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Why would we write an entire article on file naming conventions? Is it really that important? Here’s the thing, there are actually a number of important use cases for the naming of files, especially when it comes to marketing and design. To be honest most graphic designers already know the importance of naming files in certain ways in one respect, but again, let’s be very honest that the majority of graphic designs don’t actually follow a or execute on a good naming convention methodology. Knowing and doing are two different things.

There are two primary reasons for following a good naming convention for your files, the first being for organization and the other being for search engine optimization.


Naming Files for SEO Benefit

We’ll start with talking about the SEO benefit of file naming and what “SEO file naming conventions” actually are. This is fairly straightforward, if you have a file that can be seen or accessed on a webpage then name that file to include a keyword that you are trying to rank for as well as a word that describes what is on the file. The files you’ll typically be naming are PDF’s and images.


File Naming Conventions of PDF Files for SEO

With PDFs you need to have a longer more descriptive title that includes the keyword but makes it clear what the PDF is about. For example, if we have a PDF that was on the same topic as this blog then we would name the file “File Naming Conventions for Marketing & Design”. Alternatively we could add the year, month and year or even the word Final which would signal that the file is the final version for use.

Simple right?

File Naming Conventions of Image Files for SEO

For image file naming conventions you also need to include a keyword and a very short descriptor of what the image is. For example the image of this blog is named “File Naming Conventions for Marketing and Design – File Folder”.  The search engines are looking for the keywords, the descriptor differentiates the images from others on the page.

Again, very simple.


By naming files this way you will strengthen the SEO authority of the website, the page and the  files themselves will have the opportunity to show up in search results individually.


File Naming Conventions for Organization

Arguably the most important aspect of naming files in marketing and design is for the practical purpose of organization. In theory there are no best practices for naming files, but the fact is that the naming convention must make sense, be easy to understand and be consistent.

Again many marketers and designers have felt the pain of going into folders and not being able to find which file to use or not being able to find a file at all. So we’re here to give you a simple method of naming files that will save you countless hours of headache and frustration.

While there are many different reasons that a file will exist we can categorize the naming conventions across a number of segments that will make everything much easier to organize.


File Naming Possibilities

  • Month, Day, Year
  • Event
  • Campaign
  • Content Descriptor
  • Version


Depending on what the file is being used for that will determine what elements of the file name you include. 

If you have an event of any type then you’ll 100% want to include a clear description of the event itself such as the name of the event, the month, year, date, and location.

Similarly a campaign is just as important because you may have multiple campaigns running simultaneously that are targeting different segments or have different messaging.

Describing the content is just like what we discussed for PDFs and Image files, you simply need to write an explainer of what is contained in the file.

Then lastly a version is highly important if you are creating iterations of a file so you know what was done in each iteration and which file is the most recent. This is likely the most familiar to graphic designers.


Example of a file named in a very good way could be….

“File Naming Conventions for Marketing and Design Infographic – April 2023 – Final.pdf”


This same naming convention can be applied to files as well to enable a more tightly controlled organizing of content. If you follow these simple recommendations then you will be able to more easily manage your marketing and design files, providing a better experience for everyone, getting things done quicker and eliminating unnecessary frustrations.