In a recent interview Google’s Matt Cutts has taken aim at infographic links, saying that Google may start to discount these types of links in the future.
If you’re never heard of infographics before, they are usually an image or graphical representation of a large amount of data or research.
An example of an infographic on link building can be seen below,
In the interview Matt Cutts was asked about infographics as a type of link bait. His response to the question can be found below,
Matt Cutts: This is a discussion that makes me a bit troubled. I do agree that there are ways that infographics can be created and that represent an OK form of promotion, but the challenge is that as soon as I say something like that, people are going to use this as justification to do whatever it’s they want to do. They will push the limits, and that isn’t OK.
In principle, there’s nothing wrong with the concept of an infographic. 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 it’s misleading people.
The other thing that happens is that people don’t always realize what they are linking to when they reprint these infographics. Often the link goes to a completely unrelated site, and one that they don’t mean to endorse. Conceptually, what happens is they really buy into publishing the infographic, and agree to include the link, but they don’t actually care about what it links to. From our perspective this is not what a link is meant to be.
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. The big key is that the person publishing the infographic has to know, and agree with, including an endorsement to your site as attribution with the infographic. Even then, there is reason to believe that the link is more about the barter to get the infographic than a real endorsement of your site.
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.
If you’re currently relying heavily on Infographics as a part of your linking strategy, it may be a good time to get started in some other forms of link building.