A recent interview by Eric Enge with Matt Cutts is causing a bit of a stir in the SEO community. In his recent interview Cutts is quoted as saying, “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.” Basically, Cutts is saying Google might not count any links a site has earned from an infographic.
His reasoning is this: since infographics have become a very popular form of link bait in the past few years, many site owners have started creating essentially useless infographics. They don’t offer any real value or new information, and oftentimes many of them just get the facts plain wrong. Much like Google doesn’t like rewarding sites that publish misleading static content, Cutts is saying the search giant is considering taking on low-quality infographics as well.
So what does this mean for website owners and their SEO?
While discounting infographic links hasn’t been 100% confirmed, it is definitely something worth considering if you are thinking about creating one. A great infographic, apart from having fantastic information, has to look great. A skilled creative design team can cost a lot of money, so before you pay for a piece of content that might not do your SEO campaign any good, it might be worth putting that infographic on the backburner.
I’ve seen some really fantastic infographics over the years, and I’ve seen some pretty bad ones too. Just like any other form of link building, when a certain technique becomes popular and a relatively “easy win,” the spammers come out in full force and take advantage of it as long as they can. Think of how many terribly written and poor quality blog posts are out there. How many bad presentations have you clicked through online? Someone had to bother to make it (even if they only took five minutes) because they were looking for an easy link. Unfortunately, many companies and site owners have done the same thing with infographics.
However, this is not to say that infographics can’t still be useful. Even if Google were to go ahead and discount inforgraphic links, infographics are still great fodder for social networks that thrive on images. It could still be a great way to get people talking about your brand and presenting your company before a new and wider audience. Just like any other form of link building, you shouldn’t be putting all your eggs in one basket. Building infographics should be a piece of the puzzle, not the driving component.