Forget content – show my infographic

30.09.2012 from Andreas Nowak

Over the past few months there have been some big shifts in the world of SEO, what with the Panda and Penguin updates. As for Venice and local SEO, here the industry’s understanding is still very limited.

It is fair to say that when Matt Cutts (Google’s head of webspam) makes a statement the SEO community takes note, and in one of his recent releases he talked about the issue of unnatural links. So how can web developers best address this problem? Infographics!

What are Infographics?

Infographics are user-friendly a way of visually displaying often complex data in a simple and understandable way. Users of blogs and other sites with infographics find it easier and less effort to digest the data without having to read long and complex analysis.

For some time, professional link-building strategists have been utilising infographics in their portfolios as they are the perfect medium for creating a viral distribution chain and therefore in generating many useful inbound links. This is exactly what is required to best utilise Google’s Penguin update released in April 2012, which aimed to reduce the number of sites ranking with unnatural looking link structures.

So does this strategy work? Well, yes! It’s difficult to see any other reason for the strong increase in usage of infographics. The explosion of infographic usage is so great that Matt Cutts has warned the SEO community that infographics may be discounted in future. This might initially seem counterproductive but this is most likely a conscious preventative measure as these graphics could quickly spread misleading data based on dubious research far and wide.

Ecommerce and Infographics / What to watch out for

The goal of an infographic is to grab people’s attention and create interest. This interest then leads to the generation of multiple links, likes and shares and ultimately a better organic ranking. So far so good but of course it’s not as simple as that. There are some essential points to first consider:

  • Which page should be linked? The best option is the page with the infographic, however, should this graphic also be used to generate additional “link juice” on other existing performance orientated pages?

    Large infographics on performance based sites may well bring in links leading to a better position on the search engine results page but if there is a sudden a 25% increase in traffic and a 30% drop in conversions you have to consider if the payoff is really worthwhile. It’s possible to create new potential, e.g. through a new page with relevant content. This has the double benefit of expanding the keyword portfolio and increasing traffic at the same time.
  • Content is king! Those who can deliver product relevant and unique content shouldn’t forget that search engines are unable to analyse images. If you have an interesting infographic, remember to tell this to the search engine in the best possible way by expanding on the content of the infographic in text form.
  • Reliability: The source of an infographic’s data should always be provided and reliable. With the growing number of infographics circulating, their reliability and accuracy may well be the main point of consideration for Matt Cutts when deciding whether to continue to use infographics as part of the ranking algorithm.



The current trend of using infographics proves that they are an effective and important SEO tool used to increase natural links. However, it is not advisable to simply come up with a loosely relevant theme to create an infographic about, but rather use infographics to simplify more complex content, particularly in areas where infographics are still a rarity.