Does Adding Keywords in an Image Filename Help Ranking?
Posted by Joy Hawkins
When I was working on a project recently, I realized that the filename you use on an image that is uploaded to Google My Business stays in-tact. Meaning, when you download the image from the listing on Google, it keeps the same filename. This made me wonder if keywords in the filename of the image had any impact on ranking in the local pack so we decided to test it. It’s really important here to remember that we were:
- Testing images that are on a GMB listing, not images on the business website;
- Strictly tracking local pack rankings, not organic rankings.
When I asked this question at a recent LocalU event, the answers were fairly divided.
To test this, we picked a multi-location dentist in Florida, Tomalty Dental Care. Because they had so many practitioner listings, we were able to target some niche keywords that had pretty little competition to see if there was any impact. We uploaded several images using really keyword-rich file names to the listing and waited a few weeks. We didn’t see any measurable increase in ranking for the keywords we specifically targeted (screenshot taken from BrightLocal).
We tested it a second time on the same dentist but used one of the practitioner listings for an oral surgeon at his office. We picked a really specific keyword to target and used a listing that had even less competition than the first one. The city we tested it in was also smaller (population: 70,000). We saw the same pattern (no ranking increase) and also didn’t see any major increases in Search Console.
Photos on Google My Business Listings Are Not Indexed
Another important thing we learned from this test is that unlike photos on your website, photos on Google My Business listings don’t get indexed or included in Google Images search. If you take a photo from your GMB listing and run it through Google Images search, it will return no results, provided the image isn’t also hosted anywhere else online.
This article is part 6 of 9 from my LocalU presentation from March 2020. If you missed the event, the videos are available for purchase here.