You’ve read about infographics in blogs, you’ve heard search engine optimization (SEO) “gurus” talk about it or SEO and digital strategy professionals suggest it and your marketing director has tried to bring it up in meetings. It’s evident everybody wants to make an infographic! OK, but why? Will new readers suddenly flock to your website because of some visualized piece of data? Will you go viral because of this infographic magic? Will your most valued keywords rank higher? The short answer is “No”.
The secret to getting SEO benefits from an infographic lies in understanding what success looks like, following the set of steps prescribed below and understanding exactly how to use infographics to boost your SEO.
If you want an SEO boost from your infographic, it will need to accomplish two things:
Your infographic, no matter how beautiful it may be, does not possess any intrinsic SEO benefit whatsoever. It won’t do anything if you simply publish it on your website and forget about it and in fact, if you post a graphic without an accompanying blog post, it will have a negative SEO impact because there’s no text for Google to crawl.
Sharing it on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter won’t matter either unless you have thousands of followers who will share it and catch the attention of different audiences.
So how do you get these links? Follow these steps:
Firstly, come up with an interesting infographic topic that appeals to either a niche or broad audience – preferably something controversial. We usually try to work in a bit of accurate but controversial material when we do an infographic project — as you well know, controversy stimulates more online conversation than standard material.
If you have a tech company, for instance, come up with an infographic that could get shared on Gizmodo or Mashable — and maybe think about how you could start a debate between iPhone and Android users, for instance. Reporters are motivated by subject matter that will lead to clicks and shares and nothing does that like a good hot-button issue.
Carefully vet the data you’ll use on your infographic, accuracy is extremely important in case it goes viral. If an editor actually publishes a story about your infographic and the data ends up being incorrect, they will take it down and never accept a pitch from you again. Also, if your graphic features data from another source then be aware that the third party who owns the date will likely see the infographic.
Publish a blog post on your website about the infographic, the design, the data and why it matters. The blog post is where your infographic should be published.
When you pitch your infographic to writers or editors, you can send them a link to your blog post — it will answer their questions about the data so they don’t have to spend time corresponding with you. Also, you’re more likely to get a backlink from publications when they can link directly to the source on your website; editors are increasingly hesitant to link to a site’s homepage (or other web pages) merely as a courtesy.
Also, if you want to see if these writers and editors are actually clicking on that link through to your website (and if you aren’t using a customer relationship management system or CRM), you can just add an urchin tracking module (UTM) string to the link in your email. I would bury the link in some anchor text though since links with UTMs look awkward and clunky.
Generate a snippet of embed code to place under the image on your website – this makes it easier to share. If a web editor can simply grab the image HTML from your blog post and embed it in the text editor on the WordPress site, it increases the chances of your infographic being shared.
Compile a huge list of every internet writer, journalist and website that would benefit from sharing your infographic. Make sure they’ve covered similar material in the past — never pitch irrelevant stories. Then start sending personalized outreach emails to each writer and editor.
Pro Tip: Create a template to send to everyone, but always personalize their name and the name of their publication.
A follow-up email is extremely important if you hope to engage with your recipient. However, you’ll almost never get a reply to your first email, so don’t get disheartened. You are more likely to get a reply on your second attempt, about three days later.
Monitor your brand mentions. Editors will sometimes publish your pitch without letting you know, so run your name through Google daily for about a week or so, to make sure you don’t miss it (Google alerts are notoriously spotty and slow). Also, if your infographic does get published, check to see if they included a link — if not, you’ll have to politely email them again and ask for one.
Always keep this in mind: If your infographic isn’t newsworthy, it won’t get published anywhere.
An infographic is nothing if it doesn’t have a well thought out strategy behind it. Pair your shiny new infographic with a high-quality piece of content, make it easy to share and get in front of it with a dedicated and directed outreach strategy. If you follow the tips listed above, you have a decent chance of earning quality backlinks from major publications and websites.