Today, creating and promoting infographics has become a very popular SEO strategy. A well-designed infographic, which visually introduces new knowledge, will not only generate traffic and build buzz, but also attract links from a variety of websites that might not organically link to your site otherwise. These links go a long way in building up the authority and relevancy of your site, which can result in greater visibility within search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. To further increase your competitive effort in the search engines, infographics should definitely be on your to-do-list!
In developing an infographic that contributes to your SEO efforts, there are 5 very important factors you need to pay attention to:
3. Usability and Functionality
Is the content relevant to the website?
Once in a while, I come across an amazing infographic that is trendy, interesting and beautifully designed; however, it’s hosted on a website that is completely unrelated. Without a doubt, focusing upon the hottest topics at the time can attract a lot of links and buzz, but if it’s not related to your website in any way, it not only lowers the site’s credibility, but can also confuse or even upset your audience, which can actually lead to more harm than good. For example, when you see an infographic about the hottest movies of 2011 hosted on a solar company’s website, how does that make you feel? WEIRD! Right?
Is the the data authentic and reliable ?
We have to remember that information is EVERYTHING for this type of SEO. Without great content, a great infographic can never be created, even with the best design in the world. We not only need to look for content that is up-to-date and intriguing, we also need to make sure that all the sources are authentic and reliable. The point is to inform, so faulty data is equal to total failure.
Although we all know that your local library is probably one of the best places to look for credible data, let’s face it, in this technological world, how many people are still willing to flip through books for research? The World Wide Web really spoils us, doesn’t it? While books from the library may not work for most of us, the online services it provides probably will. Nowadays, most public libraries provide online articles, databases, and even e-books on their websites. Don’t let these awesome free resources go to waste!
Besides the library, educational websites (ending in .edu, such as www.sdsu.edu) and government websites (ending in .gov, such as www.ca.gov) are also very trustworthy because their domains are only eligible for institutions that are recognized by a U.S. state, territorial, or federal agency. Be careful not to mistake .org as if it is a .gov or .edu. While .org is also used by many authentic organizations, it is not regulated. For some advanced tips on finding infographic data sources using Google, read up on How to use advanced search operators.
Is it easy for readers to understand the message?
I’ve seen quite a lot of graphic models, such as graphics, tables and timelines, that excel in design, however it takes way too long to absorb the information and figure out how they’re meant to flow. What’s the point in spending so much time and effort creating an infographic if it’s even harder to understand than its written counterpart?
Effective communication is the very essence of an infographic. You have to remember that the purpose of an infographic is to present complex information in a simple way that allows people to comprehend it quickly. Besides spending time to make your graphic models pretty and easy to understand, simplicity is a critical component of a successful, functioning infographic.
Is the design aesthetically appealing?
Even if you have amazing information, what sets an infographic apart from other sources of information is it’s appealing to be expressed visually. This means that, if you want people to like and share it, it needs to be easy to understand, but also should be treated like a piece of design or art. This is why people often share infographics rather than visually unappealing sources of information.
Are you telling a story?
A difference between a good infographic and an excellent “one” is a STATEMENT: it must contain a point of view. We are talking about another level of creation here. Infographics with a statement have the ability to tell a story and persuade the audience to believe or react in an intended manner (similar to the persuasive/argument papers you wrote in college!). So, if you want to create an excellent infographic, you have to plan ahead and figure out what your narrative is, who your target audience is, and what your expected end result is. After that, what you need to do is research, research and more research. Get as much useful information as you can, then create your own meaning from this jumble of data to support your point of view. Great design or great data alone can only get you so far. It’s the perfect combination of the two that sets truly successful infographics apart.