Google’s John Mueller said that when it comes to web search, Google does not “look at the specific images on the page” for web search or ranking purposes. For image search, Google does but for web search, John said no.
John said this at the 4:04 mark into the video – where he said “To be quite honest. So I don’t think for web search we look at the specific images on the page and say, oh, this is a nice image and this is a boring image. We basically use those images in image search. And that’s where we care what the content of the images are. But within web search we don’t really care if it’s a gray square or if it’s a picture of a beach.”
The question that lead to this answer was “will the algorithm understand that there is a meaningful, possibly even useful image, and not just a gray square?” John said “I don’t think we care.”
Here is the video embed:
Here is how Glenn Gabe summed it up on Twitter:
More from John: For web search, we don’t look at specific images on the page and judge them. We use those images in image search & that’s where we care about the content of the images. Within web search, we don’t care if it’s a gray square or a beach: https://t.co/2Ow4pB3Gn8 pic.twitter.com/BmROHKCZaH
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) October 26, 2021
This seems similar to when John said adding images to your pages won’t help you rank better.
Forum discussion at Twitter.