Google Puts Smack-Down on Infographics

Whether you know what they are called or not, most of us have seen those wonderful images that depict information in a pleasing graphical format and usually span 20 pages vertically. Infographic are visual representations that display information, data or knowledge. For some time now, these infographics have been used as link bait and are all the rage because they offer content in an easily digestible format.

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In a recent interview by Eric Enge, Matt Cutts stated that Google feels they are being abused as a link building tactic and will be soon be discounted. Mr. Cutts when on to state:

"This is similar to what people do with widgets as you and I have talked about in the past. 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. The link is often embedded in the infographic in a way that people don’t realize, vs. a true endorsement of your site."

"In principle, there’s nothing wrong with the concept of an infographic." Cutts told Enge. "What concerns me is the types of things that people are doing with them. They get far off topic, or the fact checking is really poor. The infographic may be neat, but if the information it’s based on is simply wrong, then its misleading people."

Of course this is indicative of a much larger problem of trying to obtain accurate information and statistics from the internet. While it is unlikely that the value of Infographics won’t be completely abolished, the same rule apply to content on your website; if you expect people to link back to your site based on your infographic, you will need to ensure that it is:

  • Relevant to your industry and to your visitors.
  • Offers accurate sources for acquired information/statistics.
  • Gives the viewer new information, tells them how to do something, or describes a process.
  • Free of spammy content and meta information.

"Any infographics you create will do better if they’re closely related to your business and it needs to be fully disclosed what you are doing," Cutts advised.
Similar to what happened with Squidoo lenses, we are seeing another web-trend that has been over-used and abused by online marketers and now we are seeing the resulting smack-down from Google.

Like all other web trends, it is not so much a question of the usefulness of the trend, but how long it will take Google to devalue the tactic once it becomes abused. Any tactic that attemps to garner backlinks must always relevant to the user, rich in content, and be free of nefarious ploys to abuse the tactic.

By employing only white-hat tactics, any strategies or tactics you employ will allow you to weather the storms of any Google updates. It is this practice that has allowed Beanstalk SEO Inc. to pass through barrage of Panda & Penguin updates unscathed to consitently maintain our rankings.

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