Google: Infographic Links To Be Discounted

Jul 11, 2012 • 8:25 am | comments (23) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

InfographicsI am sure Matt Cutts is loving me now. :) The other day I covered at Search Engine Land how Infographic Links Might Get Discounted In The Future.

It was from an awesome interview by Eric Enge with Matt Cutts, where we covered 2-3 sentences is enough unique content.

The main new nugget was not the 2-3 sentences but rather that Google's Matt Cutts for the most part seems to hate infographics and feels they are being abused as a link building tactic. So much so that he wouldn't be surprised if Google began building an algorithm to discount links that are driven from 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.

The link building community is going wild about this, as is the new infographic industry.

The deal is, most of these infographics have the details on how to embed the infographic on the site, all with very keyword rich anchor text. That might be the core issue but I am not Google.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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07/11/2012 03:44 pm

if all "white hat" tactics become "black hat" tactics when Cutts decides he doesn't like the tactic anymore, then the "white hat" distinction really doesn't make any sense anymore does it?

Takeshi Young

07/11/2012 04:52 pm

Infographics, that is interesting (and accurate) information presented in a graphical format, will always be a good SEO and content marketing tactic. Crappy embedable infographics with links to irrelevant sites will go the way of the dodo. And why not? It's link manipulation, plain and simple, just like crappy widgets and wordpress themes. Great infographics will always generate great, diverse links. It's just the embedable kind with exact anchor text links that's going away. Post-Penguin, it wasn't a great strategy anyway.

Darryl Manco

07/11/2012 06:26 pm

Spamming will continue to exist in every channel of SEO. It's the nature of the beast. Irrelevant links sooner or later are handled by search algorithm changes. White hat is never out of fashion, and Cutts is shoring up relevancy-to-content. His talks are clear about relevancy. Bing and Y! are on the same course too. One now has to twice if not trice decide before executing.

Lord of SEO

07/11/2012 06:41 pm

Someone needs to discount Cutts. Permanently.

Lord of SEO

07/11/2012 06:43 pm

Sup dude, what is white hat? You sit there and wait kinda thing... People who 'link' mainly link from forums, and sometimes blog posts, that's about it with regards to natural. If it's a sponsor, that's paid, a directory link (good one) paid etc. Cutts is a complete clown.

Lord of SEO

07/11/2012 06:45 pm

He also says: "I would not be surprised if at some point in the future we did not start to discount these infographic-type links". So that shows they do discount certain types of links. Up to you to find out which...

Michael Martinez

07/11/2012 06:57 pm

These people would not have built all those crappy infographics if they weren't trying to get links to manipulate search results. As long as people keep doing really dumb things like that, they can expect the search engines to react.

Kevin Gerding

07/11/2012 08:04 pm

Just as Google slaps sites for inorganic backlinks, they themselves are continually moving towards an inorganic first page in the SERPS. Kind of like the pot calling the kettle black IMO.

Dave Saunders

07/11/2012 08:37 pm

Not even a surprise. To some "all" infographics are crappy SEO/social spam. They represent low-quality bulk so it makes sense to describe them with a mathematical constant which can be "turned down" or squelched entirely.


07/11/2012 10:41 pm

I think I get the point Cutts is trying to make that links semi-hidden in an infographic isn't the full endorsement that Google is looking for. But, I also have to disagree. It's quality content being shared and in a way an endorsement in and of itself. I don't think they'll actually pull the trigger on this idea. Or at least I'm hoping...


07/12/2012 05:25 am

Infographics drive traffic, but they break Google's text based rice bowl. I don't see them going away. They are a very effective medium for presenting statistical data.


07/12/2012 05:42 am

time to discount mr cutts and their crappy search engine. too much stupid updated weekly/daily/monthly, them tells everybody what their algorithms is perfect. but i not believe - liars!

David Smet

07/12/2012 07:54 am

I think the arguments used in the interview, are quite weak. 1) "The link is often embedded in the infographic in a way that people don’t realize" >> I believe blog or website owners do know how an image link works. I cannot imagine that much people don't realize there is a link behind the infographic. 2) "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," >> While it might be true that some infographics are based on unchecked or false information, I think most infographics are based on decent research and studies. A trustworthy infographic mentions its sources. A smart reader checks these sources. >> Why would the information found in infographics be more "wrong" than other types of content on the web? What about video's? Presentations? Or even text-only webpages? I'm sure it happens they're not based on thrustworthy information with people still linking to them. >> Won't social sharing give Google sufficient information about an infographic's quality? Doesn't Google trust the audience to "select" the most thrustworthy infographics?

Lorenzo Reffo

07/12/2012 08:35 am

The only effective way to rank high in Google results page in the future will be buying links. From Google Adwords.

Link Juice

07/12/2012 11:17 am

If you're using the same anchor text in the embed link and the infographic does well then that could do harm... maybe rotate the anchor text now and then to keep it looking natural


07/12/2012 01:38 pm

I agree with this ....this is a step towards stopping link spam


07/12/2012 01:50 pm

Per usual Michael Martinez speaketh the truth.

Reg Charie

07/12/2012 09:37 pm

Links are the issue. Especially if the information they present is not worthwhile. If a text link is crafted on a non-relevant page and the anchor text is off topic to the page, then the link is considered a "spammy" link. The information in a info-graphic is not always accurate, but there is no way for the algo to judge. If you look at enough of these you will often find it is more inaccurate than it is accurate. However, this is a human determination as Google cannot "read" the text in an infographic but depends on file name, alt, and title tags to convey the data. These are not always relevant.

Reg Charie

07/12/2012 09:42 pm

Joshua, Google has told us for years and years and years that links should be organic. But most still built links to influence the results. If you got a link on an off topic PR8 site, all the better. It did not matter if the links was relevant at all. This was definitely black hat but was not caught by Google. Everybody did it. Google figured out how to find you, and busted your ass, so it was not as if you were doing white hat that suddenly changed to black.

Jonathan Elder

07/13/2012 12:24 pm

As long as there are some natural results, someone will rank there without paying - the big question is how those ranking sites are selected. Just like the original google innovation of using links as the primary ranking determinator, people look for ways to abuse it, and Google makes a change to stop the abuse. It's just unfortunate this sometime hits legitimate companies.


07/13/2012 07:05 pm

Long time over due.


07/25/2012 08:00 am

I don't think that infographics are abused as a link building tactic as it the only visual presentation of information which help readers and are not read by the search engines also but I do agree that it does not give desired results everytime as the user don't bother to wait more if the page load slower.


07/31/2012 04:20 pm

I personally love seeing infographics and I find it very informative though we can't deny the fact that webmasters are smart thinking of ways on how they could possibly get advantage of any links that they could create, whether it be an infographic post or anything else.

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