...today not-so-much. This strategy isn't necessary for great SEO and I'm going to show you why.
"Google extracts information about the subject matter of the image from the content of the page, including captions and image titles. Wherever possible, make sure images are placed near relevant text and on pages that are relevant to the image subject matter."
This comes from directly from Google Webmaster Support.
The Google Webmaster Support article also says this:
"Likewise, the filename can give Google clues about the subject matter of the image. For example, my-new-black-kitten.jpg is better than IMG00023.JPG."
This is the point people like to grab hold of and use to explain that renaming your images will boost your SEO. However, what I want you to see is that if you've built your website properly, with proper HTML Title and HTML Meta Description, and the body of content on your webpage is relevant to the keywords you're focusing, then your image tags should look something like this:
<img src="mercedes.jpg" alt="2018 C-Class Coupe | Mercedes-Benz">
Now, let me ask you this simple question? What is "mercedes.jpg" going to do for your SEO with an ALT tag like "2018 C-Class Coupe | Mercedes-Benz" and HTML Title like "2018 C-Class Coupe | Mercedes-Benz" and a body of content that also talks about the C-Class Mercedes? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
My point is this: If you're doing SEO properly and using good ALT Tags on your images, then naming your files is irrelevant.
This myth about renaming our images is all about getting your images indexed in Google Images, it's not talking about Google's main search.
Google's main search algorithm is incredibly sophisticated and is based on a lot of factors, most notably the HTML title tag, the body of content, and backlinks. Your image filenames do not skew the results in any way.
Let's look at Google Images and searching for the keyword "Mercedes". Here are the results I got:
If this SEO tip (naming images) is important, then we should assume that the image filename is mercedes.jpg, but in this case, the very first image that comes up is:
"Non-AMG/1. Story 1/III. Packages (SLIDER)/MBCAN-2018-C-COUPE-CAROUSEL-TOP-1-3-02-DR.jpg"
As another example, I searched "mercedes g550 4x4 squared" in Google Images (which also happens to be my favourite vehicle!). You can see the results below:
Again, if this SEO tip is valid, we should at least see that very first image in Google Images has the filename "mercedes-g550-4x4-squered.jpg" or something descriptive, but in this case it's:
with an ALT Tag:
"Image result for mercedes g550 4x4 squared"
And if I dig deeper and go to the web page the image resides on, Auto Trader, I find that the HTML Title tag is "The Mercedes G550 4x4 Squared Is a $250,000 German Monster Truck - Autotrader" and it's got a proper H1 Tag with same keywords and the body of content also has those keywords.
As you can see from the 2 examples above the file names were not relevant but it was the web pages that had strong SEO.
Re-Naming all your images is a daunting task but it's also a waste of your time, that is if you are doing everything else correct. This is an SEO Myth and if you're doing it you can stop.