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What I ignore is what happens with images not included in pages, are they shown too? If you have a images directory with 100 photos and 80 are included but others aren't. Will those 20 show in search too?
I have always named my images as consistently and comprehensively as possible, with dashes to separate words (though I suspect that SEs understand camelCase too), and image searchers have been the major part of my visitors in effect since 1997.
I find that image size is also a fairly important element in the ranking algorithm, understandably.
I might be wrong, but my instinct is to tell you that you're better going after text queries than image queries.
If you get an index.html page, or some kind of "Forbidden" message, then there is no way for anyone to discover what unlinked files may be in that directory (other than by guessing).
But if your browser shows a clickable list of all the image files in the directory, then Google WILL be able to find and index those images.
Google has found all my images, they are not in an image folder, and there exists no clickable link alerting spiders of their existence.
I think "img src" must be what the spiders use as guide to identify an image to index.
"See 6,360 image results for #*$! #*$!xx" »
There were three actual photos displayed.
First time I've ever seen that.
>edit< I don't really like it. It would tend to draw the searchers away from the actual search results.
It is impossible to tell for sure of course, but I don't think the directory name is critical.
But think, if G can parse the directory name it may be able to find more keywords to index on, eg if you have your images under, say:
img/food/ for pictures of food
img/houses/ for pictures of mansions
and so on, then G has some extra clues for categorisation, search, etc.
I use Google Images often myself and I find myself never actually looking at the page, just the image itself. I figure that the majority of users do the same thing. If that's the case then Google Images is almost a complete waste of time for any 'business' to consider.