Infographics: Why They Fail For Link Building
We’ve all seen them: too much of them. They filter through our Twitter stream, pop up in our News Feed, and infiltrate our search results. My dear friends, we are in infographic overload, and if we don’t do something now, it may be too late for us all.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against infographics completely. I’d be hypocrite if I were because at 352 Media Group, we use them for our clients and ourselves. They do work — well. But more often than not, they fail— terribly.
I’m not saying we’ve done all of ours 100 percent perfectly, but that’s a key part of link building: learning from your mistakes and the mistakes of others, and then improving upon them.
So, in an effort to prevent you from making the same mistakes and maybe, just maybe, saving infographics before they fall off the deep end like Charlie Sheen, here’s what I’ve found to be the top reason why (most, not all) infographics utterly fail for link building.
Infographics Display Data That Sucks — Even In Picture Form
I blame infographics for dumbing us down even more than reality television. They expect that people won’t understand even the simplest data and put it in picture form that just complicates it even further.
Tom Morris said it best: “Did someone really sit down one day and think ‘you know, unless we have the market share of the iPad illustrated as a pie chart shaped as an apple, people will think this statistic is too dry’?”
Infographics and data visualization should make it easier to understand something. Credit Loan’s infographic on Obama’s economic stimulus plan did a great job at this.
Your infographic will fail if your data is terrible. What makes bad data?
- It’s dishonest, misleading or downright wrong.
- Wikipedia is your main source.
- It’s outdated (more than 12 months old).
- No one cares about the topic.
Infographic Design Is Abysmal
I thought we had finally realized that just because your cousin knows Photoshop, it does not make them qualified to design anything for your business. That doesn’t seem to be the case with infographics. If your infographic contains clip art, pie charts, bar graphs, or an abundance of typography, go back to the drawing board.
Think Brilliant did a great infographic about infographics that calls out some serious design flaws that are found on almost every visual representation. If you can’t find a creative way to design something, don’t design it at all.
Infographics Are Often Done By Questionable Companies
When buying links was popular, text link brokers were popping up to facilitate the process. Now, there are infographics providers who do the same thing. But when text link brokers started selling infographic services — because I can imagine their text link sales have dropped considerable over the past year — that was immediately a red flag.
Not all infographic companies are shady, so don’t write them all off. Look through some of their other work. If they also post statistics about how their infographics fared, even better.
Infographic “Promotion” Needs Promoting
When planning your infographic, if under “Promotion” you have “We’ll promote via social media,” you should be vanquished from the SEO club. Social media is not a strategy: It’s a tool, and infographics today aren’t using it properly.
Infographic promotion is not sending out a few tweets a couple of times a day to your 1,000 or so followers and hoping for the best, but that’s what it’s become recently.
Stumble Upon Paid Discovery gets you a couple of days worth of spikes in traffic, but won’t get you long-term results like you’re looking for with link building. If anything, it should be used as a supplement to your other promotion tactics.
Don’t just do a blogger outreach campaign casting a wide net with hopes to snag the Mashables, the Huffington Posts and the TechCrunches. First aim, then shoot.
Infographics aren’t all bad but enough of them have been done so blatantly bad that it has tarnished their reputation. And it should go without saying that if you do the opposite of all these things, you’ll have a solid infographic link building strategy at your hands.
Do you think infographics can be saved? What can people do to save them?
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.