Ability to change attachment and image file names on post/edit

frm

Well-known member
File names play a very important role in SEO.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time citing sources (Google, MOZ, Yoast, etc.) as anyone who cares about their sites should research this matter and use best practices in order to rank for themselves when adding content of their own.

However, XF, as it stands, makes this difficult.

If I snap a photo on my phone it comes out with an obscure name such as 20190515_2283729.jpg and a screenshot as screenshot_20190415.jpg. As an end user, it'd be much simpler, not caring about SEO, to upload the image to the forum as is and be done with it.

However, as an admin, this is not optimal.

Anyone that has editing privileges, including the original poster, should be able to rename their files on XF posts without having to go to a file manager on their device (a ton of clicks) to rename it themselves prior to uploading.

Although a daunting task for admins, even editing a few images a day may give forums a chance to improve SEO by editing file names (and ALTs if they want to go further).

It'd save me, as an admin, even more time if they were able to be edited on XF as opposed to the device they were taken on too as I'd like to retain the original filename for organizational purposes.

Here is a graphic how I suggest it to be implemented (I believe a "rename" button wouldn't work as the placement might be too close to "delete", which causes problems on its own).

202498

In the above image, I downloaded "org2.jpg" from Google Images and would like to change it to "oragami-paper.jpg". This is more descriptive of what the image is.
 
Upvote 17

Alpha1

Well-known member
I don't think its a good idea to allow members to change image file extension. How about having an ALT name function for the image? The user would be able to fill an ALT name in, which would then be automatically used as caption and file name.
 

frm

Well-known member
I don't think its a good idea to allow members to change image file extension.
The extension should remain the same and verified server-side if it's a jpg to disallow it if they try to change it to a gif or png (or even txt or exe). It should remain the same filetype that it was uploaded as just the name should be able to be modified (before the extension). Furthermore, it can be a permission as well, edit and edit attachment filenames.
How about having an ALT name function for the image?
If the admin wanted to take even more time to fill in an alt, for instance [ATTACH alt="This is a stack of oragami paper that you can buy at any dollar store."]1038[/ATTACH], it would definitely help with SEO if the name org2.jpg could also be modified to oragami-paper.jpg.

This would be a much more tedious process than merely renaming the file, but both would help improve SEO. At a minimum, the filename should change.

The user would be able to fill an ALT name in
While a user can fill in an ALT, it's not intuitive and the user must understand what the alt is and why it's important. Most (I'd assume) would not touch it and it'd remain the same filename they uploaded, e.g., "org2.jpg".

which would then be automatically used as caption and file name.
If they did change the caption (or an admin), it would certainly help. However, the image name is still embedded in the HTML code as org2.jpg and it not a descriptor of the image. Both the alt and filename should go hand in hand to be optimal.

I challenge you to test this out: Use descriptive filenames in your own posts as well as alts. Your performance may increase. And if so, and if you do research into filenames playing a role in SEO as well, you will agree that there needs to be an intuitive way of changing the filename on XF as opposed to on the user's device.

Every website I've run (unless I get lazy and do a quick Lightroom export with a keyword and file number) has had descriptive filenames and have ranked quite well due to it (and multiple other factors).
 

Kirby

Well-known member
While it would be nice if users would set meaningful filenames and alt text, nobody (including @frm, the alt-attribute of the posted mockup is the attachment id) is going to do that as there is no point in doing so for users - posting the imagae is all they want and that works perfectly as-is.
 

frm

Well-known member
While it would be nice if users would set meaningful filenames and alt text, nobody (including @frm, the alt-attribute of the posted mockup is the attachment id) is going to do that as there is no point in doing so for users - posting the imagae is all they want and that works perfectly as-is.
As to why I suggested it to be a moderator permission too. If you as a team care about your forum, there's no reason why you can't take a few seconds out of your day each day editing filenames to one-up the competition; in other words, it gives you a fighting chance, at least.

If not core, I'll eventually find a way to modify them myself.
 

Kirby

Well-known member
Hmm, we do have forums where hundreds of images do get posted every day; even if it takes just 10 seconds to set the filename and alt for one image that would be a few hours ;)

Our moderators are doing their "job" for free, I highly doubt they would be willing to do such "nonsense" stuff as well.
 

sbj

Well-known member
My forums' bread and butter is PDF attachments (and filtering) and I am using the late au laits EAS2 addon.
I could not live without it.

One of the key features is, that I can enable the moderator bar and rename the attachments:

1575299575682.png

But nobody will want to enter manually names.
So, what you can do is this:

1575299643472.png

It takes the thread title (where the attachments are in) and renames them to the thread title. And I can enable counting, so in my setup attachments are named like this:

Thread Title - v1
Thread Title - v2
Thread Title - v3

And when people download the attachments, they know immediately what the attachment is about because of the thread title.
Also the addon has also another option. When you download all attachments, it also brings a linked file to the thread itself: 1575299891621.png
So people can go to the thread back (or to the post) to see from where they downloaded the attachments.

