Published on July 12th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards0
Infographics: Link Bait or Waste of Space?
By Amy @BubbleJobs
Infographics are a bit like a well-known ‘nutritious savoury spread’ (their words, not mine!) – you either love them or hate them! To some they’re a great, fun way of making down right dull info a bit more digestible and light-hearted, while for others they’re nothing more than a big waste of time and effort which are only there to act as link bait – even if that means going off-topic.
While everyone’s entitled to their opinion, there’s no denying that infographics can be pretty eye-catching and useful, particularly when it comes to turning large chunks of data and stats into an aesthetic piece of content that gets people talking. Think about it; would you rather see a massive spreadsheet/report/chart or a cheeky little infographic which has a cute picture of a cartoon man on it?! Hmm, I know which one gets my vote!
More often than not, infographics are so successful because they reflect a visual representation of long, drawn-out data. From TV adverts to documentaries, it’s no secret that we as human beings can be a lot more responsive to visual content over written content and this is where infographics cash in – OK, so there’s still some writing on there but because of the style and format in which it’s presented, it doesn’t really feel like we’re reading lots of information in one go.
There’s no denying that infographics are (9 times out of 10) created as link-bait but unlike other content marketing methods which attract links from publishing controversial pieces of content, a lot of time and effort goes into creating infographics. From tracking down the initial facts, figures and info to crafting the visuals and putting it all together in a nice shiny package, infographics are a long-term project which require hours of hard work and dedication.
OK, so we know why infographics work but where does the mighty Google stand on infographics? Hmm… well, let’s just say they’re not their biggest fans! From the looks of this recent interview with Google’s Head of Web Spam Matt Cutts, Google has no issue with the concept of infographics – they claim they can be a great way to promote a business – the problem they have is with the execution of infographics. From creating an infographic which is completely off-topic (eg. a stationary supplier creating an infographic on the evolution of fast food) to publishing an infographic which is pretty inaccurate on every count, there are lots of opportunities for mistakes when it comes to this form of content marketing – and we know how much Google hates incorrect information.
Another problem with infographics comes from the endorsement side of things, according to Mr Cutts. He claims that by publishing an infographic and linking back to your site, other site owners are simply buying into your infographic, rather than endorsing your site as a whole and that’s “not what a link is supposed to be”. We already know that Matt and Co have been working hard to crack down on unnatural link profiles so should we prepare ourselves for an infographic back-lash? Quite possibly! “I would not be surprised if at some point in the future we did not start to discount these infographic-type links to a degree,” Matt claimed.
So what’s the solution? Well, like Matt said, the secret to a great infographic is context and quality. Any infographic you produce should fall in line with your brand and services, should be offering something new and 100% unique and should always be checked, checked and checked again when it comes to accuracy and specifics. Of course, to really maximise the potential of your infographic, you need to share like crazy but try to focus on sharing with other players within your niche – this way your link profile won’t look too suspect when the next version of the notorious Penguin update gets released.
Check out our very own infographic on the joys of living and working in Bracknell. We did used to be based there so it was relevant at the time, we promise!