Google’s John Mueller said that many people use Google Images to search visually but what they are looking for is not the image but rather something else. He said on Twitter “Lots of people search visually in Google Images, and the image is just a snippet for the result, it’s not the thing they’re looking for.”
This shows how Google is thinking wider about Google Images. Again, people might upload images or photos to Google Images to learn more. But not everyone who uses Google Image Search is specifically just looking for a photo for their presentation. They might be looking visually to find answers in the content around the image.
Here are the tweets related to this chain of discussion:
Via @johnmu: For image search rankings, assume Googlebot cannot see the image content, but needs other information for context. e.g. text on the page, text around the image, alt text, etc. The combination of the image + landing page is what Google uses: https://t.co/cTI6C8OCA5 pic.twitter.com/QECRi9k9O6
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) April 1, 2020
I think it’s important to separate “looking for an image” from “looking for content with an image preview”. Lots of people search visually in Google Images, and the image is just a snippet for the result, it’s not the thing they’re looking for.
— ? John ? (@JohnMu) April 1, 2020
Forum discussion at Twitter.