So, from my point of view it is very important to be able to rename attachments. Since au lait left the scene, I am worried about that the addon will break sooner or later because of new XF major updates. So far so good.
 

frm

Well-known member
Hmm, we do have forums where hundreds of images do get posted every day; even if it takes just 10 seconds to set the filename and alt for one image that would be a few hours ;)

Our moderators are doing their "job" for free, I highly doubt they would be willing to do such "nonsense" stuff as well.
Even consider changing 5 a day on the most popular/searched after topics and increase traffic just slightly (or if you see one and have time to change it, do it immediately as you're on the forum participating anyway). If that's not time well spent to rank for keywords that you'd typically not because you're not doing all you can in order to do so, I don't know what to tell you or anyone else.
 

frm

Well-known member
No longer supported and dunno whether it ever will be. The developer kinda tarnished the brand of those products by walking how he did and then coming back to say he's moving on with life and will end development. Dunno if you can even buy it, but it's definitely not something I'd wanna rely on, especially with updates coming to XF, specifically XF 2.2 which could completely break that.
 

sbj

Well-known member
No longer supported and dunno whether it ever will be. The developer kinda tarnished the brand of those products by walking how he did and then coming back to say he's moving on with life and will end development. Dunno if you can even buy it, but it's definitely not something I'd wanna rely on, especially with updates coming to XF, specifically XF 2.2 which could completely break that.
Well, that is what I was talking about. The product is not supported anymore and one cannot rely on it anymore. This is why I am also worried. But I cannot live without it and I am knocking on wood that it won't get broken with the XF updates.

au lait was a great guy. His support was excellent and his addons were the most developed addons I have seen here in XF. But, yeah, he left the scene sadly. One day every dev will leave us... That leaves us and XF alone. And since XF has already millions of other suggestions to implement and their pace being this slow, there is not much hope. I just wanted to reply to @Kirby, how one can effectively cut the moderating time easily with having a smart way of doing the renaming like I explained above.
 

spyralout

Member
If not core, I'll eventually find a way to modify them myself.
If you ever do, I would be very interested and appreciative if you could share your method. So many good things about Xenforo, but that's what I'm finding as well, that it's lacking in SEO functionality.
My forums' bread and butter is PDF attachments (and filtering) and I am using the late au laits EAS2 addon.
I could not live without it.

One of the key features is, that I can enable the moderator bar and rename the attachments:

View attachment 214443

But nobody will want to enter manually names.
So, what you can do is this:

View attachment 214444

It takes the thread title (where the attachments are in) and renames them to the thread title. And I can enable counting, so in my setup attachments are named like this:

Thread Title - v1
Thread Title - v2
Thread Title - v3

And when people download the attachments, they know immediately what the attachment is about because of the thread title.
Also the addon has also another option. When you download all attachments, it also brings a linked file to the thread itself: View attachment 214445
So people can go to the thread back (or to the post) to see from where they downloaded the attachments.

So, from my point of view it is very important to be able to rename attachments. Since au lait left the scene, I am worried about that the addon will break sooner or later because of new XF major updates. So far so good.
This is exactly the type of addon needed. Shame that the developer has left. Perhaps someone else could pick it up? I don't know how those types of things work.
 

frm

Well-known member
Same here. I would love to be able to edit attachment file names in posts, as well as the ALT text manually, as an admin. I wouldn't give the ability to members, probably not even mods.
Renaming things like img_244838_398382.jpg to something descriptive about the picture as well as alt text will surely improve your rankings in Google Images (YES! You do get traffic from Image searches.)

Fairly new forum and this is just from Google Images:
1599074226422.png

Imagine if I had descriptive filenames and alts... Not my niche: could I perhaps have 2x, 3x, or 10x the clickthroughs as Google knows where to put a picture of a fish as opposed to dropping it completely (unless AI can tell it's a fish); would renaming it to salmon.jpg and have an alt of "A salmon fish caught in the Pacific Ocean" allow it to rank higher? Unknowns at this point because I can't change filenames. I know every file I put up, there is a descriptive filename... so perhaps the 325 are just mine and screenshot_8838282_837272.jpg is ignored when it could be "game-screenshot.jpg" and have an alt of "A view of X in the Android game Y".

Anybody who can chime in on traffic from images alone and see if there's a correlation between names/alts would be helpful. I tend to think that it definitely would be...

Though, I'd prefer it to be permission based so that even the user could change their own filename because they may upload some obscure file and want to rename it there as opposed to renaming it on their computer/device prior to uploading.
 

Ludachris

Well-known member
Renaming things like img_244838_398382.jpg to something descriptive about the picture as well as alt text will surely improve your rankings in Google Images (YES! You do get traffic from Image searches.)

Fairly new forum and this is just from Google Images:
View attachment 234113

Imagine if I had descriptive filenames and alts... Not my niche: could I perhaps have 2x, 3x, or 10x the clickthroughs as Google knows where to put a picture of a fish as opposed to dropping it completely (unless AI can tell it's a fish); would renaming it to salmon.jpg and have an alt of "A salmon fish caught in the Pacific Ocean" allow it to rank higher? Unknowns at this point because I can't change filenames. I know every file I put up, there is a descriptive filename... so perhaps the 325 are just mine and screenshot_8838282_837272.jpg is ignored when it could be "game-screenshot.jpg" and have an alt of "A view of X in the Android game Y".

Anybody who can chime in on traffic from images alone and see if there's a correlation between names/alts would be helpful. I tend to think that it definitely would be...

Though, I'd prefer it to be permission based so that even the user could change their own filename because they may upload some obscure file and want to rename it there as opposed to renaming it on their computer/device prior to uploading.
If the user was able to rename it, I'd probably want them to have two options - the first option would ask them if they wanted the filename to match the thread title. The second option would allow them to type the name of the file themselves, and the system would replace spaces with hyphens. That's a bit more complex. I'd be perfectly happy with the ability to just rename them myself as an admin in the short term.

But overall, I completely agree with you. This is a big missed opportunity for forums in terms of on-page SEO.
 

frm

Well-known member
If the user was able to rename it, I'd probably want them to have two options - the first option would ask them if they wanted the filename to match the thread title. The second option would allow them to type the name of the file themselves, and the system would replace spaces with hyphens. That's a bit more complex. I'd be perfectly happy with the ability to just rename them myself as an admin in the short term.
If this were implemented, it'd probably have to be custom development after the ability is added and permission made.

But as always, upvote the top thread if you'd like to see it.
 

Painbaker

Well-known member
Last edited:
Top