Cutts: Infographic Links Might Get Discounted In The Future

In an in-depth interview between Eric Enge and Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts – Cutts said that Google may discount the value of links generated by infographics.

Matt Cutts told Eric:

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.

Why? Aren’t infographics great linkable content? They are but as Matt said, he finds that often infographics are misleading and outright wrong. Matt said, “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 it’s misleading people,” Cutts added.

So what does that mean for our The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors? I doubt Google would consider that infographic to be considered “off topic” or “really poor” in terms of fact checking.

But Matt does have a concern with how infographic designers and owners encourage other webmasters to link to the infographic.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search | Infographics | Link Building: General


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Alan

    This will not affect “Social media experts” generally they aren’t chasing Google traffic. Id they are chasing Google traffic then they aren’t real “Social Media Experts”

  • Alan

    I also agree with Danny. Google is truly playing God with the internet at the moment. No longer do they care what the users think. If an infographic gets lots of links, then in most cases it is a good graphic! The users have voted! It is this kind of arrogance that can sink big companies even ones as all powerful as Google. My belief is that Google is slowly losing control of the net and is scrambling re-stamp it’s authority. Once upon a time we believed that Google could discern a good link from a bad. Now I am thinking they can’t so they are just going to disavow all links!

  • JR Oakes

    I think the bigger question here is why are their 16 separate JS files in the head of this page

  • Gail Gardner

    It’s good to see that most SEOs are finally getting tired of Google playing god and questioning their motives. They TOLD US what their intentions were. Aaron Wall quoted their CEO in the now infamous the Internet is a “cesspool” and brands are how we clean it up quote. (That post is still on SEOBook.)

    They TOLD US that their dream is to give us ONE search result. Every update they reduce the number of obvious choices.

    They hide products in Google Base (or whatever they call it now) even if you specify a specific store IF you search on the money keyword phrase but not if you use a more generic phrase that doesn’t convert. (Try that yourselves and you’ll see.) I put screen captures showing an explicit example of that in the post I published on my own blog about Panda.

    There IS a solution. Teach everyone you touch to use alternatives and take away some of their monopoly and focus on getting traffic from everywhere else!

  • Gail Gardner

     Why not focus on high quality blogs that aren’t those “authority” sites, too?

  • Gail Gardner

     I disagree. Raising awareness so other people will link to what you offer that is of high quality is NOT black hat. Black hat is those time thieves who slam blogs with phony trackbacks and write bots to flood our comments and hire people who don’t have a clue to write comments. THOSE people deserve to be ARRESTED and jailed for theft along with the email spammers. Same offense = theft of other people’s time.

    Let’s let the poor and the harmless and especially the innocent out of jail and make plenty of room for throwing them into jail.

  • Gail Gardner

    Actually, Google IS already ranking sites that agree with mainstream beliefs higher than alternative sites that don’t. It took me four days to find information that I could have previously found in a day or two when I wrote my Food Rights post on my blog last year.  The information I knew existed took forever to find searching for both the question AND the answer because they have non-traditional sites buried so deep in the serps.

    We need to be aware – and tell others – that what we can find is being manipulated and so is social proof. Here is one example. The movie The Case for Christ was on Hulu. You could find it by searching on the site itself. There were 300+ comments with probably 70+% positive but on the first page all but one comment was negative. Then the movie could not even be found by searching on the site itself, but you could find it if you used a search engine to get there. Now it is findable on search again but there were no comments any more. Tonight there are two – both positive. It will be interesting to see how they manipulate the comments in the future.

    YouTube hides views. Sometimes I can’t vote there at all. Twitter hides some tweets (on controversial subjects, particularly ows) so they can’t be found in search. Facebook blocks some shares and links you share can disappear later. People need to understand that just because it APPEARS that most people think x, y, or z we actually have NO WAY to know what is being changed or hidden.

  • Clayburn Griffin

    Then how will I learn on the Web?

  • David McBee

    Creating a great infographic, for traffic or for links, is not a lazy strategy – it’s a lot of work. Coming up with an interesting and clever concept, researching the facts, designing the artwork – it takes a lot of effort to come up with something worth sharing and linking to. Definitely not a lazy spammer strategy.

  • Jeff Martin

     ”That’s right. The savvy will notice that YouTube’s embed code switched
    to an iframe, right around the time it was discovered that iframe’s
    passed some value.”

    Please cite that, thanks!

  • marceladevivo

    It sounds to me like Google is going to be using manual reviews more and more.  The irony is that way back when, the top “search engine” was the Yahoo directory (in 1996-1999).  Google jumped into the game saying that automated algorithms are best.  Eventually, directories lost value and died away.  Now I see more and more manual review coming into play, mimicking how directories used to function.

    I can’t image Google could discount value for all infographics, meaning there will have to be some manual intervention, as we’ve seen with the latest algo.  I think the takeaway is not to produce spammy infographics.  

  • radekszlyk

    agree with the people who believe that if a lot of people like
    something on the internet and are happy to share it then a policy of
    limiting its spread simply based on the notion that an infographic is
    made primarily to be graphically appealing and not necessarily 100%
    accurate with the information it presents is simply unfair and tries to
    impose a way of thinking on other people by force (even if it’s a good
    way of thinking, as I’m very much in favour of thorough facts checking
    with infographics and pretty anything else you put online).Still, I
    think that the primary role of infographics is entertainment not

  • Bryan SEO

    Good read!  Thanks for sharing.


    Like how far in the future..? Anyone..! *biztag


    Don’t count on Organic SEO and the world wide web to deliver your target audience to you at time of realization. If your promoting, you should get credit and not have to worry about competeing with the entire internet. Get your unique *keyword now, deliver users directly to what your promoting, fast! *biztag, the fastest way in the world to connect – it’s free, enjoy!

  • Randall Turner

    I’m just like a lot of you guys… I hate that Google can dictate what counts & what doesn’t count. However, I do agree with Matt Cutts on a few things. The first being that infographic’s can have unreliable content and facts. I have seen many infographics that fall into this category. Matt & his team are trying to eliminate the poor content being saturated across the internet so they can deliver the most valuable results to the end user. Good for them. Unfortunately, some things that are really fun to do in this industry are going to be victims of devaluation. Too much of SEO is targeted at search engines & not the audience. The easiest way to eliminate manipulation is to govern the weight in value of the optimization. Google is a powerhouse online; therefore, they have the responsibility of cleaning up the content & results that are being delivered. It has to be reliable. In my opinion, it’s a necessary action on their part due to the vast amount of unreliable information currently being delivered. Each of us in a small way ARE influencing this industry… unfortunately the majority of people I see trying to provide SEO services are severely hurting all of us. 

    But what do I know…. I’m just the sales guy. 


  • flash-mob

    As I know, Infographic links aren’t on the list of google element to estimate the site. “It’s so hard to optimize the website” like Matt Cutts from google said. :(

  • Ravi Shankar

    That is simply cool stuff..  awesome and I am just keen to learn new new and new stuff for SEO. 

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