Google’s John Mueller gave a detailed answer on how Google ranks images and videos in search results.
The question was how Google would like to display images on the search results pages (SERPs).
Here is the question:
“I have often seen that when I search for a search term, I get image results. How does Google know that images are well suited to display in results? “
John Mueller did not mention any search intentions. It was somehow implied in the answer. What was really interesting is his description of how the Google system takes and processes a request. “
“In general, what happens when you get multiple types of search results on the same page; B. the type of this image field and the normal text results, sometimes the video results, which in some way …
So when someone types a query on Google, we send that query to many different indexes, many different search systems on Google.
And on the one hand we try to send it to as many of these systems as possible so that we can get answers from them.
On the other hand, that we also get quick results … the web results come back very quickly and pictures take longer because I don’t know, somehow pictures are a bit slower today. Then at least we have the web results that we can show.
But essentially we’re sending it to all of these different systems and the systems are telling us how relevant are the results that they have. “
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I just want to pause here and highlight his use of the relevant word. Sometimes we think in keywords when we think of relevance.
However, in the context of this next part of his answer, relevance clearly means what the user is actually looking for (an answer, an image, a video, etc.).
“So the image search system could come back and say, oh… image results are, hmm… kind of important to this query, and here is a series of images I have for that.
And when we get the web results back and the web results say, oh, web results are very relevant to this query, we may be showing the web results, not the image results.
On the other hand, if we hear about these different systems and they say, oh, image results are very important to this query and the web results are fine too, then we will almost certainly show some kind of image. Field anywhere in the search results.
It could be upstairs when we think that’s super critical, it could be somewhere in the middle, something like that.
And the same thing happens for videos and I imagine the various other types of one-boxes and things that we have too … I don’t know, maybe top stories, I don’t know how that all goes in.
But essentially all of these different systems come back to that one central place and say, here are my results, and here is how relevant I find them.
And based on that, we try to figure out which of these elements we should show.
This is how the images flow in there. It’s not like someone manually saying, oh, we should show images for this query, not this one.
It really is that these systems are trying to understand how relevant the results are that they can bring back, and based on that we try to make an automated decision.
And that’s why this can change over time. Now if you’re looking for something, you may not see any images. And when we realize that everyone is actually looking for images for that query, over time we will also display images in the web search results. “
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How Google rates websites, images and videos
Mueller makes it clear that Google will show this if people prefer images. And this act of showing people what they want to show is the context of his use of the word relevance.
It’s also interesting how all of these different algorithms work independently to answer the query and then label it with a relevance score that determines where on the search results page these different types of results appear.