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How and Why Make a Killer Infographic

August 23, 2012 · 6 comments

in Internet Marketing

Killer InfographicInfographics have been quite a hot topic in the SEO community for a while now.

Infographics (or ‘information graphics’) are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. And while infographics can be a very effective SEO technique, they can also be a big waste of money.

So here are some thoughts on how to avoid making that awful info[crap]hic no-one wants and why infographics can work so well.

So, why bother with an infographic?

In the eyes of Google, links to your website are like votes. Although all links are not born equal, broadly speaking the more votes you have, the more search engines understand that you have great content to offer on your website. So by having lots of great links pointing at www.yourwebsite.com, you’ll be rewarded with higher rankings and more traffic to your website.

In other words, good infographics are an excellent form of link-bait. In the aftermath of Google updates such as Panda and Penguin, there are few better ways of naturally increasing rankings than having a viral piece of content spread through the internet, getting posted and reposted across websites, blogs and social media sites. All bringing links back to your site.

One quick technical thing to note: infographics work because whenever a site owner or blogger comes across a relevant infographic they like, they will simply look for the ‘embed’ code on the page and copy it onto their site. And hey presto, now they too have some cool content or useful information on their own site! But if you forget that ‘embed’ code, then you’ll have wasted your time.

What does a great infographic look like?

My personal favourite is the infographic: “What does it take to get a job at Google?” as it is original, easy to understand, informative, funny, targeting users who are likely to share such an infographic, and all together enhanced by the visual layout.

What does it take to get a job at Google
If you are still looking for more inspiration, then check out these other great examples of infographics.

So what do you need to remember before starting on your infographic?

1. Will your data benefit from visual representation?

There are so many infographics floating around the web these days. Remembering that the ‘linkerati’ – or the people most likely to share your content – are often quite tech savvy people, they probably won’t appreciate pointless infographics that could have been more easily done in a short blog post.

2. Do you have comprehensive data?

The first infographic I ever made (which is now buried deep underground), was a visual delight… but it was useless as it lacked any real data. It wasn’t informative, educational or worth sharing at all. So make sure that you have enough data to really make people think, “wow”! And then cite where you got the figures from, just to be credible.

3. Is your infographic easy to understand?

Great, you now have a wealth of useful and interesting data at your fingertips! But is it easy to understand? Being original with how you present your data doesn’t mean having to be impenetrable. Have a look at the world famous London Tube map: people like it because it helps them, rather than hinders them.

4. Put your mark on it in a way others can’t

The really best infographics have something different or original about them. Although a free tool like infogr.am is a cool way of building an infographic for yourself, it is probably going to be very hard to make something really special with it. So unless you are a pro, you may have to dig into your wallet to pay for a professional designer.

5. Don’t forget that creating the infographic is only half of the work

Remember the saying: “If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

It is the same with infographics. Creating a cool infographic and making it a success are two completely different things. It is going to be hard work submitting your infographic to sites that are likely to share it, reaching out to blogs and other key influencers,  but do it right and it is worth the effort. For a really excellent guide on how to push your infographic, I thoroughly recommend David Konigsberg’s excellent post on the topic.

And now you are ready to forward and make (and distribute) a really great infographic… Let me know how you get on!

Image Credit FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Felicia August 27, 2012 at 7:50 am

For me, a great infographic is something that has a simple yet interesting title that would make any reader feel intrigued enough to click on the page and read it. It really is nice that infographics are circling around the web nowadays, it’s really cool to learn new things with them. Thanks for sharing the “What does it take to get a job at Google” infographic!
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Jamie Pendergrass (@JamiePend) August 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Hey Felicia,

Yeah I totally agree with you, I guess if an infographic doesn’t have a cool title then the ‘bait’ part doesn’t work! One of my favourite infographics i’ve seen in the last few weeks is actually about top tent tips for happy camping… but maybe I just like camping 🙂 http://www.rei.com/features/infographics/tents.html

Have a nice day!
Jamie
Jamie Pendergrass (@JamiePend) recently posted..How Google Went From Search Engine To Content DestinationMy Profile

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Felicia August 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Hi Jamie,
Thanks for sharing the infographic about tent tips for happy camping. I know many of my friends and my relatives who love to camp during weekends and holidays. Have a nice day too!
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Alexander Collins August 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Thanks for link to SEOMoz. Just released great Infographic and learning the ropes of spreading around it.
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Kyle Clouse September 9, 2012 at 7:11 pm

AppSumo was offing a deal with piktochart that is another great tool for building infographics.
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Mark Trueman September 13, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hey Jamie,

Infographics just work better than plain text because we are visual creatures. Now that there are social sites that are meant for pictures alone, Infographics are able to reach a wider audience than normal text based posts. I personally just think that infographics are much more fun to read.
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