Filenames – How to name your web pages and file assets

Filenames play an important role in search engine optimisation of your web pages.

Name your web pages and file assets with care, as filenames play an important role in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and navigation structure of your website.

Filenames are an important part of building an SEO-friendly technical infrastructure. A good filename also makes it easier for your visitors to navigate your website, share links with other websites and for developers to organize the file structure of your website.

If you don’t have the time or inclination, we can help improve your SEO with our professional SEO Services. Otherwise, read on for seven tips on how to choose good filenames for your web pages.

File names and assets for SEO

Use a descriptive title

A filename like is a good example of a filename whereas may not work as well. Search Engine spiders and visitors alike will be able to get a sense of what your page is about simply by the name.

Use keywords

Use keywords in your filenames (and also file assets such as images) which reflect the on page elements. Remember that keywords used in your page title, headings, description, page URL, page images and copy must all have SEO consistency so the Search Engines understand what your page is about and determine relevance in their search results.

Use short filenames

While filenames should be descriptive, shorter filenames are better for link building strategies and are more memorable. Social media websites like Twitter or forums automatically shorten long URLs. To shorten the URL, omit stop words such “a”, “an”, “the”, “to”, “on”, “from” etc when creating a web page.

Use hyphens rather than underscores

Hyphens (-) should be used in your filenames to separate words as hyphens are read by the Search Engines as spaces. Do not use underscores as a word separator as Search Engines see an underscore as another letter of the alphabet. (For example, naming an image “homebuilding-mistakes.gif” rather than “homebuilding_mistakes.gif”). This should be standard practice when naming files whether you are saving images, PDF or word documents that will appear on your website.

Avoid the use of special characters

Try and limit the characters in your filename to lowercase letters a to z, numbers and underscores. Try and avoid the use of special characters such as exclamation marks, ampersand, asterisks and percentage marks when naming web pages.

Avoid spaces

While this may seem obvious, this is a common mistake made by beginners. Some Content Management Systems (CMS) may replace a space with the encoded “%20” form so you may not be aware that you had a space in your filename. Just double check your filenames are correct before pressing the save button.

Use lowercase

It is good practice to always put web names in lower case. Your operating system may see upper and lower case file name as the same but your web server operating system or unix-based systems like Linux and FreeBSD may consider them to be two different files.

In summary

Good filenames are easy to remember, make sense within the entire hierarchy of the site and contribute to the Search Engine Optimisation of your website. Contact us to find out we can help you develop a website with a Search Engine friendly technical infrastructure. We can give you advice on how to create web pages, recommendations on navigation and on-page elements right through to the website design and copywriting to not only drive traffic to your website but maximize your online revenue.